For our #63 issue we traveled to the city of angels to shoot an issue together with an eclectic group of people.
People ranging from Hyun Kummer a.k.a. @Versace_plug, Guy Mariano & Eric Koston, Nyjah Huston, Jim Greco & Mark Appleyard all added their 2 cents to our video and issue.
Kai Hillebrand or Kaio, as most people tend to call him, was one of our main protagonists for this issue and during the shooting, he once took us aside and asked if we could save some of the footage for another project. Well, we said yes, the project didn’t take off and now we decided to ask our filmer, Peter Buikema, to remix to footage.
Whether you are in Los Angeles right now, or his local Ratingen, Germany you should try and enjoy, relax and go skate afterward! We know Kaio would like all of you to follow these instructions to a tee.
This year marks 10 years of Stefan’s shoe with Nike SB. As such we get multiple looks, we get Trust Fall, we get a talk in Paris and now we get a look at his creative side paired with some really good skateboard moves.
All things being as they may this is a really cool look behind the curtain and into what Stefan does on the daily.
A new Giddy is upon us and with all other episodes of this series, this has a concept, a very simple form follows function type of concept. You view stuff on your phone, you film stuff on your phone so this one is sized for viewing on your phone.
We are happy to present a new Video by Paul Hermann titled: “Transit Ride” filmed in the US – New York and LA to be exact. Since he’s been traveling for quite a while, we thought to ask him about the recent project and everything else he’s been up to lately.
Interview by Moritz Alte
Photos by Paul Herrmann
Hey Paul, what are you up to right now?
I’m in Frankfurt right now, for my sisters birthday. I just got back from Rome and I’m going to fly back to Berlin tonight.
Happy Birthday to your Sister!
So, looking at the video it seems like you guys had a pretty good time. Where did you go and which parts of the cities did you stay in, for how long?
Anton (Jäger) and I had an room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We stayed there for over a month. Even though our area was more or less calm, I feel like New York was really loud and hectic.
After that we flew to LA, where we got lucky and stayed in West Hollywood for another month.
I can imagine…Did you feel a different vibe after going to LA?
Yeah as I said. It is a whole different vibe over there. It is almost like going to a different country. It was way warmer and sunnier than New York and it felt even bigger because we spent ages in the car, as everyone does.
In New York you were able to go street skating almost every day. We could just push around and just find spots. Compared to NY, LA was the exact opposite it was pretty chill. We checked our skate map and tried to hit about 2 or 3 spots a day around the same area. Sometimes only one a day.
Okay, so who’s part of the video/who came along on the trip?
Actually, the main part is with all the boys from Germany. They came out to New York for about two weeks. We skated and filmed every day. The first weeks of the whole stay in the US, were the most productive. After the guys left, we still went skating, but it was rather chill. We crossed ways with a lot of skaters from all over the world. Almost everyone got a trick too!
Who would you say has standout appearance in the video?
Luis Waterkamp, Tim Thomas. No cap!
We can agree, always good to see some Wulle (Luis) footage. Steffen (Grap) told me that a car crashed into a Deli, right next to the place they were staying at. Do you have a similar story like that?
(Laughs) What? I didn’t even hear about that!
Actually, it was the whole time that stood out. If I think back now the small things that I enjoyed the most come to mind. For example, the day the other boys left we went to a rooftop and had a slice of pizza at our local spot before they left to the airport. I also loved the trip to Vegas from LA that we did. Even though Vegas itself sucked and I had to drive the whole time, it was sick. We stopped whenever we wanted, in the middle of nowhere. One time we even found an abandoned Motel and skated the pool.
That sounds pretty sick…Any place you would like to go next?
I’d love to go to Valencia with all the homies, but I have to work, unfortunately. Besides that, I don’t have any plans at the moment.
Any projects planned for the future that you can tell us about? You’ve got an exhibition coming up? Tell us a bit about that!
Yes, that’s right. I’m working on an exhibition, including a super 8 video. The whole project is called “I THOUGHT I WAS YOU” and is about my time in the states. I will be finished by the beginning of April or May hopefully. Besides that, I want to keep on traveling, creating and doing what I love.
Sounds really good, we’ll be there. Thank you for being in touch Paul!
Jim Greco directed this new film and as with everything you do you keep getting better and better.
Now it is obvious when you talk to people that Greco’s work seems to divide people into groups who love it and groups who don’t like his direction and will be vocal about it. And we can see why, with Jim being as polarizing as he is but with this project he changes focus from himself to 2 young skaters.
Leandre and Ludvig, a pairing that might not look obvious on paper but one that works oddly well! Never hurting one another but leaving the other room to do his own thing.
The music – a jazz tune – is guiding and binding melting the two skaters into one project, it is truly nice to see.
Another binding factor is the use of film instead of digital camera’s creating a more classic feel and depiction of the city of Los Angeles.
The question that remains is… Does this film create the same division or is it the moment people see Jim’s work in a new light? That is up to you, the viewer. Enjoy!
We have a little something coming up with Andrea and she told us about this lovely video and how proud she was about making it. Andrea is awesome, her skating is sick and she is all about skating and skateboard culture.
Enjoy this video both her and Vern Laird put a lot of hard work towards it.
We met the guys while we were out in Los Angeles working on our current issue. Magnus was trying that switch frontside wallride and drove straight into me after the landing, “Yooo, what’s up guys?”.
We talked for a bit and they told us they were looking for greyish spots only, “Wrong city!” is what we told them but after seeing the results it turns out they were right and we were tripping. Enjoy this new Colin Kennedy piece!
Los Angeles is a town based on movie and television money, Hollywood is right there, it says so on the sign! So for us to present you with still photography only, would be a wasted opportunity. So we packed our cameras and filmed our own little video and here it is.
Featuring: Kai Hillebrand, Hyun “Versace_plug” Kummer, Michal Juraś, Kuba Brniak, Jonte Klahr and David Jakinda skating in and around LA LA Land.
There is so much content out there that it becomes harder and harder to even get to the good things. Austyn Gillette’s part for his co-owned brand Former is definitely a good thing, to say the least. We would even go so far and say that this might be his best part to date! 10/10
Ever now and then there comes a new talent where you get the feeling that this person might make it. Salomon Cardenas is one of them. Surrounded by the right people and hooked up by the right sponsors, this guy is here to stay.
Spanky went from being a child star that transformed into an elusive creative skater who slowly got a skateboard burnout (no pun intended) but finally came full circle and retrieved his love for the board.
One may be able to argue that Mr. Long is indeed a legend, he surely influenced a lot of people and as such he is deserving of this Emerica colorway.
Imagine growing up in a small town which probably isn’t that hard for most of you to do. Now think back to when you started skateboarding together with your “best” friend, a friend who after a while quit skating forcing you to find new “skate” friends. It sucks, doesn’t it?
Do you remember the first time you filmed a trick? Were you in front of or behind the lens? What about the first time you edited some footage? Remember how hard it was to find the right music, edit the trick to the beat only to get a couple of thumbs down on youtube?
“L.A., L.A., Big City Of Dreams”
Prodigy, Mobb Deep, 1996.
Sometimes, some of us get lucky and two small-town people recently got the change to be present in L.A., Hollywood to be exact at the release party for Nyjah Huston’s new Nike shoe and video part. Two of our favorite filmers, Peter Buikema and Leon Rudolph got a chance to party with the pro’s and so they did.
Photos by Danny Sommerfeld
Text by Roland Hoogwater
When you get a message asking if you want to interview Miles Silvas about his amazing 5-minute line you obviously say “Yes of course, when can we make it happen?”. But being the nerds that we are, you also ask “What about Colin Kennedy?” because we all know when it comes to documenting skateboarding it takes at least two to tango. So, being the lucky people that we are both Miles and Colin where willing to talk to us so we can all have a look behind the scenes of the /// One Stop video. Enjoy!
Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Nice to meet you, man.
You too, man.
Thanks for making time so early in your day for doing this little talk. That’s really nice of you, so thank you for that.
Yeah, no problem.
So, let’s get to it. Can you tell me where the idea for the “One Stop” video came from?
I first heard about it from Colin Kennedy, he told me he had this idea for this commercial and it sounded a little crazy. He presented it to me and I was pretty hyped, it’s something different. He proposed it to Adidas and they were siked and yeah, it pretty much just went through. Colin was having the idea and then we got started with it.
So how long did it take before you guys got actually got started?
He told me about it, he sent me a mood board/presentation on the idea and then we were out in L.A. trying to do do it in the next couple months, maybe like two or three months or something.
For how many days did you try it?
The whole thing was probably three days. Because we went there and then we had to start around midnight or like later in the night because of the people, the city is always pretty hectic, so the later, the better. The streets get pretty mellow at night. The first night we kinda just mapped it out, where we’re gonna go and how it’s gonna work out and then the next night we started trying. It probably took like two or three nights of trying.
How many tries per night?
A lot of tries (laughs). I mean one of the nights I kinda got over it quick, so it wasn’t too many, but most nights it was pretty much a lot of tries, so when it finally worked out it was a big relief.
I can imagine the feeling you must’ve had when you walked down the stairs, like; “fuck, I did it! It’s over!” Must be quite a relief.
Yeah, finally! (laughs)
How much of the line was planned out?
Most of it was pretty planned out. The first night, we just went across the whole course just pushing, see how fast I needed to go for the filmers to follow me. They were asking me what tricks I wanted to do. The whole thing was pretty mapped out. I knew what I was gonna do in certain places because I had three people following me all the time, there was one filmer, there was one guy riding behind us focussing the camera and then a third guy, in case anyone would hit a rock he needed to get their board back real quick. So yeah, the whole thing was pretty planned out.
What was going on in your head during the line? I mean it’s a 5-minute long line, were you stressed?
The first couple tries were a little weird because it was new, but then once you start trying and trying… It was getting a little stressful but I was just trying to stay calm. I was trying not to think too much about it, or try not to think about how far I’d still have to go. It was pretty stressful, you just think about things that you don’t normally think about, like messing up on flat ground. Usually, you just do the trick and don’t think about it but with the line, I had a lot of distance to go so I was trying to stay pretty mellow and just go trick for trick.
How many times did you get to the last trick and didn’t make it?
I got to the end probably three times. It was pretty dark, we weren’t using any lights, but like the natural city lights. I didn’t really wanna try the trick until I got there because I wanted the pressure to make me try the switch back tail. I got to the end one time and I think I did one of the tricks before a little weird so then when I got to the last ledge I just did a switch back 50-50 and then when I was turning around to go to the subway and I hit a crack and messed up. I was like “Fuck!” so then we just redid it and I was like; “Alright, I’m just gonna do the switch back tail from now on when I get there.” I got there one more time, almost did the switch back tail, and then the third time when I got there I did it and we were done.
So you didn’t do the line multiple times?
No, it was the last night, I tried for super long and everyone was getting pretty tired. It’s kinda hard to notice in the video but when I kickflip over the rail, it was an ongoing battle because we kept on getting kicked out by security. So we didn’t have much more time, and during the make, the security is walking towards the rail. I managed to land it and complete the line. When I was done with the whole thing, it was really late, I walked back and right after we watched it back that whole block of streetlights all shut-off and the city got dark, so it was kinda perfect. The whole city stopped.
It was kind of a do or die.
Yeah, it worked out perfectly, we were all pretty siked that it worked out, ‘cus yeah the city went kinda dead after that.
Did you have one pair of shoes for all the nights? Or did you refresh the shoes every night to make them look as fresh as possible?
I think I switched the shoe maybe twice. The shoe stayed pretty new, I had to keep changing my clothes ‘cus I was wearing a grey shirt, you can immediately see when I start sweating. So I was often changing shirts.
Why this shoe for this campaign? was that something planned out?
Because of the name city cup, in the city… Kind of a thing that’s been in skateboarding for a longer period of time.
Adidas and Colin came up with the idea and they just wanted to bring back that kinda like long lines and like city vibes and stuff. And the shoe kinda has like an old school feel. I think they just wanted to put it back in that kinda situation, have the city cup be in the city, do a long line and kinda just have that cruising kinda feel to the commercial.
Is it something that you would do again? Try long lines like that again? Or was that a one time kind of thing?
I’d be down, I mean if someone else came to me with a cool idea for something to do, then yeah, I’d give it a shot. It was fun, it was something different.
It definitely is something different. As far as the music, did you have any say in that? How did that work?
I only saw the line once when I did it, and then I saw like a raw version of it but I didn’t know what music was gonna go in the background. I just talked to Colin and he was saying he was gonna put something kinda mellow in the background. The first time I saw it since I did it was like yesterday, so it was a little bit of a surprise but it was cool, I liked the music a lot.
The length of the line is longer than most peoples parts are so it’s kinda like you dropped a part in one line.
Yeah, it’s funny.
I guess you could say it shows a different side of your skating, you know? Like your in between tricks. Because you do a lot of single tricks in your parts, this definitely showed a different side.
Yeah, it was cool, I’m definitely glad it worked out and got to create the long line. It was a mission doing it (laughs).
Was there ever a moment where there was something weird happening? Like someone setting the trashcan you’re skating over upright again or something like that?
Nothing too crazy, security would kick us out from the rail spot, they were trying to do laps so we tried to be quick. Or just cars getting in the way or random people, one would hang out sometimes by the trashcan, just little things like that. One time the sprinklers would be on at the gap to ledge so we would have to wait for about an hour for it to dry up. Yeah, just little shitty things, nothing too crazy. Sometimes you’d get to the end of the line and then someones there and you got to restart.
How do you feel about the shoe? Do you like the shoe? Normally I see you in thinner Vulc shoes, this shoe is more a 90’s kinda cup sole shoe, with a Kareem Campbell kinda feel.
I like it a lot actually. I’m a little weird with shoes sometimes, having to film a commercial and not really ever skated the shoe before so I was a little nervous. Nah, it skates super good, I skated it brand new out of the box and it was already broken in. Like super flexible but durable, it felt really good. I like it a lot, and the way it looks, it’s pretty sick. I’m siked on the shoe, it’s cool.
You said you are kinda weird with shoes, what are things that you need in a shoe?
I don’t know, my foot’s kinda narrow, and for some reason a lot of shoes that I wear, my heel slips out of the shoe, and I hate when my foot moves around in the shoe. I just like my foot locked in. Yeah, I don’t know, I try a lot of shoes but these were good right out of the box, at first I was nervous to shoot a commercial or something with a brand new shoe. But the shoe fit my foot really well and it skates super well, so yeah, I was hyped on it.
I understand that every skater seems to permanently be on a quest for the perfect shoe. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Where did the idea for “One Stop” come from?
The idea didn’t come to me all at once. It came together over the last few years, in pieces. As you know, the stretch of Wilshire Boulevard that Miles skates in “One Stop” is home to some pretty legendary L.A. skate spots over the past three decades. The first time I skated that area was probably around 1995 and it has been an area I’ve revisited numerous times over the years.
In the last five years or so, that section of Koreatown became a meetup spot for my friends and I for when we wanted to get a late night skate session in. One day, it dawned on me that instead of skating each of those spots as individual locations, I could potentially string together one long line between them all but it would take a certain type of skateboarder to be able to pull it off.
That’s where Miles came into the equation. Over the past three years, I, along with the rest of the skateboard world, have witnessed Miles’ incredible gift on a skateboard via his video parts. Then, a little over a year ago, I was lucky enough to witness his gift first hand when we shot a series of video pieces for his board sponsor, Numbers. After shooting those pieces with him, I knew he was the perfect person to attempt this project with, not only because of his consistency and skill but also because of his temperament. He didn’t seem to get rattled by anything. On top of all of that, I’m a big fan of the oner/long take so any opportunity where I can incorporate that technique into a project, I try to seize it.
How many people were working on this commercial?
We were a very small crew of only five to nine people depending on the night. Most of the time, it was myself, Marc Ritzema (the DoP), Jacob Perry (1st AC), Danny Garcia (driver), Alan Hannon (helping with various crucial roles), Paul Shier (adidas Skateboarding Team Manager), Eric Anthony (adidas Action Sports Senior Brand Designer), and Zander Taketomo who shot still photos with his assistant, whose name was Austin, I believe.
Did you expect to be filming for four nights?
The entire shoot was five nights with the first night being just a rehearsal/walkthrough. On rehearsal night, everyone was equally excited and nervous. It didn’t feel real yet, meaning there was no pressure because we weren’t trying the line yet. Once we started shooting the following night, it all started to sink in.
At first, I was pretty confident that we’d be able to get the line within the first two nights of shooting and then try to up the ante if we were in the mood on the last two nights. By the end of the first night of shooting, I was still pretty confident that we’d get some version of the line by the end of the second night. When it got to the end of the second night of shooting and we still hadn’t reached the final gap to ledge, I started to realize how difficult this concept was to pull off. I reassured Miles that we still had two nights left of shooting so he didn’t need to put extra pressure on himself.
By the end of the third night of shooting, we still had not completed the line and a sense of tension could be felt but everyone remained optimistic, especially Miles, which was amazing considering what we were asking of him.
How did you secure certain objects like the fallen down trashcan (people picking it up etc)
It’s funny you should mention that because that was literally the only thing we had control over along the route. Alan was hanging out in his car next to the trashcan and whenever Miles would make his trick over the handrail, Paul Shier or one of the other guys at our minivan basecamp would radio ahead to Alan to let him know we were coming. Aside from that one obstacle being looked after, we had to deal with the rest of the headaches of the city as they came at us – pedestrians, homeless people, broken sidewalks, lawn sprinklers, and cars.
What were the major difficulties filming? (How did the filmer get up on to curbs during filming etc?)
In terms of filming the line, there were a number of things that made it tricky. Aside from all of the uncontrollable variables such as pedestrians and cars, there was also a handful of sections along the route where the ground was in terrible shape, one small miscalculation meant we’d have to start all over from the beginning. Thankfully, I fell victim to the cracks in the sidewalk only once, which forced us to start over. I felt terrible for doing that to Miles. There were also a few points where I had to step off of my skateboard while filming and either Marc or Alan would pick up my board and sneak around me to place it back in front of me so I could step back on it and continue to travel with Miles. Lastly, one of the things that made it difficult was shooting the entire line handheld without a fisheye. This meant I had to cradle the camera like a baby against my chest. After a few minutes into the line, my arms and legs would begin to burn.
What was the camera setup for this low light situation, and what made you choose that setup?
I knew we wanted to shoot this entire piece handheld and only use available light. After skating in that section of town numerous times, I knew it’d be possible to produce a clean image in low light with a compact, sturdy camera and some fast lenses to accompany it. My good friend and director of photography on this project, Marc Ritzema, has an Arri Alexa Mini package, which was the perfect camera for this type of shot. We met a couple of days prior to shooting and created the best possible handheld configuration with his camera, including accessories. We also rented some Zeiss Super Speed lenses to help us seek out the correct amount of light without adding too much weight to the camera setup.
Did you record audio via the camera or did you have an audio guy present?
One of the only drawbacks with shooting on the Alexa Mini was the fact that it requires a pre-amp in order to record any sync sound. Even with the additional pre-amp, the control over mixing the audio levels is very limited in-camera, therefore, shooting sound directly into the camera wasn’t a practical solution. We also knew that having a sound mixer on location wouldn’t be effective either so we rigged an external sound recorder to my belt and connected it to a shotgun mic that we attached to the camera. It wasn’t the most elegant solution but it ended up working perfectly.
What’s next for you? A one-take full length / do you think this idea could be expanded?
I’m not sure what’s next for me. I’m kicking around a few ideas. A one-take full length would be amazing but I think everyone involved would suffer a complete mental breakdown in the process. However, I do think it’d be fun to try and continue the “One Stop” concept in other cities that have clusters of skate spots between subway/metro stops. Barcelona, New York, and Paris are a few of the cities that come to mind.
Antonio Durao is another Numbers rider with the potential to become one of the best and there is something about his spot selection that makes you laugh inside a little. Very looking forward to see what is next!
For most of you Ville Wester is not a stranger, he came up through social media and the Bryggeriet Gymnasium in Malmö. Ever since we saw him winning our very own “King Of Vulcano” contest two Bright Tradeshow’s ago we have been paying attention to this young Danish lad. We worked together with Ville on our just-released Special Malmö Issue and met him multiple times since at events, parties and on the streets all over Europe. The point being made, young Mr.Wester is coming up and one reason for his ascent are these FRI.day Nike SB x Soulland releases that he is very much a part of. The second video is dropping today and because of that we sat down, connected with Ville and talked about his two FRI.day’s.
Photos by Ben Colen.
Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Hey Ville, what’s up?
I am sitting in bed right now.
Are you about to go to bed? (8:04 PM)
No, I am just chilling, I am probably going to a party tonight. “Gonna get fucked up tonight!”
(Laughs) Okay, so, let’s start this interview then.
Talk a little bit about the first collabo, how did it happen and how did you get involved? Because, when that one happened, you were not that well known.
No, at that point I wasn’t that well known yet but I had been skating for Nike for a little while before this all happened. This older guy Silas Adler (co-founder of Soulland) got interested in skating again. I think he used to ride for Cityfellaz and some other sponsors back in the day. He does Soulland now and because of his history in skating, he wanted to do something together with Nike SB.
So one day I got a call from Silas, “We are doing it, do you want to be in this? Tao (Tor Ström) is going to film it and the boys have to be in it, it is going to be good.”
Soulland is based in Copenhagen so Hjalte Halberg, Oski, Karsten Kleppan and myself all got involved in the project. Actually, Hugo (Boserup) got brought in as well, he just started skating for Nike at that time. Anyway, they always wanted to have Eric Koston involved as well because he is a Fucking legend.
Did you know the Soulland guys before this all started?
Yes, I knew Silas a little bit, I met him a few years before. I did not know what he was doing though, I was just a little skate kid but I have learned since then (laughs).
The first Nike SB x Soulland collaborational video.
Do you know why they called it FRI.day?
In Danish, F.R.I.day means something like “To have a day off.” At the same time, you have good Friday, Friday is also a good day because it is the start of the weekend, and any day off is a good day.
So I think that is why they chose FRI.day, it seems to have a lot of good different meanings.
What was your favorite thing about the first video?
Hjalte’s lines he has a lot of really good ones in that video, I don’t want to pick a specific one they are all good to me.
How important is Tao in all of this, his style of filming?
I love filming with him, he is a good friend of mine. We also like to hang out and party together but at the same time nobody can get me hyped to film like he can. I know he knows how to film, so I never think “is this going to look whack?” he is on point when it comes to filming and that enables me to focus on doing the skating. He makes me comfortable, I trust him, I know documenting skating is not my job but I do think about the way things look through the lens even though I think I shouldn’t worry.
So after the first project was done did the crew change? If so, what was the crew for the second one?
For the second one, we had David Jakinda, Karsten Kleppan, Eric Koston, Antonio Durao, Me and Tao, Guy Mariano went out skating with us but didn’t film, Vaughan Baker was there, Danijel “Jugga” Stankovic was there, Silas and The Soulland guys came with us to L.A. it was a big crew of people.
Did everybody stay in touch after the first Soulland project ended?
Yeah, we have a Whatsapp group and we write each other every fucking day pretty much. There are two groups actually, one for the L.A. crew and one for the OG crew, both of them are pretty entertaining.
Who is the most active member?
Probably, Eric or Silas, they post some videos that get everybody sparked to talk.
Why did they choose Los Angeles this time?
The first one was in Copenhagen because it was home to Soulland, they wanted to show their city to people. Then for the second one, they wanted to visit L.A., venture out to Eric’s hometown.
How was it being out skating in L.A.?
It is way different than skating back home, here (in CPH) you have a bike and have a lot of spots close by at all times. The cliché is true over there you have to take a car, drive for an hour to a spot that you might want to skate and if nobody likes it, you get back in the car and drive for an hour and a half to the next one. You might hit two or three spots a day whereas here you hit 10 – no problem!
If you want you can push to different spots in CPH.
It is a totally different way of skating the city, it is a lot of fun too but it can also create pressure because the next spot is not around the corner. I did enjoy trying to skate that way because I had never done it. Normally I don’t start thinking of a trick before I get there but it is worth trying to skate something because you made a lot of effort to get there. It is different from what I normally do at home but maybe I should change that. Because some people plan things out and they end up having great video parts and I haven’t even had one yet (laughs).
I don’t know, maybe it is not like you are repeating yourself you did get some cool footage in Tao’s last video. They say “Don’t change a winning formula”.
Okay (laughs), to be honest, I just want to have fun and I think taking things too serious can get in the way of good skateboarding. Truthfully, I don’t see myself getting in a car, driving out to a massive rail trying to get a photo, doing the trick and then driving back home. To be honest, that is not really my way of doing things.
Let’s get back to Los Angeles, did the Soulland guys skate with you in out there?
They did, they said, “We can’t leave L.A. until we all do a tre-flip.” I didn’t see any of them land one but they tried a few times (laughs).
What is the favorite trick you did on your trip to L.A.?
Can you tell us more about the trip, what about the times you were not skating?
The first week we had this great apartment with a huge swimming pool and a jacuzzi that was really nice. We ate a lot of great food, taco’s, Indian food and on some evenings we drank margaritas at “El Compadre” together with Koston. We had some great times amongst friends.
How was skating with Koston in L.A.?
It was different because his family is out there. He is a dad so he had more family time in L.A. compared to CPH but he went skating with us almost every day. He also invited us to his house, we had a pool party with all the boys and his family. He had catering at his house and these people served us taco’s and gave us beers while we were hanging out in the jacuzzi, great times.
Let’s segue into the fashion part of this collabo can you tell me what your favorite Soulland x Nike SB pieces are?
I remember when they did the first collabo they did these pink shoes and I think they only made a hundred or two of them, those were so great and very comfortable. I still have my pair but I did fuck them up a bit during a New Years Eve party last year but still, those are great!
This time around the Dunk Hi is by far my favorite. I think that out of the twwo designs both last and this year it is the best shoe they did. The new deconstructed design of the Dunk looks so good on your feet especially with the baggy big boy pants that I am wearing.
What has your Soulland x Nike SB non-skate highlight been so far?
I think the first premiere at Chateau Motel was my personal favorite. Chateau Motel had just opened and the premiere was the first event in that club. The screening was outside in the garden, it looked like an open-air theater. At one point I got so drunk and blacked out for a bit, came back to my senses around 4:00 AM met Silas he gave me a wine glass filled with Hennessy I drank it in one big gulp and blacked out again (laughs).
Last Question, will there be a third collaboration?
I don’t know but you never know with these guys, they are fucking crazy.
It is raining, Daniel (Pannemann) and myself are standing at the Heidelberger Platz skatepark. Even though the skatepark is covered by a bridge, small streams of water seem to have consciously made their way to almost each and every obstacle.
My phone rings:
Supra’s Marketing & communications manager: “Can you talk to the cab driver and tell him where to drop us off?”
Taxi driver: “Hello, I am at the supermarket now, where should I drop them off?”
Me “On the opposite of the Carwash, I will meet you there to pick them up.”
I walk over, introduce myself, and we start to make our way to the skatepark. Jim tells me he just went to the studio where Iggy Pop recorded his album “The Idiot” together with Bowie. I tell him that after this, the plan is to have lunch at their Berlin hangout spot.
“sick skatepark!” Jim says as we arrive, and it is but it is obvious that he hasn’t seen the small water streams yet. But after some cruising, he somehow manages to find a dry spot and skates that for about 30-minutes. Afterwards, we hail a taxi and we drive over to the famous Paris Bar.
As we walk in all of us are slightly overwhelmed, the waiter guides us to our table and gives us the menu. After we order, we talk for a bit until I notice I am not recording, I ask Jim if it is okay if I start to record our conversation, he agrees and we continue our conversation.
Do you still play music?
Yeah, I play guitar, make music occasionally. I’m not a musician though but I just have fun with it.
It’s good though, you’ve had a long career and its good to have other outlets as well.
Yeah, painting and filmmaking are two things that I really like too.
I really like the films, I watched them a lot.
Oh, thank you, man.
I think I rewatched them both like 10 times.
The first one was a surprise when it came out and then the second one was like “Hey is this going to be a yearly thing?”.
I’m working on some other stuff now.
Are you still making a new one as well?
Yeah well, this next one I make is going to be for Supra it’s going to be based around my new shoe. But I’m writing a film that has very little skating in it it’s like a full-length film, then I’m working on some projects with Jason Lee. We’re going to work on a film together also Jeremy Klein is making a film and I’m going to be skating in that. I am also helping out with the death wish video, putting that together.
How is that going, cause you’re doing your own boards as well, right?
Yeah, Hammer, I do like two drops of boards a year but it is more like an artistic outlet for me. It is a platform to put films and certain boards out when I want to put certain boards out.
So its kind of like creating your own vibe I guess?
Right, it’s not about making a ton of money.
Yeah, I know, otherwise, you’d probably do something.
Yeah, I just love the company and love making short films and putting out silkscreen boards that are made in America.
They are really silk screened right?
Wow, is the one you were skating silk screened?
That one is a Deathwish board but it is silk screened. Yeah, sometimes I silk screen my graphics for Deathwish too. I just like how the skate and they feel, certain graphics I feel need to be silk screened, they look better.
I really like that. It’s like making something that is mass produced more personal.
Exactly. I feel like it’s more alive when it’s silk-screened it’s more real. I feel like it’s a graphic that I grew up skating. That’s how they were put on a board, more than like heat transfer.
Yeah at the same time though it’s like you putting on the graphic. Which means it’s not perfect and you actually worked on your own board.
Yeah, I don’t do them myself. But I make the artwork and brought it to the silk screener than he burns the screens and I order a hundred or a couple hundred, however many I’d like to sell.
Who makes the boards then, besides the silkscreening? I know they are made in the U.S.A which is very rare.
A factory down in Alabama actually and they’re there… actually, I think its South Carolina not Alabama, sorry.
You have your own friends that are not per say the best skaters right now or where ever but putting them next to you or with you, how it really is, it’s quite nice.
As skateboarding becomes more and more professional you see a lot more focus drifting away from being with your friends. I think with you and Jeremy Klein skating together or making a movie with Jason Lee it’s like Skateboarding being preserved. I don’t know if many young kids know about the history.
Yeah. Now they’ve got youtube to tell them what the history is. Some of us grew up in it, with magazines and our imagination, now they have youtube and Instagram to teach them. It’s a little bit too invasive at times.
Do you tend to look at Instagram a lot?
I do. I look at Instagram every day, I’m not going to lie.
Right, you don’t have to lie (laughter). It’s normal everybody does it, even if you don’t want to you sometimes even go on Instagram.
But if I’m making new films I don’t really watch new videos that are coming out until I’m done with the films.
I know that feeling, it’s a like when we make the magazine we don’t really look at other magazines because sometimes you get the feeling of “this has been done already” and it is an unproductive feeling.
Right, and you want it to be as honest as possible, as honest as possible to your vision, without your vision being altered.
I want to keep it pure to what is my original intention is.
Yeah, that’s true. It is good maybe to stay away for that time then.
For me, that’s what I usually do. This way, if something even has some similarities to something, that’s out, I won’t be deterred from doing it because it’s a hundred percent honest.
That’s the thing, that the most important thing. Being deterred from something even if you’re initial feeling was like I need to do this it can be kind of stupid in a way. Maybe you just stay away from it then and be able to do it. Yeah, I really agree with that.
How much influence do your friends have in the movies that you make, like Jeremy Klein for instance, I pretty sure he’s pretty opinionated for instance.
Well, everything that he’s done on a skateboard has influenced me. Just watching him, growing up watching him skate, getting to meet him at a young age skating with him. As far as my movies go I’m the one that makes all the choices and the editing, I compose the shots and do everything and its kind of my vision on how its put together.
I was thinking about the shot when you drag the Bench and I really thought that was amazing because that’s something that normally would have been cut like three times. Everything is set to be like a minute, and the fact that you were just dragging the bench, I think it was super good. It’s the same with movies it cuts out so much “reality” when you actually cut the shot.
People are in a rush sped up the process because they’re in fear of kids having a small attention span now. I want it to go against that. Show that no you can have a movie that doesn’t have to be like seven minutes long with just trick trick trick, time-lapse photography, a quick cut of a homeless person, it’s not about that and there’s a way to do it in a way that you can express your self in a way you want to and show what really goes into things.
Yeah, it’s the same I guess when you show multiple tries also the tries that you don’t make. Or not even only you but also the other people around you like more having a feeling of a session almost. Instead of alright this is a trick were in were out, this is how its been for a long time.
Because it’s not reality-based if you make the trick every time. When I went there to try the 270 to lipslide I told them it doesn’t matter if I make it or not, it is really about what is going to happen here. In the end, I came close, I probably could have continued to go there and really do it but I don’t even carwhetherer I make it or not.
I think that’s good.
Cause that is the reality of it.
With the dragging of the bench, I wanted to show, that this is not a spot, that was transported here this is really how I skate this spot. It is being dragged by hand down the street in broad daylight in front of all these cars and people and that’s the whole idea behind it.
Yeah, it’s like a good feeling that people can relate with that’s not shown that.
That’s what I think is really good about your films, there’s a sense of time, you need to take some time to be with it. You know when I’m watching it, the scenes they go on and it forces me to stay concentrated. And the music is also quite different to a lot of other skate videos, I guess it is a movie project with skateboarding in it.
Thanks, that was a tough thing to find the music for it, it was tough.
No without you I don’t think I would’ve found the Cocteau Twins, you picked some really amazing songs by them. It was not a band that was on my radar before that.
Thanks, Jeremy introduced me to that band being young and reading interviews of Jeremy Klein talk about this band the Cocteau Twins, and me being influenced by him at a very young age. I bought some CD’s of the Cocteau Twins and I would always listen to them before I even met Jeremy just because I read about it in an interview and then he skated to them in his Birdhouse part, (his Ravers part) he skates to Iceblink Luck from the Heaven or Las Vegas album. Which is the album I chose a song for in The Year 13 film, *Cherry-Coloured Funk.
*Cocteau Twins – Cherry-Coloured Funk
Yeah, that song is amazing!
And then we also used it in The Way Out, Blind Dumb Deaf.
That one is amazing, such a good song to skate to, before that you have another song that more relaxed and then all of the sudden there’s a pretty big session starting, it works.
Yeah, that had a nice flow, that one worked out.
You also used, Se Telefonando*, I think the song is called?
*Mina – Se Telefonando
Yeah, Italian pop music.
Does that have to do with your roots maybe?
Yeah, I got into Mina from watching Martin Scorsese films, Scorsese is great with music I learned about a lot of bands from watching his films!
It is also not that common to have music with other languages in skateboarding there’s a lot of English music, that’s quite cool to have some non-English music. It’s also, well I don’t know how much you think of it, but its also a tool to show people what you are into, to inspire people.
(food arrives. food and sauce talk)
Back to your own skateboards how do you think of the graphics, via painting?
Yeah a lot of them will be ideas that I have in my head, paintings I make for hammers USA.
I worked on a really good new one for Deathwish that depicts the battle to stay clean or get loaded, it kind of shows what’s going on in my head.
You know and there’s a Phone on the bad thought side and a skateboard on the good thoughts side and the good thoughts are bright with light and the bad thoughts are swirling in the background in the darkness, I had a really good artist oil paint the perfect picture of this.
Yeah, I have it on my phone, I would show you but my phones dead. But it is a special graphic, one I am really happy about, we worked very hard on it.
That’s good. Do you get excited when you are skating those boards?
I guess its more exciting than logo boards.
Yeah, and for another one there’s a painting of Miles Davis.
Everyone likes Miles Davis right?
I like Bitches Brew, it’s a really good one.
Yeah, you have to get into it for a bit to feel it but it’s good music to think too.
For me, it is to create, paint, skate. I often like put on random classical music records when I paint too. They are really cheap records from Amoeba, a local record store. When I hear classical music for some reason I can paint, it helps me paint.
What do you paint with? Do you paint with oil?
Oil paints, oil sticks, acrylic.
Do you have a studio or do you do it in your house?
In my house. I have a loft that’s just a rectangular loft it is an open floor with open space.
Wow, probably with good lighting?
Really good lighting.
It’s quite important. That’s nice. I think it’s always pretty important to have the studio or if it is a loft it’s still your studio, to have that quite close to where you live. So when you have the moment and you’re like okay I want to do this you can immediately go do it.
The spots you skate are they close to your house?
Yeah pretty much, a lot of the spots I skate are very close by, within skating distance. The brick transitions are a few blocks from my house, the curbs I skate are around my house, the bench is kinda far from the house, you got to drive its in South. But yeah downtown L.A. is like a big spot, I like to skate the city like a spot. Go and skate from spot to spot.
I noticed that change where you were not skating big spots just going and skating. More like the feeling when you’re cruising I guess, not going to something that has a name.
Yeah, it is more of an accurate picture of what skateboarding is really like. Once again wanting to show that side of it. Introduce a degree of real-time into it, in sections.
It’s nice that it is all around your house. Normally unless you have a certain thing you want to do your not going to go and drive that far, your like okay, you grab your board and have some fun.
Yeah, it’s cool. It’s definitely a blessing to live in L.A. I have all the spots around.
But you didn’t grow up there, right?
I grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. Close to New York City, an hour and a half train ride away. Lots of stuff to skate in New Haven.
Do you still go back sometimes?
I do yeah, twice a year. Yeah, fun.
I can imagine its probably quite different I mean, being from the east coast, right?
Yeah, the weathers pretty brutal. It gets pretty cold in the winter and hot in the summer. You get four months of good weather.
Do you miss that sometimes in L.A.? Seasons?
Ahh, I miss it I like fall and spring. So, I can definitely feel when there’s a change in weather between fall and spring, winter and summer. Winters never bad though for me in L.A. summers sometimes can get gnarly.
We were in New York last year in summer and I thought it was pretty intense. So humid and it is pretty… I don’t know, if L.A. is that smelly but I would say that New York smells, it smells like hot trash!
(laughing) How long were you guys there?
A week, a little bit more than a week. It was amazing.
Yeah, heading out there on the 17th for a week to film to film Keith, Shredmaster Keith, I’m going to shoot him for is part in the Deathwish video.
Ah ah, he’s on Deathwish. That’s a good pick.
Yeah, I’m want to capture him in his environment. Kinda how he skates New York like a city like a spot a city as a spot.
It is very much possible in New York because we would just run into random things you could just skate. And the city is quite good to cruise I thought it would be harder to roll through but its okay.
Yeah, a lot of fun spots.
And it just looks beautiful.
It does. Yeah. Berlin looks really good, on footage.
Yes, it is, it’s really good. It has not the same vibe but some people say it’s like New York in Europe. A lot of graffiti.
Yeah, the architecture is nice.
It changes a lot, there is a big difference between the West and the East.
Yeah, East is a little more crusty, right?
Yes, but it’s also got the more spots. It is pretty cool you can drive into random sites with fences around and most of the time they won’t bother you. Yeah, you can just find some spot or put some stuff together.
(more food arrives)
So how has the (Supra) tour been so far?
Was it three cities?
How have you liked it so far?
Love it, I love Europe, it is great. I like Berlin a lot and I liked Paris, Brussels was a beautiful city too. A lot of stuff I liked. next year I’ll go to Italy to shoot a thing for my new Supra shoe.
I’ve never been to Italy, I want to go, you’ve probably been before right, to Italy?
One time, to Milan, but I want to go to the south.
Yeah, go to Naples?
Do you know where your roots in Italy stem from?
That’s cool, I heard some good stories about the city actually.
Yeah, it’s going to be cool, shooting there.
So are the new shoes going to be dress shoe-inspired?
Yeah, similar to the one I did a while back with Vans. I tried to do this before, like thirteen years ago.
Yeah exactly, it was my third shoe but the execution was focused more on an athletic last and now we are doing a more dress-shoe oriented last but one that’s athletic enough to work for skateboarding. Just enough. We wanted it pointier. Basically, I just wanted to be able to skate it and hang out in it and not rush to take my shoes off, because I like wearing dress shoes more than anything. I just wish I could skate in them you know.
That’s so hard though.
And I like how dress shoes are lasting. I typically wear loafers but there are too many slip-ons out there right now to do one.
Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s like slip on time somehow right now, it was gone for a moment and it has come back now.
I like skating in like leather because it protects my foot and lasts long. But the first one will be in suede, blue suede. Like Elvis.
What color is the sole?
Blue. Like all blue.
That’s sick. I think its quite cool to have tonal color shoe.
Yeah, I like that.
I’m pretty excited to see it. Have You been trying on some samples and stuff?
I squeezed my foot in a sample (size nine) but I’m an eleven. So I can’t really.
Lucky people who have a size nine foot they can try their own shoe.
I know sample size right.
As far as clothing goes, you don’t have a clothing sponsor any more right?
Nah, nothing out there I’m really hyped on, to be honest. Except for like Levi’s, Levi’s is really cool I wear the Jeans. I’m going to work with Supra on making some clothes, something special.
Yeah, special items, they asked me to help out.
I think clothes are pretty important, they are overlooked sometimes, a lot of the skaters look the same.
I love skating in nice clothes.
Me too. It can cause problems sometimes though when you find a new shirt and slam.
Yeah, I know. Anytime I find something like a new shirt I just ruin it right away, like the fastest.
Are you still shooting on film for the next film?
I shoot on a combination of film and HD.
Do you filter everything through film then?
I chose a different process, I take the HD and make a 35mm negative print of the HD and bring that down and digitize it back in so it exists on film.
Wow, I also saw that Kodak was involved in the last one somehow?
Yeah, they were involved, they were definitely stoked. I talked to them about working together.
I’ve heard they’re a little tough with budget stuff?
They are, it’s odd.
(Jim takes a look around the bar)
I can’t believe that shot of Gazzara. Did you ever see him in Killing of a Chinese Bookie?
No, I’m going to write that down.
John Cassavetes. Did you ever see him in Husbands?
Watch him in Husbands it’s unbelievable. In The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazzara) he plays a guy that’s recruited by the mob to kill a Chinese bookie to fulfil a debt for gambling and I drew a lot of my influence from John Cassavetes, you can see a lot in Cassavetes, you’ll see a lot of similarities in Cassavetes work.
I’m going to go away from this with a whole list of movies and songs. That’s cool. I like the fact that you’ve seen a lot and know the names. It makes a difference.
Yeah man, its good to have those influences and hopefully I expose other people to them and I they can draw the same influence from it.
I’m definitely going to check it out for sure.
I’ll be in L.A. fucking going to bed waking up and going skating. Waking up and picking up my car. I’m getting my car painted right now.
You are getting your car painted.
Yes, because the paint job was so bad for so many years and it had a dent from somebody hitting it. So when I was leaving for this trip I priced how much it was going to do for paint job and bodywork, and it was going to be ten days so I was like I’ll just drop the car off the day before and when the trip is over I’ll go to sleep when I go home, wake up and take a cab down there and pick my car up. And it will look like a brand new car.
That’s smart. What color are you getting?
The original color, it’s like a blue, it’s like a blue like that (light blue). It was in The Way Out, I don’t know if you’ve seen the film. Its the car I drive. Its a 78 Cadillac, Deville, two doors. It’s beautiful, so nice.
What color Porsche would you get if you could get one?
A brown one or navy blue.
A brown one. That’s nice, a brown colored car you don’t see that often.
No, I saw one in L.A that I like. Brown with a tan leather interior.
Would you get a new one or a classic one?
A brand new one. I like the Rolls Royce too. Wish I had a brand new one.
Did you ever drive a Rolls?
No, but I see them and they look really cool.
Supra’s Marketing & Communications Manager: Guys I just paid, we need to go or we are going to be late to our signing.
Ok, I think we got it anyway let’s go to the signing. Thanks for the time Jim!
Text & interview by Roland Hoogwater
Photos by Daniel Pannemann
Polaroid by Jim Greco shot during his time in Berlin.