The Raph Jeroma Williams Interview
"BMX is my escape from reality"
You know that kid at school who had the cool older brother who would buy your underage mates beer, drive a classic car and listen to rock and roll? The dude effortlessly oozes style, gets around with an air of grace and a constant look of being blazed, well that’s Raph. Coming from Brisbane’s southern suburbs, Raph has always been a staple in the Brisbane (and wider Australian) scene, having released multiple DVD parts and web edits, filmed/edited his own DVDs, being a familiar face at all the local jams, having received signature parts and standing as a positive, humble and approachable figure. What better person to have to represent Brisbane BMX. This is also why we’re barking over the moon to have Raph a part of TMPRD.
With the recent move to TMPRD, and having spent the last short while in Germany, we thought it primetime to share some words from Raph and find out what’s been happening.
Raphos, how are you bud? Tell us a little about yourself?
Hey! I’m good man, just waking up and the summer is coming to Berlin! I'm turning 31 this year, moved to Berlin with my girlfriend nearly a year ago.
You’ve got German heritage and are currently living in Berlin, how did that come about and how do you find it over there?
Yeah my mum is German and her whole family lives in Germany, the southern part to be precise. Well I met my girlfriend (Didi) over here a few years ago while I was traveling around Europe. She ended up coming to Australia for close to a year, then her visa was running up in Australia. So we had the hard decision to either stay there or come to Germany if we wanted to stay together. Australia has tough and expensive visa laws, but I got a German passport so we decided to move to Berlin for a while and see how that goes. So far I'm really enjoying it. Not the winter haha. That sucked big time but summer is something different! The city is crazy, there is always something fun to do here riding and party wise!
How's riding been in that Berlin winter? And have you put any beers in the oven lately?
You can pretty much forget about riding here in winter as it's bitterly cold and there is a massive lack of indoor parks, for a capital city of a country like Germany. There is one indoor park that is super sick and its only 10 min from my place, but the pricks don't let BMX riders in, only on a Saturday night mixed with skaters for like four hours I think.
Haha nah, I keep my beers cold, but I did catch up with Vince when I was Innsbruck last week, beer bong champ!
Shooting for this interview seemed a little hard with battling the shitty cold weather, what was the process like, anything interesting happen worth mentioning?
Yeah when we were talking about this interview, it was super fucken cold. We had -10°C for two weeks then it just sat at round -5°C to 5°C for months. Every now and then it would be sunny and over 0 degrees so we would meet up for a quick ride some where, then off to a coffee shop for coffee and cake haha I've never worn so many layers, double socks and a scarves before while riding, I was not prepared for it at all. I can’t think of any interesting stories but we did a lot of exploring instead of going to the well known spots. We would get on the train and just go to the outskirts of Berlin and see what we could find. There are some crazy spots out there that make you scratch your head and there is always some really fucked up people about so that keeps it interesting too.
"When I'm having a shit day I just hop on the bike and fang around the area, not really doing anything, and by the end I feel so much better... It's like a stress reliever."
- Raph Jeroma Williams
What else have you been doing during the winter non-riding months, and more broadly, what do you like to do outside of riding?
Well I'm working part time at this Quiksilver shop and over winter I decided to go full time to get a little extra money but now that summer is back i'm back down to part time. Apart from that I was just hanging with my girl and friends checking out a few gigs and trying to stay warm. Im really into filming, editing and shooting photos. I've got dinosaurs for cameras; two VX 1000 and a canon A1, but I just love the look and messing around with them. Another thing i'm into would be music - I love discovering a sick band, going to a gig or finding a new record! Im also into tinkering with my old car but that's back home but thanks to my old man he's getting a few things done on her, I just have to send him the money haha.
It's awesome that you're a part of Tempered now, and almost feels like it was a long time coming. How does it feel to be a part of the crew and how are you liking the new gear?
Yeah I’m loving it! It feels super tight, I know pretty much everyone on the team and have seen Tempered grow from the very beginning. It feels super cool to be with a bunch of like-minded people with the same outlook and passion for BMX, music and lifestyle as all the guys are! There is also a lot of communication going on with new products or projects. I think this is super cool and important as it makes every-one feel part of it. Yeah I'm loving the new gear. The frame feels so good it has a bit of shorter back end to what I was riding and it just feels super poppy and good for 3’s - loving it!
You mentioned the same outlook, lifestyle and like mindedness towards BMX. Care to elaborate on your philosophy of BMX and life in general?
I guess it would be to have fun, don’t take it too serious and enjoy the good times and let the riding do the talking - that also goes for life. BMX is my escape from reality. When I'm having a shit day I just hop on the bike and fang around the area, not really doing anything, and by the end I feel so much better... like a stress reliever. I always loved the fact that it's like we have a small BMX family all over the world. When you're traveling you meet other riders and on the first day you can crash on their couch, go out for drinks and go riding, like you have known them your whole life. I think we are super lucky to have that, I don’t know how other people travel, seems boring to me.
"I’ve been riding my whole life and still love to ride as much as I can, which can be weird to some older people as I’m a 'grown adult' "
- Raph Jeroma Williams
You recently went on a trip to Portugal with the bike and board in tow, how was that and do you have any other trips planned around Europe this year?
Yeah my Dad and I have always talked about a Portugal surf trip when I was making the move to Europe. Since I’ve been there before with Jerry a few years ago I fell in love with that country. It was sick, just my Dad and I surfing, riding and skating. Surfing was the main idea for the trip (my Dad is super toey for surfing). We got super lucky, got to surf some of the heaviest and coldest waves of our life! No other trips planned yet, went on a little trip to Innsbruck with Fabian, Carlo and Eddie, to film some clips for an up-coming Ciao mixtape that was super fun. But it’s a bit hard getting time off work but I'll see what happens, hopefully some more things come up.
What does 'toey' mean to you, and who is the toeyest person you know?
Haha I get this question a bit in Germany, no one knows what toey means. Pretty much means eager for sexual activity (horny). But we also use it for nearly any occasion, like I’m toey for a beer or I’m toey to ride today, aka super keen to drink or ride haha. Toeyest person is without a doubt Macca! Fuck he is Toey! He might of also been the one to really start using “toey” a lot again haha.
You’ve always been a pretty predominant figure in the Australian BMX scene, how’d you get so Toey, what were/are some of your riding influences and inspirations?
I don’t know why i'm so toey for BMX, I’ve been riding my whole life and still love to ride as much as I can, which can be weird to some older people as I’m a 'grown adult' but it's just the best! As a kid Van Homan and Ruben Alcantara were my heroes. Now I would say my mates influence me so much. Seeing my mates ride or seeing them pull something that they have been trying is super motivating. Going on trips, planning a mission on the weekend or finding that ‘spot’ that just keeps the toeyness alive!
What do you love the most about Brisbane’s Hibiscus skatepark? More generally, do you miss Australia and what are the main differences between down under and Germany?
Oh man Hibiscus skatepark how I miss you! I love the fact that I used to live like 10 minutes from there, and the fact that a lot of people didn't like it kept it pretty empty. I’ve met all my best mates there, Friday arvo session were the best, beers and vibes with all the boys! Oh man too many good memories from that place. Yeah I do miss Australia for sure it's home, my family is there, my mates, the weather, the beach I could go on. But Germany is sick too, or at least Berlin, it’s so open minded here you can do whatever you want. No one really judges you. There is no fun police here, like in Australia which is refreshing. I can drink beers and smoke weed on the street and the cops don't even blink an eye. It’s a very creative city, but like everything there are pros and cons.
What does the future have in store for you and will you make it back to Australia anytime soon?
That’s a good question. I’m planning on staying here for another year I think, make the most of it but yeah I’ll be coming back to Australia for sure. That’s home and that’s where I see myself in the future. It’s just a bit tricky at the moment.
Any final thoughts, words or thanks?
I want to thank Tempered for having me on the team, Jerry for whispering it in my ear to ride for Tempered haha, Chris Harrison, Alex Liiv and Michael Vockenson for hooking this all up and much more LEGENDS! All my mates and family back home miss ya's. Thanks too all the boys here in Berlin making it feel like home and to the CIAO crew! Big thanks to Mortiz for his Toeyness and his trigger happy fingers! My girl Didi for putting up with my shit love ya! Thanks to every one that had a read and of course DIG for hosting this, Thanks legends. Rock on!
"Raph, man... what do you say about him, other than 'he’s the dude'. Try find someone who has a bad thing to say about him, I dare ya."- Mike Vockenson
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