Chris Emery is a skater and filmmaker from Wolverhampton, England who runs Wolftown Skateboards.
His dedication to documenting skateboarding in Wolverhampton is unparalleled in both quality and quantity. Over the last decade he’s produced a series of full-length skate videos made in the area and delivered something fresh, unique and unseen for his skate scene.
Emery even found the time to film two of our Beyond Skateboarding jams along the way. We’ve seen him evolve as a filmer and his level of progression has been great to see.
But it’s not just his enthusiasm for great skating and finding the best angle to capture it, that has grown over the years, His brand Wolftown now has a sick skate team, releases really well designed boards, gear and libraries of short edits inbetween longer projects.
It all keeps him really busy so we were are hyped to get a minute to chat to him about what motivates him to run Wolftown, the production of his videos, his thoughts on creative filmmaking and the most standout tricks and clips from his skate videos.
We’re stoked Emery is now a member of The No Comply Network
Discover how Emery got into skating and started making videos of the Wolverhampton skate scene, shredding the Wolverhampton Civic Centre banks, Henry Fox, Sean Baker, Alex Ramsell, Ali Watson, Anthony Ackers, Raj Sami, Wolftown and their videos – Lords of Wolftown, Wulfrunian and Stray, trips and travels in the UK, his upcoming videos and releases and favourite skaters, artists, videos, photos and spots of all-time and more.
Read The Chris Emery Interview below to find out for yourself.
Emery, Half Cab Boardslide to Fakie, Wolverhampton Civic Centre Bank: Shot by @reeceleung
What’s your full name?
Christopher Michael Emery
Did you grow up in Wolverhampton?
I’m Wolverhampton through-and-through.
Nearly all of my best friends are from around Wolves and The Black Country.
We’ve created such a solid scene here, everyone’s homies with each other, so it’s a pretty cool place to live right now.
How did you start skateboarding?
I can’t put my finger on which one it was exactly, but it was a mixture of playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater III back in about 2003 and seeing Wolftown legend Gib Ollie some curb cuttings when I was walking back from school one time.
Gib, or as some people may know him, Matt McGregor, is known for his huge pop.
Even these days he’s still boosting out of any bank he sees. As a little kid, not even a teenager yet, seeing a skater wearing the baggiest trousers and pop the fattest Ollie at what seemed like Mach 10 sealed the deal on getting my mom to buy me a board.
Sick. When did you get your first board and what was it?
Not sure on the exact year but it was soon after Gib doing that Ollie. All white Fracture set up with a holographic type of logo on the nose. I vividly remember being able peel off the white paint. How did they get away with that shit?
Emery, Frontside 180, Paris: Shot by @rajsami_
Where did you learn to skate and who with?
You’d probably have found me on some shitty church car park or bombing the Merry Hill flats road.
After I met Chris Adams, otherwise known as Krads, he invited me round to skate his 5ft halfpipe that his dad made him when he was about 14. That thing was fucked! I’m pretty sure you couldn’t do an axle stall on it was that thin.
Henry Fox, Backside Tailslide with Emery filming in London: Shot by @rajsami
How did you get into filmmaking?
After seeing a few filmmakers stack so much footy of the entire Wolverhampton scene and not release the footage, it killed me.
Henry Fox, Puv, Kaveh and a couple of my friends invited me to a trip out to Barcelona when I was 17, so I purchased a camera, and the wackest clip-on wide angle lens ever, to film all the tricks that went down on the trip.
I was so eager to capture the footage and make a montage when I got home.
I actually wanted to release the footy of me and my friend, and not just sit on it, you know?
Right, so what was your first video camera then?
What was the first skate video you made with that?
Lords of Wolftown. I premiered it in 2015 at a local cinema.
I had quite a lot of injuries in between 18 and 21 years old, which forced me to pull the reins in on both skating and filming.
After I got over the injuries, I created Wolftown Skateboards in 2012.
All of my friends were part of the crew, there was at least 15 of us.
We started filming Lords of Wolftown straight away. We were having the time of our lives making it, travelling around the UK, skating new spots and meeting new people.
Emery: Shot by @rajsami_
What camera do you shoot on now?
VX2100, VX1000 and a Minolta Autopak-8 D6
What draws you to using the VX and Super 8MM?
I think the finish of both MiniDV and Super 8mm compliments British skate spots and its weather.
What creatives in skating do you respect and why?
I respect all creatives who are creating stuff off their own back.
If you’re not living in London, it’s relentlessly harder to be a creative in the U.K. skate scene, whether it’s due to funding or current activity.
Imagine if every skater and every creative moved from their local town to an international city. There would literally be no local scenes, no culture or character being created throughout that country. I really respect the creatives who are pushing things in their local scene, in whatever stage of their life.
What’s your favourite thing to skate?
Banks and manual pads.
Emery, Nose Manual in Glasgow: @rajsami_
You’ve got a sick Nose Manual. Who’s got your favourite?
Tough one! Chris Roberts? Brayan Albarenga?
There’s a sick photo of Mike Carroll doing one at EMB.
You filmed two Beyond Skateboarding jams. What was it like filming the Fastlands edit?
It was hectic as fuck. There were too many bangers that day for sure. I remember the hippy jump competition being fun.
For sure. You also filmed Beyond SB Kings Norton. What were your favourite memories from filming the day?
Seeing up to 100 skaters killing it on a freezing cold winters day for the entirety of the event was special. There are a lot of talented skaters who aren’t documented well in The Black Country and surrounding areas, so to see them all out skating together for was nice.
You skate Wolverhampton Civic Centre a lot. What’s your favourite part of the spot to skate?
My favourite part would be the banks at the bottom but the slabbing is all fucked up now. Skating up the banks alongside the seven is fun.
It can be skated in so many different ways, so it’s fun to try and approach it from another perspective.
Emery, Backside Flip: Shot by @ashwilsonphoto
Ali’s Wallie down the 7 was heavy, how did that go down?
It was so fucked up. Ali Watson turned to me and said, “Hey Chris, I’m thinking of jumping down the seven.” Whilst pointing at the bank at the left hand side of the bank.
I thought he was going to Ollie over the bank and the seven, you know? So I positioned myself and the camera lens as if he was going to do just that, only to find out he hit the corner of the top bank.
The most fucked up thing was, it only took him a few goes to land on it. And then once he did one, he did another, and another, and another. I think I counted 11 makes, within the space of half an hour. And that was that particular session for mine and Raj Sami’s lenses.
He went back another time to get a photo with Chris Johnson too.Imagine being over 30 years old and chucking yourself down that thing haha.
Ali Watson, Frontside Wallie: Shot by Chris Johnson
What’s your favourite trick you’ve seen go down at Civic Centre?
Filming Ali Watson’s FS Wallie for Wulfrunian or Henry Fox’s Mayday line for Reflections has to be at the top of the list. Their vision and the way they both approach it are different to others.
I would loved to have seen Jagger’s Tre Flip to Fakie on the bottom banks, I don’t think I was even born then though…
How did you decide to start Wolftown?
It was originally just a crew. I already knew everyone ripped, but after filming the first half of Lords of Wolftown, I realised how they weren’t just skate rats skating the local park. They were creative, could piece together sections and supported me in setting up Wolftown.
It was a slow process; I guess it always is with independent brands and zero funding whatsoever. I made a few tees, hoodies and stickers. Everyone backed it so it went from there.
What’s the ethos of the brand?
We’re literally just an average bunch of people, having a good time on a skateboard. If you’re down with the crew and not a raging dickhead, then you’re instantly part of the community.
Who designs all of your board artwork?
I always collaborate with local artists to design the board artwork. Each series has been special.
James, Wig and Abbie all kill it. They have their own style whilst still showing their roots in the work they release with me.
What’s the best way to buy Wolftown products?
Through our website or at your local skate shop.
Where have you been skating recently?
I’ve tried to steer clear of busy places during COVID-19. If I’m not at Civic after work on an evening, I’ll be at a skate park somewhere in Shropshire, both quiet. Although one has mamba heads lurking and one has the occasional scooter kid flying through. It’s all a part of the game haha.
How did making Lords of Wolftown come about?
A lot of my friends from Wolves were killing it. There were very few people documenting the local area through video media at the time.
So I bought a VX2100 off my friend Oli and started filming.
I didn’t have a plan to release an actual full length until about half way through stacking all the footage
What was your favourite thing about making Lords of Wolftown?
Having between 15 – 20 skaters at every filming session. The Wolves crew was so deep. We were out at least 5 days a week for like 2 years.
Wulfrunian was sick. How did you come up with the name?
Natives of Wolverhampton are called ‘Wulfrunians’, and the majority of the skaters with full parts were from Wolverhampton so it made sense. We travelled around Europe so much, mainly through Spain, but also through France and Germany too.
Rad. So do you have a favourite trick in Wulfrunian?
There are too many to name. Any one of Henry’s BSTS’s as he’s got one of the best around.
Stray was such a good video. How long did it take to make?
About 18-24 months of filming and 5 months of editing.
I tried to film solely in the U.K. during Stray. Kind of do a U.K. tour.
Getting Alex Ramsell and Anthony Ackers on the team for this video was sick too.
They both have pretty unique styles and approach things differently to what most skaters would do.
Two months after the release I started to film for our new video, booked a filming trip to New York, only to get thrown into Lockdown…
What’s it like filming and skating for your own videos?
Yo, I love filming a section myself, but I never get the chance haha.
My calendar’s normally fully booked up to film my friends for the following three weeks, so I have to squeeze in a half-session here and there.
Shout out to Raj for always being down to film and never batting an eyelid.
Who’s your favourite filmer who rips on a board?
Beagle! His approach to skating is pretty creative.
Brian Panebianco is a gangsta too.
Henry Fox rips. What’s your favourite Henry trick?
Back tails. On any obstacle he approaches. But he’s stopped doing them. Everyone needs to convince him to do them again. I need to start a petition…
Henry Fox, Backside Tailslide, Pimlico: Shot by @rajsami_
Sean Baker’s Nollie BS flips are sick. Which one is your favourite?
Where do I start?! Wenny Blocks is gnarly. I’m pretty sure Sean Baker Nollie Backside Flipped those like 3 or 4 weekends in a row.
One time me and Raj were chilling on the blocks, hadn’t even got our boards or camera bags out the car, and he just rolls up to Wenny aka Wednesfield Big 3, no warm up, nothing, just Nollie Backside Flips them. Birmingham Bank 11 was the most fucked up though. That’s probably up there.
Anybody else on Wolftown you want to mention?
Throw an obstacle to Anthony Ackers and he will bolt some fucked up trick on it.
And go to any shitty town in the U.K. Pick any town – Alex Ramsell will somehow find like a whole section worth of tricks there, where no one else will find anything. And he will do it whilst somehow looking like he’s dancing to John Coltrane.
Do you have any upcoming video releases for Wolftown?
I’m releasing Black Country Volume 5 in August and also working on the fourth Wolftown full length.
Where’s your favourite spot in Wolverhampton?
Civic Centre. It’s the best skate spot in the World.
Emery, Backside Ollie, Civic Centre: Shot by @davehare_
What’s your favourite skate photo?
Andrew Reynolds’ bush Ollie from back in the day has always stood out to me, even now.
I guess it’s got that ‘Mach 10’,‘big Ollie’ thing going on again, like I mentioned earlier.
What are your favourite skate videos?
Alien Workshop – Photosynthesis. The filming, editing and the skating, all ahead of its time.
Putting a modern spin on things, I’d say Helas – Fellas
And also Colin Read‘s Spirit Quest are two very well made full-lengths too.
Who’s your favourite skater?
I watched a lot of his sections growing up. His style and his trick selection back in some of his early videos still stand out today. Props to whoever edited his sections. Flamenco music and his skating go hand-in-hand.
Who’s your favourite artist and why?
H.R. Giger is pretty fucked up! That along with a lot of surrealism art.
What do you think about The No Comply Network?
It’s really sick you’ve given the skaters in the Greater Birmingham area some events to skate and win prizes at.