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rony has never been so fashionable. So in keeping with the now, which just happens to be the night before we print, I’d like to take up this space to point out a couple production secrets that you may or may not find ironic. Writing the introductory editorial of the issue is - and I don’t know if this goes for other editors– but for me it’s the last duty to complete after a long-ass haul of production; the first being the front cover. It’s always challenging to find a hook without coming off trite, but when Roger Allen came through the studio with thirty or so of his old decks documented in fine form, it got me excited. The emotion these decks evoked grabbed me as if I had fallen into a time capsule, hit my head, then watched as somebody else’s life flashed before me. Thinking back to what skateboarding has been through, what I’ve been through, and what these decks mean to Roger was all that it took to inspire me.
wordsby sandro grison photoby dave christian
Since our last issue we’ve traveled to New York twice, meeting a slew of talented people along the way. It occurred to photographer Chris Glancy that they could also be described as “fashionable”, thus giving way to “Stay Gold” (61). We then traveled by bus from Chinatown NY to Chinatown Boston, and found ourselves in a city under ice. After roaming around Harvard’s campus, taking photos of students who might as well have been aliens, we looked for a place to find a good grilled cheese sandwich. Unfortunately we were served a thick slab of Goat Cheese on sour dough, when all we craved was some savory American– but don’t worry, that’s a spot you won’t find listed in the Boston City feature by Alana Paterson (54). There’s been some rumors circulating that Barcelona, skateboarding’s mecca of late, reigned no more. This is due to a change in government policy that made it illegal to skateboard there. Photographer Dave Christian went to investigate
the rumours and brought some friends along for the ride. He returned six weeks past scheduled to confirm that, indeed, Europe is NOT a bust. (No more than your local gas station). See for yourself (96). Our man out East. Eric Lebeau, has recently completed his new skateboard video entitled Lazy Paparazzi (112), pushing the realms of skateboard videos. We talked to him about the state of skateboard videos and what was behind Island productions’ new flick. Back in Vancouver again, we hooked up with our friend Gailea Momolu as he completed his video part in the new Digital video, along with a string of interviews with magazines begging for a piece of his majesty on a skateboard. We were more interested in the Gailea people don’t know, the one who’d rather get his shit on the dance floor than spit a rhyme (70). If you’re in to photography or have ever looked at a skateboard magazine (all of you), then the most exciting feature this issue might be our Artist Feature. This is the first time we’ve featured a photographer and I can honestly say that it just might be the last. It would be incredibly difficult to argue a photographer who’s given more to skateboarding in such a short time. Finally, we touch on a delicate topic that threatens the safety of everyone: gun violence (38). The Intro is really the farewell, the “enjoy this issue, I’m out!”. But before I do that I promised you some irony. Most people would think the general conceptualization of an issue of Color would be the real ball breaker, when in reality it’s the little details that get us. 4.1 offers a perfect blend of North American skateboard culture and I would have to say that it made its own bed. The cover, the features, and the overall aesthetic developed much on its own – and at this final hour before production, I’m just grateful it happened at all. Thanks to all who helped grow Color into its fourth year.
JOEY WILLIAMS, BARCELONA (61) switch varial heelflip
Featured product: The Limited edition It’s Time Collection. Cannon2, Lopez Al50, Allie 208, and proudly introducing the new Ramondetta. Free “It’s Time” DVD with purchase of select C1RCA items, while supplies last. See your local skateshop for details.
Full length video in stores June 2006
www.C1RCA.ca Copyright Â® C1RCA 2006 All Rights Reserved
Committed to Skateboarding.
THIS FILM IS NOT RATED
high steppin’ with tee shirt by crownfarmer, jeans by ever, jacket by Marc Jacobs, shoes by Yves Saint Laurent. Stay Gold (61) [ o ] C.GLANCY
“Dan Z” is a San Francisco-based photographer, although it’s hard to tell he lives there by how much time he spends on the road. His Czech roomies know when he’s back by the presence of camera gear in the hallway and Canadians on their sofa. It’s not exactly clear who chose whom, but it seems he’s acquired a liking for the North and its skateboarders. And either way, Canadians have much to thank Dan for: his skateboard photography can be admired in the pages of Slap and Thrasher Magazines and now in Color with the “Nuf With Guns” (38) article, “Fotofeature” (119), the token tranny page “Over & Out” (pp.130) and more throughout this issue. We wish him well on his ‘holiday’ to Russia where he claims he won’t be shooting any skateboarding, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Zaslavsky Borscht on newsstands in the coming months.
“Getting a new deck when I was a kid was a big deal. The Company, the graphics and the pro whose deck you skated with left an impact”. In 1984, like a message from some higher power, or “sub-human”, Roger received a complete skateboard and Polaroid camera as Christmas gifts. He’s been skating and collecting images ever since, and got into the habit of keeping his skated decks, usually painting on top of the graphics or cutting into the grip tape during the process of skating them. Roger collects a lot of things, including his skateboards, and we’re happy to share some with you in his Gallery feature (48) inside this issue – not to mention the cover! Roger appreciated the graphics, colours, shapes and names associated with each of the decks he’s kept. They’re a reflection of the time in which he skated on the deck. “I have had lots of injuries, fights, good times, and amazing memories through skating”. And he sees them all when he looks back at the decks.
BEN TOUR illustration
TIFFANY MALAKOOTI title designs
JUSTIN WAITES pre-press
MICHELLE CARIMPONG fashion editor
SAELAN TWERDY music editor
SCOTT RADNIDGE senior writer
RHIANON BADER copy editor
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS kevin wong, tyler mckenzie, jody rogac, dan mathieu ryan allan, shane hutton, scott pommier, michilini sebastien, nick scurich, alana paterson, jesus gonzales, jeff comber, dan zaslavsky, felix faucher, eric lebeau, nic fensom, christopher glancy, zach malfa-kowalski, maggie st. thomas
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS sam mckinlay, scott lyon, mike christie, caliden j. robinson, sean orr, lucas wisenthal, matthew meadows, roger allen, dustin koop, graham preston, matt goody, mike barrow, julia lum, alana paterson, barry alleyne, adam henry
dustin koop, fighting, regino gonzales, marc mcgee, danny vermette, phil yamada Intern kathy ager web conformist.nu distribution www.disticor.com | www.magamall.com Color welcomes submissions for Photo and Editorial content, but is not responsible for unsolicited material or liable for any lost and/or damaged material. Please provide a return envelope with postage with your submissions. Color Magazine is published by fourcorner publishing inc., printed four times yearly and distributed direct to retailers throughout Canada and to newstands by Disticor Distribution. Subscriptions can be ordered individually or in bulk by retailers for resale. Contact Color Magazine with any subscription inquiries or visit us online.
Quickly realizing he was a terrible skateboarder and that mongo was not the way to push, Nic gave up on skateboarding and picked up a camera. Then, after realizing his friends weren’t good enough to get into the local skate mags, he gave up trying to be a skateboard photographer. He hasn’t given up on it all together though, quite the contrary. Prior to working as photo editor at his University newspaper, this self-taught photographer moved from Vancouver to New York, proceeding to be published in such magazines as Mass Appeal, Trace, Soma and now his debut to Color is a collection of portraits with Gailea Momolu in “A Bolt From The Blue” (70).
DAVID CHRISTIAN senior photographer
CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS JIGARAM.COM
Raised in Toronto by her Iranian parents on a healthy diet of CBC broadcasts and low-budget Persian diaspora television, Tiffany insists on using the Canadian spelling and pronunciation of words whilst living in the desert suburb of Los Angeles where she studies graphic design at CalArts. An obsessive doodler since birth, Tiffany was thrust into her own personal world of art and design when she discovered skateboarding and fashion magazines at a young age. She has been glued to her computer and sketchbook, respectively, ever since. She was more than gracious to design the title treatments throughout this issue.
editor / creative director
fourcornerpublishinginc. 321 RAILWAY STREET, STUDIO 105, VANCOUVER, BC V6A 1A4 CANADA t 604 873 6699 f 604 873 6619 colormagazine.ca DISCLAIMER: the views and opinions expressed here are not neccessarily shared by fourcorner publishing inc. or Color Magazine, but by the author credited. Color Magazine reserves the right to make mistakes and will do so on a quarterly cycle without liability. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form [print or electronic] without permission from the publisher. The publisher of Color Magazine is not responsible for errors or omissions printed and retains the right to edit all copy. The opinions expressed in the content of this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of Color Magazine. Color Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising matter which may reflect negatively on the integrity of the magazine.
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wordsby nicholas brown
Dash Snow, Keep Me High and I’ll Ball You Forever, 2006
Lansing-Dreiden, untitled, 2006
“Goodbye to All That” is a fitting title to the last exhibition contained within the walls of Rivington Arms’ diminutive Lower East Side space. Prominently placed at the entrance are leaflets containing the floorplans of the soon-to-be relocated gallery space on East 2nd, (which puts the gallery several blocks off of its namesake street, but we won’t get lost in the details). And what better way to salute a space that has kept the Lower East Side in the mainstream art world’s sights than to host a group show with the stable of artists that has defined Rivington Arms in the gallery’s four years of operation. With ever-increasing attention from heavyweights like Artforum and the New York Times, and inclusion of represented artists Dash Snow and Dan Colen in this year’s Whitney Biennial, the time seems ripe for owners Mirabelle Marden and Melissa Bent to make the move to a space befitting their stature.
Upon first view, size is definitely a factor: the space barely contains the works of Darren Bader, Mathew Cerletty, John Finneran, Lansing-Dreiden, Hanna Liden Carter Mull, Dash Snow and Pinar Yolacan (Colen is the only Rivington artist absent from the show). So, with each artist contributing a piece or two, the show functions as a primer for the gallery’s programming; for the sake of brevity (on second thought, let’s call it focus), I will limit my scope to the work of two equally provocative figures, the evasive Lansing-Dreiden and the iconic Dash Snow.
to elaborate on Snow’s mystique, while broadening his aesthetic sensibilities to a combination of folk art and punk rock posturing. The effect is a greater sense in which mythology functions in Snow’s overall vision—his immersion into a heavily documented lifestyle combined with a fantastical slew of cultural connotations broadens the meaning of his entire body of work, which will culminate in his solo show in the new Rivington Arms space come September 2006.
Over the past few years, Snow has been mythologized by his excessive and heavily documented lifestyle. Through the copious self-documentation of Snow and his entourage, which includes Lower East Side success story Ryan McGinley, and made accessible to a wide public by Vice Magazine prior to the art world’s preoccupation with both figures, Snow’s work retains a markedly subcultural tone. What is perhaps most striking about Snow’s polaroids—the bulk of his exhibited work to date—is his immersion in the lifestyle he documents. It is within this context that his two works in “Goodbye” can be approached. Both mixed-media pieces, entitled Keep Me High and I’ll Ball You Forever and 22: Money Is Shit—Burning Money Looting and Shoplifting Can Get You High, respectively, offer a shifted perspective on Snow’s persona as evinced by his self-as-subject role in photographic documentation. The first is a found turn of the century-era portrait, onto which is tacked a button with the words “Keep me high…” from the work’s title. The absurd disjuncture of text and subject matter brings relief to the unmitigated hedonism of Snow’s polaroids, while retaining the themes of excessive drug use and casual sexuality central to these iconic works. Similarly, Burning Money… uses found objects (a snake’s head encased in a glass ball and upturned feather evoking generic Native American associations) and provocative text
It is, if anything, appropriate that Lansing-Dreiden’s solitary, untitled, work— a sparse collage with an abundance of negative space—gives a disorienting first impression. In the context of a group exhibition, the small, nearly empty piece makes it difficult to gather one’s bearings; add to this the notoriously elusive nature of Lansing-Dreiden: a collective composed of anonomymous artists whose output ranges from architecture to animated films, product packaging to pop music (the group even enlists musicians to perform in their places during live concerts, and refuses to be photographed for press coverage). Often accompanying their multifarious contributions are collections of literature that contribute to the group’s mystifying image—images and objects are expounded upon by oblique language and evasive interview responses. Such is not the case with their lone offering, its terse visual language complimented by an absence of textual accompaniment. The work’s placement across the floor from Snow’s testaments to excess offers a dialectic on identity as reflected by artistic production. In each case we see artists controlling public perception of their identities by expanding and limiting access to themselves as subjects of their own art. As an index of the choices Rivington Arms is making with regards to display and representation, these contrasting figures suggest a commitment to dynamic and varying emerging artists that work very effectively in dialogue with one another. RIVINGTONARMS.COM
element footwear fall 2006 collection available now connect @ elementskateboards.com/footwear
toshtownend wears the columbia mid
88 Reach House, 6´ x 3´, 2005
wordsby julia lum
No matter the city, there are some things that don’t disappoint. As artist and illustrator ALIST (AKA Allister Lee) has captured in his offhand but intricate illustrations, Chinatowns are one of those urban phenomena that visitors discover in any major city around the world. These micro-municipalities are a sure bet for wonderfully frightening smells and vegetableladen gutters that prevent the hygienic flow of street sewage. When asked, “Why Chinatown?” ALIST remarks that no matter what city a person discovers when traveling, Chinatown is always familiar. The travel-minded Lee spent three years in London, where he discovered his subject matter by free-hand drawing on the street and engaging in what he half-mockingly describes as “the romantic art school thing.” After spending one Chinese New Year in Paris, he began working with rolls of brown pattern-cutting paper and meticulously applying details and layers of gradient tones with black marker. By using simple tools and mediums, ALIST’s work highlights finished product over flashy materiality, and work ethic over artistic posturing. In distinguishing himself as an artist, he has become thoroughly aligned with Chinatown: “It isn’t showy. It’s about making ends meet and not paying attention to trends… Chinese people got hustle. They don’t care and they work hard.” Lee has continued to draw from everyday street scenes and photographic records of discarded Chinese fruit and vegetable boxes. The result of these observations is a repertoire of culturally charged imagery, evocative of both the fantastic and mundane aspects of city life. Additionally, in contrast to the emblematic ‘urban’ streetscape, ALIST elevates his subject matter to the realm of the unreal: his strange amorphous characters are the sole occupants of the nighttime Chinatown landscapes, simultaneously haunting and breathing life into the uncanny environments. 24
Hong Tesha, 12˝ x 12˝, 2005 ENTERTHEALIST.COM
PIERRE-YVES GAUTHIER pole jam.
CONTEST Congratulations to Tyler Colson Kline of Philadelphia, PA, the winner of last issue’s Griptape art contest sponsored by MOB Grip. It was a fair trade (his submission shown below) for our one of a kind Steve Cabellero griptape art. Flip the page to view this issue’s contest! COLORMAGAZINE.CA DIRTY SHOW
[ o ] HUTTON
Our friend and photographer Maggie St. Thomas was in attendance at the Dirty Show this past February and returned with a slew of provocative photos including this one with one of the founders of the show. The Dirty Show is an annual event that runs during Valentine’s weekend in Detroit, Michigan. It is one of America’s largest Erotic Art Expo’s showcasing over 200 artists worldwide. Dirty Show includes photography, paintings, drawings, and other mixed media erotic artworks and live performances by some of the leading burlesque troops and performers around. DIRTYDETROIT.COM
Emery, subscribers most likely will not hear from us, but will surely receive this issue, and read this before anyone else gets a chance to read it in the bald prairies of Saskatchewan. 4.1 is the first issue of 2006 and you can expect three more to come your way this year. THE FUEL TV EXPERIMENT The first and only television network of its kind dedicated to surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and other extreme sports, was proud to announce “Harvey Spannos” as the top selection in The FUEL TV Experiment. Filmmaker Corey Adams has been granted a production budget of one million dollars to now produce a feature film. “Harvey Spannos” is surreal comedy featuring Rick McCrank as Blair Stanley, Keegan Sauder as Danny Spannos and John Rattray. A young boy uncovers the mystery of his father’s death and searches for his own identity through skateboarding. Through his journey Harvey daydreams of being pro like the successful “sportsman” Blair Stanley, before realizing skateboarding’s own potential. Other notable entries in the Fuel TV Experiment include a film by Michael Leon and Jon Humphries – and “Switchstance” featuring Ryan Smith. FUEL.TV 28
[ o ] CREAMER
This is the most fresh magazine in publishing right now. I deem myself a huge fan of both the worlds of Skateboarding and Art. The editing and particularly the layout of the magazine, including the photography and typography really excite me coming from a student learning Graphic Arts on the bald prairies of Saskatchewan. Anyway, I sent a cheque in the mail with the subscription post card that came in issue 2.3, on Saturday February 4. Am I going to receive confirmation when you get my order, or must I wait ‘til the new issue lands on the front step? - Emery Norton, via email.
Montreal filmmaker Jeremy Elkin has begun production on a new film entitled Floorwork in conjunction with Zoo York, Osiris and Orkus. The film will feature the likes of Nate Belanger, Collin Hale, Phil Knechtel, Jonathan Daraiche, Mack Duke, Dave Abair, Drew Williams, Pierre-Yves Gauthier and Mike Mains. The video will be out in stores next winter.
Studio Skateboards has become official. After two years of sitting on the idea, Darrell Smith finally decided to go through with it. So far the team consists of Smith with three more riders to be announced shortly. “This all just seemed like the right thing to do and it couldn’t have come at a better time.” Says Studio Skateboards’ CEO, Darrell Smith.
THE URBAN FISHERMAN
SAID AND DONE
Despite Element’s new and innovative feather light helium skateboard construction, they’re also taking strides in furthering the graphic design features with their new artist series. The artist series decks feature die-cut griptape for added effect and Jeremy Fish’s deck has an asymmetrical shape to go along with it. Our very own Nick Brown caught up with him in March during the filming of a promotional video for the deck. There were only two casualties… one arrest and one urban fish. SILLYPINKBUNNIES.COM ELEMENTSKATEBOARDS.COM
Artist and former Art Director for Skateboarder Magazine, Dustin Koop is looking for artists that are interested in collaboration. There are no boundaries as far as content or medium. The goal of this project is to challenge and push the artist, as well as the collaboration process, thus uniting like minded people and their communities. The work will be shown throughout Canada, United States, Australia and hopefully will spread to other areas of the world. Visit the website for more information about how you can get involved. SAIDANDDONE.CA
TIMEBOMB DIST.: 604.251.1097
DVS & Color present a photography
in collaboration with the DVS Photographer Series
CONTEST RULES Participants are to submit one photo which can be of any subject matter, theme or shot in any format. The top ten selected photographers will have their photos produced on a one of a kind DVS shoe, with one recieving a package of DVS product. All submissions are to be supplied to Color in the form of a print. For more info contact email@example.com CONTEST DEADLINE June 15th 2006 MAIL PRINTS TO Color Magazine 321 Railway Street Suite #105 Vancouver BC V6A 1A4 Canada
Huf 4 by Atiba Jefferson (Photographer Series)
All runners up will have their photos produced on a one of a kind DVS shoe to be auctioned with proceeds donated to charity.
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END. wordsby caliden j robinson photoby ryan allan
In 1996, Conrad Hotrum and Scott MacDonald started DMBC. The Hamilton, Ontario shop was destined to remedy all the bad things they saw with conventional shops at the 32
time. The result closely resembled a group home with a community of skaters that were passionate about what they were doing. DMBC was a place you could go to buy any product you desired, skate the mini ramp, play pool, watch a video, or simply hang amongst friends. Hamilton is a steel town and, besides a few nice areas, pretty much represents the armpit of eastern Canada. However, at the time of DMBC’s introduction, Hamilton was the home to some of the best skaters around. The town’s small but versatile skatepark (Beasley’s) was visited by people from all over, including New York and D.C. People came not only to session the infamous Beasley’s, but also to witness the extent of the locals’ talent who destroyed it. Arriving at “Beaz”, you might be lucky enough to witness the likes of people such as Jamie Johnny, Scott MacDonald, Conrad Hotrum, Andrew Yates, Grant Coates, Matt Ramage, Jaime McGuiness, Mike Smith and, of course, a prospering Mark Appleyard. In March of this year DMBC closed its doors due to overwhelming competition from corporate stores in the area and a recession in the industry. As a new generation of skaters embarks upon the streets, some will never experience the kind of homes that were found in places like DMBC. All good things will and eventually do come to an end, I believe that helps us to embrace, reflect on and appreciate them. Although they’re gone now, memories of humid summer Beaz sessions, DMBC parties, Hess Village mayhem, Harvest Burger dwelling and endless days of skating will never fade.
[ o ] WONG
It seems that the world is entering a period of rebirth: everywhere you look is a reminder of the restructuring of our society. It’s almost like the common mentality has become “tear it down and put up condos”. This especially applies to the world of small business and the struggle to survive in a world of corporate endeavors. The pioneers of the skate, surf and snow industry have been threatened by these corporate giants that saw potential in a trendy subculture. A company that is owned by a corporation (which owns a chain of steakhouses), thought it would be a viable business venture to capitalize in such an industry (one that had been built by small skate shops with integrity and that catered to the skaters). Sadly, the people who built the foundation of this industry and built the lines carried in these shops, are the ones who are suffering due to the decline of the “core shop” population. Some might argue that core shops are gone for good. When was the last time you walked into a modern skate shop, sat on an old couch and watched a bootleg copy of a skate video on a stolen VCR while planning your next setup? Kids nowadays flock to corporate, shopping mall megastores employed with raver/punk phonies that are ignorant even to the basics gripping a board or changing a kingpin... these are the new ambassadors to the sport.
Above (left to right) Craig Appleyard, Jamie Johny, Bones, Mark Appleyard, Jamie McGuiness, Sean Mo, Bryan Gibbs, Ryan Allan, Scott McDonald, Old School, Conrad, Matt Ramage, Mike Smith, Kevin Brzzie, O’neil
wordsby scott radnidge
FOR AS LONG AS I COULD REMEMBER, IT SEEMED SO DISTANT– A FAR AWAY PROBLEM THAT ONLY REGISTERED ON TV SETS IN SUBURBAN BASEMENTS. IN THE LATE 80’S AND EARLY 90’S, FOR ME IT WAS COMPTON. BLARING OVER MY PARENTS’ CAR STEREO, NWA’S “STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON” TOLD EPIC TALES OF DRIVE BYS AND RANDOM SHOOTINGS IN NEIGHBORHOODS STEEPED IN VIOLENCE, BUT AS FAR AS I WAS CONCERNED, THE GLARING REALITIES– AND THE PARALLEL RAP FANTASY FICTIONS– OF GUN CULTURE FADED WHEN THE SONG ENDED.
Tracking the disease of gun violence seemed to be easy – all we had to do was trace our finger along a blood red line from the most impoverished parts of large cities, where violence seemed to be a response to a life of neglect. You could argue about economics and race issues, but these two excuses were usually a false comfort for the majority of people whose direct experience never came into contact with the stuff of the nightly news. Most thought the violence seemed to only affect the poorer parts of cities, a sense that laid a blanket of complacency in nicer neighborhoods and ‘safe’ cities, encouraging the mentality of ‘Not In My Backyard’. Violence has always been a part of life, but for most of us, gun violence was a fictitious extreme. With the popularity of guns and their easy availability, the problem quickly spread like a cancer and took many by surprise, even though it was always just beneath the surface. Every night on the news, viewers can see pictures of war in far off lands, of bombings and wailing people, torment all too common as we sit and watch. In the movies and on TV, realistic shootings and torturous killings play out as the story unfolds. Society is used to seeing violence, but when it hits home, we claim we never saw it coming. There has been a dramatic rise in innocent deaths arising from gun violence over the last few years. Governments call it ‘collateral damage’ when war is the context, trying to detach it from the human face it reflects. Like the wars in far off lands, the ‘collateral damage’ appears also on the doorsteps of our communities, albeit in a different guise. Here, armies don’t shoot at each other across rubble-strewn neighborhoods and across deserted plains. The rising tide of gun violence in Western society affects more than most would think. Many would ask, “really, what are the odds of someone getting killed from a stray bullet”? And up until a few years ago, most people I know couldn’t recall one instance of someone getting shot, other than a rumoured gang shooting. But now, in 2006, there aren’t a lot of people who could say they haven’t been affected in one way or another from gun violence. In order to gauge the impact of gun violence within our culture at large, it may be useful to isolate the issue of gun violence to one specific area. For the sake of context, let’s look at skateboarding. How many skaters have been shot, or shot at? To date: Dan Castillo was shot at a high school dance and barely saved by a good friend. While at a house party, Terry Kennedy was hit by a stray bullet that went through his jaw and out the other side. Rick Abiesta was shot and rushed to hospital via helicopter. Erick Ricks was shot at a bus stop in a drive by. These higher profile examples are a few and they are just the tip of the iceberg, even in the skateboard community. In Vancouver alone, within the last two years, Lee Matasi and Rachael Davis– two active members of the skateboard community– have been shot and killed. Both were innocent victims of gun violence, and have become symbols to many of the ubiquity of gun violence in communities once considered safe. After tragedies of violence and senseless killings, the people who been victimized or have lost loved ones are left to pick up the pieces, and to analyze to death what is wrong with society when this kind of wanton violence occurs. 40
Looking back, the obvious question remains: who in their right mind carries a gun, something that can take a life, for the sake of image alone? Who are these people who go to clubs, looking for something to shoot at, something to prove, something to make them a bigger person? Looking even deeper into the two recent Vancouver killings, as we all try to figure out where everything went wrong and where all this violence came from, we sometimes forget about the people who don’t have the benefit of reflection. Imagine being chased down, getting beat up and laying there alone, thinking you’re a goner. Somewhere, out of the crowd, someone comes to your aid, trying to help you, trying to save you. You realize you’re not alone, but soon your relief changes to horror as the person’s body slumps to the ground, their last breath stolen as they die in vain. This is how Rachel Davis died, helping a stranger in need. Or how about someone who steps in when others are acting recklessly and endangering those around them, trying to prevent something before it even gets started? Picture yourself trying to help and realizing that you’re in danger, and imagine trying to get away as someone waves a gun at you and pursues you, cutting you down as you try to get away. This is where Lee Matasi’s life ended. The skateboarding world is small comparatively, but what is surprising is the amount of death and injury from gun violence that has occurred in our small community. But you can looking at any other walks of life for similar stories – musicians, writers, designers, artists– each has had high profile deaths and injuries from shootings, some planned, some accidental, but all life shattering. Gun violence has no boundaries, and a bullet doesn’t care if you’re an innocent bystander or an unforgivable thug. No person or group is immune to guns and the people who use them, no colours that are safe, no religions that will give you refuge. Realizing that gun violence affects everybody is part of the healing process. Even just as members of the skateboarding community, we need to realize that violence is wrong, and carrying guns is part of a major social problem that can be dealt with head on if we have the courage to do so. We can’t tolerate it, as skaters, as a society. There’s no way society will ever be free from violence, be it gun or otherwise. But as members of our communities, especially as skaters, we can try and put an end to the senseless killings through education and the way we live our lives.
[ o ] ZASLAVSKY
Following the tragic death of Vancouver skateboarder/ artist Lee Matasi, Antisocial Gallery housed a wall-towall installation by Lule Jouppi, Seb Templer and Mavie Murphy entitled Untill We Get Leeside. From Friday the thirteenth of January, until the fifteenth of March, gallery goers and skateboarders took part in the show by utilizing the gallery space, in a part performance/part sculpture homage to the Leeside tunnel Matasi constructed in his teens.
DYLAN DOUBT frontside over the hole.
KEEGAN SAUDER blunt nosegrab.
[ o ] ZASLAVSKY
AND FAR AWAY. wordsby mike christie photoby jeff comber
Cars these days are sold as an extension of your self (“what do you see yourself in?”), a way of expressing yourself to the world – a shell. On a skateboard, you are it, you are the expression of yourself. Cars are designed to make you safe as you are conveyed at high speed in a controlled environment, while skateboards are seemingly designed to be out of control, to seem like you are going way faster than you actually are, to hurl your body through space in an unprotected and exhilarating way. In the 80s, at skateboard contests and demos they would always have a car in the middle of the course, everybody launching over it, grinding it and in the end the skaters would ultimately smash it. Skateboarding has had a long-time co-dependent and abusive relationship with the motorized vehicles that stalk the same city streets. Sometimes it seems like the town isn’t big enough for the two of us. When author Steven King got hit by a minivan and was left with a broken hip, broken ribs and a collapsed lung, he bought the van off the guy who hit him for 1500 dollars and said, when he got better, he was “going to beat the shit out of it with a sledgehammer.” He just couldn’t forgive it. He wanted to make it pay. In the same interview he joked that he must now wear “wide-bottomed skateboard pants” to cover a metal device that surrounds his injured leg. Somebody get the dude a board. 44
I remember in a really old Gonz interview he was like, “I can jump over my car, do you want to see?”, and then there was a photo sequence of him running and jumping over the roof of his car and landing on his feet. I was really little but I remember thinking that was so cool for some reason – that you could actually jump a car, that you could conquer it in that way… make it smaller, make it vulnerable or something. Mitch Charron recently had an unscheduled rendezvous with a car rolling out of an alley on his way to a spot. I’m not sure how much the car cost that collided with Mitch, but I bet he nor I could afford it. Not all motor vehicles are bad though. The combination of the skateboard and a good transit system is one of the cheapest, most efficient modes of transport around. There are actually handles on the back of most of the electric buses in Vancouver. When I was a kid I used to call getting towed ‘bumper-hitching’. I can’t imagine any other purpose for those handles, somebody must have had plans for them. There are some pro skaters who use the seat warmers on their expensive vehicles to get their legs warmed up before they skate. I’d rather have busted ribs and big cuts on my face. I’d rather skate to the spot. I’d rather sledgehammer a minivan. I’d rather roll with Mitch and Steve.
[ o ] ZASLAVSKY
Mitch, following a collision with a car - February ‘06
Skating in a city is an art, you gotta be on your toes. One of the worst ways to go out is to get door’ed. You know it’s bad when they add “‘ed” to the end of a noun, like knife’ed or bottle’ed. Commercial Drive in Vancouver is probably the best place to get door’ed — narrow single lane, just enough room to roll beside the cars with your walkman on. One time somebody told me he hippie jumped the door of a convertible when it opened but I didn’t believe him. Here Mitch Charron frontside tailslides in the safe confines of a schoolyard.
“THE AUTOMOBILE IS THE GREATEST CATASTROPHE IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF CITY ARCHITECTURE.” - Philip Johnson, American Architect.
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THE GOOD OL’ DAYS: LONG GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN words & photography roger allen
Vision, Mark Gonzales I remember seeing the Gonz with Natas and Aaron Murray doing wallrides in Thrasher. I used to spend hours trying wallrides on the exterior tile walls of the medical center across from my parents’ place – to this day I have never landed a wall ride. Plan B, Rick Howard There was a period where being clean was everything. Roll up to the skate spot with your skate shoes in your backpack, change out of your street shoes and into your skate shoes, adjust your headphones, and skate around doing some flat stuff, nollie the ledge, 360 flip, etc. After the warm up, stop and stare at the ledge, skate up fakie for a half cab nose slide bump over the curb, scratch the centre of your deck, freak out, tear your hat in two…focus board. Change shoes…leave. S.M.A., Natas Kapaus Natas seemed to be one of first guys to steal attention away from the Bones Brigade – he had a tech street style, he wasn’t just sliding around. He could ollie down staircases and do stuff that was different and new.
Skull Skates, Hosoi Hosoi stood out – he was the king of vert, but also ruled street ramps. He had one of the most unusual fashion senses going, but it worked for him. Hand drawing over the board graphics or cutting words into your grip tape was common in the eighties. Here is one of my favorite bands incorporated into the board graphic. I liked this board so much that when it broke, I convinced my dad to try to glue it back together…it worked for about an hour. Santa Cruz, Jeff Grosso Seeing Suicidal Tendencies on their “Join the Army” tour was an amazing experience, they were on tour with several skate rock bands and played a small hall in Vancouver, Canada. What was most amazing was that two days earlier I had busted out all of my front teeth as a result of a bad slam. I had wires running through my gums holding in my teeth, as well as stitches and some plaster. My appearance was somewhat Frankenstein like, but I will always remember standing on the periphery of the mosh pit holding my hands in front of my face, until this real tough guy walked over and said the famous words, “What’s wrong kid, do a lip grind”.
Plan B, Rick Howard
S.M.A., Natas Kapaus
Skull Skates, Hosoi
BOSTON, MA photosby alana paterson
CHOPPING BODEGA 6 Clearway Street FILENES BASEMENT 426 Washington Street ORCHARD 1562 Tremont Street RAINBOWS 519 Washington Street STELâ€™S 334 Newbury Street THE GARMENT DISTRICT 200 Broadway EATS ANNAS TAGUERIA 1412 Beacon Street, 82 Somerville Avenue, 446 Harvard Street BUDDHAS DELIGHT 5 beach Street EL PELON 96 Petersborough FLOUR BAKERY AND CAFE 1562 Washington Street JP LICKS 352 Newbury Street LEGAL SEAFOOD 255 State Street MIKE PASTRIES 300 Hanover Street BINGE DRINKING CHEERS 84 Beacon Street FENWAY STADIUM 4 Yawkey Way P.J. KILROYS 822 Beacon Street THE OTHERSIDE CAFE 407 Newbury Street THE RED HAT 9 Bowdoin Street SHRALP SPOTS BANK BOSTON Federal and Franklin Street COPLEY SQUARE Boylston Street at Copley Station on the Green Line. M.I.T. State and Ames St NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM Central Wharf WINDOW SILLS Pearl and High Street. .boston
ARTILLERY MAGAZINE: VOL.1 #3 The Kingdom of Sad Machines Artillery is a quality graffiti magazine out of Australia showcasing shit from here, there and everywhere. The big names, the big trains and the big fame game. You might be saying, “Graff?”, “Australia?” But this mag will shut you up. It’s crazy down under, there’s a new generation of criminals with aerosol addictions. Australia has been hot for a minute though, I remember Atome form back in the day! The design and layout is fresh too with hand drawn titles for each artist’s feature by Elana Mullaly, plus the magazine shows love to the art-art too, featuring Twist and Amaze in Aussie land, as well as work by local Melbourne artist Rhys Lee. Good design and production quality isn’t something you’d expect form a graffiti magazine, but Artillery is a treat for any art enthusiast and worth your hard earned. – Tour
“UNTITLED DOCUMENTS” OF STREET CULTURE Presented by Bread & Butter and Streetwear Today Ahh, the web… my love/hate relationship with her runs ohso-deep. On the one hand, she lets me see everything and anything I want all the click of a button, but our relationship seems far too temporary. Don’t get me wrong, she is gorgeous, she can be who ever I want whenever I want but sometimes she moves way too fast, and is too much to handle. Sometimes when I really need her she is gone, she has been updated or is offline. On the other hand, my love for the printed book has a special place in my heart. Once she is printed, her lovely figure documents life and history– it is essentially recorded forever. She leaves evidence of her existence, something I find incredibly sexy. This is exactly what ‘Untitled’ Documents of Street Culture does. Its editors have collected some of the most influential brands, retailers, designers and artists from around the globe and provided them with a platform to show their works and speak their minds. The book works like a collective portfolio of the utmost quality. Aside from the actual content, the book’s large format and ample use of white space and quality printing make ‘Untitled’ essential reading for anyone interested in the street culture of today. I truly hope ‘Untitled’ continues to document this global movement, creating an archive for future generations to enjoy. – Chris Allen JPOD Douglas Coupland, Random House Canada
popular culture, and point out the obvious things that seem to go unnoticed for most of us. His vivid observation is both funny and chilling, making one wonder if we as people actually notice anything at all in our daily wanderings. Set in a land of grow-ops, video game design, people smuggling, ballroom dancing and office cubicles, the jPod (a name for a clump of office partition walls) crew find themselves unwittingly dropped into a story of life’s comical twists and turns. Led by main character Ethan Jarlewski and his twisted family and friends, we watch as the characters all move through life with the ability to adapt to drastic and sometimes harsh change (i.e.: a skateboarding turtle), without even so much as batting an eye. In contrast, with all the constant twists that come their way, the characters see the big picture, yet remain unable to sometimes to cope with life’s everyday mundane tasks. jPod is a strong offering that encompasses some of the trademark Coupland issues present, yet is fresh and engaging to the reader as the story winds its way through the alleys and cul-de-sacs of Coupland’s imagination and story telling ability. – S.Radnidge
NEW YORK NEW YORK 5boro So, video reviews are obviously cliché as all hell these days… so-and-so was shredding, dude was dropping more hammers than a bunch of construction workers on strike, etc. etc. ad nauseam. I’m going to go ahead and spare you the juicy details here, but I will go ahead and say wow, yep, this video is pretty great. New York City (and the 5 boroughs therein) is seemingly built for skateboarding. Spots are abundant and the city truly represents raw street skating in its purest form – this video is a testament to that. Those words might seem a little ostentatious or overblown to the jaded reader, but after watching 5boro’s latest offering, the urge to hit the streets and push through traffic is hard to ignore. If you’ve never had the chance to dodge taxis and ollie manholes in the Big Apple, add it to your “to do” list because homey, for real, not much else compares to that feeling. The video is short, sweet, grimy and to-the-point. You will want to skate in the street; you won’t want to go practice your contest line at the neighborhood park slash playground. You’ll want to go skate some weird bank in the middle of traffic. And I’d personally like to thank the fine dudes at 5Boro for making something that can elicit that feeling in an angry and bitter washup such as myself. NYC, I’ll be seeing you again. Real soon. – Cian Browne
“Oh God. I feel like a refugee from a Douglas Coupland novel.” “That asshole.”
HELLO JOJO Cliché Skateboards, Presented by Adio
And with that, Douglas Coupland begins his tenth novel, jPod. Usually a harbinger of cultural shifts and climates, Coupland is in fine form with his newest offering, skimming popular culture for what will be relevant, and what is so yesterday. As a writer, Coupland seems to have the ability to look down from above at
These Euro cats are on point! Their technical abilities are definitely on par, they got an original style and they got all the best spots. Since the video has been released, North American skaters have been showing up at these spots trying to cramp their style, however it’s not just Europeans on this squad. Cliché Skateboards
have a Yankee too [Joey Brezinski] and two Aussies [Brophy and Nuske], which brings an international appeal to their brand of skateboarding. This video is definitely an eye opener. It might as well be a “how-to” manual on creative skateboarding. The video serves you a few bangers mixed in, but the real highlights are the generous servings of stylin’ lines and unorthodox ways of attacking obstacles. To round out the team Cliché even has a tranny skater (Javier Mendizabal) whose flow is reminiscent of Canada’s Alex Chalmers. Cliché, based in Lyon, France, is quickly gaining momentum as a powerhouse in skateboarding. Watch out for continuous media coming from these guys in the future. – Barry Alleyne
THE SEYLYNN STORY George Faulkner There is only one skatepark that still gives me butterflies as I roll up in the car and see it anxiously from the window. For many Canadians the Seylynn skatepark in North Vancouver was the epitome of skateparks that represented a true skate destination, and still can represent a ‘pilgrimage’ for many veterans of the late 70s and the heavy 80s. I grew up skateboarding in Kelowna, so whenever we made the trip out to Vancouver during the teen years to stay at the grandmother’s house with the parents, Seylynn was always in the back of my mind as the morning came before the parents would drive us out there. SO many memories of contemplating how much the evening fog would wet the park the next morning, or counting the raindrops that hit the windshield as we looked and looked for the corner that would take us straight to the parking lot above the bowls. So, Seylynn for me was the introduction to the ritual skate scene as we saw the original black clad punk kids and new wavers dodging each other around the bowls, saw our first real inverts and backside airs, and studied the meticulous lines that the locals established with their trains and spray paint. I was born in North Vancouver and got to see the park in action during the opening days (the neighborhood older kids brought me up there), but what my eyes saw then couldn’t prepare me for the onslaught sessions of the 80s. When I heard that Seylynn local George Faulkner was making a documentary on the park, some of that same excitement hit me that I still sense as I roll up to the bowls. The documentary definitely does the trick with obsessive amounts of stills and footage that was captured in the 70s and the 80s, all the way up to now with the bowl series and the astounding lines from Alex Chalmers et al. It’s all in there from the Expo pro and am bowl contest footage, to the set for worship Carlos Longos footage (back tailblock to front tailblock in my favourite top section, etc.), Jaks footage, the numerous notable stills from personal collections and magazines (Blender nose wheelie in the top section always KILLS), the carving up montage, and the excellent documentation of the building and tech issues (strange seeing the empty grass lot before the bowls were installed). I wish that the documentary focused on a little more of the backside boneless, hip air out, thrashed 10 x 30 punk rock darkness that it represented for me during the 80s visits, but Seylynn obviously meant a lot of things to a lot of different people and this documentary from Faulkner is a great representational and technical overview of the legendary snake run. Next time my parents are in Vancouver, I should get THEM to drive me out there again! – Sam McKinlay
sphere, because there’s always going to be someone coming up just as good, if not better!
illustrationby fighting wordsby scott lyon
Formed from the ashes of frontman Matt Pike’s former band Sleep, Oakland’s High On Fire have been instrumental in a “back to basics” renaissance in heavy metal. Their current release Blessed Black Wings fuses Black Sabbath riffs with warlike drums, creating dark, hypnotic music that could well serve as the soundtrack to a marauding army of orcs. We recently spoke with High On Fire’s “god of thunder”, drummer Des Kensel, and asked him about the band’s sound, the upcoming tour, and their forthcoming album.
Color: There’s no question that drums are a huge focal point of the High on Fire sound! Focus on metal drumming has never been more intense – one could say that with the likes of Flo from Cryptopsy and Gene from Strapping Young Lad, metal drummers are garnering the same attention that metal guitarists did throughout the 80s. Has this created an element of “friendly competition” amongst drummers in the scene? Des Kensel: I wouldn’t say there’s much of a competition, but I have seen the skill level go up, that’s for sure. It’s less of a competition and more of a “play as good as you can” atmo58
Any particular drummers who you enjoy listening to at the moment? Well, like you said, Strapping Young Lad… the drumming is just amazing. Brann Dailor from Mastodon, he’s a great drummer. Those are two off the top of my head right there. Who would you say had an influence on your particular drum sound? There’s been a few. I first started playing drums at ten, and my first concert was Motley Crue, so Tommy Lee circa Shout at the Devil – that got me started. Master of Puppets and Reign in Blood were two records that I used to put into my Walkman a lot and try to play to, so Dave Lombardo and Lars Ulrich...the list could go on and on. Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) up to Vol.4 is just great, bluesy-jazzy stuff. Given Matt and Joe’s histories playing music that almost reverses the flow of time (Sleep, Earth, Thrones), do you struggle with them in the studio to keep the beats-perminute at a healthy level? No, not really… endurance-wise, I’ve got to make sure I keep on top of things, but not with the songwriting. When do High on Fire expect to be back in the studio to record the follow-up to Blessed Black Wings? Matt and I are going to head into the studio and start writing the new record in the next week or so and also get warmed
up for our tour which starts at the end of this month. By the end of that tour hopefully we’ll be finished writing the new songs and get in the studio by fall, so the new album could be released spring 2007 or even earlier. Surrounded By Thieves and Blessed Black Wings have a very similar sound that I’ve seen both praised and criticized in reviews. I think the production of the albums evokes a sense of dark tribalism. Where do you see the High on Fire sound going for the next album? We don’t really go into the studio with a direction or a themewe’ll have parts and it’s almost like the songs end up writing themselves. The only thing we like to keep going is to keep the music heavy and dimensional. I found the drumming on Surrounded By Thieves was very rhythmically linked to Matt’s vocals, whereas the drumming on Blessed Black Wings was more “battle-like.” So if Surrounded By Thieves had drumming that hypnotized, and Blessed Black Wings had drumming that signaled impending war, are we to expect an all-out assault on the next recording? Hopefully! I definitely don’t want to ease up at all. I’ll try to make it as brutal as possible. You’re about to head out on the road with Goatwhore and Watch Them Die. What are you looking forward to most in getting back on the road? This tour’s going to be great because these bands are friends of ours – actually, George, our old bass player, is now play-
ing in Watch Them Die, so that should be fun. We’re going to some places that we either haven’t been to in a long time or we’ve never been to. It’ll be more of a metal crowd, more metal-oriented shows because of the two bands we’re playing with. So we’re looking forward to that for sure. Over the years, you’ve toured with a very eclectic assortment of bands – the likes of Fu Manchu, Andrew WK and Gwar. Are there any tours that you’ve been offered that you’ve shaken your heads at or turned down? Well, we have done a lot of weird tours, ones where we ask ourselves, “What the hell are we doing” – Andrew WK was one, even though they were great guys and that tour was a lot of fun – it was a strange crowd to play in front of. We’ve done Mushroomhead, Every Time I Die (who were on the Sounds of the Underground tour with us), great guys, great bands, but definitely a different type of crowd. But that’s just what you have to do. You don’t want to be playing to the same crowds and the same people all of the time. You’ve got to get out there and try to get different fans in different areas, so that’s kind of the idea behind some of the tours that we’ve done. Any bands in particular that you’d love to hit the road with someday? There’s a band out of Portland, Oregon called Tragedy that I’d love to do some shows with. I like Cursed – they’re Canadian, Toronto or something. So those are two bands that I’d like to do some shows with in the future. We’ll bring it back to Andrew WK and Gwar for one ques-
tion: what I want to know is, who parties harder? As a band, altogether? Andrew WK. His band is made up of Florida Death Metal dudes, so a couple of them definitely know how to rage! It’s undeniably an exciting time to be playing heavy music- the quality of bands coming out at the moment hasn’t been seen in years in my opinion. High on Fire are a huge part of a “back to basics” movement in metal, with the likes of Mastodon and Lair of the Minotaur, to name a couple – just straightforward, ass-kicking metal. Yet as every scene gains momentum, it almost inevitably gets diluted – I’m starting to see this with the so-called “metalcore” sound – bands like Funeral for a Friend and Bullet for My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, to name a few. Could you give me your thoughts on where you think heavy music is headed? I’ve seen a change, that’s for sure. It seems like in the 80s and 90s there were distinct, separate genres – hardcore, metal. It really seems like they’ve all joined now to make metal what it is currently. I see that as a good thing – there are more influences. Everything has to change and evolve. The younger generation is coming up and doing it their way.
“I’LL TRY TO MAKE IT AS BRUTAL AS POSSIBLE.”
High On fire nearly melted my face off the first time I saw them in Seattle opening for Andrew WK at Graceland. I can’t wait to hear what High on Fire do next – I’ve got my fingers crossed for all-out war! Their current release, Blessed Black Wings, is out on Relapse Records now. HIGHONFIRE.NET
Natureâ€™s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leafâ€™s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. - Robert Frost
photographychristopher glancy stylingkatharine erwin titledesignregino gonzales
Christine Renee, Dj .1
Shirt by Wowch, jeans by Levis, cape model’s own.
Betsy Maher, Bartender .2
LTD / Fornarina Vest, Awesome Town Necklace. Shirt and boots model’s own.
Wyatt Neumann, Film Director .3 APC Jeans, model’s own shirt.
Pryce Holmes, Skater / Student .4
Sweater and skateboard by Instant Winner, tee by Color, Evisu Jeans.
Ty Lyons, Supreme .5
Shirt and hat by Supreme, Levis jeans, eS shoes, jacket by Fenchurch.
Zach Malfa-Kowalski, Photographer .6
Fenchurch Sweater, Ever jeans. Skateboard by 5Boro.
Nicole Ianniello, Fashion Stylist .7
Boots and Jeans by Anna Sui, No.6 Vintage Dress.
Sweater by APC, Jacket by Nom De Guerre. Shut Skateboard.
13. Nathan Nedorostek, Graphic Designer
World in Moschen sweater by Thomas Rockewell, Ever jeans, shoes by Clarks.
14. Vashtie Kola, Music Video Director
Shirt by Supreme, jeans by Levis, jacket by Fenchurch, Louis Vuitton scarf.
15. Kunle Martins, Irak, NYC
Shirt by Irak NY, jeans by Levis, watch by Penguin.
16. Kent, Irak, NYC
Marc Jacobs sweater, DDC Lab pants.
17. Joli Robinson, Model / Visual Artist Sweatshirt by Alife, shorts by Johnson.
Mike Gigliotti, Skater / Student .9
19. Dru Adams, Sexerz
Alex Mosely, Skater / Student .10
20. Drew Conrad, Bartender
Watermelon tee shirt/skateboard, Peckers jacket, Levis jeans. Hat by Alife.
12. Todd Jordan, Skater / Photographer
18. Dave One, Chromeo
Shirt by Dsquared, jeans by Supreme, Skateboard by Vehicle.
Shirt by Pimp, Tracy Reese jacket, Levis Jeans.
Alex Corporan, Skater / Marketing, Sole Technology .8
APC jacket, Element jeans.
11. Ellen Frances, Graphic Designer
Vintage jacket, Levis jeans, scarf straight from Punjab.
D Squared suspenders, DC belt, Sexerz bandana. Hat by Alife, pants by Howe. Shirt by Howe, vest by Ambiguous, Diesel jeans, Surface to Air necklace.
A BOLT FROM THE BLUE wordsby sandro grison and matthew meadows photosby nic fensom
Gailea Momolu doesn’t consider himself a “contest skater” although he’s dominated the majority of the best trick competitions in the past year. He has an imposing presence wherever he is, yet he’s never owned a vehicle, never been in a fight, and is more inclined to be a dancer than a rapper. Between filming for his current part in the Digital video, Land Tricks or Die Trying (where he’s portrayed as a gangster on the box), ample coverage in skateboard magazines, and a weekly club night, he can generally be found eating out at his favorite dining lounges in Vancouver. And though he’s consumed with contributing to skate culture, it’s apparent that the man who’s got everything out of skateboarding rarely has the time to enjoy his valued home life. He may not have worked his way up from drug dealing or street hustling like 50cent did, but Gailea has had his own streaks of hardships. “My family was wealthy in Africa but that all changed when the civil war started in Liberia,” he tells, adding that he feels fortunate enough that his family still has land and assets in the unstable country of Liberia. After leaving the nest of Ottawa, it’s no wonder he chose to finally settle in Vancouver: “The States is fucked, Florida is fucked, the South is fucked… everywhere it’s fucked.” But Gailea doesn’t only have bad things to say about America. He lived in Los Angeles for four years before moving to his downtown Vancouver apartment. L.A. is where Gailea gained the majority of his recognition in skateboarding, and credits for his interest in fashion. The ideals of an evil empire south of our border are usually fueled by naïve residents or foreigners who haven’t witnessed anything for themselves at all. He admits his greatest addictions are “Skateboarding, ‘girls and lusting’, to quote Kanye [West],” although he’s managed to stay clear from falling into the typical vices of success. Assumptions are one thing you can’t count on when it comes to Gailea: “If I hear something about someone I keep it in the back of my mind but I don’t judge the person on that”, “I will always give people the benefit of the doubt.” He was fair enough to add, “You always got to give people the opportunity to get to know you.” So If you thought you had him all figured out then you might be in for a bolt from the blue. Introducing to you again, for the first time: Gailea Momolu.
[ o ] SEBASTIEN
switch heelflip frontside boardslide
Color: A lot of skateboard companies are getting into fashion and vice versa – what do you think is more difficult, a skate company establishing cred in the fashion world or the other way around? GM: Everything is back and forth. Mainstream society is trying to join the skate society and the other way around. Like all the skate designers are clipping stuff out of Elle magazine trying to copy what is hot right now. But it’s the other way around too. Gucci just did a Vans type slip-on with the Gucci print all over them. They are fucking sick! But if Vans never came up with the slip-ons then Gucci would have never made them. Prime example right there. Where do you get your fashion sense from? My sister, definitely. And living in L.A. I am all about the fashion stee. I am not into designer shit. I used to be like that and spend money on Diesel and Seven jeans. But now I am just over it, I get more compliments wearing skate jeans than designer shit. I just buy a couple of sweaters, like Lacoste sweaters if I get a big check and all my bills are paid... I would rather spend money on having a good time with my friends than buy something when I feel I deserve it. Are you interested in women’s fashion? Would you ever consider starting a label of your own? Yeah, yeah, definitely. I have been back and forth on that. It’s just super time consuming because if I were ever to start something I would want to do it right. I would want to do it at a professional level. You can look at stuff on clothing racks but it is not until it is in your hands that you can see that it is professional quality. Achieving that level is time consuming. It’s like when I wanted to be the Darkstar team manager, I was like “I wanna be team manager” and Chet [Thomas] is like “Slow down, you gotta think about skating, ‘cause that is your full-time deal”. If you ever want to do anything in life you gotta give one hundred percent and be full-time. Do you struggle at all with the ”tough guy” image people perceive of you, riding for RDS? Do you think this perception accurately describes you? I moved to Vancouver [from Ottawa] and, well, you move to a city and you meet people. Some of the first people you meet in a city are usually going to be the people that you end up staying friends with. I met some really nice people that were really cool. You meet certain people in life and you take certain passages in life influenced by the people you meet. Those guys [RDS] are the people that I met. The first time I went to the Ladner park , I went with Tyler Dinwoodie and I met [Mike] Hastie. I ended up going to his house and meeting his family. Then when I got onto Darkstar I met Paul [Machnau] and I met Moses [Itkonen] and those guys were just like “Hey what’s up, you wanna go skate?”. Those guys get portrayed as this and that, but you know they are just normal people. Like Hastie, a lot of people thinks “He is crazy”, or “He is a jock and he’ll fight you”. I have hung out with Mike for like five years and I’ve never seen him get into a fight. I have never seen him pick a fight with someone. .gaileamomolu
switch 180 5.0 revert
What the RDS dudes taught me was don’t take shit from no one. I am not saying other skaters, I’m talking about if you’re skating a spot and a security guard puts his hands on you or is pushing you, doing something illegal: not to stand for it. Just say “Hey, you are not a cop, you are just a security guard. Ask us to leave nicely and we will leave.” When a security guard comes up to us and asks us nicely to leave one of the first things Paul [Machnau] always says is “Thanks so much for being nice, we’re leaving now.” The rumor that RDS dudes beat up security guards is totally wrong. I have never seen any of those dudes beat up a security guard. Like the footage of Graeme Betts being hit by the security guard. I would never know what to do. I have never been in a real fight. I once had to break up a fight between two of my friends but that was the closest and now we are friends. RDS taught me not to be such a passive person, someone who will take shit from anyone. Those guys taught me to stand up for myself. They are really cool guys and a lot of people hate 74
just because they read something or hear something and they take it to heart. I think that is lame on their part. If I believe everything I hear, that means I don’t have a mind of my own. That happens to me a lot with girls, DJ’s, and skate company executives. People are just like “Oh that guy is like this, that guy is like that.” I’m like “Cool, I will watch out for that.” But when I meet them I will not even think about that until it happens. You always got to give people the opportunity to get to know you. And that is what I do with everyone. I am not a tough guy, but because of the image that people see or hear through rumors that is what people think of RDS. I don’t think it is directed so much towards me but if it is then they can approach me. There are a lot of other cliques and other crews that think they are the shit. But the RDS crew is just doing their own thing. Being a non-violent person, how do you feel about world
[ o ] POMMIER
“WHEN THE CLUB IS OVER, GET THE FUCK OUT. LEAVE. GO. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE FOR YOU TO DO.”
issues like the war on Iraq by the U.S.? I don’t know man, America is a fucked up place. The more books I read and the more things I hear the less I want to hear about it. One of the reasons I left [the United States] was that America is fucked. I like L.A. a lot, I tried to move there but it just didn’t work out. Huntington Beach and Orange County are fucked. But I don’t really know what to say about Bush. I just can’t wait for him to be out of office cause that guy can’t even read a sentence to his country. He’s just fucking it up. You don’t really consider yourself a “Club Promoter” but you and Kutcorners have a night at Lucy Mae Brown [Vancouver]. Do you see yourself expanding and doing more club nights? Naw, it’s just Sunday nights when I am in town. I would like [Lucy Mae Brown] to be the hangout for skaters and chicks – all the people we know, all the people who read Color magazine. It’s just a night that I want to have with real hip hop .aboltfromtheblue
[ o ] SCURICH
“FUCK THE FAME. I JUST WANT TO BE LIVING WELL, JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE.” switch varial kickflip
music. There wasn’t a night in Vancouver that had real hip hop and soul music. There isn’t a lot of cities that have that either. It’s a cool skate environment. It’s not blown out, it’s not packed. That is just something I wanted to do with my friends that are DJ’s to help them get money. I mean, I don’t really get paid. I just do it to help out my friends. Just somewhere to kick it every Sunday. Doesn’t mean that you have to get drunk every Sunday, just come down and hang out at a five star restaurant. What kind of music were you into as a kid? When I was in Africa and moved to Europe for a bit, it was when MC Hammer came out. I liked Rob Base, MC Hammer. I liked to dance a lot. You know, Boyz II Men, Bel Biv Devoe, New Edition, Bobby Brown. My sisters liked to listen to that stuff and I did too. Eventually, it turned into Mary J. Blidge, I guess this was early nineties. I listened to a lot of R&B because I didn’t have a boom box – it was my sister’s and my brother’s. As I was the last person in the house, I didn’t really listen to music because I didn’t have my own boom box. I was more into skating, and skating a lot! So I listened to the radio of my alarm clock and T.V., I turned into top forty. When I got a little bit older a lot of my friends got into hip hop so I started listening to it again. Then I moved to Cali and got into the whole MTV slump. I got into 80s music a lot. I got into a lot of rock and house music also while I was in California. Now I listen to everything. I even like a little bit of country. A dash of country. I like 80s a lot. I like clean house music, like sitting in a nice lounge. I like grime, rock top forty shit. I like to go to the club get my shit on the dance floor. People dressed up – that is my place, my flavour. I like Talib Kweli – I’ve been to every one of his shows in Vancouver. Black Star, Common, Mos Def… I like those guys ‘cause they talk about real issues, like being black in America. Quote, unquote “the struggle”. I love Biggie, I love Tupac. Tupac was one of the most realest cats that hip hop has ever had and I think if Tupac was still around with all this hip hop that is coming out now (not hip hop but rap), would not have come out because Tupac would have called them out, Biggie would have called them out, Big L would have called them out. It’s just one of those things, shit changes. You lose some great people. That guy was really smart. It was not until he left that people started to realize that. I did not even know about that until I bought his DVDs. He was a really smart, educated guy. When you were younger did you ever think of a career in music for yourself? Naw, because you have to be an artist to be a musician. You need to play all sorts of instrument you have to play piano, you got to play guitar, you gotta play drums, you got to have a feel for all that shit. All that sound. You can’t fake being an artist. It’s not something you can just pick up. It’s something you just need to have in your life. It has to be around you. I never had that around me. There is no way I could think, you know, to be a music artist. But you thought about dancing? Yeah yeah, definitely. ‘Cause I danced a lot as a kid. Did a lot of that stuff. I always thought about that stuff. It is a lot of work. It is something you gotta keep doing. Keep dancing you
know. A lot of girls I know that dance at Harbour, you know hip hop and ballet and jazz. That shit is hard. It’s not like riding a bike. It’s easy to pick up but you need experience to be good at it, at a good level where you are getting respect and getting paid. That is why I am getting paid right now in skateboarding. If I was doing anything else other than skateboarding I would want to be at a professional level. Like dancing? Like dancing, like being a musician, like photography, being in real estate, being a broker – being anything. You want to make as much money now. Fuck the fame I just want to be living well, just like anyone else. So when you watch an Usher video are you looking mostly at the moves? Naw, I am watching the girls. Well, I’m mostly looking at what the dudes are wearing. Obviously the dancers are sweet but like, Usher is not the greatest dancer. I think Michael Jackson is. A lot of other background dancers in videos are just as good. They just don’t get recognized cause they don’t have a name or whatever. I am mostly looking at what people are wearing and the girls. The new Digital video cover is a knockoff of the 50cent movie, is that you with all the tattoos? Yeah that is me. Matt Thomas [Chet’s brother] graphed all those tattoo’s on me. A lot of people think it is real and are like “Whoa, where did you get your back done?” It’s not though, it’s graphic design. But I got one [real tattoo] on my left arm. It’s the Wu-Tang G, the GZA, the Genius tattoo. It’s just a Wu-Tang symbol. That’s it, that is all I got. Is it just strictly for “Gailea” or are you really into WuTang? I just like the G. And well, you know, my name starts with a G. It’s just the Genius. I don’t think I am a genius, you know. I am not saying anything like that. I just liked it so I got it. It was one of those things, I was 18. Maybe I was rebelling against my parents. I could do whatever the hell I wanted so I got a tattoo.
fucking hang out outside. When it is over, just go home. I am the king of getting out of the club, getting in my car, getting the fuck out of there before everyone crowds up and is all drunk. That is when shit starts. When the club is over get the fuck out. Leave. Go. There is nothing else for you to do. Like say you got a chick that you are sorta stoked on and you guys have been playing eye tag, man up and get her fucking phone number. Say “I gotta bounce, let’s bounce together or I will call you in 5 minutes from another location,” just go. You know, that is the best advice or the best thing I can say. That is why I always leave right away. That’s what everyone should do. Just bounce and get out of there. Any problems break out at your parties? Aw, no man, it is just a really good Sunday night where everyone can get down. It is really good for something that is just a month old. I mean the Wednesday nights are kind of random. Anyone off the street knows about it. On Sundays we definitely got a real hip hop night. DJ Kutcorners, Matty, is one of my real good friends downtown. Moving from Tsawwassen to downtown you meet a lot of people that don’t even know who they are. Like they are weird or crazy, or fake. There are very few people that you meet downtown that end up really being your friend. Maybe it is just me. Maybe it is just ‘cause I am a mellow person. But it just seems like it is not that often that you meet people downtown that are normal. Especially when you go out. You meet a chick and you think she is cool. You are all stoked and then you find out that every night you go out she is there. And she knows this guy and that guy. You know what I mean? You want someone like yourself. Someone that doesn’t go out as often as you do, that doesn’t know everyone you do and someone that is just as cool as you are; it’s sorta hard to find you know?
Do you think that you will ever get anymore? Maybe, I have a couple of ideas. Like getting my mom’s name tattooed over my heart. But that is about it. Her name is Mary. Maybe get the Virgin Mary. You know, something similar to my mom.
With people downtown, some people just see you when you go out to a club, skate shop or somewhere trendy, and they might snub you. Then they see you hanging out with someone different and they change automatically and are like “Hey!” And it’s just like “fuck you, fuck off”. There are just too many people like that. People that just aren’t real to themselves. They gotta be fake and put on the front. They wanna be in the cool group. There are too many people like that. Just like, be yourself. “Ooooh, you work at some retail store”. How cool can you actually be working retail? Fuck skateboarding, fuck what I do – I am just saying, how cool can you be because you work at some store or you work at some club. Like honestly, in the big picture, you work at a retail store or club...
You go out like anybody else in this city, do you stress out about violence in the bars? Yeah, I think it’s lame when a club doesn’t frisk everybody that comes into the bar. I understand they have their regulars. A lot of bars though don’t frisk anyone. At the same time when I lived in L.A., in Orange County especially, OC is a nice place, it’s not even L.A., every club I went to there was a cop car outside. There were cops all over the street. I was going to places where even if you get into a bar fight there was a cop waiting outside to cuff you or waiting to grill you wondering what went on. It’s like sometimes people are too free in Canada. I have a rule: when the club is over, don’t
A FEW SITES CURRENTLY BOOKMARKED ON GAILEA’S COMPUTER ebay.com, grandgood.com, myspace.com, pinkisthenewblog.com shadlambert.com, twskate.com, urbanfootwearonline.com .gaileamomolu
â€¹8 WISHES AND BROCCOLI DREAMS
Eugene Voykin | Alien | Mike Stewart | Jesse Lockhart | Keegan Sauder | Ryan Quibell | Josh Evin | Rob Sigaty | Quinn Starr
Blacklist Dist. Po Box 2211 Vancouver BC V6B 3W2 t. 604-872-LIST F. 604-872-5488
Words: Nicholas Brown Interview: Dustin Koop
rian Gaberman is an anomaly. Just ask your favourite skate photographer what contemporaries they draw inspiration from, and you can bet his name will come up. But while Gaberman is best known for his skateboard photography, he occupies a strange position within the field. A cursory inspection of his most remarkable skate photos reveals a preoccupation with aspects secondary to the core subject matter, such as landscape, texture and a myriad of darkroom techniques. The eye scans across lines, shadows and curvatures, slowly coming to rest on a skateboarder whose figure appears as a feature of the lanscape. When compared against most contemporary skate photographs,
Gabermanâ€™s heavily worked, mostly black and white, images stick out like a sore thumb. Where is the fisheye lense? The low-positioned, close up perspective that emphasizes the trick and registers obstacles as twice their size? Such industry standard illusions are replaced by macroscopic studies of light and shadow, tone and contrast. It is for this reason that Gabermanâ€™s work has transitioned so effectively into a fine art context, garnering him the honour of being the youngest photographer featured in B&W Magazine. Itâ€™s no surprise that his nonskate works are aesthetically very similar, incorporating portraiture, still-life and landscape subject matter into his pictorial language.
While Gaberman’s output might make him something of an industry maverick, his background will sound pretty familiar: as a teenager, he moved to California to pursue skateboarding, and rode for ATM before ever picking up a camera. “I started taking skate photos ‘cause it was the obvious thing,” Gaberman explains. “Slowly my interests moved from skating and into photography, I was taking more pictures of my friends and riding the board less.” From a superficial perspective, there would seem little to distinguish Gaberman’s background from the multitude of skate photographers against which his work deviates. It’s a commonality in the bro-industry for former skateboarders to slip into available positions, designing for board companies, shooting for magazines, or brand managing shoe companies. What accounts for a lack of originality on the parts of many in the industry is in reality a lack of heart: the desire to skate became eclipsed by a desire to remain in the industry by any
means necessary. Many, Gaberman explains, “went that route ‘cause getting sponsored didn’t seem to be a reality. Most have never worked in a dark-room and don’t know the first thing about the history of photography.” And, while Gaberman may have made a name for himself by shooting skateboarding, you can hardly cite shooting his first photo feature for Transworld using unknown skaters in Kentucky, in black and white, surrounded by snow, as conventional. Ironically, it may be that Gaberman’s background as a skateboarder has been more useful than he lets on. While his work displays an affection for traditional approaches to camera and darkroom techniques, in addition to a studied approach to the history of photography, his background as a skateboarder may be equally applicable: a sensitivity to the physical features of his surroundings conveys an astute awareness honed by years of experience searching for skate spots, communing with the landscape in a manner
“The whole time… all the magazines acted like I didn’t exist”
unfamiliar to many fine art photographers. This sensibility permeates Gaberman’s work, making his skate photos indistinguishable in many ways from his landscapes (did anyone else take a moment or two to realize there is no one present in the landscape shot of the empty ramp?). Bucking the trends while staying firmly rooted in the skateboard industry, Gaberman is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly slick, commercialized image culture. In his personal life, the photographer has similarly eschewed the trappings of skate industry lifestyle. From his retreat to Kentucky in 2001 (“The whole time… all the magazines acted like I didn’t exist. I was treated like “outta sight, outta mind”), to his steadfast refusal to leave Northern California (“I refuse to move... maybe if I lived in LA I would have had some offers”), Gaberman has prioritized his personal and family life over the pressures of conforming to the industry. Choosing to reside in a tiny rural community near the Sonoma County coast, where he can escape with his wife and
two kids (one 2 and a half, the other other just three months old). And judging from his recent preoccupation with rural themes, it’s no surprise he counts “Redwood Tarantulas, scorpions, Black Widows and a lot of Deer” as neighbours. But such excursions are necessary for an artist that values his individuality as much as he does private time with family. “If you look at a lot of fashion and music magazines these days,” Gaberman argues, “photographers are just emulating each other… it is better to draw your influences from wherever you see fit, but take them in and turn them around and spit them back out as personal as you can… [instead of] cannibalizing each others work.” It is this attitude that led to Gaberman’s successful treatment of a Beastie Boys feature for Mass Appeal— one of the photographer’s most commercial projects became subsumed into Gaberman’s personal vision: “I brought my family along to make me feel more comfortable,” he reflects. “My son Miles was six months old, he was a great ice breaker. I think having my son there helped them warm up to me a little bit, as something more than a guy with a camera.
They have kids so it gave us something to talk about and made it more fun and personal rather than some quick shoot.” Ultimately, as Gaberman’s work continues to evolve, it will continue to reflect the values and work ethic that have guided him from day one. “Every time I shoot a picture I see the future potential that can be done to it in the darkroom,” he explains. “Part of me thinks I am a
moron because, while every other photographer takes their film to the lab gets it developed and they are done and go drink beer… where I have to go back into the darkroom for another week to finish an article. It’s not done, it has only started when I get back home and get it all developed.”
OUT OF THE BLOOM david christian wordsby rhianon bader photosby
[ o ] BADER
previous page: MAGNUS HANSEN switch frontside heelflip
opposite: MIKE VINCE switch 180 nosegrind
What is it that makes us constantly search for the untouched - that treasure chest that holds everything we could have ever imagined? The thing with skateboarding is that, like any passion, it cannot provide us with the same feelings of excitement, reward and adrenaline, always and forever. Skateboarding can continue to be the cause of some of the most enjoyable moments in our lives, but the longer we skate and the older we get the harder it is to thoroughly feel the same attachment that we felt in the beginning. I read in a National Geographic about how the ecstatic feelings we get from “being in love” with someone must end after a certain number of months simply because the chemicals our brain releases to give us that feeling will eventually diminish, basically for the sake of maintaining our sanity. The brain would be overloaded if it felt that good all the time. In the same way, the passions we have in life cannot keep the same hold on us as they did in the beginning. But if we are truly dedicated, we find ways to make it work, to create “special moments” that reacquaint us with those initial butterflies… perhaps by simply reserving Sunday afternoons for beer/bowl sessions, using long-weekends to take short road trips to somewhere new, or skating around downtown solo late at night while the common folk of the world are sleeping. By circumstance and choice, some of us go further, less like lovers trying to keep the magic and more like addicts trying to relive that first high.
[ o ] CHRISTIAN
above: MIKE McDERMOTT frontside boardslide
opposite: JOEY WILLIAMS frontside bluntslide
When seeking the initial novelty and sensation of genuine discovery, the most obvious route is to bring something old to somewhere new. Thousands of us have packed up our bags, said farewell to the old local spots, and taken off on a whimsical quest for the veritable Shangri-La of skateboarding. The process follows the same sequence each time… a few pioneers stumble upon virgin territory and, once the floodgates of documentation are opened, a constant wave of travelers come to see and experience the new land for themselves. San Francisco in the early 90s stands as an example of this, setting a loose formula for skate havens to follow: plenty of street spots, skateable year-round, and an atmosphere that offers an agreeable life outside of skating (food, music, culture, etc…). The latest victim of our skateboard imperialism is Barcelona, rumoured soon-to-be no more. With its Mediterranean weather and vibrant atmosphere, not to mention marble ledges in abundance, it’s no wonder almost every single skateboarder has dreamed of going there, and a considerable number from all around the world have succeeded in doing so over the past ten years. The novelty can only last so long – the spots get run down, the authorities get fed up, the locals get agitated, and, of course, the skateboarders themselves get the itch to move on, find the next high. Whether Barcelona has actually lost its charm as the skateboarding city is doubtful in the eyes of the thousands of internationals who have spent time there lately, but that is irrelevant. What’s important is this: all good things must end. Not because they cease to be good but because we have begun to take them for granted. So we move on, in search of something better… and though perhaps this is futile, it is our nature.
JOEY WILLIAMS backside heelflip [ o ] CHRISTIAN
[ o ] BADER
opposite: MIKE McDERMOTT switch shove-it nose manual halfcab kickflip
And so, what now? The scope widens, the viewfinders of various VX1000’s and Hasselblads scour the landscape for footage-worthy spots that haven’t been devoured by the ruthless media... yet. Speculations arise regarding where to explore next: the thriving yet low-key urban centres of Latin America, the rapidly developing infrastructure of China, European cities previously overshadowed by Barcelona’s popularity, or sunny Australia? It could be anywhere, and the search can only be limited by a reluctance to explore… why not Turkey? Morocco? East Timor? There may be dozens of reasons why not, but we can’t know for sure what we might stumble upon unless we take a look. Though it’s entertaining to wonder about the possibilities for “the next Barcelona”, it isn’t something that happens on purpose or with planning. When I consider the spontaneous nature of establishing a skateboard city, I can only think of a term used by a friend from Barcelona who was attempting to employ a common English expression to describe how incredible it is that the city has come to be nearly overrun by skateboarders from dozens of nationalities. “It’s just like, Poof! Out of the Bloom! Here we all are,” he said. Each one of us has our own way of keeping skateboarding fresh, and our own means of maintaining some of the uniqueness that first ignited the passion. And every so often it accumulates in one part of the world and at one time in such a way that a scene comes into bloom in random and surprising ways. There was truly no need to correct him.
THE KIDS SKIP TOWN. wordsby saelan twerdy photosby jody rogac
Summer Lovers Unlimited Music (SLUM) is coming up fast. After spending the last year reforming the Vancouver club scene, the fledgling label is about to take its first steps into world touring and a release schedule that’s sure to generate hype in hotspots farflung from the mountains and ocean of its native city. So far, SLUM has operated mainly under the cover of night – which is to say that the label has had a hand in every good afterparty and club night in Vancouver since any of the local skids can remember. Resident DJs Jason Sulyma (aka my!gay!husband!) and Paul Devereaux (aka DJ Paul Devro) and their SLUM-sponsored night, “The Kids”, have been the number-one antidote to the malaise of utterly miserable 90s-leftover crackhead DJs that have plagued the city for so long. Like the 2 Many DJs-esque mashups that dominate Paul and Jason’s brilliant Mixtapes Are For Losers CD (Summer Lovers, 2005), SLUM is bridging gaps between scenes and carving out a space where indie rockers, gangsters, metalheads, punks, and electro-philes can all get sweaty drunk together and make out. Before Douglas Ko (current label head and
self-appointed Kim Jawn Ill) founded Summer Lovers, he spent years grinding away at the grist mill of music journalism. The label’s diverse signings are similarly experienced: Jason Sulyma’s been booking shows since he was a teenager, spazz-rockers Channels 3 + 4 have been gigging around the city for years, honing their craft, and migratory art star Dandi Wind has bases in Vancouver, Montreal, and the UK, as well as her own label, Todtenschlaf. The only upstarts on Summer Lovers are Montreal electro-punks Duchess Says, and they’ve already got a nod of approval from the DFA’s electro hero, The Juan Maclean, who they opened for earlier this year. Doug Ko emphasizes that everyone on his label is part of a family. They’re friends that have worked together and support each other, and with the networks they’ve established for themselves, they’ve got extended family members everywhere they go. “We’re fans first,” says Doug, “and we do our research.” “It’s pretty obvious when a label or a scene tries to manufacture diversity. I remember, back in the 90s, a lot of indie labels tried to branch out into hip-hop and stuff, and it was pretty embarrassing. We’re playing up the youth of the scene, though. Kids are learning fast, and that’s what we’re relying on, our generation, the kids who are coming up listening to everything and who don’t dismiss genres wholesale. We’re pretty happy with the younger kids in Vancouver and the way they’re thinking these days, in terms of music. They’re pretty open-minded and they’re doing their research. They’re not just going to rock school.” Which helps explain why the SLUM-produced Vancouver stop of Spank Rock’s XXXplosive tour was jammed to the hilt with ecstatic indie rockers. In early April, my!gay!husband!, Paul Devro, and Paul’s brother Eric tested the international waters with their first Summer Lovers-sponsored tour: the West Coast, three dates, and a road trip to Las Vegas with Color photographer Jody Rogac. Jason called it “a vacation that we got reimbursed for,” but it was also a warm-up for the tour later this year that will take them through Montreal, Toronto, NYC, and possibly to Europe with Channels 3 + 4 in September. As ambassadors for the label, Jason and Paul couldn’t be more ideal. Jason is a one-man party, a lewd, hilarious sloth who genially
“I DON’T HAVE A SAMPLER. I HAVE A KEYBOARD WITH WEED ALL OVER IT. IT’S DISGUSTING. I DON’T EVEN LIKE TOUCHING IT. I USE A PENCIL.” — Jason Sulyma 108
refers to himself as “the fattest rock skid in town”. Paul, by contrast, is skinny and animated, every bit the obsessive crate-digger. In Jason’s own words, “I’m so ghetto and he’s IT. I just think it’s a joke this is a job! I get to do it all at once: drink, make a living, and talk to girls, and then I get to go home. I just stay inside and watch Chevy Chase movies. He’s a handsome man. I suggest it.” Jason admits that he likes to work fast and he’d rather read choose-your-own-adventure books than tweak the same record for an hour. Paul, to his own dismay, can’t stop working. He’s been trying to get the third volume of his Toma mix (a schizophrenic mashup of Brazilian baile funk, Iraqi and Japanese pop, UK grime, and obscure electro) onto the street for months, but he’s sabotaged by his own perfectionism. Every week, when it seems about finished, he comes across new tracks he needs to work in, and he has to start all over. While Jason started DJing because a) he was too broke to hire
somebody and b) he knew he could do a better job, Paul’s been obsessed with the art since he was a teenager. “One time Eric [Devereaux, Paul’s Brother] went to the Salvation Army and he got this Diana Ross song that Puff Daddy and Monica were both sampling for the songs they had out,” Paul recalls. “And then we were like, ‘Holy!’ and we first started to wrap our heads around the whole sampling thing, and we started buying all these used records just to look for song samples, and that was an obsession for eight years. Now whenever I hear a rap song, my mind immediately goes to the soul song it’s sampling, and I want to be like (nerdy voice) ‘Did you hear that part?!’ I gotta hold it in.”
“WE WANNA PLAY YOUR FAVOURITE TUNES TO YOUR FRIENDS WHO ARE DRUNK.”
This combination of serious fandom and completely unserious partying is exactly what Doug Ko is trying to cultivate with Summer Lovers. “We’re really excited about the Channels 3 + 4 EP we’re putting out with Ourdisco (a DJ night/record label hybrid from London, good tastemaking DJs). They’re not into moneymaking so much. It’s quality control. That’s our thing. We want to have a sense of humour, too. We might even be alienating some people, because some people are very po-faced about the music industry, they take it really seriously, and that’s not the way it should work. You start to think you’re really smart, and you throw your taste in peoples’ face.
wordsby graham preston illustrationby ben tour
On February 10th, 2006, James D. Yancey, better known as Jay Dee or J Dilla, died after battling an incurable blood disease, lupus and complications due to a ruptured kidney for the last few years of his life. He was 34 years old. Jay Dee was best known for his key role in the group Slum Village as well as his production work for A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Roots, and Common, among many other talented artists. His death came only three days after the release of Donuts – his most recent album, and best to date. The Shining, Dilla’s third solo album, still unfinished at the time of his death, will be released later this year after his friend and collaborator Karriem Riggins applies the finishing touches. Another Dilla album, Jay Love Japan, is also slated for release this year through Operation Unknown. A few months before Jay Dee’s passing, a picture of a man wearing a black t-shirt appeared on the Stones Throw Records website. The t-shirt was emblazoned with “J Dilla Changed My Life” in white lettering. At that time, the sentiment of this t-shirt was almost innocent and certainly without the deeper resonance that, since Dilla’s death, it has taken on. For me and for thousands of other hip-hop heads, J Dilla changed our lives through his beats and rhymes. In Jaylib’s “The Mission”, a song from Dilla’s collaboration with Madlib, Jay Dee raps, “I keeps it simple as well as complicated.” I think this is the essence of Dilla’s work. That is, Dilla’s beats have always been marked by a play between a veneer of simplicity and a deeper complexity. His earliest production work, like 1st Down’s (Jay Dee & Phat Kat) “A Day Wit’ The Homiez” (from 1995) shows this duality most directly with its combination of crisp, banging drums and filtered, purposefully muddied samples. His latest work, Donuts, also mixes the simple and the complex, whether through the irregular insertions
of ethereal and floating vocals during “Airworks” or through Dilla’s masterful signifying on canonical samples on tracks like “Stepson of the Clapper.” In addition to his beat making, Jay Dee was also a solid emcee. His flows were uniquely complex in their brash construction: sometimes harsh, but always densely rhythmic. Dilla’s mic skills are perhaps best exemplified by his anthemic and now classic 2001 single “Fuck the Police.” As much as I or anyone could be a fan of hiphop culture, Jay Dee was always that much more dedicated to the art. He would work in his basement studio for weeks without a break. He would dig in the crates obsessively looking for anything that he could virtuosically integrate into his sound world. It is especially poignant now to hear about Dilla working on Donuts (and other late projects) from his hospital bed. Dilla and his approach to hip-hop was just like this; his life and career beckons us to be mindful of our limits and also aspire to the greatest heights of art – keep it simple as well as complicated.
[ o ] ZASLAVSKI
CAUGHT ON TAPE. wordsby lucas wisenthal photosby dan zaslavskiy dan mathieu, felix faucher and jeff comber
It’s no suprise that most skaters – especially those twenty five and over – find skateboard videos forgettable. Hour-long super-productions filled with quick edits of handrail tricks – the so-called artistry of 16 millimeter footage of people cruising down the street. That’s contemporary skateboarding. Skate videos are boring and they have been for a decade. Everyone knows.
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here: ALEX GAVIN frontside heelflip
[ o ] FAUCHER
[ o ] MATHIEU
ERIC LEBEAU & ALEX GAVIN
“There’s not much,” says Montreal-based filmer and editor Eric Lebeau, 26, when queried about his favorites, “Let me get back to you on that.” Lebeau can’t even remember any skate videos he likes – and he makes them for a living. He asks that I call him later and we hang up. After only a few minutes, though, my phone rings. It’s Lebeau telling me to check my MySpace inbox for the answer to my question – Photosynthesis and Video Days: videos that he says “flow well.” He hopes people say the same about his latest effort, Lazy Paparazzi. Lebeau began making skate videos as a 15-year-old. A high school communications class sparked the longtime skater’s interest in filming and editing. This led to the first of his many camera purchases. It also led to him quitting skating. The kid who skated every day now only “[skates] sometimes.” “When you shoot people – taking pictures and filming, you know – you skate less and you get lazier,” he says. Lebeau counts 2001s Interaction, released by Island Productions, as his first full-length creation. Underworld’s Underrated followed in 2002 and All Night Long, also from Island, in 2003. All three releases were well-received both locally and nationally, focusing the attention of many on Montreal. Work on Lazy Paparazzi started in 2005. Lebeau actually premiered what he calls Lazy Paparazzi 1 a year ago during a trip to San Francisco. Before it could be released, however, his computer’s hard-drive crashed. “I lost everything,” says Lebeau, “I took another year to make another [video].” According to Lebeau, the new Lazy Paparazzi differs significantly from its predecessor and from his previous efforts. “It’s a different vibe,” he says. “Lots of Super-8 [film]. It’s less like a [traditional] skate video.” Lebeau wants Lazy Paparazzi to
appeal “to someone who doesn’t watch skate videos, who doesn’t skate.” The video’s title originated while shooting with Marc April, one of its featured skaters. April was skating a handrail as rain started to fall. Lebeau and photographer Felix Faucher retreated to their van for fear of their equipment being damaged. In Lebeau’s mind, the two had affected the demeanor of unmotivated paparazzi journalists. April thinks that Lebeau’s self-deprecating attitude, by admitting to being lazy, belies his ability as a filmer. He gets work done – so far as he can be coerced from his bed. “Sometimes I show up at his house at like one in the afternoon with coffee and he’s still sleeping,” says April, “He gets to the spot at 4 or 5 o’clock.” Along with April, Lazy Paparazzi stars Montreal’s Carl Labelle, Gianmarco Alaimo, Nataniel Bélanger, Gab Ekoe, Joe Darraiche, Antoine Asselin and Chris St. Cyr, as well as Vancouver local Nathan Lacoste. Footage from Vancouver and San Francisco, where Lebeau spent last winter with Alaimo and Labelle, compliments the video’s mostly Montreal backdrop. “S.F. is pretty much the same vibe as Montreal,” Lebeau says, “It’s a city where you can just skate all around…and find spots. It’s really laid back.” And though he enjoys periodic trips to Vancouver, he feels that that city’s scene typifies a more regimented approach to skateboarding. “Vancouver is more competitive,” he explains. “People are good. Like, very good. You’d think they were training for the Olympics.” But Lebeau plans on staying in Montreal indefinitely. “It’s blowing up,” he says of skateboarding in his hometown, “All the youngsters that skate now, they push the older guys.” Lebeau wants to document that progression – without overlooking skaters from other regions – through videos that emphasize style over tricks, whose appeal is lasting rather than ephemeral. Videos he’d consider memorable.
[ o ] COMBER
RYAN BLAXALL backside 180 nosegrind 180
[ o ] LEBEAU [ o ] MATHIEU
[ o ] LEBEAU
GIANMARCO ALAIMO kickflip
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And even if Yam Roll doesn’t get the girl, as the over-the-top Japanese announcer reminds, he does enjoy the company of an assortment of fishy friends: Ebi-San, Katchi Miso, Tuna Roll, Wasabi Peas, Shmenki Desu, Tomago, Milk Man, Edamame, and Futukayo all join Yam Roll in the Happy Kingdom. wordsby adam henry
In the grand scheme of sushi, the yam roll occupies a strange position– crispy and delicious, yet totally unexotic, the ambivalent culinary treat is as likely to be snapped up off a platter as it is to be left off the menu entirely. It is the yam roll’s underdog status that makes it the perfect embodiment of the hapless hero, as Jon Izen and Mike Geiger have made perfectly clear in their new series The Very Good Adventures of Yam Roll in Happy Kingdom. Yam Roll may not be the biggest or baddest inside out roll on the block, but you know you’re pulling for him.
Animating raw fish treats can only be viewed as a culmination of years of dues paid for Izen and Geiger. Jon Izen’s background includes work animating music videos for R.E.M, design and animation for the North2, Port Moody Blues skate video, art exhibitions in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Portland (with Andy Jenkins) and San Francisco, in addition to animating the Warner Brothers hit show Mucha Lucha. Mike Geiger’s past work includes animation for Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law, The Ren and Stimpy Show, and independent work with Ed Templeton and Toy Machine. Having recently been picked up by the Comedy Network, the series can be viewed regularly in the U.S. and Canada, and viewers can get acquainted with the denizens of Happy Kingdom at thier website. YAMROLL.COM
VARIOUS ARTISTS Run the Road Volume 2, Vice When grime exploded onto the scene a couple years ago, hip-hop heads wondered if it had any staying power as a movement or if it would be yet another boring, hype-fueled, and ultimately empty sub-genre like hip-house. The incredible Run the Road Volume 2 tells us that, yes, grime has some legs after all. On “Sick 2 Def,” the most gangsta cut of the year, Plan B credibly flips a Nas concept, and microphone fiend Kano predictably shines on his two tracks, but the undisputed banger of the comp is Dynasty Crew’s “Bare Face Dynasty”, which combines the blistering boom-bap of grime with a variety of menacing flows. Defying expectations, this comp is every bit as good – maybe even better – than the already-classic Run the Road Volume 1. - Graham Preston
DESTROYER Destroyer’s Rubies, Merge Destroyer’s Rubies marks the seventh and most outstanding album from Vancouver songwriter Dan Bejar. As if to slight the poppy simplicity of his comrades in the New Pornographers, Rubies demands the attention of the listener with disjointed phrases that are often coy, self-referential, and funny. The record summons listeners to study every lyrical puzzle Bejar lays out, which sometimes leaves you rewarded and other times, utterly bewildered. Bejar’s lyrics might initially sound fragmentary, but there’s a definite current that runs through all ten songs. There’s also a renewed sense of enthusiasm, as Bejar avows in the opening track that he is “proud to be a part of this number” while slashing his guitar through the nine-minute-plus “Rubies”. All of the tracks are directed to women, with his interests wantonly straying from Ruby to Christine, Candice, and Molly at different times on the record. As a result, and unlike some of his recent dour efforts, this gives Destroyer’s Rubies a sweet and charming aura that helps make this his most compelling album to date. - Matt Goody
JEL Soft Money, Anticon I’m an Anticon fan and I can admit it. I listen to Lil’ Wayne, too. Whatevs. Jel is the best of Anticon, the sound and the fury, and by the time the drums drop on track two, “All Day Breakfast”, you can’t front – this shit should be on car commercials. I must have played this track ten times back to back when I first heard it. Pretending to play the MPC is the new air guitar. To find out more about Anticon’s contribution to the world, check out www.anticon.com. - Benancio Tourismo
PINK MOUNTAINTOPS Axis of Evol, Scratch/Jagjaguwar It’s a common joke that all you have to do to turn a regular rock song into a Christian one is swap the word “Baby” for “Jesus”. Steve McBean does something a little like that on Axis of Evol, his second album under the Pink Mountaintops moniker. His previous effort under the same name was pure fuck-rock, a collection of lo-fi tunes so gleefully sex-driven they bordered on jokiness – it was the more easygoing yin to the full-blown stoner-rock yang of McBean’s other band, Black Mountain. Axis of Evol’s no joke, though: McBean’s dropped the horndog schtick for some heavy four-track meditations on God and the Devil. Of course, Steve ain’t a preacher, he’s more of a prophet, so when he sets his 126
sights on the Lord, he doesn’t write sermons, he sees apocalyptic visions. Lyrically, this is his best work yet. With blunt, cryptic phrases and a vanload of unsubtle references (AC/DC, Sonic Youth, Spacemen 3, and VU are just the most obvious ones), McBean ponders the meaning of terms like crime, struggle, and freedom in an age of Holy War. Granted, he still cuts a few corners, especially on songs like the plodding, eight-minute “Slaves”, but even when the music sags, Steve’s grizzled, hoary voice carries the load. He may have the best vocal delivery in modern rock and roll: the man sounds like he’s been hauling mountains on his back for as long as he’s been growing his beard (a long time, in other words). He’s the embodiment of tired strength, and this is real, righteous music for evil times. - Saelan Twerdy
USA” begin to tell the story, but you’ve really got to shake off that headache and find out for yourself that YoYoYoYoYo, as expected, delivers the goods. Watch out for Baltimore. - Mike Barrow
VARIOUS ARTISTS London Is the Place for Me vol. 2: Calypso, Kwela, Highlife, and Jazz from Young Black London, Honest Jon’s
DJ/Producer/Artist Take5 has quietly been making some musical gems over the years. His infamous Blue Rose mix tape was legendary back in the day, bootlegged through dubbed casette tapes from friends to friends. The stuff of a legend. This is his first album in three years and it’s epic. A moody soundscape of driving drums and deep melodies, and those obscure samples he seems to find that turn his beats into almost dreamlike conversations. You have to hear it to know what I’m saying. To get a copy of 5 Of Hearts contact Take5 directly by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support indy music. - Boris Tourko.
Honest Jon’s is a relatively new label co-founded by the London record store of the same name and Blur’s Damon Albarn, dedicated (like the revered Soul Jazz label) to releasing and reissuing the best in unheard music from around the globe. So far, this spectacular London Is the Place for Me series is the jewel in their crown, a veritable history of black music in London in the fifties. Before there was reggae, or even ska, there was Trinidadian calypso. The calypso vocalist traditionally sings about events around him (or her), adding a subtle social commentary, so this album (the best in the series) gives you a unique window into the immigrant experience: racism, mixed marriage, cheerful sexual double-entendres, political confusion, and a running commentary on bebop jazz (on the hilarious “Calypso Be”, Young Tiger calls Dizzy Gillespie a “monstrosity”). If you’re anything like me, you probably had no idea that you needed these breezy Caribbean rhythms in your life, but these songs have already given me hours and hours of enjoyment, and I expect to keep enjoying them for a long time. This compilation is built to last. - Saelan Twerdy
PSYCHIC ILLS Dins, Social Registry
VARIOUS ARTISTS Project Bicycle, Ache
In the fifteen years since My Bloody Valentine released their shoegaze masterpiece Loveless, a lot of bands have tried to produce the follow-up album that Kevin Shields hasn’t been able to make himself, but few of them have been as compelling as Brooklyn four-piece Psychic Ills. With Dins, their debut full-length for the unfuckwithable Social Registry label, the Ills replicate the dreamy, moan-and-throb psychedelia of Spacemen 3 while inhaling lungfulls of inspiration from the blossoming free-psych-noise underground. Their surging, shambolic riffage has a distinctly non-traditional edge, replete with tribal hand drumming and ghostly drone-scapes, but every time a song seems to teeter on the edge of a navel-gazing abyss, an anthemic new rhythm comes roaring in and a storming rock and roll song suddenly materializes out of the echo and fuzz. These kids have already mastered the art of momentum, and the heaviness of their vibrations is stupefying. Whether zoned-out, stoned-in, or chugging through vast, sludgy riffs in slow-motion astral thrash mode, the Ills’ clouds of guitar noise are every bit as awe-inspiring as the sources they borrow from. Highly recommended. - Saelan Twerdy
Is it weird to review a CD that you did the liner notes for? I wrote an essay on cycling and its political, environmental, and social implications for Andy Dixon (aka Secret Mommy)’s new project, in which he sent a sample of bike noises to some of his laptop producer friends. Only the one sample could be used, no outside sounds. It was such a rad concept when I heard about it, and now that I’ve listened to it, I feel honoured to have contributed. Andy has gathered some glitch heavyweights such as Jason Forrest, Greg Davis, and Aelters along with some relative unknowns like TU M’, Romanhead, and Jab Mica Och El. The tracks range from the playfulness of Sun Ok Papi K.O. to the hyper bike horn honking of Uske Nikoto to the minimal static patterns of Greg Davis. Secret Mommy’s tune is probably the best stand-alone song, as he seems to be making the most efficient use of the sample, which, by the way, is provided at the end of the CD so you can make your own track. Jason Forrest didn’t follow the rules. Instead, he went out cycling with a ghetto blaster. Rad. - Sean Orr
TAKE5 5 Of Hearts, Independant
SPANK ROCK YoYoYoYoYo, Big Dada Anticipation for the release of Spank Rock’s debut full-length has been mounting steadily since the release last summer of the endlessly remixable “Put That Pussy On Me”. But Spank Rock had only showed some of their hand. With YoYoYoYoYo, they manage to effectively fold their various influences into a cohesive and refreshing record sure to help assuage your guilt about those heat-of-the-moment bumps.YoYoYoYoYo, as the album’s title foretells, is party record revisionism. Producer Alex “XXXchange” Epton plays the mad chemist with Miami bass, electro, grime, and even a little DJ Screw, brewing perfect beats for the ADD-afflicted, post-MIA/Diplo portion of world that just wants to shake ass, get fucked up, and not feel so bad about it (only on the weekends, right?). That said, the eclecticism of YoYoYoYoYo never succumbs to excess, though Naeem Juwan’s quietly confident and often indecipherable playboy persona certainly doesn’t concern itself with restraint. Song titles like “Bump”, “Coke & Wet”, and “Screwville,
VARIOUS ARTISTS Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound, Soul Jazz England’s Soul Jazz label can always be counted on for great reissues and compilations of obscure and unheard music, but with this album, they’ve really outdone themselves. If you’ve never been introduced to the indescribably vibrant musical explosion that is late-60’s Brazil, this is the best place to start. If you’re a passionate tropicalia enthusiast, you won’t find a more well-executed distillation of the movement anywhere. The track selection and sequencing are marvelous, and the exhaustive liner notes are a great read, packed to the hilt with great photos and detailed writings that offer not only biographies on the specific artists, but considerable insight into the historical and political context of Brazil. The fusion of samba, bossa nova, British and American psychedelic rock, and European avant-gardism spearheaded by visionaries like Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Os Mutantes (under a military dictatorship, no less) is among the most playful, freewheeling, and inspiring music recorded in the 20th century, and this compilation is absolutely essential. - Saelan Twerdy
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Published on Oct 2, 2016
Between 2004 and 2006 two prominent staples to Vancouver's skateboard community, Rachael Davis and Lee Matasi were innocently killed by gun...