An Interview With Ben Chadourne

November 9th, 2016 | 5:20 am | Features & Interviews | 5 Comments

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Photo by Manuel Schenck

Words & Interview by Zach Baker

It seems like yesterday that we were blowing on cassette tapes and using t-shirts to dust DVDs off. Even shitty 240p YouTube videos feel like they weren’t all that long ago. Technology has evolved at a downright sketchy rate over the past couple decades, and it’s fun to watch society transform in its effort to keep up. The ways in which we waste money, photograph our own genitals and ingest media have changed drastically, and both we, along those in charge of doing the creating, have found ourselves adapting alongside them.

Skateboarding’s past couple years have been defined by the Vimeo auteur’s surge in popularity. Guys like Johnny, Peter, Nick Von, GX — without sponsorship from a larger company or any real promotion — have been able to go out, film their buds and throw original, quality edits up on the web for anyone to see. Skaters meritocratically recognize what’s tight and show these things enough love that it has gotten to the point that these guys are actually turning their creative side projects into full-blown careers. They have not only shined a light on lesser-known scenes, skaters, spots and tricks, but in using the tools at their avail, upheaved the traditional means by which a skate video is made and watched. The industry has been forced to keep up with them, and shit, even hire them.

Ben Chadourne has been on a serious tip lately — belting out HD edits of the Blobys, the Converse team and most recently, the Bobby Worrest/Hjalte Halberg edit for Nike SB, a love letter to skateboarding’s greatest plazas by two of the best ever to skate them. And Chadourne, with his admittedly useless art school degree, taste for Rod Stewart, and familiarity with the state of New Jersey, couldn’t be more on-brand for this site. We FaceTime audioed all about it while he paced up and down his street in Bordeaux, watching the people pass by and being self-conscious about his English, which is nearly perfect.

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What’s the last trick you learned?

Damn, I haven’t been skating that much anymore, that’s not good. I don’t know. Fuck. I’m doing the same. I’m working on my v flips because they’re trendy now.

What’s your favorite trick?

Fakie flips and ollies!

You’re from Bordeaux?

Yeah, it’s like a little Paris. It’s southwest, forty five minutes from the coast, three and a half hours train to Paris. You can refresh really easily compared to Paris; you can escape. That’s why I stay here.

What are a couple of your favorite French films?

You know this movie called L’Argent? It’s five short films in a movie, from different French directors. I like that, and La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz. I like Raymond Depardon as well.

When did you start skateboarding?

I started at a skate spot called Malraux, it’s like a skate plaza. I started with guys who were way older than me: I was 13 and they were around 20. They helped me out all the time, gave me boards and stuff.

Weren’t you sponsored?

Yeah, I used to ride for Nike SB and 5Boro. The first time I came to New York, I was 16 and I went to Tombo Colabraro’s house in New Jersey — the big skater house with the Ax Throwers, Andrew [McLaughlin], Willy Akers, Danny Falla.

‘LOL OMG that bag is so cute, give it to me’ — A Tribute to Skateboard Vine

November 3rd, 2016 | 3:09 pm | Features & Interviews | 6 Comments

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Last week, Twitter announced that it will be shutting down Vine.

Vine, much like Twitter itself, was never huge with skaters. It was, however, the low-key link that caused a sizable chunk of skateboarding posted online to move from YouTube to Instagram. Vine was the original easy-share video platform, and had it not posed a threat to a once photos-only Instagram in 2013, the fate of the slappy front nose 270 out would be far different.

The majority of skateboard Vines were unremarkable. Six-seconds was too short to share an average line or manual trick. It was far better suited for showcasing the brilliance of teenagers, snowballing dance crazes, and coining slang that has become commonplace far outside of its original context. A few people excelled at skateboard Vine — the Bust Crew / Richmond dudes, Peter Sidlauskas, Pat Stiner was always good at archiving bits of nostalgia — but it was never a ubiquitous part of every skateboarder’s life much the way Instagram videos are.

Lurker Lou once dubbed Vine “the wild west of social media.” It had no rules; easy-share videos were still a new concept in 2013 and part of the fun was watching everyone figure it out. People did so in different ways. Vine was the original breeding place for the visual vocabullary that makes up the beloved Dime Instagram videos of today. Other people took bits from the greater Vine ecosystem and remixed them into skateboarding, e.g. throwing a “boy if you don’t!” after Dave Bachinsky’s El Toro downplay. It was also the best place to receive a barrage of highlights from any video part that dropped earlier in the day, or somewhere to clown skateboarding in a playful tone that barely exists on Instagram, where everyone is promoting something.

Nobody was trying to get sponsored off Vine, which made it a special place to share skateboarding, and more importantly, laugh at it.

Below is a compilation of some favorites, which are all [sometimes loosely] skateboard related. Fuck you, I don’t want no ravioli.

And yeah, I couldn’t resist including “This is how I enter my house” even though it has nothing to do with skateboarding.

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An Interview with Dave Caddo

November 1st, 2016 | 6:35 am | Features & Interviews | 5 Comments

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Words & Interview by Zach Baker / Photos by Trevor Culley

One of the cool things about having the privilege of knowing how to ride one of these things, besides being able to find pot no matter where you are in the world, is that it keeps you exploring. It sends you out to uncover weird parts of familiar places, makes you creep into all sorts of alleys and ditches and post-industrial shit-piles, and on many occasions, you’ll leave feeling a lot happier than when you got there.

Every time I see Caddo, he’s having a pretty good time. Then, every time I see some Caddo footage or photos, he’s having a pretty sweet time. He skates all these spots I’ve never seen before, in cities I’ve never thought to go to. He’s gotten clips at like, the Holy Trinity of New York busts: the Roosevelt Island Monument, Forbidden Banks and the Holy Grail on Nostrand Avenue. Caddo goes out of his way to keep skateboarding interesting for himself, which is why his skating is so much fun to watch.

His part in Politic’s Division, which is his second full part in as many years, is loaded with all kinds of new approaches to familiar spots, fun lines down hills and in all kinds of parking lots. Here’s a chat I had with him about Enid’s, longevity, and kickflips.

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Tell me about when you kickflipped into the Roosevelt Island monument.

That was when it first opened up. I don’t know why, but the Parks Department would close it one day a week. You get maybe ten minutes before the old security guard comes out and starts yelling at you. But the guy is like sixty-years-old, it takes him a while to mosey over. The guy got there and his technique was to stand right in the way. He’s just mellow about it, kept repeating over and over again “no, no, no.” He was just saying that for ten minutes. [John] Valenti was walking backwards with the camera as I’m trying the last one and luckily I made it. I almost rolled into the guy.

The Importance of Being Sinner — An Interview With Pat Pasquale

October 27th, 2016 | 10:32 am | Features & Interviews | 13 Comments

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Words by Zach Baker / Photos by Dom Travis

In the wake of the sorrow that has come with the passing of Dylan Rieder, the thing that shines brightest about his legacy was an adherence to his own set of artistic values. You may recall him receiving backlash for his tastes in music, attire, skate shoes, and in general for how smoking hot he was. Despite that and piles of other shit talk, Dylan did what he wanted. He stayed true to himself and expressed who he was, despite what a million opinionated avatars had to say. While it’s undeniable that he was one of the best people ever to ride a skateboard, what will always stand out to me will be how he chose the represent himself. For that and so many other reasons, he will live on for generations. R.I.P.

Pat Pasquale A.K.A. Sinner A.K.A. Bandana B, as we’ve claimed before, is another polarizing individual. Some people found his Theatrix part to be inspired; others found the man, the gear and the dubstep to be downright infuriating. QS described it as “Josh Kasper in The Storm meets Guy in Mouse meets 2001: A Space Odyssey meets Total Recall.” It’s not like we’re all about dubstep, but all three songs worth of Sinner’s last major part was a pre-meditated, unflinching realization of a vision as close to its author’s sense of truth as imaginable. Furthermore, he lives by a similar albiet far more hectic mantra to that of this site: “Ollie up it if it’s under eight stairs, if not, go ahead and huck down it.”

Anyway, Snackman’s all “do you want to interview Sinner?” and I’m all “hell yeah,” so he sends me the contact info of a guy named “Bandana B,” who keeps texting me the words “hijinx” and “Arf!” We plan to link during my time in Los Angeles, which is tough because ~you know how getting around L.A. is~. Eventually, we agreed to link and do the interview at Street League, which, in so many words, was drenched. We decided to save the interview for the next day, but go to a party where Nyjah is playing drinking games, EDM is on blast, empty Monster Energy cans are everywhere, and people are lined up to get tattoos. Next morning, he tells me to meet him at the Roosevelt. The rest is, well…it’s here.

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What are you going to be for Halloween?

Skip from Dead Presidents, B!

What’s the last NBD you did?

Last NBD? Like ever? Or for me?

I mean, have you ever?

Yeah, I got NBDs on my resume for sure! That switch shove 5-0 shove it is one of them. I got switch three-shove revert, up five. I call it a Sin Spin. I invented that one.

The Vicious Cycle House — An Interview With Zered Bassett via 2003, a Year Magazine

October 5th, 2016 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 1 Comment

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The following feature appeared in 2003: A Year Magazine. (We ran a feature from 1991 last year.) The issue is now available for purchase on 2003magazine.com, along with a QS hat we produced in collaboration with 2003 to commemorate the northeast blackout of 2003 — the day the T.F. was dubbed the safest place on earth.

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Skateboarding was maturing in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Videos went from handycam promos to hour-long blockbusters with pro-level production values, skaters were padding their pockets with royalty checks from sponsors that were fatter than ever, and prodigious 15-year-olds were outshining the grown-ups with tricks that were unimaginable in the early 90s.

Except in New York, where skateboarding was still synonymous with chilling, of a lifestyle without an end goal. After 9/11, it felt even further removed from what was happening in the skate industry at large. The spots throughout Lower Manhattan became either desolate or off-limits, which made chilling (instead of missioning into the outer boroughs) that much more appealing.

But being New York, there was, of course, an exception. Vicious Cycle, released in 2004, was a video made throughout those years that upended the attitude associated with New York. Filmed by R.B. Umali and Doug Brown for Zoo York from 2002 to 2004, it was the first video to emerge from a crew of skaters living in New York who refused to accept what was becoming the status quo for a city that dominated in most other areas of culture. The result was very much up to par with anything coming out of California or elsewhere.

In 2003, Bassett and other skaters involved in the making of the video cohabited a windowless apartment in Lower Manhattan. This is the story of the Vicious Cycle house.

Where are you from and how did you end up in New York?

I grew up in Chatham, Massachusetts, which is in Cape Cod. I started skating there, met people, and then started going to Boston a lot. From there, I started getting hooked up with Zoo stuff from Jeff Pang, and would go out to New York to visit those dudes. I went back a few times, and then on my 18th birthday, I moved to New York. That was in November of 2002.

Were you getting paid to skate at that point?

Zoo paid for the house that I moved into, but I wasn’t getting paid.

How did the house come together?

The house was on Broadway and Fulton Street. I wanted to move to the city, so I talked Zoo into getting a house for me, Brian Brown, and Billy Rohan at the time. Billy eventually moved out, and Brian’s brother, Doug, moved in. He was the main one filming us back then. Lou [Sarowsky] would stay over a lot, too. People would always come to town and crash, whoever was around skating.