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Falling in love with Mark Frölich

Mark Frölich is well-known for a number of things: living in Barcelona, having a bunch of food intolerances, delivering more hammers and upholding a more substantial work ethic than most people in the biz, which makes him deserve even more sponsor support than he already got during his career. But all of the above topics have been rehashed countless times in a dozen of interviews, which is why I wanted to take a different approach this time. Recently, I accidentally discovered a questionnaire by US psychologist Dr. Arthur Aron, who claimed that two strangers could fall in love by simply going through those questions, and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to test it in the field. It’s not like I was trying to start a love affair with Mark, but the questionnaire aims at people being open to very personal questions within a short span of time – and that was exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Although, I was very skeptical about whether or not Mark would play along or end the interview after two minutes. But without taking too much time to think, he answered all of the questions with full sincerity. I have to admit that I’ve discovered a side of him that I didn’t expect and even felt like jetting to Barca for a beer or two after we were done. Whatever the doc has come up with, it seems to work. 

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

My lady and her little one.

Would you like to be even more famous? In what way?

It’s not that I feel like being a superstar or anything. Back in the days, I felt very uncomfortable when people asked me for an autograph. If you perceive situations like that as uncomfortable, people might even perceive you as arrogant. I just said to myself then, “Just be happy about it when you’re at a demo and a kid comes up to you.” It s good to contribute something to the whole thing. No matter how good or famous you are, in the end, we are all just contributing something small to it. Even Paul Rodriguez, Nyjah Huston, or Chris Cole are only small pieces contributing to a bigger picture. We aren’t revolutionizing anything or saving humanity. But it’s still good to give something back to it nevertheless.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Actually, I don’t. I rely on my instincts.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

It’s never perfect. But let’s say a good day contains spending a lot of time with people that mean a lot to me. Ideally, we would do something together that makes sense and maybe have a chill night and end it with some private time with my lady. Ah yeah, and definitely lots of good music around, please.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I’d like to be able to sing well, but I know that I don’t. That’s why I don’t even really sing for myself. Sometimes I play guitar with my girlfriend and we sing together… But it’s more like she’s singing and I’m only supporting her a bit.

Soloskatemag Frolichhalfcab Heel

Halfcab Heelflip

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

The body, obviously. But generally speaking, I think that you have to appreciate every phase you go through in life. I feel like I’ve already understood a couple of things in life, but there are many experiences ahead of me that I don’t want to miss out on mentally.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die? 

I used to think that I will die pretty early because my life is fast and intense, and I believe that every human being has a limited amount of energy. Maybe I’m already blasting everything out before I get old. But lately, I thought that it might be connected to a strong will. I’m a fan of Motörhead and Lemmy, and he said that he wants to be on stage till he’s 70. In November 2015, I saw him playing live for the last time and I could see that it’s reaching an end. Fact is: in the end, he exactly managed to do what he wanted. He died four days after his birthday. Bowie had liver cancer, but he still managed to do an album, Blackstar. He died a few days after it was released. So, I think getting old is connected to what’s going on in your life and if you’re still stoked or not. As long as you have something that keeps you going, you’ll have a chance.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful? 

I guess my parents for putting me in this world. Even though I’ve also already suffered in life, I have to say that I have to be thankful for so many things. We have been born in peaceful times in a stable country. Now I’m living in Barcelona, which is one of the most beautiful cities even though it has its ups and downs. I’m healthy in general. I’m happy for a lot of things I have been able to do. I’m okay with doing things on my own and, at times, I can be a bit of a loner. But at the same time I know that, in the end, all alone you are pretty tiny no matter how strong you are. So I’m really thankful for all the people that helped me on my way and still do.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I guess it was hard for my parents to realize how early I was sure that I really wanted to focus on skating. That was tough to understand, accept, and respect for both of them. It would’ve been cool if that had been different, but it doesn’t matter in the end, because everything worked out anyways and we all learned a lot due to that although it sucked sometimes. It’s all good – it must be pretty hard for someone coming from my parents’ generation to get it right away. Another thing is that – not only in my case – I would appreciate it if parents were more discreet with church and religion.

"I used to think that I will die pretty early because my life is fast and intense."

Tell the story of your life in four minutes.

Born and raised in Wuppertal, lived there till I was 20. I started to like rock music when I was four or five years old. I probably just started to drum on something that was lying around which led me to play the drums when I was six, which meant everything to me till I started to skate. Playing the drums for three hours every day, listening to Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, all of it. That was life for me. Skateboarding came into the mix when I was eleven, which made it a little bit harder to make music, but I never quit either. Oh, and of course, I started to go to school at one point, which has always been a difficult time for me, at least regarding secondary school. I was out of luck when it came to the teachers, I suppose. Fuck it, I did my A-levels on the first try. Majored in English and social sciences as the only boy in class. In the meantime, I skated as much as possible. It was always becoming more important to me and I knew pretty early on that I only wanted to skate after I am done with school. I traveled a bunch after school, checked out where I wanted to go, spent the first winter in Barcelona with Mosh [Dominic Peters] and Bülent [Kurtca]. We said that we’ll only stay for three months and I fell in love, started my first proper relationship, and stayed down here. Now, it has been eleven years and I’ve skated a lot, came around some good places, gathered a bunch of impressions of humankind because it is very multicultural here, which I like a lot. By now, I’m with another woman who already has a little boy which is a new chapter in life for sure.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

I guess I’d like to be more patient. It’s not like I’m incredibly impatient, but it would be nice to keep it cool sometimes. If you reflect on why mistakes happen, it’s because of impatience most of the time. Or because you didn’t really think everything through.

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know? 

Not that much, because it would mess up the way to get there. The journey is the destination. Why would I want to know the destination?

Is there something that you've dreamt of doing for a long time? Why haven't you done it?

In the future, two things will be important to me. One is to be more connected to music again. I haven’t lived that to the fullest so far. The other thing would be that I don’t want to feel like I’m only skating for myself. I like to work on bigger projects and it’s also great to do something for other people. Not just investing in myself. But besides skating, I’d like to focus as well on being a bit useful to the rest of the world. Maybe not only to humanity but also to the world of animals. That’s something I could do more about and I’m interested in that.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

I’d say that I feel more in peace with myself than I have done in the past.

What do you value most in a relationship?

Trust, love, loyalty, and strength.

Backside 180

Soloskatemag Frolich Para

Backside 180

What is your most treasured memory?

I guess situations like the one I am in right now with my lady and her son Nizar bring up pretty intense feelings. He gets more and more attached to me and I feel that I matter to him, and I guess that s a very nice feeling in a way. Besides all the hustle, the stress, and the loss of energy that it brings about. [laughs] Same thing with my dog back then. The way he looked at me and how loyal that buddy used to be. It was the dog of my ex, but he stayed with me for the last three years of his life and I tried to give him have a great last run.

And what is your most terrible memory? 

There are so many shitty things happening in this world. One thing that is very hard to deal with is when people who are close to you take their own life. Another one would be a horrible story about a girl that used to live here in Barca and passed away in a way she most definitely didn’t choose. She died in the most horrible way I could ever imagine. If someone gets murdered and the way leading to it is the ugliest one you can imagine, you can’t describe that feeling… When you really picture it yourself… that’s very hard to digest.

If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

I’d probably go a bit wilder. [laughs] In all respects. But other than that, I wouldn’t change that much. I’d just try to see as much as possible, achieve as much as possible in the things that are important to me, spent the most amount of time I can with people who are important to me, and live my life as unrestrained as possible at full force.

What does friendship mean to you?

A lot. Friendship has played a big role in my life very early on, which also has to do with the fact that the relationship with my parents in that moment was a bit more difficult for the reasons I mentioned before. Therefore, I had a bunch of older friends and I was guided by them in a way as well. It’s just damn important to me. I’m just happy when I feel like I have a good connection to someone and, in the same way, I’m super sad when I feel like a friendship starts to die down or when you are disappointed by a friend. A good friend is like family to me. It gives you so much strength and satisfaction and calm. If you have good friends, you can go through so much shit in life and still be alright. I can tell the difference very well and know to appreciate it because I have been alone in a bunch of tricky situations in life because I emigrated. It’s tough. One good friend alone can help so much. It makes such a big difference.

Soloskatemag Frolich Backtail

Backside Tailslide

How close and warm is your family?

I’m only really close to my parents and my brother. We all had to learn to accept each other and work on that, and I’m happy that we did manage to do so. And nowadays, we definitely spend some good times together and back each other.

Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

I think I didn’t have that much of a typical childhood, because I have been very determined with the things I wanted to do. I started to play the drums at six, started skating at eleven. Others were playing with Playmobil at that time, and I went into the basement and drummed for three hours straight. It’s cool, and I don’t want to change anything about it, but that playful ease you have as a child was cut off pretty early on. And that was not always only about happiness, which probably makes me take skating too serious at times or gives me a hard time when I can’t meet my own expectations. 

What roles do love and affection play in your life? 

I think that’s something that makes you happier in life if you feel it. But it’s important to me that I can straighten everything out myself and function properly on my own when the affection you normally need isn’t there. I don’t want to depend on that. I don’t want to be forced to have someone by my side in order to get by. If there’s a partnership, or a family or whatsoever, I want myself to be solid with myself, and I am happy if my opposite can be the same. If you don’t get along with yourself and carry this into a relationship and look for someone who gives you comfort… You can’t comfort yourself by being comforted by someone else. I think that happens a lot and is confused with the feeling of love. And that might be an error, which probably won’t lead to anything good. I think you realize that it’s love when someone, who is able to manage their life, still wants to be close to you a lot. Someone who’s kinda lost might love you, but a part of that connection exists because of that person not being able to deal with life on their own. So it seems to me that it has something to do with addiction more than love in some cases.

"You can’t comfort yourself by being comforted by someone else. I think that happens a lot and is confused with the feeling of love."

If we were going to become best friends, what would be important for me to know about you? 

I guess everybody knows by now: I’m extreme in many ways, I’m straightforward, I’m emotional and probably hard to deal with at times, but I’m honest.

What has been the most embarrassing moment in your life? 

When I was little and quite ambitious, I participated in the Bundesjugendspiele [annual sport event for kids at German schools, editor’s note] and I did very well, got that honorary certificate and everything. And a year later, I think, I fucked up the sprint somehow. Maybe I messed up at the start, realized it and just quit halfway through. I still remember how bad I felt. But I couldn’t do anything else in that moment. You learn a lot by going through that experience. Now I know that there is nothing worse than giving up and maybe this was the moment I realized it.

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

I’m not a fan of certain jokes about minorities or handicapped people. You can’t have a humor that is based on the suffering of other people.

Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

My laptop. Because that’s the thing that contains the most memories. 

Soloskatemag Frolich Wallride

Wallride

When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

A couple of days ago, when I received more information about the story of the girl who passed away last year. I shared some tears for myself as well as in the presence of my girlfriend because of that.

If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

I try my best to always say everything I want to say to the people I meet, especially when I don’t see them very often. When I have to say goodbye to someone, I try to make in such a way that it would be okay if that was the last time we’d actually see each other. I hope everyone I’m close to knows how important they are to me and they probably know how much they value to me. I mean, that’s something you just need to tell them from time to time… Maybe we are all a bit damaged by society because you rarely just tell good friends how important they are. Yesterday, a friend from England came by for a visit and he told me that I’m one of his best friends and that he wouldn’t change it for nothing. I just thought in that moment how nobody actually speaks about that.

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