This week, I caught up with my forever friend, the Mason, pro skateboard personality, and filmmaker Billy Rohan. After spending a year in Florida to gather his thoughts, he’s back in New York City to launch a new video series called Illumignarly inspired by his hit Illuminati Radio show. I met up with Billy to talk about his rad new project and whether or not Masons talk about the Illuminati during their meetings.
VICE: Dude, welcome back to the City! What about your Floridian hiatus made you want to return so badly?
Basically, I had spent enough time in Florida to miss out on winter in New York. Once I got all sober, I realized that there was a reason I left Florida when I was younger. Getting back to New York was what I needed to do.
How did the opportunity for Illumignarly arise?
When I returned to New York, I was staying in Greenpoint, really close to Josh Stewart's place and [clothing and art company] Theories HQ. I ran into Soy Panday from Magenta and his partner Vivienne. They told me to come check out the Theories art show that they were in town for. After bringing my craze cam (aka the TRV 900) to the art show and video premiere, I stopped by Josh's to show him and Pat Stiener some of the footy. Soon after hitting up Mark Gonzales about needing a computer to edit with, he hit me up with his old PowerBook. I started putting some edits together with a few pointers from Josh. After showing Josh and Pat the edits, they came up with the idea to do a video series called Illumignarly.
Where did all the footage come from?
I filmed most of the footage in the clips either on the craze cam or grabbed clips from an old hard drive that I forgot I still had.
The first Illumignarly video.
You’re an actual Free Mason. Does the term Illuminati have a special meaning for you?
The term Illuminati had more meaning to me when it was a sick board company that Ricky Oyola skated for in the early 90s. Now it's associated with hip hop conspiracies about Jay-z and Beyonce. So no, it's not what it used to be. But as a Mason, I've never heard the term Illuminati used in a Masonic setting. I like to think the word illuminati means enlightenment. Imagine someone who goes to college versus someone who only finishes high school—the college grad would be considered more of an illuminati.
Are you going to bring back Illuminatti Radio or just stick to the Illumignarly videos?
I miss doing the radio show, mostly because I was able to have my friends come over and spaz out and pretty much talk about whatever we wanted to. We would just throw craze for a few hours a week without being on camera usually. There is something special about radio that's a kind of freedom you don't get when you’re shooting video. For now though, I'm really enjoying taking the craze cam out with me and getting clips with my friends, which show some of the more random thing that happen in our everyday lives in New York City.
Thanks, dude! I'm looking forward to next week's Illumignarly.
Previously on the Mahal — 2013 Summer Roll