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.

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Photo via Peter Sutherland

Start your day off right.

The 2003 magazine is now available. It includes a Quartersnacks feature with Zered Basset about the Vicious Cycle house, which was blocks from Ground Zero in the years after 9/11, and what it was like living/skating down there. We also released a hat with 2003, based on the QS Block Party tee from earlier this year. You can buy the two as a bundle, or individually ;) [Related: The skate feature from 1991.]

The Alltimers Jenkem mix by DJ Shrimp C is now live. Run your bands up.

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Are backside 360s where both feet kinda leave the board the #new #thing?

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The Bunt has a new pod with Canadian legend, Russ Milligan. This part is still perfect.

Well, this plaza certainly looks fucking insane.

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Boil the Ocean on the Brian Anderson Vice Sports documentary and non-snitching sentiments being embedded within the skateboard industry. Actually had no idea Wes put Smolik on blast like that either, but shout out to 1998. What a cool year.

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Someone made a three-song/five-minute Kevin Bradley remix video.

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Aaron Herrington recreated Anthony Pappalardo’s needle-thread ollie at Blubba.

Josh Davis did a mini profile on Thrasher and Phelps for Hypebeast. I love Rihanna.

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Quote of the Week: “We were supposed to make way more money, but we spent it all on limousines.” — Phil Lavoie

Happy birthday Dre. (It was yesterday tho…)