Kev McKeon talks for the Gyppo Army

Kev in the middle of a beanplant at Washington Street
Kev in the middle of a beanplant at Washington Street

The word of mouth can be a powerful tool when used properly. So can a stick of wood put under the feet of a talented skater. Put the two together and we ended up with this interview with one of the founders of the “Gyppo Army” team out of Great Britain, Kev McKeon. If you have had your eyes and ears open lately receiving visual and audio impressions from the skateboard scene, then you’ve picked up on this team which is packing quite a punch. To start this off right have a look at this sequence of Kev at the Cantelowe skatepark.

Be sure to also check out thr Gyppo Army blog on a regular basis, loads of updates and quite a few laughs as well: http://www.gyppoarmy.blogspot.com

Kev ripping Cantelowe -

Sequence by Phil Procter and cheers to the great Caught in the Crossfire website!

– Tell us a bit about who you are, where you come from, age, skateboard background etc.

Well, I was born in Cork in Ireland and my dad’s Irish and my mum’s French. We moved over to London when I was 3. I’m 18 now and I’ve been skating for about 6 years. I skated at Meanwhile Gardens skatepark in London every weekend for the first few years then I got into travelling and skating loads. Nowadays I try to avoid being in London!

– What’s a typical day in the life of a Gyppo Army member look like?

Well, I usually wake up and dick around on the computer for a bit in the morning, eventually whoever is sleeping on my sofa will wake up and we’ll go and skate at Cantelowes skatepark, which is a 5 minute skate from my house. After than we’ll end up going to either my house Ann Marie’s house (the mum of 2 skaters at Cantelowes) with some booze or we’ll end up going on a pub crawl around Camden. Sometimes Cantelowes is replaced with another park or skate spot, but the other stuff happens usually everyday. Ant’s on his way round to my place now and we’ll probably end up going to Ann Marie’s tonight!

– The Gyppo Army: it’s definitely a group of skaters/company to look out for in the near future. What is “Gyppo Army” supposed to mean? How did the entire idea start and what are your plans for this year?

I got really into travelling to skate in different cities and realized I could go abroad for pretty much the same price if I cheaped out on not eating properly and sleeping rough. I ended up dragging Aaron around with me and after a while people started calling us “Gyppos”. I can’t remember where “Army” came into it, but it’s here now. I thought that we could get more done and travel more if I started up a board company.

Aaron and myself quit our previous board sponsors and brought in a few mates on the idea, some of which didn’t have previous sponsors, some did.

Aaron and myself are heading to Marseille in a couple of weeks for some competition over there and to skate with our French rider Momo. We’ll probably end up at Bowlriders in Sweden and maybe the Mystic cup in Prague. Hopefully we’re going to go on a 3rd Document trip in August, but nothing’s been planned out yet. I’m trying to plan another trip to the States for about a month too for this September.

– The Gyppo Army team is represented by some of the best in British skateboarding (including yourself), Aaron Sweeney just took second place at the Volcom TXOTX mini ramp contest down in Spain a few weeks back. Who are the current team riders and are you planning to expand the team?

The current team so far stands at Aaron Sweeney, Anthony Demascio, Myself, Momo Linier (France) as well as our flow riders Doug Parmiter and Elliot Jones. It’s a pretty London based team, but there should be some new guys joining the team from other parts of the country too over the next couple of months. I won’t mention any names for the time being!

Kev in the middle of a backside smith at Cantelowes / photo by Phil Proctor

– Just this year you started your own line of decks. Who did the designs for them? Any more plans for Gyppo Army products?

Aaron has a mate who he used to go to school with who ended up doing graphic design, so I spoke to him about coming up with a couple of graphics. He designed the “Bush” and “Caravan” graphic. We’ve got 2 new graphics coming out in late June, which were designed by Toby Walker and Jake Schneider as well as some new T shirts.

– You were lucky enough to make it over to the States earlier this year. What was your general impression of skateboarding over there and what was your favorite spot?

Skating over there was different than back here. Pretty much what everybody says about the place is true, the spots over the are good and are smaller in real life compared to what you’d imagine them to be like after having seen them in videos. The police over there are absolute cunts. I’d say in general the skateparks over there are better than here, but having said that, the quality of skateparks in Europe are definitely on the up, as is the standard of skating over here, the gap between Europe and the States seems to be getting smaller and smaller, which is only a good thing!

– What set-up are you riding right now?

I’m skating a “Bush” 8.1 Gyppo Army board, “44” Ace Trucks, 55mm Death Wheels and some crusty bolts and bearings that have gone well past their sell by date!

– Who do you think is ripping it up at the moment? Give us some names…

My dad, Papa McKeon, he was doing switch frontside bluntslides at Southbank last night! Killing it!

– Any final words for us?

Buy our stuff and help to pay our bills! I’d like to thank my girlfriend Liv, as well as my parents and everyone at Gyppo Army. You (Jonathan) for the interview. All of the Portuguese kids at Cantelowes skatepark including “Borat”. Nic Powley at Vans, Wes and Brewer at Outofstep distribution for ACE trucks, Neil Urwin at Gumball, Phil at Nueu as well as Nick Zorlac for Death Wheels and for distributing Gyppo Army through Power Distribution! There’s also this fantastic blog which I feel you should check out, you can find it here at http://www.gyppoarmy.blogspot.com

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