Finland seems to fuck with Place pretty these days! From Aatsi’s video to Victor Höglund and now Wilhelm Kirjavainen‘s work you can catch a pretty good glimpse behind the scenes of this Baltic/Scandi country. One can say many things about “Bring It” as a work of video but truth be told you will be best off watching and reading Wilhelm’s work and making up your own mind after that. Enjoy!

Video by Wilhelm Kirjavainen.

Intro and interview by Roland Hoogwater.

Hi Wilhelm. Tell me a bit about yourself.

I am Wilhelm, a 23 years old MiniDV-camera enthusiast. For a few years now I have been working as an electrician during winter and saving money and then spending the summers skating and filming. I grew up in a small town about 30 kilometers away from Helsinki. In 2019 I moved to Helsinki at the same time with all my homies. Around that same time, we met this guy named Ville Terho who had a dvx100 and a crew called Röhnö. We started filming with him and he sometimes would let me film with his camera and that’s when I really got into filming.

When did you start skating?

I started skating pretty young, maybe 6 or 7 years old but had a year-long break when I broke my hand at the age of 13.
When did you start filming for this project and with whom?
In winter 2019 we made a trip to Bali with a bunch of friends and randomly met some Finnish skaters there from Tampere. We became friends and at the same time, many skaters from Tampere were moving to Helsinki. So a new “crew” was born. Then in 2020 I got my own dvx100 and started to film with all the homies. I was also hanging out a lot with Calle Hasselblatt and we shared similar vision filming-wise. So we started filming together and he ended up filming 1/3 of the project haha.

Tell us a bit about the scene in Helsinki.

Helsinki skate scene has these pretty small groups of people who are all doing their own thing. Yet it is still pretty small of a city so from every group you have some homie you know or hang out with. So it feels open in that sense. Right now it feels like there is a lot going on in Helsinki too. Also there is a very thriving community among women which is great!

What’s the video about and what came before?

My first real skate video was a tour video from 2021. That ended up being about 15 minutes long. I had really messed up with dvx on that trip and a lot of the material got fucked. I ended up buying a new one and started again basically from scratch. So then I decided to film two summers and make a longer video. I have always liked full-length videos with parts and all and it has always been a dream of mine to make one.

How did you decide on the soundtrack?

Some of the songs that were used have been sitting on my desk for over three years just waiting for me to use them. I always try to collect good songs for future use. So I knew most of the songs I wanted to use in the video beforehand. The song in Jaakko’s part I heard randomly at a house party. I also edited Eppu’s part to the song The Stooges – Now I wanna be your dog (The intro song on Flip’s Sorry) first. When we were watching it together with Eppu he said to me that it sounds familiar and that maybe the song has been already used. I was like nah, it’s from the movie Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels! Then one night at home when I was watching the Sorry video a millionth time, the intro starts and I think damn, how is this possible. I feel like the soundtrack part is tricky, not only because you need to find a fitting song for the section but also having to figure out if the songs have been used in a known skate film before. I also had a song planned out for Renni’s part already, but then my friend Maria played the Isaac Hayes one at a skatepark randomly and I was instantly sold. So yeah, some songs were planned and some just bumped right into me.

How is skating in Helsinki?

Skating in Helsinki in the summertime is great. I haven’t even experienced too many kick outs from spots to be honest, and usually, it is just an angry person passing by or someone that lives nearby that comes to say something to you. Police kick outs have been rare and usually, they don’t care too much even if someone called them to kick you out. Older spots are rough but the city is under heavy construction right now so there are some new spots too. I like the roughness, even though there are also these Eniz-type of spots that make you sick to your stomach when even walking by. Wintertime here is about nine months of bad weather and three indoor parks to skate. So for me, the last winter was maybe two days of skating per week. It is not great but you get used to it pretty quickly!

To come to an end: What happened when your friend skated that wooden terrace?

In the movie there is this one clip of Calle doing a nose manual on this wooden terrace and someone who lived above the terrace just threw a full glass of water at us. In the clip, you can’t really see it too well. Unfortunately.

Thank you Wilhelm.