I think it says in that book The War of Art that just sitting down and doing the thing can break down a creative block. Sometimes, a project takes on a life of its own and becomes something you never imagined. Skate videographer, Jeremy Elkin — whom you might remember from Poisonous Products and The Brodies — initially set out to make a documentary about the seminal Zoo York video, Mixtape. His research led in a more expansive direction.
It’s heartwarming to see world renown design principles from 12th & A make their way to skateable spaces all the way across the Atlantic.
“Their video Grains, filmed across the soybean belt of Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio, veers far off interstate arteries and urban sprawls to extract tricks from crumbling loading docks in Joliet, dilapidated stadiums in Gary, polished-stone plaza ledges in downtown Peoria.” As most skate content has drifted towards Instagram and nothing has much staying power, the idea of a “video review” has sadly become a relic of skate publications past. That’s a bit sad, considering a resounding, well-written recommendation of a not-so-obvious video (or something you simply neglected to click on) still means a lot. I bought Grains after reading Boil the Ocean’s new review of it, and can’t say I would’ve been compelled to do the same if I saw a part of it on Thrasher or YouTube with a Big Cartel link under it ♥
“The most dominant example of genre loyalty is DGK’s whopping 92% use of hip hop.” Someone culled Skatevideosite’s entire database of soundtracks and put together an infographic-based portrait of #musicsupervision in skate videos over the past four decades — and somehow, despite the fact it has been a recurring joke on here for ~10 years — Big L isn’t the most oft-used rap artist.
They were six B-roll tricks dumped into a friends montage, but they’ve kept a more permanent imprint in my memory than the majority of things I’ve seen in skate videos since. I’ve never made the walk between the L and the 8th Avenue trains at 14th Street without thinking about this clip.
Every interview with someone involved in the current *moment* of small companies touches on the “relate-ability” a niche-oriented brand is able to communicate over the might-as-well-be-CGI skateboarding you see in major company videos. In the years after Mixtape came out, there wasn’t a lot of relate-ability going around. Until the early 2000s wore on and innovations like IRC democratized the reach of skate videos, a company video guaranteed one thing: California.
Mixtape wasn’t just relatable because it was local, or because the skating wasn’t down big handrails. It meant so much more because of subtle moments like the subway tricks — they were as opposite of California as you could possibly get.
The best web clip in who knows how long. While “summer in New York” clips typically embody a play-by-play ending off at the Courthouse Drop, the creative team over at Palace Skateboards aspired for something significantly different. The clip falls in line with the VHS nostalgia seen in projects like Gnar Gnar and Caviar, but blends it with token nuances like non-annoying instrumentals, Waka Flocka, Bun B vocal cut-ins, and other things more synonymous with the modern era. The skating is all sick, including many instances portraying the difficult pursuit of doing meandering street lines that don’t seem forced, or like, “weird, bro.”
While some asshole is probably on the internet screaming blasphemy at the re-usage of Jeff Pang’s Mixtape song, we’re supporting it wholeheartedly. Especially in light of the fact that that red bench ollie (at the spot that isn’t actually *the* Red Benches, but on the northern side of the building) is the sort of thing that would have been in a nineties skate video. On an anecdotal note, that particular song features Matthew Mooney’s favorite rap line of all time from none other than Keith Nut. Ask him what it is sometime, it’ll be a good conversation icebreaker.
(The real question is: Does Palace receive endorsement checks from Long Island University? And if so, how does it tie into the company?)
Palace also put together a Lucien Clarke compilation, featuring some of his This Time Tomorrow footage, and set to another nineties classic. Who would have thought that a British company would have cornered the more nostalgically inclined side of the skateboard media world and not come off as contrived.