“Took this at the corner of 3rd Street and 2nd Avenue almost eight years ago to the day. DMX was stopped at the intersection waiting for a red light. I nervously fumbled to get my phone out, framed him up, snapped one off and gave him a nod. He smiled, nodded back and told me to buy his record. The light turned green and he was off… R.I.P.” — Keith Denley, 4.14.13 / NY, NY
Now that we have been anointed as the people who shout the loudest about the Rios videos, it is only right to inform you that their latest, Toló 2, is online in full.
Spot envy has long been an attraction of European skate videos. Thanks to those first three Flip videos, our younger selves came to imagine Europe as this mystic, open place where Le Dome and MACBA were down the street from one another (or as Frozen in Carbonite put it, “football-sized marble plazas [between] Louis IX-era office buildings.”) This allure of Euro videos has continued today, but honestly, the Rios videos never had that. It’s tough to think of a spot they skate that incites an immediate, “Damn! I want to skate that!”
We first became aware of Budapest’s Rios Crew around the time they released Toló. Here were these skaters in a country with the population of New York City, producing something that looked nothing like any Euro scene we had encountered at the time — almost if they were partitioned off from that current moment in 2014, and only had a dubbed VHS mix of Quim Cardona parts as a reference of skateboarding in the outside world.
There aren’t many videos coming out today that don’t remind you of twenty other videos that came out today. Skaters love to think they’re special ‘n shit, but fall back on formulas just like Hollywood. (Currently kicking an idea around the editor’s desk where we rank the Bronze knock-offs the way NY Mag ranked the Taken rip-offs.)
Last year’s Toló video was something different. Not that it didn’t have it’s influences — the QS post for it made a tongue-in-cheek comparison to New Jersey vids — but it didn’t look like anything else being thrown out on the internet at that time or time since. It helped that it came from a secluded (by skate industry standards) former Soviet-bloc country known as Hungary, via the “Rios Crew.” Their subsequent projects have been frequent and just as fun to watch. They’re on the shortlist of videos left in Hella Clips/IG-era skateboarding that are fairly certain to earn repeat viewings.
These guys speak varying levels of English. Instead of doing a massive group interview, we had the dudes with the best command of the English language mold the crew’s answers into one unifying response. Most of the names wouldn’t make individual sense to you anyway, so here is an interview with Hungary’s Rios “Crew.”
What is the skate scene in Hungary like? Is Budapest the capital for it?
The skate scene is just as colorful as in the States, but with less skaters. The total population of Hungary is around 8.5 million, which is the same number of people you have in New York. There are maybe a thousand skaters in Budapest and let’s say another thousand spread throughout the country.
Skateboarding has been around in Budapest since the early eighties, but Hungary was still a communist country until 1989, so the first shop and park didn’t open until about 1991. Before that, you had to get gear from western countries. There are stories about guys who were selling H-street boards and other stuff before the first shop opened. There were skaters around back then, but it was never a common thing. The scene got quite heavy in the nineties and 2000s. We even had names like Rodney Mullen, Ed Templeton and Ethan Fowler in Budapest giving demos around in those years.
Every generation had a different central spot and shop. Our generation’s central spot was a square that was surprisingly built for skating around 2003, but after an accident, skating got banned there and it turned into a typical shitty pre-fab skatepark. It’s in the total center of the city and always crowded. We don’t go there.
“Our culture has produced an amazing array of photographers and filmmakers and even sculptors, so it’s not a lack of work ethic or creative energy that’s stopping us from producing poets. But I don’t see it as dumbed down as much as hesitant and cautious. Look around: it’s not just that we’re unsure what skateboarding means, but we’re unsure whether it’s even a good idea to consider its meaning. Skateboarding is supposed to be fun, after all, it’s the most fun thing. Taking it too seriously can dampen or even kill this fun, so, you know, fuck it. Let’s look at the pictures.” The Deaf Lens interviewed Kyle Beachy, a guy who is really good at writing about skateboarding.
“We’re out there breaking our ass trying to find this kid, and you’re up there fucking around in Nyack.” A teaser for Bleach, Paul Young’s new video featuring Dick Rizzo, Erik Martinez, Josh Wilson, Mark Humienik and others.
Found this rather interesting: the world famous Sants spot in Barcelona is unmodifiable, on account of it receiving an architecture award in 1983. The city is, however, starting to build designated places to skate in each district of the city, which could stir things up a bit in what’s basically the skate spot capital of Europe.