Munich has been somewhat of a sleeping giant when it comes to skateboarding. The city and the surrounding area of Bavaria take up a huge space in German day-to-day life. With big companies and many cultural particulars coming from there. Chris Bradl felt like it was time to show what the city had to offer to not only the rest of Germany but the world.
Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Photos by Daniel Nguyen.
Film & Edit by Chris Bradl.
Hey Chris how are you, how was your Sunday?
It was nice, the weather is so much better now, we went skating at Oper and afterwards we stayed there and hung out a bit. I just came home like 30 minutes ago.
The outside skating season is opening.
Yeah! We started by skating some flat today.
Flat is the groundwork of a good skater. So tell me a bit about your video, SCHNELLER.
It kinda, happened. We didn’t want to make a video, we just wanted to show Munich in a different way. Not through a VX and not only by doing the craziest tricks. But showing the people, and the city first and not this German performance based skating.
I understand, how did you go about doing this.
I bought an HPX because I really like the look of the footage. And we just started going out in groups. First in small groups, 1 or two people but others noticed and a crew emerged. I did some insta edits and Conny Mirbach and Lea Schairer hit me up and told me they liked what I did so they joined in. I didn’t even really know Conny so it was cool of him to hit me up.
People always gather around the filmer.
Indeed, so, when winter came around plus we had a heavy lockdown in Munich. I went back into my hard-drive and noticed we had a lot of footage. That was the point I felt I needed to start editing.
Why do you think the skate-scene in Munich is not as prevalent as other German cities like Hamburg, Berlin, or the Ruhr Valley area?
The thing is when something did come from Munich it was always this very Bavarian type of dusty type of style. A bit of an older type of style, jumping a many stairs as you can & flip in flip outs but without showing the character of the city and the people in it. If you compare it to Berlin or Hamburg you do see that happening in those Stanley We videos for instance.
In my own experience skateboarding is not as alive in Munich as it is in those other cities. There you see the impact skaters and skating has on the city, it feels alive. In Munich it feels like other things take priority, the city doesn’t even have winter facilities for skaters. Which is crazy for a city with over a million people.
You are right! But skateboarding is happening, and we are trying to change that by showing our city. We do have good spots, and they aren’t overblown like a Kulturforum in Berlin.
True, that is a spot that everyone who ever went to Berlin has skated.
We did have the Marijuth crew out of Munich and they had a good vibe and showed something new in Munich. But they came out 10 years ago and we wondered where that energy has gone? We aren’t that G’ed out and we can’t do the YO-flip 360 flip but that was their vibe and we want to show our vibe in 2020.
Conny does a bit of a YO-flip if I am honest!
A little, but I really like his tre-flip. Conny was always motivated to do things. Whenever I wanted to go film he was there and wanted to go and do tricks.
What about your style of filming, there are some visible influences.
The style of filming I used isn’t new, Bill Strobeck built and established it filming someones head and someones feet with heavy zoom. I feel filming like that captures today’s zeigeist.
Can you tell me a bit about Hase?
He is a legend, he is a strong character and is authentic in who he is. He is from Bavaria and proud of where he is from. He is good friends with Michael “Mixen” Wiethaus. It is a bit controversial to say you celebrate Bavarian culture.
That is something Germans are very aware of, nationalism is seen as something to approach critically.
Obviously, that is something that stems from our past. But when it comes to Hase he is just living his culture. Going to events in lederhosen and not giving a fuck who thinks it is weird: “Afterwards I am going home, get my board and do my tricks”. And we love him for it.
I think all the 6 main people in this video are like that in some way, they are themselves and are not trying to fit into the Munich style. We don’t mean it in a hateful way. We don’t think what others are doing is bad but we want to show our vibe which is an open to anyone.
I understand. What about the title SCHNELLER (faster in German), how did that come about?
We couldn’t find a title at first, and the longer it took the more hectic it became. And because of social media and the way the world is at the moment it felt like a logical title. We also saw it in the footage during the editing, clips where we felt we should have been going faster (laughs). Daniel shot a couple of analog photos and I wanted to mix them into the intro, and all of a sudden it clicked, the images needed to flash onto the screen faster, we all met during a short amount of time, we filmed the video fast and then I saw that Hase had the word SCHNELLER tagged on his truck. That was the word that encapsulated the feeling of making the video. We did a little premiere and people started finding their own links to the title (laughs). I didn’t plan those things but it seems to be fitting. I also wanted a short title that people could remember easily.
Funny, I interview many people and some want a longer title like Seamus Foster with “West Crystal Unit” but the similarity is that there is a story to how you got to the title. What about the music, how did that come about.
It is a mash-up of songs that we as a crew listen to. With the Youtube copyright being pretty stringent and I had to change songs multiple times. I am thrilled with the music we ended up using though; I wouldn’t change that. I grew up on Baker 3 and, that video had all kinds of music and that is something I wanted to do as well. The whole video showed so much personality and, after watching Baker 3 you felt like you got to know these people. Of course, there are other examples like Noah’s Jolie Rouge by Alex Greenberg or Jacob Harris where the music just fits the vibe perfectly. Music is a means to transport the feelings of the filmer/editor and bring them to the viewer.
What about the color-grading, it seems like you spent a lot of time on that.
I did that together with Conny Mirbach because through his work as a photographer he became a master of grading. I also watched a lot of Mafia films by Martin Scorcese or Guy Ritchie and La Haine they didn’t only show me the importance of the film perspective but the value of the color of the image.
That is a nice way of putting it. Last question, will we get a sequel?
I want to continue filming but I am not sure it will get to a part 2. I want to use other formats, the HPX is nice but I just got a super 8 camera and I have been filming with this old mini-DV so we will see. We wanted to go to Mallorca, Lea’s family has a house there and as soon as we are allowed we will see if we can head out there to film.
“Schnell nach Mallorca!” Would be a great title! I hope you guys will continue because we need more Munich.
(laughs), Thank you, we will keep filming for sure.
Chris, thank you for this interview & have a nice Sunday.
Thank you and I hope we will see each other in Munich sometime this year.
Pretty sure that will happen.