You can probably recognize Johnny Wilson’s crew when you see a mob rolling twenty-five deep to a Manhattan skate spot. In a city full of cop-outs (“We got kicked out because there were too many people,” “There are no good spots anymore,” “It’s too easy to get caught up partying,” etc.), they have managed to complete four full-length videos in two years, all while releasing a weekly video blog series, which is up to volume #214 right now. That’s roughly ten or maybe thirty hours of footage, in a place that we often insist to be pretty frustrating to skate in. These guys might truly be the most productive skate crew in the history of New York skateboarding.
A week from the premiere of his new video, Paych, we talked to Johnny about where they come from and how their operation functions. Sorry for not including the obligatory “VX V.S. HD!” and “Is the internet ruining skate videos?!”-questions ;) ♥
Where are you from?
Born in South Florida, moved to New Jersey because my dad worked in the city, back to south Florida, and then to Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, which is the capital and two-and-a-half hours from Philly. Once I graduated high school, I moved to Brooklyn.
How’d you get into skateboarding?
I have two older brothers, Mitchell and Andrew. If one did something, we all had to do it. My oldest brother started, so we all had to start. I’ve been skating since I was around seven-years-old.
Were you always the dude with the camera, or was that later down the line?
This kid in our town [in Pennsylvania] made a little video when I was in seventh or eighth grade. He stopped filming immediately after, so I asked to borrow his camera to film my brothers and our friends. It was a shitty Panasonic with a baby Death Lens. After that, I got a bigger Panasonic, which was sort of the predecessor to the DVX. I ended up trading the Panasonic for a VX1000 to this dude in Long Island. I cannot believe that trade went through; I definitely got the better end of it. The dude even emailed me saying “I’m not really feeling this camera. Could we trade back?”
Where’d you trade for it, Skate Perception?
Yeah, the kid who I originally got my first camera from had an account on there. He stopped filming, so he ended up giving me his camera, and eventually his Skate Perception password. He had 500+ posts, which grants you permission to post in the classifieds.
When I got the VX, I had no idea how to use it. This dude Kevin Winters, who made Bruns and has maybe five VX1000s, really helped me out with how to set everything up.
Were you only filming friends around your town at that point?
Both of my brothers went to college in Philly, and I was a senior in the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania, so I’d be going out to Philly every weekend to skate with them.