This article was featured in the printed KrakMag issue that was shipped with the ‘Slappy’ KrakBox.
Jeremie Daclin should be a familiar name by now. He was the guy responsible for putting European skateboarding on the map when he launched Cliché. Since that’s wrapped up, what’s next for the slappy enthusiast from Lyon? A truck company dedicated to curb skating of course. We’re excited to introduce you to Film Trucks.
FILM was originally created in 2000 as Cliché Skateboards’ sister company. Today, Film Trucks is reborn—rising from its ashes with unique and original designs. Film Trucks are made to carve, built for slappies, grinding pool copping and having fun on any DIY obstacles.
From the man that just keeps giving to skateboarding, here are Jeremie Daclin’s Slappy Top Five’s…
JEREMIE DACLIN. photo: RAM D’ANNECY
1 – The Fellows Union Curb Club (LA Crew with Chris Pastras, CurbKiller, Scott Herskovitz, Abe Bethel, Tim Olson, Jason Hernandez and more).
2 – Lance Mountain and Neil Blender in the “Ban This” video.
3 – Jon Lucero because he invented them.
4 – Jason Adams The Kid.
5 – Everyone who waxes a curb and makes it skateable.
1 – Get your best friends together for the best slappy sessions.
2 – Loosen your trucks!
3 – Make sure the curb slides. If it doesn’t, wax it!
4 – Frontside or backside, everyone has their favorite side.
5 – Make some noise (with your trucks… or yell at your friends).
1 – In front of your house.
2 – Venice USA because it was born there.
3 – USA in general because of the red curbs.
4 – Hardware stores because you always need cement or paint to fix the spot.
5 – Venice Lyon during my lunch breaks.
This interview first appeared in the Yeah Girl 2017 magazine and was featured in the printed KrakMag issue that was shipped with the ‘Yeah Girl’ KrakBox.
From an internship at Camp Woodward to shooting some of the world’s biggest skate events for Mahfia.tv, Zorah’s photography career has gone from strength to strength. To top it all off, she recently had five of her photos published in Thrasher Magazine. It’s fair to say that Zorah is leading the way for female photographers in the skate industry.
PHOTOGRAPHY RUNS IN YOUR FAMILY; HOW MUCH DID THIS INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION TO PICK UP A CAMERA? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE STANDARDS TO LIVE UP TO BECAUSE OF YOUR FAMILY HISTORY?
My parents were always open minded and supportive of whatever I wanted to pursue. They were even there cheering me on when I had my heart set on soccer or taekwondo, even though my interest usually didn’t last long. I so many fond memories from my childhood of days spent on photoshoots or in the studio watching my mom paint.
I remember my family telling me that a career in the arts would be difficult and often unreliable but the most rewarding as long as your heart remains in your craft. I don’t feel like they have placed any standards on me other than to be the best person I can be and treat others with kindness, I’m so thankful for their love and support.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE SKATER TO SHOOT?
The list is too long to pick a favorite but recently I have been going out shooting with Dave Mull and The Worble crew, it’s always a good time! I love those dudes. Jenn Soto and I have an amazing skater/photographer relationship as well. There’s never any pressure, we just hype each other up!
YOU SHOOT A LOT OF STREET PHOTOS BUT YOU’VE ALSO SHOT SOME BIG EVENTS LIKE STREET LEAGUE. WHICH DO YOU PREFER AND WHY?
Creatively, I prefer shooting in the streets but contests challenge me in other ways! When I’m out street skating, it’s often just me and the skater and we have time to collaborate and plan how we want the photo to look. With contests, everyone is skating at the same time, it’s almost like a marathon to capture all of the tricks happening around you at once. I love it though!
YOU’VE BEEN SHOOTING SKATE PHOTOS FOR A WHILE, BUT YOU GOT YOUR BIG BREAK THROUGH MAHFIA.TV. HOW DID THIS CONNECTION COME ABOUT AND WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DID IT PRESENT?
I emailed Kim Woozy, the creator of Mahfia, about summer internships back when I was going to college in Maryland. I actually forgot that I emailed her when I received a response about 2 months later. She told me that she checked out my website and really liked my photos. We ended up talking on the phone for 45 minutes and she invited me to shoot X Games on that same call. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Kim Woozy and Mimi Knoop’s support. The thank you list is a long one, there are so many incredible men and women in the skateboarding community that have supported me over the past year.
Stella & Andrew Reynolds
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY IN LA WHEN YOU’RE NOT SHOOTING PHOTOS
Sleep in a little longer than usual, make a nice breakfast , and spend the day reading on the beach somewhere far from the city.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM PHOTOGRAPHY ASSIGNMENT? WHO, WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN?
I would love to spend a year traveling around the world with a skate team/brand, preferably with all of the girls! My fantasy though is being a personal photographer for Ru Paul or Ellen Degeneres (I’m laughing to myself as I read this).
FIRST OFF, CAN YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF?
I started skating when I was 17, about 10 years ago now! First it was in the streets of a small town near Bordeaux, as we didn’t have any skateparks. I started with a bunch of friends on a plaza. I wasn’t lucky with my ankles so I stopped for more than a year. Then in 2010, I discovered bowls, transitions and ramps when I moved to Bordeaux. I fell in love! I managed to win the French championship twice, in the bowl and in the vert category. I got on the French Team for the next Olympic Games, which means I get to travel with the girls. It’s pretty awesome!
HOW DID THE IDEA FOR BAD ASS COME ABOUT?
It’s been years since I became interested in developing women’s skateboarding. It started with skate lessons for girls for a few years, then skate camps in the summer. After a few years, I noticed there was no brand 100% for females, except Meow. So yeah, that’s how it started! I wanted a catchy name, that everyone could understand, with a reference to an emoji, because we’re so familiar with those nowadays… And so came the logo—the peach!
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING ON BAD ASS?
Most of the time, skateboarding or wake-skate. We’re trying to build a crew with the girls in Bordeaux to make a video in the city. I travel a bit but because of my ankles I’m mostly focusing on the big upcoming competitions like the Volcom Invitational in Bilbao at the end of June or the Vans Park Series in Malmö in September. I also work for a society named Board-O; I teach skateboarding all year long.
DID YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE WORKING FOR A SKATE BRAND BEFORE THIS?
I never officially worked for a skate brand. I would have loved it because I love the culture and I would have been fully committed for sure! I have some experience in communication and marketing and I enjoy filming and taking pictures. Bad Ass was a new challenge and I’m happy with it for now!
CAN YOU GIVE US A QUICK INTRO TO THE SKATERS ON THE BAD ASS TEAM? Louise Crespin, only 16 years old and just a few years of skating but already really good! Less technical than the rest of the team but she has a really nice style! She’s also pretty good in surfing… Watch out for this girl! Jéromine Louvet, young girl from Toulouse who started skating at a really young age and you can see it in her skating! Technical and all terrain, she was French champion in bowl this year and nothing can stop her! Jeanne Duval, the eldest, from Nantes. She likes street skating and has the greatest style! She also likes cats, just like me haha!
Last but not least, Shani Bru! My homie from Bordeaux! She’s hard working and skates almost everyday. She gets better every time I see her! She’s not really on the team because she’s on Sector 9 but I still hook her up with clothes and she supports us with pictures too!
Update on Nov. 2018: Jeanne & Shani are not in the team anymore.
Welcome Alice Atta, a young girl from Marseille who’s ripping all the bowls within the region and who’s been to the Red Bull Bowl Rippers final. Julie Betrix, a very skillful young girl skateboarding in the Alps. Aloha Bornend who loves transition and spends a fair amount of time in the ramp. And the next one will be Juliette Meudec, coming from Brittany and the youngest among us who already has a huge potential.
HOW DID YOU GET TO KNOW THESE GIRLS?
I basically know them all from Instagram, then we met at contests and most of us have been or are still part of the French team.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO EXPAND THE TEAM OUTSIDE OF FRANCE?
I think I want to push the brand to get recognition in France first. I communicate in French on social media and we are growing a French community right now but of course I won’t be against expanding over Europe and worldwide one day!
SHANI BRU IS ALSO TRAINING FOR THE OLYMPICS WITH THE FRENCH SKATEBOARD TEAM, RIGHT? WHAT DO YOU THINK SKATEBOARDING BEING IN THE OLYMPICS MEANS FOR FEMALE SKATEBOARDERS?
Yeah Shani is the one with the biggest potential for the Olympics in 2020! I think skateboarding in the Olympics will help to get recognition from PAULIANA LAFFABRIER, cities and from people in general! Also, girls will see girls killing it on tv and a whole new wave of skater girls may come out of it, even if social media is already creating this!
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS FOR A BAD ASS FULL LENGTH CLIP?
We are working on something. It’s too much park footy at the moment and I would really like to take it in the streets but it’s not easy. I’m also wondering if long length still attracts people nowadays. I’d like to do something different than just another skate video.
YOU’VE SHOT SOME AWESOME PHOTOS OF THE BAD ASS TEAM. ARE YOU A SELF-TAUGHT PHOTOGRAPHER?
Thanks! I learned everything by myself, checking advice on Internet, reading books, asking tips to professional photographers and practicing a lot, because that’s the only way!
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO START SELLING IN OTHER COUNTRIES OR WORK WITH A DISTRIBUTOR LIKE RIOT? WHY DO YOU ONLY DISTRIBUTE WITHIN FRANCE?
We still produce small quantities and cannot afford to go bigger yet. I hope it will change in the future! You can order from anywhere in Europe on the website though.
DO YOU CONSIDER BAD ASS TO BE A SKATE BRAND FOR FEMALES OR A SKATE BRAND FOR EVERYONE?
Well it’s a brand created by a girl who tries to push the skate girl community but we aren’t so close-minded and I think guys like the peach so they can find a way to enjoy what we are doing!
WHO WORKS ON THE DESIGN OF YOUR APPAREL?
The peach on wheels was created by YA.LD but I’m now working with a French skater girl, Clemence, on some new boards. It’s gonna be awesome!
WHAT’S IT LIKE SKATING IN BORDEAUX? THEY’RE REALLY STRICT WITH PEOPLE STREET SKATING IN THE CITY, RIGHT? DOES IT CHANGE THE VIBE?
A few years ago, they were very strict, people got tickets all the time. It’s been about a year since skaters met the representatives and thanks to guys like Léo Valls, skateboarding is taken a little more seriously now. There are even some hours they let us skate some plazas in the city! But on the flip side, the only bowl in town is left behind and getting more and more dangerous!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO SKATE THERE?
I have to drive for an hour to find my favourite bowls like in Libourne or Gujan Mestras for example.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THIS SUMMER?
A few days in Bilbao in June for the Volcom contest at La Kantera bowl. Then beginning of July we are supporting a 100% female surf and skate event in Brittany where we will give skate lessons and demos. We will stay for a week round Lorient to skate and surf a bit. Then we plan a skate trip to the Basque coast with some girls from Bordeaux, camping in bowls and eating tapas! The last 2 weeks of August I will be on a skate camp mission as a teacher and photographer for Board’O Association! Then finally comes the Vans Park Series in Malmö followed by a holiday to Copenhagen and I will start an architecture and design traineeship in October until next summer!
How did Lifetime Laces come about? Was it one too many broken shoelaces and you couldn’t bear it anymore? I would break laces all the time, always just before getting something I had been trying for hours or midway through filming a line… As it turned out, the more skaters I met, the more I saw had wrecked laces and when I asked them about it, it pissed them off too! I set out to solve the problem, more than start a business. I did a ton of research into materials and different applications of them, then had a factory make up some samples for me. One of them blew me away and that turned into our first generation ‘Original’ lace.
We always love to read personal stories so tell us, where do you come from, Rory? When did you start skateboarding? And how? I’m from a small town in the UK called East Grinstead. It’s not got much going on but it had a pretty basic skatepark. So as a twelve-year-old boy with mostly male friends we all wound up with boards and that was that, down for life from that point.
Phil Batchelor, kickflip fakie. Photo: Chris Dale
Who else is behind Lifetime? The homies I skate with have all played a part in it as it developed, getting clips for the cause and helping out with ideas. The main dudes I couldn’t be doing it without are my business partners Myles Cantello and Phil Batchelor. Funnily enough, these were the older guys that looked out for me when I was a grom. Myles handles the UK shipping and distribution alongside all our video production (plus loads of creative ideas that push things forward). Check out the last videos he made for our Bristol Fix-Up entries. Phil is our team manager and for sure one of the best dudes on the team itself. He’s got a hardflip that will knock your socks off.
Who’s on the team? How did you meet everyone? Do you want to expand the team right now? Apart from Myles and Phil, we have some other killer members on the team. Conor Manion is another homie from the local park with a ridiculously deep bag of tricks. That was the initial team and then we added a few others. I noticed Alex Griffiths on Instagram a few years ago when he was thirteen, he was shredding vert ramps all over the world and I had learned that vert skaters break laces as much as street skaters, so we got him on to spread the word in the vert world. Then Moose Tarry was a younger generation skater from our local park who grew up and got better than all of us… that guy is going places for sure. Our newest addition was Matze Wieschermann, a German am skater that reached out to us. Turns out the dude is a clip machine and on some big companies, plus one of the nicest guys I have had the pleasure of dealing with… we didn’t need any convincing there!
Which of your riders goes through the most laces? Phil for sure, that guy will break a normal lace in about ten minutes of warm up! Luckily ours give him quite a bit longer, but he still gets the most care packages.
Did you notice over time any correlation between your skating style and the amount of laces you need? The more tre flips and kickflips I do, the more laces I break! It’s a weird one really… I thought that all skaters would break laces at about the same rate as me, but some people don’t even scratch them. Different styles I suppose. I now barely ever change my laces despite having access to fresh ones, one pair of our originals usually lasts me through two pairs of shoes.
Tell us about the new Formula X laces. The two main things we get tons of requests for are flat laces and white laces. Up until recently, there wasn’t a way of making these using our original formula as they came out weaker. We were working on these issues when Krak asked us if we wanted to be part of their next box, so we went into hyperdrive to make sure we could get something super fresh and new for all the subscribers to see. Lots of agonising research and testing later, we got our 10th sample (The X in Formula X…) in the mail and it was super tough—we finally cracked it! We could make them in flat or round and in any colour with a huge bonus that they would also be 20x stronger than normal laces—doubling our last lace!
Alex Griffiths, melon. Photo: Justin Thomas
Why did you change the formula actually? Where you unhappy with the previous one? I’m still stoked on the strength and quality of our original laces. No other company has been able to match them. They have been running for a while now and we had wanted to do a new product, half so that our loyal customers get their requests met, but also so nobody else can catch up with us!
When you say that “the new laces are 20x stronger than normal laces, a 100% increase in strength from our last line” how do you come up with these numbers? Do you run special tests? Do you have any sort of “laces lab test,” haha? But seriously, how do you test the strength of laces? We essentially simulate the motion that’s going on when your foot scrapes along the griptape. We use a control cotton lace from a skate shoe and all tests are run a minimum of three times per lace to build an average. Basically, we just secure the lace to a surface and repeatedly scrape it with 10cm of fresh griptape – normally Jessup or Mob as these are pretty harsh straight out the box and this is what your average skater is using. The cotton lace is normally gone after 5–10 hits. Our originals put up the fight for about 100–120 hits, but the new Formula X managed 274 hits on it’s best test, averaging out at about 250 — so we use 20x just to be safe.
I noticed something really interesting on your website: at some point, you say that stronger laces will increase the lifetime of your shoe directly. Could you explain this a bit more? This was a total ‘happy accident’ that we discovered down the line. If you have your laces tied in a bow, then the loop hangs over the side of the shoe, conveniently getting between your foot and the board when you flip it. All that nasty power from the griptape gets soaked up by the lace instead of your shoe. I didn’t think it would have that much an effect until my shoes were still looking pretty good after a month of skating—something that would normally leave them tattered and holey.
Have you talked to shoe companies to sell your laces directly to them? We tried to get our foot in the door with a few of them but what we ended up finding out was of all the components that go together to make a shoe, the company places the shoelace at the bottom of the budget, most of the time spending no more than 10 cents on each one, so as you can imagine they didn’t take to the idea. Plus I think that skate shoe companies have quite a lot of planned obsolescence built in to keep people buying shoes, if you make a shoe that lasts twice as long, you get half the revenue as nobody is buying that second pair they normally would. We’re still open to it! If one of the Van Doren’s is reading this right now, hit me up, I’ll give you a great price.
Is there in fact a brand that gives and/or makes better laces than the others? I think Nike tried some special laces and the Janoski’s had leather ones to start with, but I don’t think that led anywhere for them and they returned to cotton/synthetic laces. Supra ran a range called TUF for a little while that was supposed to have tougher materials, but I don’t think that became a big seller for them either.
Phil Batchelor, hardflip over Conor. Photo: James Griffiths
You mentioned in an email that you went greener with the packaging too. Was it important to you? Why? I try to be a pretty eco person. Our last packaging was a resealable plastic bag which was designed for re-use (the second greenest method of production) for storing skate bits etc. but as it turned out most people just chucked it in the bin right away. Not good. This time I accepted that most people don’t care too much about what happens to their waste and tried to plan for that. The new box is made from 100% recycled card and even if people don’t recycle it, it will degrade fairly harmlessly in a landfill.
What’s in your mind for the future? Are you aiming for stronger and stronger laces all the time or do you want to expand to other products at some point? We looked into using our materials to make super tough skate clothing, but it’s crazy expensive to do. I just want to keep an ear to the ground and see what our customers are asking for, so this is speaking directly to you KrakBox subscribers—If you try the laces and they are missing something you want, or you think you have a good idea, shoot us a message from our website or via our Insta. We read them all and if enough people ask, we will do it. Who knows what the future holds.
Moose Tarry, back tail. Photo: Matej Kardelis
Is there any pro (in skate history) who had a special/weird relationship with their laces? Like changing them few times a day or having different colors on each foot or anything else… Not a pro, but there was a dude at our local park that would wrap duct-tape around the whole lace part of his shoe so they wouldn’t break. You know we gave that guy some laces haha!
Do you wear your laces as a belt too? Do you recommend it, haha? Oh for sure! I have so many goddamn laces and samples in my house it’s ridiculous. Naturally they get used everywhere they can. Plus when you see someone with a lace belt you know they are a skater and can give them a nod. Part of that big family we’re all in with our scuffed shoes and scarred elbows.
Name: Danny Hamaguchi Hometown: Honolulu , Hawaii Sponsors: Central Skateboards, APB skate shop, Skate Sauce, Nike SB, Diamond & Grizzly Favourite spot: Anywhere in Hawaii What first drew you to skateboarding: I had seen my brother rolling around in my driveway when I was young. Ever since then I never stopped. Favourite sauce flavour: Siracha How much wax is too much wax: Never too much wax! Best thing about the Skate Sauce bag: Durable and made by the homies for the homies. Sauciest pick up line you’ve heard or used: “What doing?” Skateboarding in the Olympics: yay or nay: Skateboarding is in the olympics? If you could choose any song for your own part, what would it be? Wishes-ducktails Young gun to watch: Daan Van Der Linden Best skate holiday destination: Honolulu or Nicaragua What trend are you tired of: Sex change Go to trick in a game of S.K.A.T.E: Pop shuv Your worst skateboarding injury: Internal bleeding from falling on a wooden ramp. Plans for 2018: Keep skating and hanging out with friends!
Danny Hamaguchi, kickflip crook. Photo: Justin Crawford
Name: Sebo Walker Hometown:Salem, OR Sponsors: Krooked, Spitfire, Independent trucks, Bone Swiss, Skate Sauce, Drink Water, Standard Issue, Nixon, Pair of Thieves, Mob grip, Boardstix Favourite spot: Milano Centrale What first drew you to skateboarding: I was initially drawn to skateboarding because my older brothers did it. I was quickly hooked after feeling the freedom & creativity it offers with no rules and no coaches. Compared to all other sports & activities I played, it was so much more enjoyable and rewarding. I got lost in it in the best way. Favourite sauce flavour: RED SAUCE How much wax is too much wax: Just gotta adjust to it and make it happen. Too much is better than none! Best thing about the Skate Sauce bag: Perfectly fits a skateboard. So ideal for biking or traveling and only needing your board and a couple small essentials. Sauciest pick up line you’ve heard or used: let’s go skate Skateboarding in the Olympics: yay or nay: I think it’s amazing that skateboarding has gotten to that point, but nay. If you could choose any song for your own part, what would it be? Albert King – The sky is crying Young gun to watch: Katsuya Shiratori Best skate holiday destination: Southern Spain What trend are you tired of: So many, but I’m a positive person so I keep that to myself. Go to trick in a game of S.K.A.T.E: 3 shuv Your worst skateboarding injury: Elbow or shoulder popping out. Plans for 2018: Three or four street parts, get a cover, multiple interviews, Hollywood 16, get married, get a shoe sponsor, stay healthy & have fun!
Sebo Walker. Photo: Amrit Jain
Cover image: Danny Hamaguchi, f/s boardslide. Photo: Amrit Jain
How did 7Plis start?
First, I’m a passionate skater and an optician for a living, and 7PLIS started when I created my first tie clip and cufflink (2012) with recycled skateboards to wear at my job! So then I had the idea to make glasses, given my professional experience in optics.
Why skateboards? Skateboards are colorful, easy to find and free. Each board is unique and the curves are perfect for eyewear.
How does your background in optometry help with what you’re doing now? My background in optometry is very useful in terms of ergonomics and for all the measurements. Furthermore, optometric knowledge allows me to adapt a visual correction on all the 7PLIS frames.
How long does it take to make a pair of glasses? What is the process? It takes about 2 days to make a pair with a case and a little recycled glasses keychain (same board, same shape). First, I take off the grip of the board. Next, after having cut the face and the 2 arms, I refine them with various tools for about 3 hours.
They must then be oiled in 5 different baths in order to saturate the wood moisture and ensure their durability. Unlike varnish, this technique allows the wood to retain its natural feel. Also, because the material is alive, it can continue to evolve on the face of the wearer, unlike a varnish which will freeze the wood evolution!
Do you use every part of the board, or do you end up with some scrap wood? Scrap wood allows me to create rings, cufflinks, tie clips, USB keys, earrings, camera shutter buttons, keychains, watches, etc… All the wood that isn’t used is recycled into paper to make my labels. So I think there is only about 5% woodfall which can be reduced to make paper, so I use it all!
How many different products can you make out of one board? With one board I can make about 6 glasses, 2 watches, 10 rings, 10 cufflinks, 10 tie clips, 2 USB keys, and some earrings.. If everything is perfectly in its place, we can make lots of things with only one!
You offer many different recycled skateboard products. Who is your biggest distributor? My biggest seller is 7PLIS.fr and an optician in the Marais district, Paris, France.
Once the product is complete, is it still connected in any way to the original board? Yes, you can read the skateboard history on the box of each pair of glasses: the name of the skater, their best tricks, the spot where the board was used most, and the brand! On the back of each watch you can also see the name of the skater.
Your products include repurposed boards and bearings. Any ideas to include wheels or trucks in the future? Yes! Right now there is already a handle with trucks and a card holder with wheels in my workshop, maybe some other ideas in the future!
What are your feelings about recycling/repurposing things in general? I think that in general it’s a very good thing to recycle for the future of our planet. However, I often feel that recycling is done badly. That’s why the bottom line of my thinking is to prove that recycling can be premium and very well finished.
What is your biggest piece of advice for readers who want to start a brand/company? Know what you bring different to the table from everyone else, and cultivate it!
Last but not least, could you give us some info about yourself: Where are you from? Where do you live? When and how did you start skateboarding? I’m a passionate French guy, 30 years old. I started skateboarding at 12 at a small village skatepark and in Nancy city (France) and never stopped. I also love snowboarding and I work at night in my little workshop at the bottom of my small family home garage. I worked as an optician for 3 years before embarking on the 7P adventure! Now I’ve lived in Seichamps, France (North East) for 7 years and when I was young I lived in French Guiana and Lebanon.
This interview was originally featured in the printed KrakMag issue 19 that shipped with the 3 Years KrakBox. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!
Where did you grow up and when did you start skating? I was born and raised in Bangor Pennsylvania, a really small town 90 miles east of NYC. I had little plastic skateboards from the 1970s around my house my whole life from my aunts and uncles and I was riding those as far as I can remember but I don’t remember when exactly I got my first real skateboard. I think it had completely taken over by the time I was 9 or 10.
Jake Baldini. Photo: John Shanahan
You’ve obviously started with Adult right from the very beginning. What’s been your involvement in bringing the brand to life? It’s still the very beginning. I was able to go along to the manufacturers warehouse and see the operation and be involved in deciding on shape and size, which was fun. It’s still so new… Anthony is open to a lot of different ideas and making it fun though so we will all be involved as it progresses.
Anthony told us you were especially vocal in wanting the company to be East Coast rooted. Why was that important to you? What do you think it is about the East Coast skate scene that makes it special? Well it is rooted here, this is where we live and generally skate. It didn’t make sense to me to have the skateboards made in California or somewhere else by some people that are over there. Chapman has been doing it for a long time and the warehouse is located on Long Island so we can actually go there, communicate with the people who are doing it where we are doing it. Skateboarding here is just different, it’s been said a million times but there is a certain aesthetic, it’s obvious. There are a lot of skaters here doing cool things, making cool videos because they want to and there is nothing to be had in return as far as the industry goes because there isn’t really one on this side of the country. I don’t know if that makes it special but it’s definitely different.
Jake Baldini. Photo: Mac Shafer
What was it like filming ‘Back Pages’? Was that your first time skating and filming with the other guys on the Adult team? That was all footage we collected with different filmers and gave to Sam McCormick who edited it. I haven’t met everyone yet.
Do you consider yourself to be good at ‘adulting’? That depends on what “adulting” really is. I’ll go with yes.
Jake Baldini, ollie. Photo: James Juckett
Jake Baldini, backside flip. Photo: James Juckett
Cover image: Jake Baldini, boardslide. Photo: Max Zahradnik
This interview was originally featured in the printed KrakMag issue 18 that shipped with the Love KrakBox. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!
We loved our previous collab with Damian from Getta Grip so much that we knew from that day we had to do it again. Meanwhile, we were extremely lucky that Manu, the art director behind Diligent Skateboards [remember the collab’ wheels we made last Xmas?], was inspired by our logo and he sent us some awesome twisted versions we loved so much. We reached out to him and asked to put one on grip tape, sprayed by Damian himself. We included the grip in our 3 Years box along with this interview in issue #19 of KrakMag.
Hey Manu, could you introduce yourself? Hi, my name is Emmanuel Camusat AKA Imaurf Emmanuel_Paul; Emmanuel_Paul and Emmanuel Polymorph. This is an old thing from my days at Beaux-Arts [French art school] in order to justify why I was doing very different things. I graduated from the Beaux-Arts in Qimper [north west part of France] in 2000, I’m 46 years old, and I’m an artist and a teacher at the art school in Chateauroux.
How long have you been skating? How did you start? I started skateboarding in 1986 and I skated straight through to 1992. When my father died that year (I was 20 years old) I put skateboarding aside, my mind was somewhere else. I consequently stopped for 20 years. During that time, I was still landing some ollies every month just to tell myself ‘you’re still a skateboarder’, so I never completely stopped but that was still a proper pause. Then I really went back into it in 2012 when my first son started walking. I put him on a board, then myself, and bang: I missed it too much so I became addicted again.
How long have you been drawing/painting? I’ve been drawing for as many years as I can remember. I was hungry for comics and I didn’t get out of my bedroom really often when I was a kid so I drew. Nothing crazy but it was non-stop. Then I started skateboarding and I made some logos on my griptape, then on my clothes, etc… Then I started working. And then again: my father’s death, 3 years of being lost, and it clicked. The act of creation was way too important to me. I couldn’t forget that, so I consequently applied to a prep school in order to enter into the Beaux-Arts later on. I was enrolled in the same prep school in Chateauroux in which I teach right now. Then I moved to Quimper and I’m fully into creation now.
What inspired this Krak graphic? That one was part of a huge series of different logos. I had my little eye-based characters in mind and they started to invade my skateboarding pictures, then I got some geometric forms, then some logos, and in the middle of all these things, the Krak logo. It’s always an evolution for me, I jump from one thing to another, always in motion.
You’ve surprised us many times with some twisted/hijacked logos. Do you especially enjoy this type of drawing? Why? As I was saying above, I always try to be in motion. I’m also a bit of a workaholic so once I draw something, I have to test it many times, I have to try a lot of different combinations, I have to literally run through the whole thing. So I make a lot of tests, I twist things, and since the thing is in my mind all the time, I need to take it out. Otherwise it consumes my days. I play with the different versions, I fill out the inside of the logo, then I fill all the negative space. The Krak logo was perfect for this little game and I can tell you: you haven’t seen most of the drawings, haha!
I love these drawings because they’re instinctive to me. It’s a kind of meditation. I don’t think… it’s like I draw them to warm me up before going into more complex work. Drawing and skateboarding are the same to me. One paper, one picture, it’s like an obstacle. My pen, my paintbrush, they’re like my board. I have some tricks in my bag that I know, that I manage perfectly, so I start with them to warm up. Then I try some bigger stuff, harder, until I reach the point where they become warm-up tricks; that’s what happened with my logo-based drawings.
We actually see a lot of hijacked logos out there, what do you think about this trend? In my opinion, it’s because we’re literally surrounded by logos and brands all the time. So quite naturally, the logos are one of the first things that come into mind. That actually proves the strength of those who created them in the first place. I like the idea of ‘invading the invaders’. It’s not a battle, per se, but rather a way to identify yourself, to highlight where influences lie.
Some of the drawings you do remind us of Ed Templeton graphics. Do you draw any inspiration from Toy Machine? Hmm yes and no. I really like his work, there is something very strong in it but his characters are typically derivatives of themselves. It starts with a monster which eats some skateboards, then step by step it becomes something more liquid with some extra mouths, then extra eyes, then the extra mouth disappears just to leave the extra eye. I’m totally aware that there is some similarities, especially around the cyclops family. But to be honest, and without faked humility, I think that while the design is often similar, the content is not. And he’s doing things way better than me isn’t he?
What are the pros and cons of using boards as a medium for art? Pros: the form factor. You have to keep in mind where the trucks will be, the used and scratch zones, and the result is a huge and very interesting challenge. It’s always super cool to see your drawing under a rider’s feet. When you think about it, they liked your work enough to buy a deck. The skate shops become sort of art galleries to showcase your art.
Cons: I can’t think of any. I could say the fact that you destroy the canvas over time but I actually find that pretty cool. Consequently, it gives another meaning to your design. For instance, I drew some cows for an American company named ‘Crucial Skate Company’ and at the end, that became a ‘roast beef’ series that I really enjoyed.
What do you like to draw aside from skateboarding? Everything. I like drawing everything; all the little daily things. I always have a pen and a notebook with me. I draw in waiting rooms, during conferences, during meetings, I draw everything and everyone I see. I enjoy ‘series’ of things, like drawing something so many times that you make it disappear.
How did you connect with Diligent? I’ve known Florent for a while. Hey, he even told the story in his interview in the KrakMag. I used to ride with my friends in front of his house and then sometimes he rode the mini-ramp that we built ourselves, just next to an abandoned factory near the train rails. Then we sort of lost each other, and recently we bumped into each other. Since I was doing a lot of different things, he asked me if I was down to make something for Diligent and voila, here we are.
Who are your biggest influences in art? Wow, there are so many. My biggest influences come from literature: W.S. Burroughs, Georges Perec, Jack Kerouac; then from music: Pierre Henry, Pierre Schaeffer, Steve Reich, John Cage. Then there is: Marcel Duchamp, Picasso, Ed Ruscha, Joseph Kosuth, Max Ernst, Botticelli, Le Caravage, Richard Fauguet, Wim Delvoye, the Chapman brothers, I could go on like this for hours. Bottom line is: I’m really into experimenting, innovation and the intention being more than the pure beauty of the realisation. Even though there are some wonderful things in the stuff I just mentioned, I also think it’s deeper than what we see, that’s what resonates with me.
If you could do a board graphic for any skater, who would it be? Hmm if I don’t think too much about it I’d say: Natas Kaupas, Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero and Ray Barbee; they’re my young age idols haha; and Louie Barletta as well. Then I think more about brands, in terms of mindset and the atmosphere: Toy Machine for instance (let’s go back to Ed Templeton) and Enjoi.
What is your biggest piece of advice for readers who want to make a living out of drawing? To be honest, I’d love the readers to give me advice about that, haha, because I can’t say I live from my drawings. Jokes aside, I think you should work in an authentic way, be genuine and sincere, stay open and don’t focus on one thing only. Keep experimenting, always; and last but not least, find a real job on the side, haha!
This interview was originally featured in the printed KrakMag issue 19 that shipped with the 3 Years KrakBox. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!
Inspired by the likes of Phelps, Gitter and Pushead, Anthony Pappalardo kicked off his writing career contributing to Slap at the ripe age of 19 and went on to write multiple books covering the hardcore music scene. These days he’s a contributing writer for Jenkem and Vice, and he’s just recently launched the new East Coast rooted skate brand, Adult Inc. To celebrate, we’ve teamed up to bring you a KrakBox exclusive Adult Inc. pin and tee! We also took the opportunity to talk to Anthony about being raised by skateboarding, music and bad tv, and how it’s shaped him and the brand.
Jerry Mraz. Photo: Patrick Buckley
Let’s start with some background details: when and how did you get into skateboarding, when did you become a writer, and when did you put the two together? Do you remember the movie Thrashin’? It’s not good. Much like Gleaming the Cube/A Brother’s Revenge was also trash, but those two movies along with the much more iconic Back to the Future got a lot of ‘80s kids into skating or at least landed them a Christmas/ Holiday complete.
Check this out though, the female lead in Thrashin’ was played by Pamela Gidley, who was a beauty pageant winner and from Salem, NH, the town my family moved to when I was 10. This was a big story in the local paper. I guess she got some loot, because she bought a DeLorean—the exact car in fucking Back to the Future. It sat in front of this suburban ranch home for years and was about half the length of the home. Anyway, like most kids I asked for a skateboard one Christmas, but unlike most of my friends, I actually rode it all the time—in my basement, in my garage, and on the streets when the snow melted. New England winters suck. The hardest part wasn’t even the actual skateboarding, but rather, finding people to skate with until you get your driver’s license—at least for me, as I lived in a place without public transportation that would take you to a city.
On the East Coast, specifically the Northeast, there weren’t many devoted skate shops yet—it was mostly BMX shops that carried skateboards. I rode my bike to this spot called Flyin’ Wheels and got an issue of Thrasher. That was a big deal. I immediately subscribed and devoured every page until the next arrived, along with getting a free Skate Rock cassette with the sub—a real introduction to this imaginary culture that only lived in my head. More importantly, I was reading about skateboarding written by skateboarders, as well as music that I had only heard of in passing… I mean fuck, I was 12 or some shit.
Phelps. Gitter. Pushead. Here’s why this trinity was important. Jake Phelps had lived in Boston and was a legend before working for Thrasher and was a roadie for SS Decontrol, arguably the most important hardcore band from the city. Mike Gitter published his own zine called xXx and parlayed that into a freelance music journalism career and later A&R lane. He was also from Boston and wrote for the mag. Pushead had the Metallica/Zorlac connection and he was also an incredible writer, who captured what a band actually sounded like. OK, he was in SF, but it didn’t matter. Knowing that some of the roots of all of this connected back to something local made it more tangible to me.
I started working on my own terrible zines, then contributing to better ones, before I was introduced to Lance Dawes at Slap, through I believe Vern Laird and Sergei Trudnowski—I’m foggy on that. Dawes had a deep hardcore history, growing up in the Washington, D.C. area and he allowed me to submit some music reviews to Slap, as well as later letting me write about some skate events and interview bands. I was 19 and contributed to Slap into the early 2000s. I’m scared to read most of that stuff—I’m sure it was full of cliches and poor grammar, but it didn’t matter, as that opened things up for me and I actually got paid.
Brian Douglas. Photo: Zander Taketomo
You’ve also played in hardcore bands and been involved in that scene—including writing a few books about it—did music and skateboarding go hand in hand when you were growing up? Did one influence the other? For sure, but I think that there’s a bit of revisionist history in that the connection to hip-hop and rap gets left out of this Southern California fairytale. Contextually, as the first wave of hardcore is fading, rap/hip-hop forces its way into mainstream culture. That was equally vital and exciting, even if—at least in the Boston area—it wasn’t experienced in all-ages matinees. In the same way that we’d search out punk singles, we’d look for hip-hop 12”s or rare B-Sides. I mean, if you saw Plan B Questionable, you wanted to know who Hieroglyphics were as much as you wanted a Firehose or Dinosaur Jr cassette years prior. Boston historically had a big hardcore scene, but around 1990 it shrunk a bit, so if you saw someone at a show who looked like they skated, chances are you run into them at a spot and you became friends.
Skating and hardcore punk were similar in that they made you travel outside of your town—once you got a taste, you wanted to experience it other places. You want to go to CBGB and skate the Brooklyn Banks, etc. Later getting to go on tour and play so many historic venues as well as legendary skate spots was a trip. I mean, fuck, we played Gilman Street in Berkeley, CA and there ended up being a skate contest in SF. That was the first time I saw Mark Gonzales skate in person. Fuck.
Jerry Mraz. Photo: Jonathan Mehring
So you’ve just launched your new skate brand ‘Adult’—congrats! You told Jenkem that when the opportunity to start the brand came up you hesitated because there are so many brands already, but then you decided you were overthinking it. Did you just decide to take the gamble or did you realise that there was a gap you could fill? Honestly, it will work or it won’t. I try not to stay in my own head. The skateboarding industry is a lot like memes at this point. Sometimes I look at the shit and wonder what it even means—am I too old to get the humor? Is that what a 16-year-old somewhere in the world likes? We just stepped back and made what we thought would be interesting and looked right on a skateboard. The entire idea of starting a company where the profit margins suck is counter to capitalism, so in that sense, it’s not even a business. It’s not a hobby either, it’s a creative outlet, so I look at a brand like I would painting or fine art. How many artists make money in their lifetime? Well, sadly, mostly the shitty ones do or at least the ones I don’t find interesting. Ha.
You threw around ideas for the brand with artist Noah Butkus and he art directed the video ‘Back Pages’ which you launched with. Is he responsible for all the graphics in the first range? What is it about his aesthetic that you like and why did you think it was right for Adult? Noah is one third of the brand along with Cortney Miner. He’s the visual identity and will be creating the brand’s aesthetic as long as it exists. What attracted me to what he does, is that it has a familiarity, but it’s distinct. It’s his own thing and language that I think translates into what looks good on a skateboard. We set up this guardrail of using a little restraint and trying to create some tone without giving it all away. Are you really going to outdo Cliver or McKee? Is that even possible in this current landscape/post-analog world? It’s similar to the advent of rip-off graphics in the early-’90s—World Industries owned that, because they put a spin on it, while other companies were looking at a fucking Lay’s Chips logo, wondering what rider’s name started with an “L.”
When you look at what Jason Dill has done with FA/Hockey’s aesthetic, he really had a vision to fill a void, so if you want to play in the space, you not only have to create something more compelling, but you’re against a company owned by two of skateboarding’s most recognizable personalities, with the deepest roster. Good luck. That’s suicide. For Adult, it’s more about thinking of new ways to communicate without being too fucking extra at the same time.
I’ve read that you were into B-grade movies and old Marvel cartoons as a kid and I can see some of this in the look of Adult. That, and the collage DIY style reminiscent of the hardcore scene. Was there much thought put into the brand aesthetic or was it the natural direction based on your own tastes and influences? On one hand, I firmly believe that everyone inherently has a voice and when you try to change it, rather than refine it, it’s counter to the creative process. Conversely, anyone in my age group that got into skating, punk, indie, whatever, probably had the same experience. We were latchkey kids, raised by an era of television when cable wasn’t in every home, so you just watched what was on. The later the day got, the weirder the programming. You’re some kid drunk on sleep staring at the USA network at 1AM, watching a movie that probably shouldn’t have gotten made. It’s slightly off and slightly right on. So there’s that.
That commonality is automatic and you can’t control it, but we also both agreed that we wanted to own our visuals. Why are we going to pay to print other people’s art that wasn’t created with skating in mind? That’s been done. Also, nostalgia is a game for old people. I may be old, but I’m not interested in recreating my youth or thinking Adult should be like H-Street or Santa Cruz. I mean, let’s be honest, a lot of H-Street’s graphics kinda sucked—it’s easy to remember a Hensley graphic, but who the fuck is scouring eBay for a John Sonner board?
The t-shirt you’ve done exclusively for this KrakBox has a hardcore album reference. What’s the story behind the design? The “spit” graphic is something Noah drew up that immediately felt right for Adult and is a character that we can evolve. As far as the reference, it was a nod to a time, put in a new context. It’s actually less about Greg Ginn or Black Flag, but the colors and typography on that Gone album. The hope is that someone connects the dots and digs that record, but it’s kind of an outlier in that those references aren’t really in the line at all.
Also, Gone took that line/sample from an Elvis track called “Milk Cows Boogie,” so it’s that tradition of reappropriating, as much as it is a little homage. His version came out in 1955, pre-dating the King getting real, real gone himself.
Tell us about that bag of sketchy polaroids you found in the woods as a kid. Actually, there was this overpass near my house and depending on the water levels, you could walk across this creek or stream or whatever, if the rocks were poking through. Real suburban idiot shit, because they were usually slippery and you were bound to fall. Some creep had to have planted them or at least sent a perved out “message in a bottle,” because stuck on one of these rocks was a clear ziplock bag filled with Polaroids. I grabbed the bag and jumped back to the shore, only to find several pics of some hairy guy’s junk. My brain was thinking “boobs,” but then it was an uncircumsized dick, so that was a bit anticlimactic. I guess the experience would have been way different if I were attracted to men, but that wasn’t the case. One’s trash truly is another’s treasure. But honestly, I still believe some lurker saw us always fucking around down at this place and planted them.
Frankie Nash, 180 50-50 from flat. Photo: Leo Menezes
The team consists of Jerry Mraz, Frankie Nash, Brian Douglas and Jake Baldini. Why did you choose these guys? They’re East Coast, they’re all different, but they all share the thread of telling this story. Most importantly, they all have been so patient and trusting of us so far and have been giving real, unfiltered feedback. For example, Jake was really vocal about wanting the brand to work with Chapman Skateboards and really continue the lineage of East Coast skateboarding, as well as work with someone who really put this on the map. That’s what’s really important to me. We went out to Long Island, looked at concaves, and just shot the shit, taking in the magnitude of what they’ve been able to do for skateboarding. The place is a lowkey museum.
Lastly, where can we get our hands on the first Adult range? For this first drop we’re only selling directly to shops—no online sales direct to consumer. Yup, another fucking dumb idea, but hopefully it builds a little synergy with the local shops that are so vital to skateboarding. We’ll eventually sell online, since not everyone is near a shop, but for now, if you want Adult, tag a shop on our Instagram or ask your local politely—don’t be a punisher.
This interview was originally featured in the printed KrakMag issue 18 that shipped with the Love KrakBox. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!