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

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


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, 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.


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.

“Yeet” is the new mini vid from Blue Couch. Features a pretty wide swath of spots around the city, a ton of night footage, and some #very #interesting line choreography at the Crackhead Park on 27th and 2nd Avenue. Also the back tail fakie on the fat flatrail on Water Street was really chill. Generic skate house song idk.

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

The Rios Crew went to Belgrade. I think I got anxiety watching it because of the song and the night footage where you can barely see anything else.

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

Well, this plaza certainly looks fucking insane.

Andrew Wilson, Max Palmer, Mango and Aaron Herrington went on a Korea trip with Carhartt W.I.P., and reminded me to re-watch this old clip Conor Prunty made of Max Palmer’s first time in Korea [with John Choi] :)

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.

Everyone of a certain age holds a special place for Scott Kane in their hearts because of his Bootleg 3000 part. The “Free Lunch” series caught up with him to hear some stories from the Bootleg days :) “Man, you got that flick.”

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

2013 Q.S.S.O.T.Y. Leo Gutman crashes a quinceañera on a boat and skates Chelsea park with a disposable camera for Vice’s “First Person Shooter” series.

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.

“Street Urchins 9” is a new iPhone clip from the summer full of streetside psychos.

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…)

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The most unexpected event of 2016 has got to be Fat Joe and Remy Ma legit making a hit twelve years after “Lean Back.” (I still got “Inside the Mattress” on though.) And now, the pressing question of which summer clip will be the first to go…”all the way up” is over ;) The promo for the new HYD video has a bunch of gems in it, including the second most unexpected event of 2016: someone filming a line at the ABC ledges.

Some of this footage appeared in Deathbowl to Downtown and Huf’s Epicly Later’d, but it is the best old footage to resurface probably since “Apple Juice” went online. Huf, Keenan, Liversedge, Bici, etc. circa 1991. Shout out to skate spots.

TWS posted TJ’s full AM spotlight interview and photos.

“My favorite skater is Louie Lopez, and my second favorite skater is Louie Lopez when he gets older.” (Only online for 48 hours btw.)

Blueprint Alumni Update: Some chill Danny Brady footage in the new Slam City Skates clip, and Nick Jensen has a new part to some Red and Meth.

Ripped Laces been posting a good bit of cool shit lately — a requiem for Reekbok’s DGK Workout Lo (which 80% of the people involved with this website were skating in 2005 because that store Clientele [R.I.P.] had pairs for $30) and Kerry Getz on life after pro skateboarding at a #legacyskateshoebrand.

Remember that chill D.I.Y. spot south of Alligator Ledge that was around for like two weekends? Max Hull posted some highlights with the BSA squad.

Sidewalk interviewed Aaron Herrington re: everything.

Zered talks talks about what “vicious cycle” actually meant and photography.

Is Reggaeton the new #skatevideohouse? Diamond Days #88.

Stöösy has a new clip of Jesse Alba skating around Brooklyn.

We were just at the Christiana bowl a week-and-a-half ago. Someone said “that’s where Tom Penny sleeps” re: a sleeping bag in this small zone above the bowl. New [indoor skatepark] Penny footage.

Support Humble Skateboards.

I have no clue what the new Boil the Ocean post is talking about.

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: Given that Game 4 was like the only “fun” one to watch, it’d be dope if this went seven, but looks doubtful.

Quote of the Week: “I hope Trump wins because then you’ll finally move to Copenhagen. A lot of boys coming to Europe…and a lot of boys going to Mexico.” — Francesco

Still most played jam of 2k16. Yo can someone please do a full Future + Nard & B mix? Respect to Young Metro but its the most under-appreciated rapper+producer combo.

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Our friend Danny Weiss was recently involved in a serious accident. Any help with his medical costs is appreciated. Get well soon Weiss.

Here’s the circa ~2007, pre-Bronze montage Peter Sidlauskas made to the eight-minute entirety of “Purple Rain.” Features a Shut-era Shawn Powers, a young Gonyon, a hesh B.D., and a bowler hat Derrick Z. Shout out to Esteban for re-uploading :)

Zered has a quick minute of line-heavy new footage out.

“Get that piece of…camera out of my face.” Another VHS edition of Lurk NYC’s “N.Y. Times” series is now live. Daytime midtown footage + lo-fi picture quality = ♥♥♥

Part one of the Josh Kalis “Video History” series is now live. Kind of touches on some of the same stuff as his Epicly Later’d, but a bit more personal and anecdote heavy. Amazing that so much of that early nineties footage is so well preserved.

Germany’s Solo mag caught up with Pontus Alv for an extra-detailed interview about the Polar video, the classic “r full videos #relevant?!”-discussion, the origins of the title, and how he still hates the song he skated to in Mad Circle’s Five Flavors.

So far, the only plus side to extended Instagram videos is this J.B. Gillett warm-up clip.

Skateboard Story interviewed Philly Santosuosso from Humidity Skateshop.

Nollie pop lord and former Inkwell office resident Brendan Carroll’s Static 5 part is now online, aanndd Zach Moore put Mike Heikkila’s Transplants part on YouTube as well.

An allegiance to track pants unlike any other in history. Also a pretty great part :)

A short documentary about the first “skateboard track” or um, snakerun.

My BFF Thando just dropped the video for his first single. Video by Adam Zhu.

Upon hearing Prince had died, one of the first things that popped to mind was Chris Milic’s It’s a Secret part. I YouTubed it once I was back at a computer, and the comments revealed that I was not the only one: “This made me start listening to Prince more.” Everyone loves a lazy discussion about the #importance of skate videos in 2016, but they still leave long-lasting imprints when done right. Whether they’re watched off an old tube TV, a computer screen, or a cell phone really doesn’t matter.

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: Are the Celtics really our favorite team in the east now? Is Tim Duncan an impending six-time Champion after the Steph injury?

Quote of the Week: “Slicky Boy and Dirty Daddy are the only reasons I’m still on Facebook.” — T-Bird

Not a great week in music. R.I.P. Billy Paul.

February 64th, 2016

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dre by dre

Dre by Dre in collaboration with Dre

Everyone go buy Bruns 2 (available both in digital download + hard copy form), and then share in the comments how many times you yelled at your screen during John Gardner’s part. Best part of 2016 thus far. Nik Stain (of Bruns 1 notoriety) has a short-n-sweet part in there too. Quick fifteen-second teaser here.

That time Josh Kalis quit Alien Workshop to ride for Zoo York ;)

Been a minute: HD video blog #20 from Johnny Wilson.

Wish this was three minutes longer… some B-roll of Zered and Bobby De Keyzer skating Barcelona via Richard Quintero. Zered also has this quick new Insta commercial from that knobbed Fort Greene bank thing out now too.

Antonio switch backside noseblunted the trunk of a car.

Yo we out to Amsterdam.

Straight nollie over Black Hubba is a chill move.

Skateboard Story interviewed Josh Stewart about the advent of skate video piracy in the 2000s, how it kinda-sorta subsided, and the always-popular topic of small skate brands reaching critical mass at this moment in time.

iPhone and bro cam featuring Loose Trucks Max and Andrew Wilson via Max Hull.

2 minutes of throwaway and boom-bap from an upcoming video called Counterculture.

“Last week the nation’s ever-deepening identity crisis deepened, again, after a Facebook posting left Americans to contend with the concept of Young Jeezy wearing socks with sandals.” Boil the Ocean on Baker re-tweaking their video format, and Transworld‘s refusal to let magazine videos go the way of video magazines.

Bunch of night lines, and some chill Sade vibes — plus anytime you do a white rapper down Three Up Three Down, your part is guaranteed to get linked up here.

Seldom-available part from one of history’s most underrated skateboarders, Matt Beach. Looks like it came from a mid-2000s Portland video. Song deserves an auto-mute, but then again I’m the one still getting shit on YouTube for editing a minute of footage to work work work work work work

The Welcome to Hell slams section, circa 2016.

Wait, is switch 360 flips not looking good like a known consensus? Switch backside flips, maybe…tough for those to not roll on the ground, but can think of many good-to-great switch tres. For instance: Antonio and Zeb are both incredible switch tre-ers.

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: Hey man, even if the Lakers’ locker room is an utter shit show right now, you can’t help but admire the team’s subversive creativity.

Quote of the Week: “She was like ‘let’s go to dinner,’ I was like ‘let’s get a beer.’ I didn’t get dinner — and it all went downhill from there.” — Chuck MVP

Ripped Laces did this thing about Pink Floyd songs in skate videos, and it reminded me of this eight-year-old Powers part. Shout out to anyone who walked through the snow to go to the Trife premiere at the N 11th KCDC location: