‘What Is Dime?’ — An Interview With Antoine Asselin & Phil Lavoie

April 3rd, 2015 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 7 Comments

dime-lotus

This originally appeared in Dank Skate Mag issue number 8. We felt this was worth sharing online, given the slim chance that you have difficulty obtaining Norwegian skateboard magazines where you live.

Dime is one of the greatest “things” in skateboarding. I say “things” because even they don’t exactly know what they are. A brand, a crew, a series of videos, something? Being funny is hard enough, but being a funny skate crew — without falling into the same overused tropes of weed and dick humor as every other skater on Instagram — is impossible. These dudes somehow figured it out, all while embracing the relative invisibility of Canadians in skateboarding.

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What is Dime?

Phil: It’s a bit different than what it started out as. Now, it’s a brand, but it became one accidentally. At first it was a crew, and we just skated together and made videos.

Antoine: It started as a shitty website that we never updated. We were fifteen-years-old, just posting shitty web clips. We started making full-lengths and it grew from there.

P: We sell some clothes, but it’s not really a clothing brand or a skate video brand. Everything we make is just for fun.

It’s kind of a good era with the internet and all to have the luxury of not knowing what you’re doing.

A: We’re not too sure what it is ourselves. We’re just going with the flow. I think people like not knowing what it is.

P: It’s nice being able to do whatever you want whenever you want. Whenever we have a good idea, we do it. Real clothing companies have timed fall drops, and we’re completely lost on that. We’re trying to learn everything as we go along.

Alexis Lacroix in the back: No definition, no limits.

P: Our goal is to skate. Anything to keep us around skateboarding. That’s what we like to do. I’m never going to become a professional skateboarder, so I might as well make something I want to do in skateboarding. Antoine makes money off his sponsors and all, but I quit my job to focus on Dime.

So, the goal of Dime is to keep you dudes from having real jobs for as long as possible?

A: To us, it’s not work. Now, we have clothing in stores, so we have to be more on point, but it doesn’t feel like work. We want to do this.

dime-crew

Your crew is huge. The videos feel like they have a hundred people in them. How did all of you meet?

A: The main guys were me, Phil, Hugo, Bob, Riedl, Charles, Alexis, and then grew from there. It’s anyone who’s down to skate.

P: It’s not like we have a team or anything. If you’re down to skate, you’re part of the crew. We have friends who don’t skate that are part of Dime.

Are all of you from Montreal?

A: We’ve all known each other since we were 10 or 12, and we all met through skating.

P: A lot of people move to Montreal from other parts of Canada, and the crew grows that way as well.

Are there a lot of other skate crews in the city? What’s the scene like?

P: Everyone is in the same crew pretty much. Everyone is cool with everyone. It’s not like different crews are vibing each other out. It’s a very tight scene. We meet up at Peace Park and the session starts from there.

Why did you guys stop using the logo with the girl throwing up the devil horns? What’s the story behind her?

A: That girl fueled everything there is to know about Dime.

P: There was a website called DoYouLookGood.com, which was like a Hot or Not sort of website. You put a picture up, and people rate it. Hugo Balek sent us a photo of this young girl throwing up devil horns, saying “Check out my new girlfriend” as a joke. We go “Ha ha Hugo, nice one,” and forgot all about it. A few years later, my homie is going through my computer and finds a photo of that chick way down in my downloads folder. He goes “Who’s this?” and we started getting so hyped on her.

A: She was a random twelve-year-old girl throwing the horns, and it made no sense for us to use it.

P: The photo was a perfect representation that we’re not sure what we’re doing, so we got stoked on it. We started using her in all of our videos and she became our mascot. Eventually, we added this little laugh. We had a whole session of recording laughs, imagining “How would this girl laugh?”

A: We were never making fun of her. We were worshipping her, craving the day that we would eventually meet her. Eventually, she found out because some dudes at her high school saw one of our videos. She got in contact with us through YouTube. “Hey, I’m *the* girl.”

P: She was kinda bummed, like “I would appreciate it if you stopped.” I responded saying, “No, we worship you. If you want, you can be part of the crew.” She said, “I’m down to be part of the crew, just don’t use my photo anywhere besides your videos.”

Then we blew it. Some dude in a local magazine printed an ad, like “Subscribe to the mag and get a free copy of the Dimestore video.” It was a full-page photo of her in like 20,000 copies. She got bummed and sent an e-mail saying she was going to sue us. We were shattered, man.

A: That day, we lost everything, and had to start from scratch. You have no idea how many good times that girl brought to us. We’re dreaming about the day that we make enough money to hire her as our full-time model.

We can’t use her picture anymore, but she’s always there laughing in the background. We even gave the laugh to one of our friends who DJs, and he’ll play it at big parties, so it’s like she’s partying with us.

Is the dude in sunglasses sitting at Peace Park the new mascot then? Did he replace the girl?

A: We found that clip in a mysterious folder, same as the girl. That’s our homie. His name is Gab Ekoe and he’s a great skater. He’s approving something, just acting all G.

P: We figured we’d put him after real good tricks. He became the Dime Seal of Approval. If you have him after the trick, we really back it.

What’s the evolution of the name? How did it go from Dimestore to Dime?

P: There was a crew contest in Montreal, like “Battle of the Crews,” and we were thinking, “What do we call our crew?” Our friend is a big Lou Reed fan and said “Oh, Dimestore crew sounds cool.” There’s a Lou Reed song called “Dime Store Mystery.” We didn’t want to think anymore, so we just went with it. Then everyone thought we were a skate shop, we didn’t want that, so we shortened it to Dime.

dime-peacepark

Has Peace Park always been the central skate spot in Montreal? It seems like there are a lot of characters there.

P: It’s a really good spot. There’s also a lot of action there. A lot of crackheads, crack dealers, prostitutes.

A: You have to be mentally strong to skate Peace Park. It’s in a pretty rough part of the city, near the projects and the red light district. There will be people fucking on the ledge in broad daylight.

P: There’s a bunch of soup kitchens and help centers around there, so I guess it attracts a lot of the homeless community. It’s good for the crackheads that the skaters are there, because the cops mess with us before them. I got a $620 fine for skating there while there was a fight on the other side of the park with 40 ounce bottles flying around and getting broken. We’re camouflage for the crackheads.

A: This summer the city actually legalized skating at Peace for like 3 months, as a try out project.

Did you ever try moving anywhere else? What keeps you in Montreal?

P: In the summer, Montreal is the best. It’s got a really mellow vibe, you can pretty much do whatever you want. There’s a good party scene, you can drink at 18 and bars close at 3 A.M.

A: But winter is so harsh. It’s a bi-polar low in the winter, bi-polar high in the summer.

P: Everyone from Montreal stays here, and everyone else from Canada moves here. It used to be skaters move to Vancouver, but the entire city got capped. There are way more spots in Montreal.

What are your thoughts on the plight of the Canadian skateboarder? Obviously skaters in Canada are way better than the ones in the States, but nobody cares.

P: We love to laugh about that. We embrace the dudes who are good that no one gives a shit about. We look at it in a positive way. These dudes are there for us to notice and worship, even if everyone ignores it.

A: That’s why you don’t know any famous skaters from Montreal. They all stay here because it’s the greatest.

Can you explain the mythology of Eric Riedl?

A: He is the best skater I have ever seen.

P: He can do the techest tricks, and it’s like mathematics for him, — like a frontside flip switch nosegrind flip out.

A: He’s probably the most simple person you can meet. He gets along with anybody.

P: He has no social barriers. Sometimes it’ll be weird, because he’ll bring crackheads from Peace Park to the spot with him. You’ll have to be like “Riedl, you can’t bring along everyone.”

A: He’s so gifted at skating, it’s insane. He won’t skate for six months and still do switch 360 flips waist high. He’s like the Forrest Gump of skateboarding, kind of slow in the way he acts, but he’s a genius deep down inside. The only reason he’s not pro is because he has no structure. My dream is to become rich somehow and take care of Riedl and turn him into a superstar. He could be the greatest skater to ever live.

P: I’ve filmed with him a lot. He’ll be like, “I want to do this line with a switch flip manny flip out and then a switch flip back tail flip out.” I’ll have to go, “Why don’t you just do one flip in and one flip out, full speed?” He’ll say, “No, that’s too easy,” and I know to say “Yeah…but it’ll be more lazy.” Riedl will go “Lazy? Alright.” Then he’ll do it in two tries.

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How do you guys know PLG? That affiliation is hilarious.

A: I had known PLG from skating the indoor park when I was a kid. He’s from Montreal.

P: A friend of mine who’s a photographer offered me to go to California with him to film with PLG . We stayed at his mansion. I was living the millionaire life for two weeks, filming him with a VX. He had other filmers with fancy HD cameras vibing me for it, like “What the fuck are you doing?” He was down to do funny stuff, like the clip of him waking up and dropping in on the mega ramp.

A: We wanted to send him some Dime gear, and asked him what size he was. He goes, “I’ll take larges for skating, and mediums for the club.”

How did you guys get into making gear?

P: I’ve known Vincent Tsang for a really long time, since we were kids. He had a website that had a big following. He did a lot of fashion photography. He had a series called “I wish they made this for girls.” It was just girls wearing dude’s clothes, and then that got pretty viral. He knows that whole fashion and retail world very well. We’d give him money to do our website, but eventually, he was just part of the crew and became an enthusiastic volunteer.

Was he the one who thought to expand it beyond just tees?

P: We all have ideas, but he’s the guy who knows how to make it look nice.

A: We don’t really have anyone doing just one thing, like coming up with the ideas. Everyone contributes.

Who’s the weirdest person you’ve seen rocking Dime gear?

A: There’s been a few pro skaters, but there’s this French singer who’s maybe only famous in Quebec, and she performed at this huge music festival rocking a Dime hat. She gave an interview on national TV with it on too.

P: It was two days after we made a run of like twelve hats. We sold them to this little boutique, and somehow she got one.

A: Some people think it’s a legit brand, but it’s a bunch of skaters doing dumb shit.

Stay up with Dime via DimeMTL.com or @dimemtl on Instagram.

7 Comments

Comment by sauce
  • the instagram comp reminds me a lot of like baker style videos with random fights and shit in them. but with like 90% less greasy haired 15 year olds.

    April 3, 2015 @ 9:48 am
  • Comment by Ts
  • They need to restock the shop! I live in Montreal and can’t get my hands on a black hoodie

    April 3, 2015 @ 10:15 am
  • Comment by og gas pack
  • Dime is killing it – the opps needta take notes

    April 3, 2015 @ 4:12 pm
  • Comment by pre-2010 nyc skaters
  • vine comp 1st

    April 3, 2015 @ 5:55 pm
  • Comment by James
  • Dime is the best….definitely was in the camp that thought they were a shop when they started, but so happy to see what they’ve done. Great stuff!!

    April 5, 2015 @ 9:14 am
  • Comment by matt
  • @bryanfromdime is dime foreskin still in the making ? are you going to have some footy in it ?

    April 6, 2015 @ 1:47 am
  • Comment by loowee
  • ayy mane i actually bought this issue of Dank magazine just cause of the Dime feature in it (and the cover, one hell of a back smith), i was psyched to see that the interview was from the snackman himself when i first read it. shits fire, stay up fam.

    April 6, 2015 @ 8:21 am
  • Leave a comment