[This interview was contributed by WAV host El Gallito and part of his latest Curtains show which is focused on the VANS movie ‘Betty’]

After last winter when the pandemic settled in, Harry started filming his homies.
Turned out they all killed it non-stop for a whole year so the project naturally became a real team video with the support of Vans. Most of the scenes were shot in Belgium, some in Luxemburg and Marseille.
The video speaks for itself. These three Betties battled together through lockdowns. (by Vans Europe).

I met up with Harry Billiet for a talk.

EG: ‘Hey Harry! What’s up? Congrats on the video. I loved every minute of it! It’s on repeat at the skatepark.’

HB: ‘Whats good Galle. I’m doing fine. Thank you for watching man. Really means a lot to me!’

EG:’ For the people that don’t know, where did the name “BETTY” come from?’ 

HB: ‘Coming up with a name can be difficult, but this one came pretty naturally to be honest. “Betty” is a heavy Belgian beer we used to drink a lot on Friday evening sessions at Rampaffairz skatepark two winters ago. I went there a lot with Artie, Jeroen and Jonathan that period for a roll and a drink (offcourse, haha). So from that moment these boys were my “Betties”! ‘Jeroen Bruggeman, Jonathan Vlerick and Arthur Buyltinck is the line up for the video so “BETTY” popped up as name for the project.’

EG: ‘Are you happy with the outcome? Did you have to deal with deadlines or other stuff during filming?’

HB: ‘The outcome was insane. Having so many people watching a project of me and my friends is crazy! Everyone being siked on a Belgian skate video made me proud of myself and the boys! There were no deadlines at all since it was just me doing what I love most; filming my homies, so I told them I could film every moment of the year whenever they were up to. That was all before covid or Vans being involved… All of a sudden since the pandemic ‘farted’ around I had the benefit of being ‘economic unemployed’ at my job. So i took it as an opportunity to film even more. And I already made a promise to myself to go film as much as I could.

EG: ‘Any stories or crazy stuff that happened during filming?’

HB: ‘I will never forget the session we had at the double banks in Brussels. That was insane. The meet-up was at the curb where Arthur did the back nose blunt fakie. I was in a real party mood that day so actually everything I filmed that day was with a bottle of wine in my pocket. I got even more wasted at the “double banks spot” and it was just all so unreal. Jojo throwing the kick flip and backside flip over the bank, then Jeroen flying in the whole thing (switch flip, switch frontsideflip). All these tricks happened in one day! That was crazy…’

EG: ‘I can tell it was really fun. Was the video an assignment for Vans?’

HB: ‘The video was never an assignment. It just started out as a thing I wanted to do. It was just me and Jonathan being down to start working on some project. I think I already had an idea of how it would look if Jeroen and Arthur (who both also skate for Vans) joined the project. So I just never stopped filming and went on small trips with us four. I think it was in the middle of the project that it was obvious for me to get in contact with Vans after I had made some rough clips from the footy we got. They were stoked and then they let me do my own thing and were really supportive.  I had never worked or filmed anything for anyone, but myself. So it was kind of a different vibe when there were some deadlines in the end. And also me stressing out a little more haha.’

EG: ‘The video got picked up by The NINE CLUB, I guess you are pretty stoked about that?’ 

HB: ‘Haha yeah crazy! Never imagined that the skaters i’ve watched growing up as a kid would ever be that siked on a skate movie from my own.’

EG: ‘Can we expect more projects for Vans or other companies in the future? Any other projects coming up?’

HB: ‘Yeah, like I said, I filmed so much last year. Not only for Vans, but I also filmed my homies from Bruges because I just love filming and still want to get better at it. So I stacked all these other clips from my homies and I’m already in the progress of  finishing a second video this year! ‘Still Hobby’ is the name. It will premiere in “Lumiere” (a cinema) in Bruges on 18/09. You can expect a feel good skate video with all of my friends from Bruges together with all the other homies from different cities in Belgium. Most of the scenes are filmed in Bruges and Brussels.’ 

EG: ‘I’m looking forward to that one! Last question, since this is a “skate video soundtrack show” – The music… I really enjoyed the soundtrack! Did you pick all songs yourself? And who is this “Barno Koevoet” guy?’ 

HB: ‘Thanks! Yeah I picked every song myself. At first I didn’t know how u could pick music for a Vans skate video to be on their own youtube channel… I just knew I couldn’t use any song I wanted because of copyrights. So I started thinking about alternatives and Barno Koevoet was a homie coming up with a new band. I was super stoked on his first unofficial song he had put on youtube (‘dagger dick quick’). I started playing it while watching the clips from Jonathan and from then on I just wanted to use more from him. He sent me a file with tunes and songs I could use. And then it all made sence and the best that could happen; a homie from Bruges and his band where I could work with… Together with the support from Vans and their own music library I could create different vibes for the video.

What made this project extra special is that I got a chance to share not only the best skating from my friends, but also countless efforts they put into it! So I would really like to thank Jojo, Jeroen, Arthur and Dominique for believing in me, Bram for making all these photos, Barno Koevoet and the Duijmschpijkers, Tibo Nassel, Rodrigo for the art, and my girlfriend for having all these patience…Thanksssssssssss!’ 

EG: ‘Thank you for the chat Harry. See you at the skatepark soon and next Betty is on me! ;-)’ 

Interview by Galle aka El Gallito