Tag: alex olson

Nike SB put our friend and really good skater Didrik Galasso on a plane and shipped him over to New York City.

The big apple seemed to surely stoke out an already very hyped Deedz. We guess surfing with Alex Olson will do that to you.

After the success of the first movie and the leftover montage we now get “Boys Of Summer 2”. The film has the same humor, the same behind the scenes type of feel and big-name skating that the first one had.

Still, part 2 seems more serious, less of the cuff and more focussed, you win some you lose some, see for yourself.

The best thing about the internet skate video revolution is that it brings us, skaters, that might not be “pro-level” but that do make you want to go out and skate.

Genesis Evans is one of those skaters, a little Alex Olson cameo doesn’t hurt either.

Most of you saw the 917 video and as with almost any “big” video nowadays multiple filmers where involved in making that project become a reality. 2two2 provides us with the perspective of Sean Dahlberg the person who actually filmed those tricks. Enjoy!

Ishod Wair, Alex Olson, Donovon Piscopo, Antonio Durao and Zion Wright all can pretty much skate everything. Watch them skate the Bay area in this new Nike clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB6b6TpvHQM

The Nike SB team had one hell of a year. Rewatch all the highlights featuring all your favorite skaters.

If you have been following our Instagram you know that are working on something with Lacey. If you were ever doubtful of her watch this video and see why she is not only a great person but also an amazing skater.

Finally, something we have been waiting on for a long time: the first full-length video presentation from Alex Olson’s Call Me 917. Now we are not going to give you a full video description but we will give you at least a few of our highlights.

First off, Alex Olson skates to a Rap Song by Nakel Smith, Secondly, the video consists of the team and their friends and last but not least, the soundtrack feels like a cross between an Anti-Hero video and Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2’s score.

Honestly, go watch the video. It is not what we expected, it is better:

 

Remember last years CPH Open? Bobby Worrest got some stuff done… The Nike guys certainly enjoyed their time in Copenhagen.

Featuring: Bobby Worrest, Hjalte Halberg, Andrew Wilson, Hugo Boserup, Max Palmer, Cyrus Bennett, Alex Olson, Oskar Rosenburg-Hallberg, Ishod Wair, Ryan Bobier and Ville Wester.

Our friends and neighbors from Modest Department just released a film about the French photographer Viktor Vauthier. From finding his dad’s old photos to becoming the house photographer of Alex Olson’s “Bianca Chandon, this 16-minute movie is telling the story of becoming an artist.

https://youtu.be/x9wYLbxF2sM

Let’s start at the beginning Oski is one of the most exciting skaters of our time, in fact, he is so nice to watch that the Cardiel reference, in the beginning, might even be justified.

Another thing that we really liked is that it is not just Oski you get his friends people like Hjalte Halberg, Alex Olson, Cyrus Bennett, Roman Gonzalez and more. Another good thing is that Nike gave a colorway to a skater that actually likes to skate the shoe (they have been kind of good at that.) which doesn’t seem to always be the case. Now go sit down and watch this part because it is good!

Alex Olson is known for his quite unique personality. Constantly changing and reinventing himself, he seems to be always in search for new experiences and the best way to live. In the lasting struggle between false modesty and the urge, as a person of public attention, to keep people aware of certain things in life that he regards to be important, now and then he forces himself to break out of his restraint. So recently, Alex shared a vegan curry recipe on a cooking show, which most of the people seem to find quite amusing and entertaining, but also brought along some good fodder for a number of hate comments, which we sometimes find as unnecessary as funny. Here are our top ten comments:

“He loves being in front of the camera. How many videos on the web are there where he talks about himself? He’s one of those “I hate doing interviews/being photographed” dudes yet there is more content of him not on a skateboard.”

“Even he seems like he hates vegan food.”

“Well he’s a pro skater so I’m sure he’s hit his head more than enough times.”

“Looks tired as fuck. Eat some meat, you would feel better.”

“This guy is pretty cool… weird but cool. Haha!”

“Fucking shit cunt, get a haircut you hippie.”

“I didn’t notice the awkwardness, which made me feel awkward reading the comments. Does not noticing awkwardness mean I’m awkward?”

“This guy is so boring and such a sad sounding fella.”

“Alex Olson seems like a really nice guy, and he’s a badass skater, but man he seems dumb as sack of rocks.”

“Definitely stoned.”

After Donald Trump’s election, last year Alex Olson told me.

“People think Punk music is coming back.”

I had to stop and think about it, the general attitude has become more punk in recent times. But I didn’t really see an increase in the Punk music I did, however, start to notice another musical current rising up (pun intended). Caribbean music, especially Reggae has made its way into the video side of contemporary skateboard culture.

Punk, Reggae and skateboarding the links between these forms of expression are not that outlandish, despite a strong difference in style they are closer than you might think.

Let’s start with connecting Punk and Reggae, this snippet supplies a short explanation into their worlds.

Now that we established that there is some common ground between the two scenes.  The next step is to find a connection to our own sub-culture.

For those of you that are aware of skateboarding’s history, you know that skateboarding started as a DYI (Do It Yourself) culture. The DIY attitude was firmly embedded into us from the moment a pair of roller skate axles were screwed onto some wood and it continues to live on in every one of us who chooses to customize his or her board or fix a spot.

Even though we did a lot of research it is hard to pinpoint the moment when Reggae entered skateboarding. We did, however, find an early example of a part set to skateboarding.

Jef Hartsel one off the first part set to Reggae music (World Industries, Rubbish Heap, 1989).

Since it is hard to pinpoint the exact moment, we can only guess. We do know that places like New York, have had a strong Caribbean community since the early 1900’s so it could be that it happened when skateboarding got known in these communities cultures collided and merged. Black skateboarders historically talked about a backlash withing their own community who considered skateboarding a white activity. But as skateboarding started to become popularized and it had its first peak the diversification process had already started and parts like the one bellow where the result.

Keith “Huf” Hufnagel’s part in Penal Code is an early example of how to combine skateboarding and reggae music (1996).

Then things seemed to take a backburner for a while and truth be told, my generation did not grow up watching these parts. To us, Reggae was this cliché thing about weed and dreadlocks. It felt like a very small thing in our skateboard world, There were some moments I.E: when Tosh Townend skated to Lee Scratch Perry or John Cardiel who skated to Sizzla but to be honest it felt more like a one-off thing to us.

An entire brand dedicated to the genre (Satori, Roots and Culture, 2004).

The now legendary I-Path promo (2005).

In the mid-2000’s things seemed to be more divided, not only the image of the brand but the image of the skater became increasingly important. It was the start of what we see today, you can be a super good skater, but are you relatable, inspiring and do kids want to skate, dress and be like you?

Some brands were basing or at the very least connecting their image to Caribbean culture. In doing that they spoke to a new audience and created a platform for Reggae style skaters I.E. Matt Rodriguez.

Niell Brown in “The 103 Video.” (2010)

At the end of the 2000’s things started to change back to Penal Code times, there were multiple videos that for lack of a better term casually used Reggae music in people’s parts.

One of the videos that had a big influence on me was “The 103 Video” A video with fluent editing and an even better song selection, it changed my opinion on Reggae/Dub/Dancehall. It wasn’t that I couldn’t hear the quality or that I was incapable of liking the music but the video combined the music in such a way that I started to see the diversity instead of the genre’s clichés.

https://vimeo.com/113099306
A recent resurgence of Caribbean flows (Johnny Wilson, Paych, 2014).

Today use of Caribbean music has become commonplace in both skateboarding and pop culture as a whole, Supreme used it in their videos and collections and pop star Drake works with Caribbean artists, talks about Caribbean “Tings” on tracks with a Caribbean style rhythm.

2017 will show if this will continue as a mainstream movement or if it will return to the fringes, either way, we suggest you spend some time doing your googles, reading up and engulfing yourself in the world of Caribbean culture.

Leave it up to Bill Strobeck to further influence the youth (Supreme, Pussy Gangster, 2016).

Text by Roland Hoogwater
Images by Supreme

Genesis Evans just put out this video of some of his well-known Supreme friends skating and Dorking around the city of Angels in short L.A.

Featuring: Alex Olson, Aidan Mackey, Chris Milic, Rowan Zorrila, Nik Stain, Logan Lara, Hugo Boserup, Cyrus Bennet and much more.

“Leave A Message”….That is what I heard when I tried to call (917) 692-2706, I didn’t leave a message but I wanted to, just to see if anybody would listen to what I had to say and maybe “they” would even call me back, it could still happen, they could still call back, right? I wonder how many people called the number, in the beginning, the mailbox was probably full but do people still call nowadays? I wonder what people were hoping to hear the original message was “You have reached Bianca Chandon leave a message.” Now it is just, “leave a message” maybe that is because Bianca went in another direction and the number faded away before coming back in a new form. Just what kind of form? That seems to be up to the reflective mind of Alex Olson.


Let start at the beginning how did you start of 917?

We started at the beginning and now we’re here (laughs), but really we started out by introducing Bianca Chandon via the number, we put out the number and if you would call the number you would get an answering machine that said hello you have reached Bianca Chandon. So once we started releasing Bianca Chandon (BC) stuff we abandoned the number because it had lost its function. We released some board under the BC name but as the company was taking form I did not want it to become a skate company. I was like no team none of that stuff but I met some kids and I wanted to support them so I brought the number back so I could make some board and give it to those guys. It is kind of like how Ralph Lauren has the brand Ralph Lauren and he has Polo by Ralph Lauren. So 917 started to take shape slowly, it took some time for people to get to know the brand, understand the brand, and for us to build a team around it. Now it is somewhat of a skateboard company not fully.

Why not fully?

Because we are still not on schedule, but this year it will be a company instead of an experiment.

Isn’t it nice to have Call me 917 be just that, an experiment?

Yes… I try to avoid the rhythms of a normal skateboard company but that is kind of hard because there is a formula that people are used to. It is a give and take situation, the hardest part that we have to figure out right now is the video aspect. because you want to come out with your own style, which is hard because a lot of things have been done and you don’t have full control. Developing a style that is our own without having to copy thing is a challenge.

It seems to me like making a video is also a kind of make or break thing for a company, it starts with the smallest things like kind of music you pick.

That is difficult, certain team riders might want to skate to a certain song… I mean all three of us here probably have different tastes in music (it is Conny Mirbach, Alex and myself). Back in my Girl and Lakai days I would get really frustrated because they wanted me to skate to a like a Fugazi song and back then I really didn’t like that type of music, I wanted to skate to a Public Image song and it did not work for them, now I don’t even like that song anymore but in the end it was their company.

Do you think they were maybe protecting you from making a bad song choice?

I don’t know, I was really into King Diamond at the time and nobody had skated to that music, his music is difficult to edit to because of the changes in tempo but they seemed to like that song more than my other picks we ended up going with that one.

So would you be open to having riders pick their own song?

Well, we haven’t made a video yet so, I really like Antihero video, to me they make the best videos because they don’t have parts everybody is just mixed in together and their videos are not that long. I always liked their videos it felt like it could have been you and your friends out skating, and that is a big thing in making people relate to a company, it makes is tangible, so you feel like you can participate.

What about the designs for the company, does everything come from you?

It is pretty much all me, I’ve learned like the necessary skills to work with tools like Photoshop to create the graphics but if I can’t I’ll ask someone to facilitate those needs. Most of it is coming from my head, which is annoying because it takes up a lot of time because you have to sit with it for some time and see if it’s good or not. I’ll run it by some people so I can get some feedback but most of the times I know what kind of emotions or response something will get and if that will be a good or a bad thing. Right now I am trying to shift my way of producing things, I want to do it in a way that is comparable to when an artist has a show at a gallery. I want to start thinking more in terms of themes so that everything ends up correlating with that theme in some way or form, so those are the new parameters I am trying to work with. To give you an example lets say we have the term food, all the stuff will have to do either directly with food or the things surrounding food. That makes it easier to create because the theme you picked creates the boundaries for you and makes it easier to make things cohesive.

So do you get a lot of time to skate yourself?

Not really, between the two companies, I have to spend a lot of time in the office. 917 is a lot more fun, there is more room for mistakes and happy accidents, people contribute as well sometimes I also feel like I know skateboarding better so I can get stuff done faster. It is still me in the office looking at books thinking “what are we gonna do?”. With Girl, there would always be the one off series where each pro got their own graphic, but none of them correlated and at the same time those big six board series are a thing of the past.

So will still you do random drops? Or will your drop in seasons.

I can still do sporadic drops, I guess, but I would like to drop stuff when everything is cohesive. I will probably be breaking that rule and become a hypocrite, because if the right opportunity presents itself we will probably still go with it. It is all in the moment.

You said 917 is more fun why do you feel like Bianca Chandon is harder to do?

Because we are going a different route with Bianca, I feel like I am also a little more protective of the company. We are trying to carve our own lane so we can reach a certain group of people but, in comparison to 917, I feel like the demographic we want to reach with Bianca is a bit harder to please. So it takes more time and it is more of a challenge.

When it comes to getting inspiration, does that process differ between Bianca and 917?

Of course, it started as one so in a way they intertwine, and because it is just me doing it, I wish there would be more people but it is just me. I try to make then different, as much as possible but I feel like you can always tell it came from one person. Like with Natas Kaupas’s work where you can immediately tell it is him, unfortunately, I feel like I don’t I have a distinct style. At the same time it can be a good thing because if you look at the work of people like Lance Mountain or Mark Gonzales in a way their style boxes them in, people expect that and it can be hard to break out of that, so not having that style can be a benefit.

It can become harder to experiment because people want a certain thing from you.

Exactly, so maybe I didn’t create such a style out of fear of being boxed in. At the same time, it can be nice to have and build your own strong style but I don’t have that.

I imagine you take inspiration from different things, like visiting art shows, museums, and books.

Books…A lot of books right now, are you familiar with the work of Tibor Kalman? Or Paula Scher? I like mainstream graphic artists right now. I find fine art interesting but in a way it can be elitist, to me the way graphic designers deal with their inspirations and the way they think about the way the mass will deal with their work is more interesting to me than a fine artist. Because some fine artists can be full of shit, sometimes you go to a show and you can tell that they didn’t work that hard on creating the work but they try to be very articulate with their presentation, it just makes me disconnect. That’s how I feel this week, though…Lately, I have been education myself more on different big graphic designers, knowing who did what and where it is kind of like knowing all about your favorite skater. The thing is I can name a lot of artists, graphic design is all around us but most of us rarely know the people behind the designs. Fine art seems to be taking this whole new shape, there is more stardom in it know. I do like that people seem to be taking a bigger interest in art, it is a good and bad thing.

As far as music goes, I am always trying to find new music, I am into finding Prog rock music lately do you know Steven Hillage from the band Gong? Lately, I’ve been into a lot of early seventies German fusion and Krautrock music. I have also been looking at album art and that also helps, Album art is something we don’t really get any more.

I remember buying records just for the cover.

I am sure that was a whole thing where they were like “Oh.. the album is not that good but let’s make good album art so it will sell.” I’m sure you could google bad album great artwork and something will pop up.

Coming back to the beginning, what are some of the problems you ran into at the start?

A major thing was that I went into this kind of blind, which is good and bad, it is good because if I would have known what I was getting into I would probably have not started those two companies in the first place. Another big thing is learning to work with a calendar. I missed a flight once and I bought this book “How to get work done” it was this small book harper college book, and remember reading it and thinking “I cannot believe I have been running my life without a calendar!”. The thing is that every computer and phone has one so it is so easy to use, you get way more stuff done if you schedule it, it makes things less hectic in your mind. Learning how to work with the calendar was definitely a life changing thing. The thing I don’t yet do is have a starting and a finishing point.
You German folk are much more efficient than us, I wish I was more efficient.

Alex_Olson_ (6)_loRes

Well if you are ever in Berlin stop by the office.

I am sure the whole office is clean, I am sure you guys have a beautiful space, a lot of books and you guys speak 5 languages.

It’s almost exactly like that (laughs).

Coming back to the scheduling , when we started our attitude was “Let’s see how things go, this is an experiment”. Then things took off…like really took off and we were just sitting in the office playing grown up until we finally got a grown up in the office. We needed to get more situated and to learn how things work, like having a description to go with the product makes things sell better. That’s what I learned from the Grace Jones board, it had a clear reference and of course it is a Grace Jones board that helps. Everybody like to learn something and if somebody likes the company anyway that story helps them understand and get behind those ideas even more. Another thing is being selective with who you put on and what you put out but the biggest thing is still working with a calendar. What is the biggest thing you learned working at the magazine?

People management, working with other people, what to do yourself, knowing the strengths of your colleagues, not taking on to much at one time, delegating work and making stuff together in a balanced way.

People management! Something I am terrible at, I should probably read a book on that. Everybody has to struggle with that part of the work, from the biggest down to the smallest company. I feel like I am bad at communicating altogether, it doesn’t make for a good boss, it is something I need to work on desperately. I didn’t get any complaints but I just know.

How did the team come to be?

Well, we all knew each other because we were already skating together, this was probably in the summer of 2013 and that turned out to be such a fun summer! We were skating together every day, and then Johnny Wilson’s video “SURE” came out and when I saw Cyrus’s part in that I was sure that he was trying to become sponsored. He went from Hopps to Polar
Cyrus (Bennett) was on Hopps… every wanted to get some guys on but I wasn’t sure that people wanted to get sponsored but

An important step was when I got Logan Lara onboard, I told him why don’t you quit Welcome and I’ll pay you to be the team manager. I kind of knew that if I got Logan on board things would happen because there is something about him. Once that happened everybody else slowly started coming around, so we started flowing people boards and that turned into a team basically. Balance is important, some people wanted to get on but other team riders didn’t want those people joining the team, or it wasn’t the right fit. That is when people managing is hard because the team might say yes first but opinions change and so I have had to make a call and tell people sorry! because, in the end, I don’t want to throw the team under the bus. It can be hard because those people are your friends too.

You even have an international team rider now.

Yeah Vincent (Touzery), I met Vincent out in Paris when we were out there to film Swoosh for Supreme. My friend Jack Greer who does Iggy Pooped was staying out in Paris to do art and he befriended all those guys(The Blobys). I met them all and was impressed with their skating, oddly enough Vincent didn’t seem to have a sponsor and the other guys did, even though he was skating as good if not better so we put him on.

You recently added Nik Stain as well, which I feel is not a very obvious pick.

He is friends of friends, so he got on via that connection. I never wanted to have a team where you have two opposite type of skaters that never skate together but are on the same team. I feel like that makes for bad chemistry. Coming back to my point about Antihero or even the old Girl videos in those videos you see they obviously skate and hang out together even when they are not on trips. with 917 it is me, I am the outcast on the team, I just don’t hang out as much, I have to work.


Do you hire interns to work on the company?

I have, but interns are a little hard to work with, I have had amazing ones but a lot of them just want to be around, you know. For instance, I had some “art kids” that skate, but their views and ideas about aesthetics are often very analytical, they tend to think too artsy and that makes things more difficult for all of us. As I said before, I think the right person will come.

I am thinking if we missed something…

I don’t know, ask anything you want.

It is kind off a weird one but is there any question that you wanted people to ask you?

Uhm.. I don’t know. I am sure I have thought of that before but obviously, it is a hard one to think of right now. You know skateboarding is moving in a weird direction right now, but it is a good direction…. The thing I can’t stand is all those people that cry about “core skateboarding” and the Olympics, the Olympics is the newest thing for those people right now. That’s evolution, why do you care? Skateboarding could have been in the Olympics in 1970 and could you imagine people crying about that now? Obviously, there weren’t that many tricks back then but skateboarding evolved, you don’t see anybody crying over that evolution. Skateboarding in the Olympics doesn’t personally affect anyone, the only thing the Olympics will do is spend money and that money will help skateboard companies make money. I don’t think the Olympics are going to be goofier than for example the X-games or the Dew tour.

I never understood why people can’t just ignore that side if they don’t like it, they are not forced to watch.

The whole core thing is just weird people are often misinformed and think Vans is a core company but they are owned by Vanity Fair which is a publicly shared company so don’t be fooled by an image. No disrespect to Steve van Doren he’s a great guy but in the end, he is not running the company, it is more like he is flipping the burgers. But people chose to believe an image and feel like they are a part of that.

It is like people saying fuck Nike, I am going to buy Converse.

Exactly.
Recently I got ridiculed because I made a comment about Etnies and Emerica not having the same quality product because they don’t have the same amount of money as the bigger companies do and I got a long angry response from somebody that probably worked for one of those companies. I am not saying because I want to see those companies go under but this is just what I hear from people all the time. At the same time, those big companies have a long history in the shoe making business so they have the factories and the know how. I just can’t stand this extremist view, move on and evolve the dinosaurs died of a long time ago and they are not coming back and that is the reality for a lot of “core” companies. I just don’t see things changing direction. The “core” thing seems like a made up thing and it comes in at a time when skateboarders finally can make a decent living of off skateboarding. Maybe it is a Republican-Democrat thing.

In comparison to the music business, skateboarders don’t even take care of their legends, If a musician makes a great album with some classic songs he can make money of his publishing or performance but in skateboarding it seems like we don’t take care of our legacy.

Well it is sort of happening now, Adidas has Mark Gonzales, Nike has Lance Mountain, Converse has Jason Jessee and Vans has a bunch of guys they support. I don’t know of any of those smaller companies doing that, back in the day 88 did it with Neil Blender but you don’t see it that often. Maybe it has more of a history now to take care of but yeah that is a good point.

Similar to music those old video parts still can inspire skateboarders today, so they are not irrelevant.

I agree, I always felt like a making a video part is like making a solo album, it is a thing you can watch and re-watch over and over to get inspired. I do feel like I don’t do that as much… well I guess I do. I am contradicting myself in saying that I don’t like parts, I think montages work better.

Alex_Olson_ LORes


But back then it was more about parts, I mean there were montages but in a different way.

Most montages were really bad back then, because it was just one trick by a random skater followed by the next. But there were some good ones, Jeremy Wray had a couple of good tricks in Transworld’s The Reason and I almost would consider that a part just because of the quality of the tricks. I don’t know but feel like skateboarding is in a good place right now. People have gotten to a such a high level in terms of ability that style, trick, and spot selection are things that are becoming more important. There are some superior beings out there, like the street league guys, we need a new compartment for those guys. I mean I am a pro but I will never come close to some of those guys they are like the elite that will be remembered forever. Then again there are some random guys in the contest, I don’t want to name any names but Cody Mcentire, I never even heard about that guy up until a year ago and he is just grinding everything with a toothpick in his mouth and he looks very Canadian but I heard he’s from Texas.

He is a Red Dragon, though.

Well, that’s good for him. So what is the German equivalent of the Red Dragons?

I don’t really know.

It doesn’t exist, right? Most Europeans seem to be less jockish, they don’t seem to have that Grrr mentality.

That is changing, though, skateboarding has become quite big, skaters in Germany can live of skateboarding.

So it is like the European NBA, Players move to those countries so they can still have a career?

Like playing for Barcelona instead of the Lakers.

Maybe that will be a thing, US skaters will skate for European companies. I thought about that when Blueprint was big, I thought it would be good to skate for them because the Pound was worth more than the Dollar so if I changed teams I could earn a little bit more money.

(laughs) I don’t know how you thought of that but I guess it could work and the company was sick back then.

At that time that type of skating was not that big in the US, it was underground still but I remember Cairo Foster saying Waiting for the world was his favorite video.

Do you notice any European influences that make it out here?

It depends, some stuff get talked about but not that much can you think of one?

Polar is pretty big.

I wouldn’t count that as a European brand though they are global.

One final 917 question, you talked about doing team boards, did you consider turning anyone pro for the company?

Oh yeah I have already considered it, I gave myself one, I feel like I should take it away, though. There will be pro’s on 917 but I can’t tell you any names. I want to do some shaped boards so our pros can have their own recognizable shape so you can tell from a distance who’s board it is, similar to the way it was in the 80’s. I think that idea got lost somewhere with the overflow of graphics and I like it when a pro shapes their board and skates it, but of course we will still give them “normal” shaped board as well.

That idea is nice, it makes the pro board a little more special, it makes it stick out.

Well then it becomes more of an object instead of just an image, there is something really nice about it. I mean you made it, you thought about what you wanted.

What about the wood?

Well, we can make what we want, we worked with P.S. Stix a lot but different people like different wood I want to start working with different woodshops.

I can imagine that it is not that easy to find a person like that.

Well.. it is tough because you need a skateboarder because he or she knows skateboarding but at the same time skateboarders often have one way of thinking, maybe more in the US than in other parts of the world and that kind of scares me because every time I went out to visit the workplace it has had this certain skate mentality, the people working there have a strong idea of how they want skateboarding to be, and that is very much a one track mind. I want to move away from that and do things differently. It is hard, because in a way you want that outsider perspective so you can have a new perspective… I guess with time the right person will come.


Do you still have time to skate?

No, that’s why I hope I can push some of my work onto a graphic designer so I can create some time to skate. It reminds me of hanging out with Keith Hufnagel when he just started HUF and still skated for REAL. He would always be on the phone and I remember thinking “Why is this guy always on his phone? Just stop!” nowadays the kids on 917 are like “Dude why are you always on your phone?” and I have to be like “No…I am trying not to be!” . But I don’t have a choice, up until the company gets big enough and I can hire someone that I trust. Maybe a Japanese guy or a German guy.

Photos by Conny Mirbach
Interview by Roland Hoogwater

We had an Interview about Call me 917 from our Issue 58 “The Handshake”, where Alex Olson talks about not skating because he’s been kept busy with the business side of running two companies, while the rest of the team is just out there. Don’t worry Alex, those guys are getting it.

Why would a website about skateboarding go deep on politics and, on top of that, write about a situation in a country that is so far away from their office? The news about Donald Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States got to me on the morning of the 8th of November. Actually, the first thing I did that morning was pick up my phone, surf to a news website all while walking to the bathroom. My legs immediately started to shiver when I was reading who won the election. I do not know why exactly I reacted like that but it is probably because I was scared that a person like Donald Trump will be in a position that holds that much power and control.

A few hours went by and after I went through all the websites reading the news of the day I actually had to go to Wikipedia, just to see how it felt, reading that “He” really made it. And there it was, in writing, just underneath Donald Duck it said Donald Trump president of the United States.

Duck

But, why is this touching us so badly and what are the consequences going to look like for the people in Europe? It is not like it would have been paradise again if Hillary Clinton would have won the election. The newspapers and political magazines where throwing more and more wood into the fire with cover stories like “The End of the World” or “World War 3” and I was wondering what kind off thoughts a ten-year-old girl would have about those headlines.

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Cover of Spiegel magazine Germany. (“The End Of The World”)

We thought it would be time to ask some people’s opinions, people that are actually affected first-hand by the election and well known in our skateboard world and to say the least, there is definitely a tendency in our community because we actually could not find a single Trump supporter amidst our ranks.

Nestor Judkins, dual citizenship Spain and U.S. Living in New York City:

HOPELESSNESS. Today I returned to the USA after one week of feeling stunned and horrified. Beyond the racist and sexist rhetoric, the social and economic inequality he represents, I fear for the future of our environment at this most crucial point in human and environmental history. The denial of climate change and the promise of reversing all initiatives to slow down global warming and return full force to the methods that led us here will have an irreversibly disastrous effect on all of the humanity. I weep for this beautiful and fragile world where we have been able to enjoy our brief time in the sun. We’ve evolved into impossibly intelligent beings only to be trumped by the ignorance of many and the hubris and greed of the few.

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Esquire Magazine; August 2004.

Mark Nickels, U.S. citizen living in Berlin/Germany:

With the election, there are times you hope to wake up and find out it is a bad dream. Unfortunately, I found out while on a flight to Frankfurt that this is quite real and f*ckin’ mental. I thought things got bad with the Brexit vote, but people are even more bat sh*t crazy in the US than in the UK. America has to be #1 in everything, always I guess… And because I have a dual national, this is another thing to apologize for. I see myself buying a lot of ‘I’m Sorry’ beers in the near future.

I am in LA right now on a trip and it really feels like someone just died here. No one can make sense of what just happened, nor can I. One thing we all need to remember is, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. In a sane world, she would be President. That is how it is supposed to work, right? Trump said he would fight if this happened to him and not concede. He also said the people’s voice should be respected, but his tone has changed quickly since the roles are reversed… how presidential of him. As for Obama’s work over the last 8 years, he spent a lot of time rebuilding the tarnished image of this country, all that just flew out the window in one evening.

Living outside the US, I am much more political because I see first hand how the rest of the world views us. To be honest, I am scared for Trump to be the leader of the free world, which is justified because of the way he spoke on the campaign trail. Real things happen when you have a leader that makes outrageous claims like he has and it can be dangerous on so many levels. You are now seeing a ‘Carte Blanche’ situation, certain people feel it is okay to be openly racist after the votes have been counted because they won in the polls. Racism is never ever ever ever okay unless you are just a f*cking sh*tty human being who sucks at life. I still can’t believe that is a lesson that has to be taught in 2016.

I am extremely fearful of what my country can become if people like myself become complacent and sit still doing nothing after these election results. In order to fight back, I plan to donate money regularly to organizations like the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and other causes I believe in, in order to help and protect the social progress made under President Obama. I also will support media outlets like ‘The Guardian’ who actually do the type of investigative journalism needed during these times. Outlets like these help expose the abuse of power/ privilege we all know will happen. I will also talk to friends to make sure they are not part of the 50% of the population who didn’t vote & help them register to be a part of the next election in 2018. The best thing I can really do is, to push forward and live my life to the fullest. I will not be paralyzed by their fear mongering/ hate and will stand up for myself; not only as an American or a Brit but as a citizen of the world.

At least there is a silver lining for me in this, I am lucky to be an immigrant in such an amazing country as Germany. Who would ever think you would hear an American say that?!?! Now let’s make sure this doesn’t happen in Germany next year with the AFD. We can’t let hate and fear rule over us, anywhere.

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Henry Jones.

Dennis Busenitz, dual Citizenship Germany and U.S. Living in San Francisco:

First off, I would like to apologize to the world because America couldn’t come through and NOT have Trump as our president! It is embarrassing for me to have to travel internationally right after that. I think it is just a big shit sandwich! I don’t know that much about politics but I have a lot of respect for Obama, Obama was not in favor of Trump and so were a lot of other people who know a lot of things, to me it seemed like anybody who had any political experience said he was unfit to be president but the American people decided to give them the finger and voted him in there anyway. So I guess…. Hopefully, they get what they deserve without blowing up the whole world in the process or getting global warming to a point where it is beyond repair. Global warming to me is a real threat and both Trump and America do not seem to think it is a problem that needs to be addressed, which is insane!

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Photo by Danny Sommerfeld, Munich Nov.’16.

Patrick O’Dell, Living in Los Angeles:

In the last week, I have heard every take on the presidential election that can be had. Its hard to add anything other than I am filled with dread about what Donald Trump will do to our country and our freedom. Usually the ‘Right’ act as if they have a monopoly on freedom (it is been 8 years and Obama still hasn’t taken your guns away by the way). I am worried about the freedoms of women, gays, faiths including Judaism, Islam and also the right to Atheism. I happen to be a Catholic and am filled with pride that even our Pope has denounced Trump. What Christian mocks women for their looks, calls them pigs, brags about ‘grabbing pussies,’ mocks the handicapped, says Prisoners of War are not hero’s, claims a Mexican-American judge can’t do his job because of his ethnicity? What Christian is against helping people in need and showing sympathy for those less fortunate?

And the people Trump have tapped for his administration only make me more worried. Giuliani was the architect of the unconstitutional ‘Stop and frisk,’ obviously an abridgment of the 4th Amendment which should protect us from unlawful search and seizure. Trump’s running mate Mike Pence wants to limit women’s rights, gay marriage and once supported torturing homosexuals with conversion therapy. Steve Bannon is a known anti-Semite… Trump got elected on a campaign of fear. The only thing that gives me hope is that Trump’s message is so awful and has hurt so many people, that hopefully, a strong resistance will emerge. Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, immigrants, women, non-Christians, LGBT, can all unite as a unified force. I fall into none of these categories as white straight Christian male but I will be traveling to Washington for the inauguration, not to protest the results of the election (I accept them) but to peacefully show that I do not support Donald Trump.

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Vice Magazine; Photo by Patrick O’Dell.

Alex Olson, Living in New York City:

I think Trump is a good thing… but not for what or who he is, his election has brought a whole new motivation to this country… new ideas are being brought to the table. If Hilary would have won nothing big would have changed. Trump brings change but in an indirect way for both good and bad, creative ideas will emerge from this situation, and the coming four years will be an interesting time. People in California are even thinking of becoming independent! Which I think could be very interesting… but who knows, what kind of good things could come from people’s passion and rage.

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Photo by Conny Mirbach; Manhattan Aug.’16

Words by Daniel Pannemann.

Photo on top by Jonathan Mehring, NYC Nov.’16

Cyrus Bennett, Ishod Wair, Sage Elsesser, Roman Gonzales, Alex Olson & more in John Wilson’s new video “Sup World”- so many reasons to watch this!