Today we present to you what may be the final SCHUND Crew video project ever. Or maybe not, but Kris Klaus, the filmmaker & editor of this video seems skeptical the creative side of the operation will go on. And maybe that is the end of an era. If you have ever skated in the Berlin/Brandenburg area, even at the most remote of locations, you soon found out the SCHUND crew had already been there. How, by simply but elegantly placing a sticker somewhere at the spot. This in my mind created somewhat of an interesting feeling, finding a spot without that “tag” was extra exciting, and you felt a little extra pride. Not only did the SCHUNDs hunt for spots but they were also known to bring the party to any house, apartment, campsite, tree fort, and more. It has been a staple of what people from outside the city perceive the Berlin skate scene to be like. This video “NP 1000” actually brings together a nice part of the scene, while showing a great deal of what makes this city so interesting. To further delve into exactly those things we talked to the man behind the camera, Kris Klaus. Enjoy!
Intro and Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Film & Edit by Kris Klaus.
Photos by Fabian Tegler.
How did this last Schund video come together?
2011 the Schund Gang came together. Mainly through skateboarding and photography. Niels Rost, who you may know, did the artwork for us. After he joined more and more people became a part of the crew. I would say we were always a crew of boys with a huge creative output. I mean, it’s the Berlin life: skating, partying, after-hours, and so on.
How many people are in the Schund crew?
It’s hard to sum them all up, but I would say 10 people that I see as my close friends at the core of the Schund crew.
I think one essential thing about the Schund crew is that wherever you go in Berlin, to any spot, even the ones that are not well known, you will see a Schund sticker there.
Yes! We produced thousands of stickers at FlyerAlarm and yes, it was awesome to be at random house parties and stick the stickers everywhere. Some people loved it, others maybe not so much. I don’t know, at least we liked it because if we discovered one it was like: cool, another homie has been here before. It’s like a tag in the Graffiti World.
So it was fun for you too to discover your own stickers (laughs)?
Yes for sure! Once there was a Red Bull “bomb-the-hill-contest” and my friend Taube, who – I believe – had the idea, placed our stickers on all the obstacles at Kulturforum. He did it so we could see our Schund stickers during the webcast and after that in all the big videos. Before the station at Teufelsberg Berlin had Security guards, I think it was also in 2011, we slept in the white turrets on the roof. We made a little campfire, Taube started to cut out “Schund” in the white cloth covering the turrets and it’s there till today! One of the famous Berliner drinks (Berliner luft or Pfeffi) had a Teufelsberg edition, and you could even see the cut-out we made on the cover of that edition (laughs). We did push the Schund name a lot!
That is kinda of crazy! Back to the videos though, from 2011 to today, how many Videos did you put out?
From those four videos, do you have a favorite?
I think the first or the second. Do you know the golden wheelbarrow video from Siggi?
No, I don’t think so.
I think this one went really viral and it’s a part of the Anbietable Video. You can see how Siggi is going through Berlin with a golden wheelbarrow he did all his tricks with this golden wheelbarrow (laughs). It went viral and had thousands of clicks. It even ended up on TV and got downloaded and re-edited a lot of times. So on my Vimeo account, even when Vimeo is kind of dead nowadays, I had 770,000 clicks on this video (laughs).
770,000 clicks and 15 followers (laughs)!
Yes, exactly! To get back to what video is my favorite, maybe it is the StreetView Video. It came out 2 or 3 years ago and it was 5 years of filming and 2 years of editing because I built in all these Google Street View sequences. That is where the name comes from. I put a lot of love and effort into making this video so I would call it my favorite, yeah.
When it comes to Schund, with everyone growing older, who is representing Schund nowadays?
Without putting myself in the center willingly, I think without myself doing the videos, no one would be doing that much anymore. During the last few years, it was mostly my ambition driving it, but I also don’t know exactly why it all changed into it being like that. Taube always had the most fun ideas and Niels always did the artwork. Nowadays Taube is more into Cycling, and Niels has the NAIVE Company/Crew and is putting his energy into making that happen. I was just trying to keep Schund alive by motivating new people. But since I’m not filming that much with the guys anymore, they mostly chill at MBU or Hasenheide. Yeah, I think keeping Schund alive was my thing and I am not sure about the future. Maybe I will be surprised (laughs).
What does that mean to you personally? Because you have been in Berlin since 2010, almost 13 years now and you also said you’re 39 years old. So what will be your next personal step?
I think priorities change in life, I will still be cool with the whole crew, but also, it’s hard to be best friends with around 10 people. I think that’s what I discovered for myself. In Berlin, you’re always around new, cool, and interesting people. My desire to chase that changed a little and I would like to focus on the people that are really important to me. So this bicycle tour I am on now also made me realize the importance of my family in Bavaria. My parents are getting older, and my brother will become a dad soon, so my thoughts are focused on the investment of my time and right now I would like to invest it in my family. I think that’s my direction.
So you will change from “Wa’’ to “Ge’’ and tell me why you want to go back to Bavaria?
Yes, I will say “Servus’’ instead of “Hallo’’ again (laughs). To answer your question though, when I was young, just wanted to leave Bavaria. Besides my family, everything bored me. It was too tight and quiet, I like to smoke weed and that’s not as easy in Bavaria compared to Berlin. When I got here I soaked up Berlin like a sponge. I just wanted people, skate spots, and parties. But in the last few years, it feels like Berlin is draining me. It is the sponge situation turned around (laughs).
“It even ended up on TV…”Kris Klaus.
What does it mean for you in relation to skateboarding?
I have to confess: since I turned 30 my focus has laid more on filming. I mean I love skateboarding, but nowadays I only consume and document it without being active on the board. I have one trick in the new video, a slappy noseslide shove it in Neukölln, which made me really happy because of its smoothness, but as a young person I would have never guessed that I would unlearn kickflips and nowadays it takes a lot of effort from my side to make a good one happen. Skating is not getting easier, but cycling is a nice alternative (laughs).
With the Schund crew getting older, which young crew interests you in Berlin? Or what inspires you in general?
I’m thinking about the guys at Greifi (Greifswalder DIY). I think it’s really cool what they’re doing. At a younger age, I regularly went to Zweier in Hannover and always wondered “Why not in Berlin?”. Something like that inspires me a lot. But also the development of Skateboarding. I mean Place is engaged in showing the diversity in skateboarding. I started skating in 1996 in a little village. There were no girls at all, there were no discussions about different sexualities, and so on. A lot of things changed in skateboarding and I think it’s a really positive process that inspires me a lot.
That was really nicely said. Coming back to the video. What are your highlights of the video? Editing-wise, trick-wise, but also moment-wise?
The first part is about the underground, so we went through the metro stations which I liked a lot. Also, it shows the opposites of the city. Once I was drunk and on my way home and I thought “Fuck it, I’m going to record something…’’. At the first U-bahn station, I saw some young kids, not sure where they were from, but they were on the way to a party probably on the way to a rave. They seemed so happy, hilarious, and looked really beautiful. At the next station at Hermannstraße, I saw this old homeless man in a wheelchair talking to another homeless, drunk man. It seems like the city is so compressed in a weird way. Berlin shows you the young and ambitious and a few minutes later you get to see the sad side of the city. It’s a huge contrast. That is what I wanted to show and which fulfilled me in the process of documenting things for this video.
So it’s like a portrait of the city? Did you know it would be your last video before you would go back to Bavaria?
At that moment I wasn’t aware of that. I knew it would be my last video before my big cycling tour. I knew that I would be making some changes. Also, as I said, I was quite inspired by the electronic dance music videos of the 90s, the stoner techno ones with a lot of footage of the architecture, traffic, and people. So that’s why I also went on my own, just to film cars, reflections of clouds in windows or the people on the escalator at the central station. To film that last thing, I had to hide because of the security guards. They always walk in circles I had to set up everything quite quickly, filming, putting everything together, and then hide again (laughs), it was an action-filled thing. But it was a lot of fun!
Alright, I think that is it on my part. Thank you, Kris.
Thank you, excited to see this come out.