Photo by Mark Custer
A crew’s first video is always an experiment. It is an experiment in finding the tone, the pacing, and even the overall understanding from everybody that yes, you’re making a video. Everyone in The Homies Video would have started skating after Instagram came around, but it didn’t affect the idea that there is something unifying and special about creating a full-on video. We chatted with Kei (the video’s filmer + editor), Mark (the crew’s photographer), and Kyota + Sully (both of whom have full parts in it) about what it was like filming for the first Homies Network video.
How did all of you meet each other?
Kei: I’ve known Kyota almost since birth. My parents moved here from Japan around the same time as his [moved from Japan]. We were both born here, and we lived like two blocks apart. I was best friends with his older brother, who is 20, and I’m 18.
Sully moved from Florida, and started skating with Kyota and them. It’s really just mutual friends between everyone. I’ve known Mark through his Instagram and his photography. I asked him to take some photos for the video.
What is Homies Network?
Kei: It’s me filming my friends. Everyone in the video is one of my favorite skaters. I took my parents old TRV-820 because I didn’t have any money to buy a new camera. I wanted to make something small — like, a short video, and it turned out to be way bigger than it was.
What’s filming with a TRV in 2019 like?
Kei: It’s a pain in the ass, but it came out good. It’s not a skate camera.
Sully: One day, we got three or four clips on it, finished the tape — it was a good solid tape — but when we played it back, all of it was glitched. That camera sucks.
Kei: Everyone re-did their tricks.
There’s that one glitched clip in there where Isaac rides off the roof…
Sully: That was the only thing that came out from that tape.
Kei: It’s a handycam, so it’s hard to film fisheye with it. I found the fisheye online and used a step-up ring for it. In the beginning, I used both hands to keep the camera steady and follow, but I fell so many times doing that. I started doing it one handed, but that camera is so heavy on the left side that it tilts constantly. If you watch the video, you’ll see the clips are all a little crooked.
Sully: That’s why I have no lines in the video. I wanted nothing to do with the fisheye.
Kei: I like it though, because it’s not an intimidating camera. It helped to film people who were on different levels. They’d be intimidated if I pulled out a HVX.
Photo by Mark Custer
Was there a highlight from filming your first video?
Kyota: The entire time we were filming for the video, I thought it was for an Instagram edit.
Sully: At first, it was Kei with a camera, and nobody took it seriously until one person would do a trick that was better than all the other tricks anyone else had gotten. It turned into a domino effect. When Kyota did the noseslide uptown down the wall rail, that was when everyone decided to take it more serious.
Kyota: I watched Misled Youth, and decided I had to do buck tricks.
Kei: That was the turning point. Everyone switched up, and was like “I gotta get better clips.”
Sully: Most of my clips were filmed while I was pretending to go to school. I’d wake up, go to Kei’s house, wake him up mad early, and we’d go film all day. If I’m with a big crew, it’s kind of hard to concentrate on doing a trick if there’s people doing bottle flips and showing each other Instagram videos.
What made Dalton want to ollie Bond Street barefoot?
Sully: That was crazy. A bunch of us were skating the gap. He took his shoes off and started skating around barefoot as a joke. He tried an ollie on flat barefoot, and couldn’t do it. Someone goes, “You won’t ollie the gap first go.” He says some stupid shit, like “Say I won’t.” Then, he did it first try.
Kei: I didn’t realize he was even barefoot until he was rolling away, because right before that, he stuck double flip second try — with shoes though.
Photo by Mark Custer
Mark, how did you get into shooting photos?
Mark: In 9th grade, my friend got a camera and I got a camera — but his came with a fisheye. I thought that looked way sicker, so I immediately bought a fisheye. I was shooting a lot of digital for a while, but eventually realized film looked sicker too.
Kei: The intro with all the photos is Mark’s part. He had had the first part in the video.
Kyota: Everyone wanted to do the Green Man photo at Dollar Beer at first, but Dollar Beer sucks. I convinced everyone to do it at Green Man. It’s a bust now though, because someone we don’t know broke the window. Some kid got arrested for skating there.
What’s the best trick done at Green Man now that it’s R.I.P?
Kei: Kyota did kickflip front crook shove.
Kyota: But I stalled it.
How much did Quinn get paid for that nose manny in midtown?
Kei: We were in midtown at lunchtime on a Monday — it was the worst time to go. Our friend Chris wanted to try another trick but we got kicked out.
Sully: That nose manny is so easy for him. He was messing around, and some dude was like, “I’ll give you $20 if you do it first try.” He landed it second try, and he still gave him $20.
Kei: There was another time when Luke was trying a trick on Bond Street, and some guy came up to him and gave him $10 for the next try.
So you guys made $30 off the video?
Kyota: Budget was tight.
Photo by Mark Custer
How was the response at the premiere?
Sully: The first one was for close friends, not too many people. It was on Ludlow Street, and we closed the gate. As soon as we opened it, there were hella people waiting outside to get in.
Kei: The cops shut it down right before Sully’s part went on.
How did Shithead get his nickname?
Sully: It’s Shithed02 because he was born in 2002.
Kei: He shaved his head, and it looked like shit.
Who is the most high fashion out of the group?
Kyota: [points to self] Tenzin gets paid to be high fashion, I’m soul fashion.
What’s the story behind the music? Did you get music from Genesis’ band?
Kei: When I first heard the Blair song, I was like “I wanna use this.” In the beginning, the video was supposed to be a shorter edit, and I messaged him being like “‘Day One Homies’ is perfect for this video I’m making, do you mind if I use it?” and he said it was cool. It turned out to be for Sully’s part once it became a full video.
All the other songs were songs I had in mind while seeing my friends skate. Luke skates well to Pavement, Kyota is full Frog minds, but he was the one who wanted to skate to Smashing Pumpkins.
Sully: I didn’t expect him to have a serious song, because when you watch him skate, it’s always kind of funny, but the song worked really well. That part is gonna be on Thrasher “Classics” in like ten years.
Kyota: Damn, you though that was my banger? Wait until my clips from the summer.
Thanks to Daniel Kim for helping with the interview ♥