We spoke with Eirik Traavik, editor-in-chief of Dank magazine, an awesome bi-annual mag based out of Oslo, Norway. Dank is one of the most all-around unique skate publications we have come across — it’s closer to something you would see on the rack at McNally Jackson for $25 than a crumpled up Thrasher at your local shop. Eirik talks about the idea of a “grown up” skate magazine, independently running a print operation in the iPhone and Hella Clips era, and the future of mags in general.
What is the skate scene in Norway like? What mags do you guys read up there?
The skate scene in Norway is small and relatively fragmented. You have multiple cliques in every city, and smaller scenes in the countryside. Parks are popping up everywhere, so it seems like more and more kids are getting into skating. You can only skate street for about six months a year, so Norwegian skateboarding has traditionally been presented in parts of mags also devoted to snowboarding and/or surfing. When it comes to print, people are generally into Thrasher and The Skateboard Mag. You’ll occasionally see copies of Transworld. Print seems to be losing ground a bit, I guess most kids are more into instant gratification through Hella Clips and Skatevideosite.
Most countries in Europe have their own mags. I think the geographically closest influential magazine is Fluff from Holland. Scandinavia doesn’t have many interesting print publications. I usually pay attention to Grey, Anzeige, Kingpin and Soma.
A lot of print publications are folding or becoming online only. The magazines that do remain have big websites to back them up. You guys are four issues into Dank and don’t have much of an internet presence. What made you want to start a magazine when all signs seem pointed against printed skate mags?
The decision was based on nostalgia and personal preference when it comes to presentation of skateboarding, especially photography. We’ve all grown up with physical formats, and would hate to see good mags disappear completely. Dank is an argument in favor of slowing the pace down a bit. I can only speak for myself, but I feel completely numbed by the constant online flow of footage, ads, photos and montages. It doesn’t sink in. I think print offers an opportunity to really let photos and interviews sink in. Whenever I’m on Slap and come across something interesting, I’ll usually be looking at it with at least five other tabs open. Dank doesn’t have a big internet presence, true, but it is a product of the internet. It’s a printed mag that takes the consequences of the proliferation of quicker media outlets into consideration. We don’t run stories that are shorter than four pages, we come out only twice a year, and the materials are chosen to make the mag feel more like a book.