Well, physical skate videos are not dead. Apple may have made it tougher to author them, but since when has antiquated technology stopped skaters? These are the people who pour thousands of dollars each year into repairing and maintaining a camera released in 1996. Skate videos are good for at least another 20 years.
If you need a change of pace from the two blockbuster videos that have dominated the winter, here are some of the more notable independent projects to come out in the past two months. With shops like Labor making an effort to carry more local videos, and the seemingly successful “put a few parts on YouTube but still try to sell the full video for $10”-business model, smaller videos seem to be doing alright these days.
After ten years, the presumed end of civilized skateboard society in Philadelphia has been reversed. The only difference between Love today and Love 10 years ago, is that there’s no three-stair ledge. Kids are now good enough to pretend that the planters in front of the ledges don’t exist; the higher ones are just another thing to prop a tile up to. A-list skaters are moving to Philly again (for “college”) and the Photosynthesis comparisons are apparent.
Sabotage 3 is as much a part of today’s “everyone is good” era, as it is a throwback to the last decade’s most beloved orange VHS tape. It is the first Philly video in ten years that is in tune with Josh Kalis’ “living at the spot” philosophy. The huge crews of skaters, bums and cops from The Sixth Sense are back.
Much of the discussion has been around Mark Suciu’s sixteenth part of the year, and Ishod Wair’s apology for not filming more lines for Since Day One, but the lesser-known names all still shred. These sort of regional homie videos that still have wide circulation were rare when Photosynthesis came out, which is why it ended up being “the Love video” by default. Before, footage of pros would get sent to sponsors and their friends’ clips were sent to video magazines. Sabotage 3 is an all-encompassing video of everybody who ripped Love as it experienced a rebirth these past few years: The 2013 equivalent of if Stevie in The Reason, Kalis in Photo, and all those whose clips ended up scattered in Logic and EST had their footage in one project. “The new Love video,” or something like that — still with bulky DCs, many a backside nosegrind pop-out, and even early-2000s hallmarks like RJD2 songs.
Save the graffiti interludes that are reminiscent of a Natural Koncept video more than anybody not associated with Natural Koncept would want, Sabotage 3 is a fun way to watch sick skating while pretending that most of the 2000s didn’t happen.
You know what’s weird? Statistically, QS has always done well in northern Europe. Based on e-mail exchanges with visitors throughout the years, the common thread has typically been them finding it easier to relate to an American skate scene with an actual winter, somewhat “rougher” spots, etc. They even look past the references to “Slicky Boy” and clips edited to Future for a romanticized glimpse of New York.
In honor of our Scandinavian appeal, we watched Oslo 5, a new Norwegian video by Jørgen Østbye Johannessen, and used it to make sweeping generalizations about the entire region. A Scandinavian equivalent of Slicky Boy was not found :(
Skating: It makes perfect sense that these guys like New York, and for the only noticeable non-European city in this video to be San Francisco. These dudes definitely have Eastern Exposure and a handful of parts from the first few Real videos in their YouTube favorites. None of them, except the guy with the last part (Hermann Stene), are predominantly rail or stair skaters. Instead, most opt for impressive line choreography on cutty side streets.
Spots: Oslo and whatever the other cities they skate are, have some incredible-looking plazas, but they tend to stick to random ledges and bumps found on aforementioned side streets. The similarities between us continue.
#musicsupervision: Europe (and Japan) has sustained the “lyrical calisthenics”-contingent of nineties hip-hop into the new millennium, and yes, this video contains rap songs that use the phrase “lyrical calisthenics.” Euros love synths though, and there’s some super chill electro that Ty Evans would be into.
Lifestyle: They’re European and Europeans have biological artistic inclinations, so there’s a four-minute 16mm intro. The electro (another European hallmark) makes up for it. Is “party” footage native to North American skate videos? Europeans still rave and shit, how do more Euro videos not have rave scenes?
Most recent coverage of northern Europe in the international skate media has been centered around Pontus Alv, Malmö and concrete work. Oslo 5 lets you know there’s way more going on up there than a D.I.Y. renaissance. It’s available in the February 2013 issue of Playboard magazine (#62), which you’ll obviously have a lot of trouble getting in the States. Check the video’s Facebook page for a lead.
Home Grown & Debris
How did Minneapolis end up having one of the most productive skate scenes in America?
As one the country’s coldest big cities with a thriving (but still underexposed) skate scene, Minneapolis produced two great skate videos within a month of one another: Home Grown by Tim Fulton and Debris by Pete Spooner and Philip Schwartz (the crew behind Flow Trash.) Between the two, they total eighty minutes without filler. Best of all, nobody with a full part could be categorized as explicitly “a rail kid” or “a tech kid.” They skate everything, though some would have more fun skating in Brooklyn than others. When considering the months cut away by an average Minnesota winter, you can’t help but be impressed by their productivity, and thus surprised that more of these dudes aren’t hooked up with proper companies.
While the Timberwolves have been dealing with one of the worst bouts of bad luck in recent NBA history, Minnesota’s skate scene is sort of like the Wolves’ polar opposite: The Spurs. People mistake the Spurs as “boring” because they lack celebrity and glamour, but come playoff time, see if you find a more efficient, “greater than the sum of their parts” group. They have the most wins in the league right now and nobody notices. Minneapolis just put out an two incredible skate videos with a roster of Spurs-like diversity, and not nearly enough people noticed.
To quote an applicable sentiment from a Minneapolis-based writer about the new Bones video, another project of relative unknowns: “Yet another reason to not envy people trying to skateboard for a living. Good luck!”
Buy Debris Here (Includes an option to buy both videos)
The trade-off for SVA skate videos is that regardless of their half-decade delays, they enjoy the most promotion, rumors and general T.F. bench discussion time. Mama’s Boys, a delayed non-SVA video project, was released without any promotional bells and whistles, despite Ben Kadow’s well-received giveaway part. Its continued obscurity may be due to the title, which sounds more like the name of a jam band than a skate video. It would be unfortunate for that to be case, because Mama’s Boys is a solid watch.
Though some recent New York-based projects get redundant with the same blown-out spots (QS is fully guilty of this), much of the spots in Mama’s Boys are in deep corners of Connecticut or parts of Brooklyn that are not on the first two stops of the L. The video is a bit long with a dozen or so parts (including three friends sections), but the spots keep your attention if certain parts might not after several viewings. A few of the dudes are recognizable from those John Wilson videos, and the highlights come from QS office favorite, Loose Trucks Max, and Cyrus Bennett, who put together maybe the sickest New York part since Phil-Rod in Caviar. His ender is insane, not to mention on a spot that everyone has passed hundreds of times and never thought to skate, especially not in the way he did.
Download it for $10 here. Hopefully, the proceeds go to buying Max new pants, because he looks like he’s been freighthopping in the same pair for the past six months.
Cosmic Vomit 2
Okay, haven’t actually seen this yet, but…