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art / fashion / music / film / life / skateboarding /

VEILED REWARDS — How Skateboarding inadvertantly benefits from the Olympics ISSN 1920-0412

rachell sumpter | vancouver artist studios | grant barnhart mike o’meally | space 1026 | michah lexier | fos $7.99 CND/USD


art / fashion / music / film / life / skateboarding /

VEILED REWARDS — How Skateboarding inadvertantly benefits from the Olympics ISSN 1920-0412

rachell sumpter | vancouver artist studios | grant barnhart mike o’meally | space 1026 | michah lexier | fos $7.99 CND/USD


art / fashion / music / film / life / skateboarding /


— How Skateboarding inadvertantly benefits from the Olympics ISSN 1920-0404

rachell sumpter | vancouver artist studios | grant barnhart mike o’meally | space 1026 | michah lexier | fos $7.99 CND/USD


backside noseblunt










E L E M E N T S K AT E B O A R D S { C O M }




contributing editor

contributing photographer

contributing photographer

The first story I’d heard of Ryan Smith was of him trashing his former sponsor’s hotel room as a way of telling them that he had decided to quit the team. Not that we really condone this kind of activity, but there’s something about that kind of passion that you can’t help but admire. This is a passion that he exudes in his skating as well. In short, Ryan is exciting. Furthermore, he is lucky to be alive. But, alive he is, and with his crazy past well under control, he’s working hard at making skateboarding a top priority again. With all his peaks and valleys, who better to talk to Sascha Daley about smoking on the airplane, chlamydia, and being a ‘made man’ 108.

Michelle was raised in small-town Quebec, where she was born into a dying breed of Anglophones. After spending her childhood having to snowshoe into the woods to find dinner, little Michelle was given a camera and fell in love with the object. As a young woman, she studied photography at Emily Carr University and recently moved to New York to pursue an interest in traditional crystal healing and, of course, take some photos along the way. She loved New York, but missed the family and laid-back aura of the West Coast, so Michelle traveled back to Vancouver where she continues to pursue photography and magical healing 72.

Nick Ceglia is a photographer and graphic designer living in New York City. When he isn’t nerding out on typography and skateboarding, he also likes to experiment in film and music with friends. A typical day in the life involves a good coffee and bagel in the morning, skating(hopefully) and working during the day, followed by good pizza and pints at the bar in the evening. He is also a part of Visivo Projects, a local art collective that specializes in putting out DIY zines, and things of that sort. This isn’t the first time that we’ve run Nick’s photos, but the first time he has appeared on the contributor’s page. Welcome Nick. He shot a stunning kickflip by Bill Marshall that appears in our Fotofeature 123.






contributing editor

guest typographer

contributing illustrator

contributing photographer

This Ottawa native now running game in the streets of Montreal, is known best as “Cigg” for his diet of coffee, prescription medication, skateboarding and of course smoking of any kind. Green has skated through more years of his life than he hasn’t, living a “day by day lifestyle”. On top skating for a list of great sponsors he currently produces graphics for Underworld Skate Shop. Conveniently, Adam interviewed his roommate JS Lapierre 58 in this issue. And while he may not know what he’ll be doing tomorrow you can bet it will involve a heavy dose of all the aforementioned activities.

Jon Bocksel lives in New York City, found often cruising through the concrete tar bath, riding the slimey waves of the Rockaway’s, or painting letters and symbols on paper. Jon just finished his 27th trip around the sun, he’s pretty excited about it, but admits his knees are not quite as snappy as they used to be so making paintings will suffice for now. Jon enjoys the crustiest wallride spots and working on typography projects with awesome people. As well as producing this issue’s feature titles you can find his illustrations in our Olympic archetecture piece on 90.

Aye Jay is a freelance artist/illustrator from Chico, California. Best known for his books (Gangsta Rap colouring book, Heavy Metal Fun Time activity book, and Punk Rock fun time activity book) he has also done scribblings for Creature skateboards, Foundation, Consolidated, Brimley and Momentum wheels. Aye Jay has conducted interviews in this issue with a selection of artists who inspired him through the years. In homage to them he has created portraits of them in the style of each individual’s classic/iconic board graphics. He lurks hard on his website 82.

Driven by a passion for skateboarding and visual arts, “Babas The True” has been keeping the flow of his life as a selfmade man for 20 years. Born and raised in France in the 70s, he spends most of his time on wheels, moving through Europe and Canada and often behind a lens. After many trips searching for a peaceful place, he decided to establish himself in the multi-cultural metropol of Montreal, providing a new source of inspiration. Once there, he added a new rope to his arc; photography. “A way to capture everyday art with a personal point of view...” Travelling is the key kids! 128.


volume 8

[ o ] DOUBT

Intensity in Tent City.


t’s Groundhog Day and I haven’t seen my shadow in weeks. Wet weather, tight deadlines, and the added hustle and bustle of a city preparing to invite the world in is all too much for me… And it just so happens that another city was quietly getting ready to do the same, only this gathering was meant for skateboarders only. I sat patiently in my window seat as the plane descended on Los Angels, a former host of the Olympics and one of the very few to make a profit from the Games in the last 50 years. They learned well from the mistakes made in Montreal, whose debt equated to $500,000 per household to facilitate the 1976 Olympics – a lesson not forgotten by the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) in 2010, as it appears they will try to control costs by erecting massive white tents across all available land. Some of these will span up to 60,000 square feet, resulting in a less appealing skyline than the condos that came before them. The tents will serve as beer gardens for those who can afford to buy-in to one of these domes and put back a few while watching hockey on a flatscreen. Just as bitter as the beer it serves, I’m sure I’ll never know the true mystery of what lies beyond those vinyl walls because the Olympics just don’t appeal to me. On my journey to the Crossroads trade show in San Diego, friends and associates greet me and everyone wants to know what it’s like back home in Vancouver. “It must be

crazy there right now.” To be honest, I’ve been too wrapped up in the magazine to really let it affect me, but still I’m unimpressed. Are the Games even relevant anymore? Even snowboarding, the most recent induction, is becoming nonsensical when hucking back-to-back 1260s is standard play. And at my own former stomping grounds, Big White ski resort, they’ve done away with their halfpipe altogether, begging the question: What is relevant in 2010? Is it the one thing mass media can’t fuck with: art? With Vancouver yielding such warm temperatures that it seems someone forgot to invite Mother Nature, the arts communities thrive as snow remains to be seen. With this issue appearing during the Vancouver Olympics, we decided to take the high road – and I’m not talking about the newly built highway to Whistler. I mean the architectural additions Olympic cities collect that can actually be of use to skaters 90: spots! At the surface it would appear the Olympics offer nothing relevant for a magazine focusing on the arts and culture of skateboarding. But it does cause one to reflect on one’s city and that’s why we’re so honoured to feature local contemporary artists 72 to exhibit what it is to be both creative and fashionable in 2010. Again, getting away from the pit of all-that-is-jockness, we focus on the art that’s shaped the aesthetic of one of today’s skateboard graphic artists in “Unique Beast”, an ode to skateboard graphic luminaries illustrated by Aye Jay 82. We introduce gold medalist/crowned “King Of Vancouver”, Quebec’s JS Lapierre 58. And on the West Coast Ryan

Smith interviews Sascha Daley 108, one young man who’s been doing a lot more than just “doin’ his country proud.” As always, Color comes correct in this issue with more culture and inspiration in all our regular departments than you can shake a stick at. Rest easy knowing there’s nothing you’re missing out on because we’re at the heart of it all, from southern California to Vancouver, to the smallest farm towns with just parking blocks to skate, like Notre-Damede-Stanbridge, Quebec. Returning from Crossroads I landed back in Vancouver to an overcrowded baggage carrier surrounded by foreign athletes, coaches and families suited in their respective countries’ colours. I was brought aside by security to a vacant room where my bags were searched and I was asked the same questions repeatedly. The man with the badge is friendlier than I would have imagined, but then again I’m home and we’re known for that sort of thing. We share our discontentment for the chaos the Olympics are bringing and he hands back my passport. Ten minutes later I’m on the new train line, homeward bound to live out the next six weeks of ‘winter’ declared by Punxsutawney Phil. And I realize how lucky we really are here in Vancouver.  

Sandro Grison, creative director / editor-in-chief COLORMAGAZINE.CA




Danny Garcia. Back lip pop-out. Photo: Atiba.

distributed by Ultimate Photograph by: GrifďŹ n Collins

get injected online

[ o ] JANSEN

volume 8


22 EXTRA/RANDOM Raymond Molinar Polaroids

Raymond Molinar is keeping the art of Polaroid photography alive and so it is that we present to you a small gallery of his photos.

36 Show

Grant Barnhart A collection of acrylic paintings and a few sculptures make up the artists latest solo exhibition.

38 PAGE 38

Rachell Sumpter She paints small-scaled, softly-glowing, romantic landscapes from an equally enchanting island. Welcome to the work of Rachell Sumpter.



56 Helter shelter Micah Lexier

This Canadian artist opens the door to his studio and home so that we can take a snoop around his space and see what kind of things are inspiring him right now.

64 GALLERY La Familia

Have a glimpse into Mike O’Meally’s book of boxing photos from East LA.

COVER 8.1 by Dylan Doubt

Daguerreotypes, Victorian era portraiture, brotherhoods and secret societies are just a few of the influences that has led Appleby-Barr to work in his latest medium.

Space 1026

There are way too many faces behind this space to be able to talk to them all, but we got hold of long-time collective member Thom Lessner to find out what keeps this artist-run workplace running.

SECRET PLEDGE Stephen Appleby-Barr



An Homage to the Skateboard Graphic Artist California based artist Aye Jay conducted interviews with a selection of graphic designers and skateboard luminaries who inspired him through his own career. As an homage, Aye Jay created portraits of each in the style of their own design they’ve become most known for. Dan Post breaks it down.


Ryan Smith may have had a rocky couple years, but he's back and he's on a mission. This is his very first backside noseblunt on transition of any sort, and brother let me tell you, he did it proper. Danny would have been proud.


Alongside Zebra Popstar pens and Black Pudding, what does this artist from across the pond list as his “Bests”? Read on and see.



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58 Shazam


JS Lapierre

[ o ] JANSEN

[ o ] FORD




COVER 8.1 by Dylan Doubt

OUR GLASS Michelle Ford visited the studios of Ron Tran, Liz Magor, Brad Phillips, Alex Morisson, Kate Sansome, Les Ramsey and Tegan Moore to capture their unique style and was warmly welcomed with many offerings of tea and comfy conversations.

Adam Green has known his roomie JS since before the AM was crowned the inaugural DC King of Vancouver, so who better to ask all the right questions and fill in the blanks for the rest of us? music

90 GRANITE MEDALLIONS The Upshot for Olympic Cities

While most of the world focuses on whats happening in Vancouver during the Olympics, Rhianon Bader takes a look at what kind of architectural gems the Olympics leave behind.


101 Beneath the tower

Going Underground with Toronto’s Rock Scene Recently transplanted to Toronto, our music editor has put together a feature that is a sampling platter of bands from the vast music scene of the Big Smoke. Have a taste of 100 Dollars, Little Girls, The Bitters and Teen Anger.


The Sascha Daley Interview

Ryan Smith isn’t one to sugar coat his words, which is exactly why we got him to interview his Canadian, DC brother. Somehow they managed to cover every topic from the apocalypse to what being known as a ladies man is like, with plenty of opinions on all thrown in along the way.

08 09 15 33 41


50 132 136 140 142


It was a few years back I guess, that everyone was talking about “the bid”. It seemed to dominate the media and you really couldn't get away from it. On an impulse, Keegan Sauder woke up early one morning and whipped up a special shirt to share his sentiments.

Please recycle this magazine.









volume 8 issue 1

Raymond Molinar Polaroids wordsby gordon nicholas


ot only is Raymond Molinar turning heads with his skateboarding (look no further than his part in the new Thrasher video Prevent This Tragedy), but also with his continued dedication to the ever-precious medium of Polaroid photography. Shot on his classic SX-70, Molinar’s keen and exact sense of composition, mixed with the almost painterly texture of Polaroid film produce truly stunning images. But what’s so appealing about these Polaroids specifically is their ephemerality towards light and movement caught through the sluggish shutters. And while old film and cameras can sometimes have a mind of their own, Molinar knows his equipment inside and out and is thus able to use the intrinsic characteristics of both film and camera to his advantage. This doubling of compositions removes the viewer from the mundane object allowing them instead to imagine themselves in the physical environment of each space, as well as re-formulating the essential, instantaneous distinctiveness of Polaroid itself.









K E V I N “ S PA N K Y ” LO N G








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volume 8 issue 1



SCOTT DECENZO switch feeble grind 180 [ o ] stanfield.



MAX FINE hardflip [ o ] caissie.

DEREK FUKUHARA nollie heelflip crooked grind [ o ] mikendo.



DEREK SWAIM frontside tailslide 180 kickflip [ o ] caissie.



Going through the book for the first time, I discovered myself scratching and closely examining the ink on the pages like a freak, trying to figure out the colours and paper that was used in the printing of this publication. The second time flipping through the pages, my eyes were concentrated on the large amount of imagery including old catalogues, typefaces, ornaments, borders, and clip art that have been used throughout the history of print around the world. What mostly fascinated me was the plethora of different treatments to typefaces created even before computers and other modern tools! The type designers in the past were truly master craftsmen.

At first glance the lineup of artists included in this book might get you thinking they’re ‘what makes it’, but you’re sadly mistaken. The commentary included from Cohen is what really makes this collection of collaborated watercolours special— the artists just help to make sense of a boys work we’d otherwise not understand or see. 118 renowned artists including David Choe, Shepard Fairey, James Jean, Mark Gonzales, Barry McGee, Paul Frank, and Kaws just to name a few, worked into the paintings made by an eight-year-old. You can’t help but smile when reading his thoughtful critique on these appropriated collaborations. “I wasn’t drawing guts, I was just putting colours and stuff together, and he [Mike 2600] thought it looked like guts”. Take note of the choices your favourite artists make when confronted with unfamiliar territory. Thinking of the dialogue Cohen would have had with his parents about each piece as they got each package back in the mail is just so awesome! These are parents who know how to support and encourage kids to be kids, and not afraid to exercise the great spices of life at an early age. Looking at UPSO’s collab Cohen writes, “This picture makes me think that bad things may not be bad after all”. Obviously Cohen is ready.

de jong, purvis, & tholenaar (taschen)

This book is definitely not brief, and covers alot - if not everything about print type history. I should also note that this is only the first volume out of two. I regularly go through this book as reference and to get educated about certain typefaces. There are alot of other publications about type, but I strongly recommend adding this book to your collection if typography stirs your interest. And if you can’t get enough, there is a keycard included in this volume that gives you online access to a library of royalty free scanned typefaces - how about that! —david ko

aye jay (chronicle)



Sieben’s 50-page art book reminds you that despite all the ugly in the world there is reason to smile. Dabbling mostly in acrylic on wood and ink on paper, the freakish characters of Sieben’s vision are often found sporting bandages and various wounds, but are also seemingly pleased to do so. In the muted tones of their goofy faces fans of the artist, who’s work has appeared in Thrasher and on boards for Toy Machine, will find themselves taken away from the troubles of their own day and into his nightmare world reminiscent of Ren and Stimpy’s heyday. It’s not all a joke however, as just a hint of concern for the environment influences Sieben’s art, demonstrated by mountain tops cracked open to reveal their trashy innards and grotesque figures sprouting tree-trunks from their heads, reminding us that the earth should always be on our mind. With messages like ‘Oh I meant to congratulate you on your entire life being fucked up” and “Eat yourself Slim”, this little art book never takes itself too seriously and asks that as you flip past cartoons of men decapitating themselves to the thought bubble of “Man that was stupid”, remember that laughter is the best medicine. —dan post

Inventory magazine is a curation of ideas in product, craft and culture, as their motto states on the cover of their first issue. Inventory sprung from the h(y)r collective web publication by Owen Parott and Ryan Willms. Inside the trusty thick walls of the well-photographed cover is content about the ins and the outs of every item that completes a man’s look (or a boy’s look if he’s interested in maturing). Thoughtfully shaved of gimmicks, the magazine’s design and layout is supportive to the taste of well-engineered garments. Inventory travels continents in search of such obscurities as fishermen sweaters or perfectly stitched boots. The new men’s magazine from British Columbia celebrates and expands on the people, and the craft of every detail, that make good guys great looking.

michael sieben (gingko press)

—sandro grison

owen parott and ryan willms (h(y)r collective)








images courtesy Courtesy the artist and Ambach & Rice.

Mastiff On Trial, 2009 acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48"

wordsby nicholas brown

Grant Barnhart 36



rant Barnhart's new solo exhibition, a collection of acrylic paintings and a couple of sculptures, is simultaneously excessive and withholding. The handling of paint is light, combining a natural, at times muted, palette with subject matter that is heavy on narrative. Both conventional and absurd, Barnhart's imagery tempts us with familiar categories of narrative while simultaneously needling us with absurd scenarios and incongruous elements – as we attempt to reconcile the familiar with the strange, we are incessantly reminded to ask, just what is the “it” we are begging for?

[ o ] FISHER

“The conventional is merely a foil for the incursion of absurd elements that crop up within both the pictures and their titles.”

Throughout the show, Barnhart plays with conventional tropes of American figurative painting: the pastoral (farm life), the crowd (seated figures before an ambiguous spectacle), the still-life (a vase with drooping sunflowers), and the nude (a pair of women's feet stepping into pink undies). But the conventional is merely a foil for the incursion of absurd elements that crop up within both the pictures and their titles. Way of the Warrior features four horses grazing on a verdant pasture, in which the conspicuous lone rider is a downcast Wicked Witch of the West (with ruby red slipper in hand). Fifth Season, A Virgin's Spring depicts a full-sized bull at heroic profile, its two attendants conspicuous in their accoutrements – the white-coated elder

holds its snout, while the youth observes with hatchet in hand as the deadpan slice of life pulls back to reveal a palpable sense of foreboding. Spectatorship is similarly deployed to uncanny effect, combining familiar public spectacles with surreal narrative elements and a penchant for exaggeration. Mastiff on Trial (2009) depicts a carnivalesque assortment of figures donning masks, excessive beards and costume military garb, who gaze inscrutably at a strongman in the foreground. Barely legible due to his placement outside the depth of field (a photographic reference that nonetheless registers as painterly owing to Barnhart's handling of blurriness),

(clockwise from left) Sunset, 2009 acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40"

Don’t Let Me Down, 2009 acrylic on canvas, 48" x 72"

Curiously Optimistic, 2009 fiberglass and paint, 51" x 38" x 43"

Precious Broken Elastic , 2009 acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14"

the strongman is depicted in full greyscale – the same palette given to the boulder he grapples, as though he may be a statue rather than a labouring performer. Ratcheting up the weird is the implied violence of the audience's weaponry, each figure bearing a truncheon, sword or handgun (is it costuming or overt threat?). These labours over thankless spectacles may hint at the meaning of the exhibition's title. Across from another painting of a strongman (Don't Let Me Down) is a sculpture depicting an archetypal straining figure, a gaunt Sisyphus whose efforts, contrastingly, fail even to lift his boulder. Curiously Optimistic, a painted fibreglass sculpture apparently

based on Barnhart's own body (though the sculpture's spaghetti-like frame appears too cartoonish to be true mimesis), continues the show's absurdist streak. Although anyone attempting to lift boulders is arguably curious if optimistic, the agony on this creature's face betrays little sense of hope. Nevertheless, if it is to be reconciled within the rest of the exhibition this figure must necessarily resist early impressions. Beneath his strains is a sense of subordination to the gaze of the viewing public, perhaps even a willingness to bear our burden. If he begs hard enough, do we still have to?



volume 8 issue 1

Rachell Sumpter

(clockwise from top left) Finery, 2009 gouache and pastel on paper, 11" x 14" Brothers in Sport, 2009 gouache and pastel on paper, 11" x 14" Igloo, 2009 gouache and pastel on paper, 11" x 14"

wordsby leah turner


achell Sumpter paints landscapes that are remarkably, forcefully beautiful. Her soft layers of gouache and pastel are luminescent, her palette kaleidoscopic and dazzling. With such an apparent devotion to beauty, it’s no wonder that Sumpter leads a rather romantic life herself, calling a tiny West Coast island – with a population of about 100 - home. Situated off the coast of Washington, with the lights of Vancouver, BC, visible on the horizon, she describes her existence as pastoral, having “no power, no asphalt, no stores and no hot water.”

images courtesy the artist.

Even if seen only once or twice, Sumpter’s iconography becomes immediately recognizable: ornately costumed nomads, mysterious processions, and mystical skies. With their small scale (11x14 inches) there is a palpable tension between the intimate surface detail of her paintings and the incomprehensible vastness of her subject matter. Figures are portrayed in minutely executed patterns and landscape is softly blended and abstracted, bleeding to the outer edges of the paper. There is a timelessness that evokes both past and future, hope and loss.



Romanticism, or representations of nature and the sublime, emerged in painting during a time in which the processes of the Industrial Revolution dramatically and irrevocably altered our relationship to the natural world. Modern disenchantment has continued thus, and within the last 50 years alone we have witnessed unprecedented, catastrophic environmental changes. Considered in this light, Sumpter’s invocation of nature’s imaginative, magical potential is arguably just as timely as its historical precedents.

distributed by Ultimate

[ o ] DOUBT

volume 8

READER LETTER Hey Color, just wanted to say thanks to whoever gave me the ticket outside of the Chad VanGaalen show in Calgary. I was trying to figure out how to snake into the place when one of your dudes came out and just handed me a way in. —Derek (Beaverlodge, AB) Hi there Derek, Glad you had a good time. We posted video of the show up on the blog... is that you dancing in front of the stage? —Color



With regular updates, check in every Friday for a peek at what these two creative Quebecers are up to.

SASCHA DALEY EXTENDED VERSION When we got Ryan Smith to do a phone interview with Sascha Daley we knew he’d dig up a lot of good dirt and sling a little too. We weren’t disappointed, in fact we got way more than we bargained for. It wouldn’t all fit on the pages of the mag, but we couldn’t let all those good stories go to waste so we’ve put the full interview, complete with grimy details, up on the site.

The black and white photo aesthetic of SF based Hamburger Eyes Photo Magazine has caught the eye of Etnies Plus. The shoe company has hired the publication to design their upcoming lookbook as well as collaborate on a special version of the Townsend sneaker that emulates the twice yearly magazine.

DEATHSWITCH At each port along the way Daniel Shimizu has picked up a tee here, a shirt there, or some jeans from over yonder. The garments from his travels document his time spent on the road and his favourites have aquired that perfect, worn-in feel and look. Now hes working with Insight to reproduce those well-loved pieces so you don’t have to fly to Khasikstan or swim to Australia to find passport worthy clothing. INSIGHT51.COM




PUGILISM Good stuff in the way of urethane coming out of the east via the good folks at Prize Fighter Cutlery. All the wheels are completely round and roll as if they were built for it. The team is strong and their aesthetic has a bit of a classic east coast feel a la metropolitan, and silverstar. In short these dudes are doing it up right. We all need wheels, so why not get them where survival never goes out of style.

IN REAL NEED The good people over at Real have decided to take action and do something to help out with the Haiti disaster relief effort. They’ve designed a new deck for their Action Realized series and are donating partial proceeds to the American Red Cross. If you’re looking to donate and support, pick up a deck at your local shop.


Jeremy Elkin and Jason Auger have seen fit to grace us with a series of film featurettes in promotion of their full-length project more than a year in the making. In showcasing some of the best skaters from the east coast, Elephant Direct makes ample use of both super8 and 16mm film harkening back to the good old days of Stereo.

[ o ] DOUBT

Elephant Direct

During this year's variety club telethon, Vans, Color, Matix, The Boardroom teamed up to present young Scotty a package as an honourary team member. When Scott was six he had a surgery go wrong and spent the next four years relearning how to use the left side of his body. Skateboarding has helped his recovery immensely and it looks like he won't have to worry about product for the next while. Keegan Sauder, Chris Foley, and Chris Haslam were there to present the package, and snuck in a little skate too.



issue 1


Gifford’s Gimmick Sister show to “The Rice Block”, “Gifford’s Gimmick” makes use of the massive archive of B-roll clips and party footage that doesn’t make Zach’s cut. Edited by Brett Gifford, the show offers another side to the talented piles of couch surfing deadbeats that frequent the Pender shores.


The Rice Block Pender Beach, home and stomping ground to some of Vancouver’s finest and most entertaining skateboarders is also home to arguably Vancouver’s best filmer; Zach Barton. When he isn’t in the attic hiding in a shroud of weed smoke, you’ll find him skating and filming with the likes of Sascha Daley, Sheldon Meleshinski and Bradley Sheppard, just to name a few. Named after their neighborhood convenience store and currently our most popular show, “The Rice Block” is the place to go for top quality gimmicks.

For as long as I’ve owned a motorcycle, I’ve wanted to ride down the Baja in Mexico. So, when I got a call from Patrick O’Dell saying that he was planning just such a trip, I was beside myself. It would be himself, Arto Saari, Keegan Sauder, Heath Kirchart and a small group of friends with a crew from VBS along to document. We left under the guise of a skateboard trip, as often these motorcycle trips are arranged. However, we soon discovered that the architecture on the Baja peninsula leaves much to be desired to the spoiled eyes of North American skateboard tourists. Spoiled as we may be, it didn’t matter. After riding the barren highways and the sandy,

washboard back roads of the Mexican desert, skateboarding quickly became an afterthought. Often, the challenging landscape left us tired and weary having only covered about 100 miles or less. On American soil, one can easily cover upwards of 500 miles; weather permitting, but Mexico is a different story. On more than one occasion, while trying to maintain on soft sand or on dusty, rock-roads, bikes went down. You would think given such conditions, that everyone would have helmets on, but “freedom” is a hard thing to turn down when you’re given the choice and most of us chose to ride without.


MAGIC BEANS Just because these Brent Atchley bearings come in a magical looking case doesn’t mean they’ll give you the ability to skate Burnside like their namesake. But then again, stranger things have happened. ELEMENTSKATEBOARDS.COM



Longtime Emerica TM and Altamont brain, Justin Regan is the latest recipient of the honorary title of “professional skateboarder”. To commemorate this special occasion, Emerica has released a limited number of his signature shoe, “The Regan” which will be available exclusively through Club Mumble. The Honoris Professio program was launched last year to celebrate the faces behind the scene. As a small token of thanks for all their contributions to skateboarding, receipients receive a plaque and a pro model. CLUBMUMBLE.COM

Thankfully, Keegan chose to put his helmet on for a ride back to the highway on one of these less than ideal “roads” when he hit a large dip going 65mph. He did his best to recover but after doing a nose manual on the bike for about 200 feet, he and the bike went down on the rocks by the side of the road. The bike was totaled but thanks to the helmet, his head was not. Near-death experiences aside, the trip could not have gone smoother and I can say with absolute certainty that there is no better way to escape a Canadian winter than riding a motorcycle through Mexico. —kynan tait





Izabelle Desjardins


Summer 2010



It’ll Last Longer

ARTO SAARI & GRAVIS FOOTWEAR WANT TO HOOK YOU UP Send in your favourite photo & the best entry will win $500 worth of gear from Arto Saari. This will include a package of his new Gravis skate shoes and clothing from Analog. Remember, this doesn’t have to be “skate action”, the weirder the picture, the better. Contest closes April 23, 2010 Mail your entries to: Gravis Picture Contest, c/o Color Magazine, 105-321 Railway St, Vancouver, BC, V6A 1A4, Canada email: All entries become the property of Color Magazine and may be used in future online and print materials.



volume 8 issue 1


Hung Up On You

Hang up the raver colours and trade in your wrongfully whiskered medium denims for a pair of craftily decorated bottoms, or salvaged denim jeans, and let your artist bud wear them to the studio for a week. him:

C1RCA death burglar beanie MATIX genesis shirt WESC marwin painter jeans LAKAI howard slim shoes her: ÉS holborn crewneck sweater VOLCOM killer instinct jeans DVS farah shoes



volume 8 issue 1

Creative Keys


Behind every great artist are great tools. Get inspired by this spring’s new materials in a variety of colours.

(top l-r)

BAKER spanky oaktown deck GIRL patch kit RVCA truckstop hat PD BAKER mug GSHOCK green gw-m5600a watch

ANTIHERO beer cozy GIRL streamline wheels HUBBA X SHAKE JUNT wheels HUF the one ‘n only trucker hat VENTURE grey high trucks ROYAL 4 raw trucks colORMAGAZINE.CA


volume 8 issue 1

Shown Off With the explosion of popularity in the t-shirt market our closets have become jersey galleries for artists around the world. Here we’ve curated some of the best for spring.

SIX PACK FRANCE teen spirit COMUNE party crowd GIRL enoff INSIGHT deep search WESC mercedes helnwein LIFETIME ko samet, thailand




(top left clockwise) MATIX heart hands


N E V E R ’

P H O T O _

‘ N I N E T E E N

Video Installation by Hunter Longe

P 1 - H U N T E R L O N G E 2 0 1 0 A D S _ HLON



Drop City was introduced to attract like–minded creative people to the comune artist community and collaboarte on special projects through COMUNE’S clothing brand. With participating artists including Hunter Longe, Jason Lee Parry, Noah and Nathan Rice, Shelby Menzel, Jimmy Fontaine and Gareth Stehr over time Drop City will continue to evolve its’ community, creative platform and influence.

COMUNE was formed from the idea that there will always be people out there who not only embrace the rawness and imperfections of every day life but use it to creatively push the boundaries of what’s possible in skateboarding, fashion, art, and music their own way, with complete disregard of the consequences.

C O P Y R I G H T © 2 0 1 0 P 9 4 9 . 5 7 4 . 9 1 4 2




P U R P O S E Our goal is to provide clothing that reflects this lifestyle of carefree idealism and to support the people that choose to live it.

L o N G E D I S T R I B U T E D



W W W . T H E C O M U N E . C O M C O M U N E @ W I C K W I N D E R . C O M A Spring 2010 collection by COMUNE.


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volume 8 issue 1

Space 1026 [ o ] WALLACAVAGE

wordsby caleb beyers


Sculptural video installation.


rtist-run spaces are slippery beasts, even in the most stable times. Forget evolving neighbourhoods, rollercoaster economies, terrorism, fire, theft, landlords, thieving landlords, drug-induced fiery terrorist economies, and anything else that can easily stop an artist-run space in its tracks. Forget also the general disdain that most artists have for the quotidian duties of running a business, and it’s a wonder that these spaces exist at all, let alone survive for more time than it takes for the drugs to wear off, and reality to set in.  Philadelphia’s Space 1026 is an exception to the rule – a glowing neon anomaly in a city more receptive to pro sports and heavy industry. Founded in 1997, the workspace/gallery/venue has played home to countless driven artists and even more wayfaring miscreants. Inspired in part by the energy of the mid 90s chaos of Rhode Island’s “Fort Thunder”, Space 1026’s founders wanted to establish a space for “making, producing and creating, not for some outside world of aficionados, but for each other, for our own kind.” 54


[ o ] WRIGHT

[ o ] WRIGHT

Space 1026 gallery.

(group photo first row l-r) Michael Gerkovich, Kay Healy, Ben Woodward, Crystal Stokowski, Anni Altshuler, Max Lawrence, Adam Wallacavage. (second row l-r) Clint Woodside, Jake Henry, Bill McRight, Chris Klien, James Ulmer, Matt Leines, Lauren. (third row l-r) Jacob Marcinek, Meg Kemner, Scott Osterman, Roman Hasiuk, Alex Lukas, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Ted Passon, Mark Price, Thom Lessner. (fourth row l-r) Ketch Wehr, Bonnie Brenda Scott, Justin Myer Staller, Kyle Schmidt. (last row l-r) Greg Pizzoli and Jason Hsu.

“When I first started going there... I thought it was the pinnacle. It was as good as you could get if you wanted to make art,” says long-time 1026 ‘member’ Thom Lessner of visiting the space in the late 90s. “So I just decided to move there, and stay with it.”  Lessner, like most everyone else at 1026, is keeping the whole “experiment” from falling to pieces. “Apart from the meetings we have about the day-to-day, and the details of programming, and finances, and new people, we talk about where we want to go, and what we want the space to be in the future... And you know what? We’re super happy to see it stay the way it is... Of course we all want to do better, but I don’t know. I’d be happy if this place never changed, I think we all would.” At the heart of this sentiment lies the age-old battle between genuine creativity and commercial success. For the most part, the work produced at 1026 is a reaction to prevailing notions about art and commerce, and the intersection between the two. Much of what’s produced and what happens at 1026 is scattered and chaotic, but unified

in its stance against notions of the spit-and-polish of typical galleries and institutions, where the facade is more important than the contents. Take for example The Manipulators – an early 1026 show by Andrew Jeffrey Wright and Clare Rojas, in which fashion magazines and advertising imagery are modified, defaced, and transformed so that they reveal the absurd and hyper-exaggerated nature of the ideas about beauty and success that they portray – and you begin to get a sense for what lies at the core of 1026. It’s not about trying to “market” some overinflated idea, but rather enjoying the very act of making art, and working with your friends, enjoying the moment, and staying in it. As long as there are people who are trying to sell some idea of what life “should” be, there will be those who will react to it by making a life that can be, and chances are good that people of the former persuasion aren’t going anywhere. Given the work that’s coming out of 1026 now (and from the beginning, for that matter), it makes all the other glittery garbage that much more palatable.

frontside flip late shove

evan collisson distributed by Ultimate

Momentumʼs original flat spot resistant urethane. The new Slim Profile wheels reduce weight and slide when you need them to. Cryptozoology series with artwork by Aye Jay.

volume 8 issue 1

Micah Lexier








wordsby nicholas brown photosby jeremy r. jansen


icah Lexier’s studio apartment offers a peek into the impulses behind his unique combination of exactitude and offhandedness. The Winnipeg-born, Toronto-based artist, curator and collector is fascinated with indexes – mark-making, measurement, proximity… this is the stuff of his own artwork and his interest in art and design in general. His studio is startlingly clean, comprised of uniform rows of shelves and files. His living space is orderly, emphasizing the harmony of his basic needs with the aesthetic contributions of the artworks and design objects he lives with. But it isn’t all predetermined, as the ever-rotating collection of objects on his long countertop reveals. The series of small pieces, some of which are catalogued here, testify to Lexier’s inquisitive mind and restless spirit. Ever shifting, based on formal and thematic associations as much as the artist’s whim, these small works and multiples signal his abiding interest in the gesture. Things picked up, moved around – one thing after the next.



1. A 2009 artwork of a red book, by Winnipeg artist, Michael Dumontier. 2. The Button I Pressed A Million Times, 2009, by Toronto artist Ken Nicol. 3. A Thin Painting made by Calgary artist Eric Cameron in 1991/1992. Eric makes his work by coating objects with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of coats of gesso and acrylic paint. This work was made by coating a men’s tie with exactly 100 coats of paint. 4. A chair that I bought in Nova Scotia a few decades ago. It was made in Shelburne, NS and was a very common chair in that area. 5. A drawing of a brain by Toronto artist, John Dixon. The drawing was made using the artist’s own hair. 6. A painting by Vancouver artist Neil Wedman, which I commissioned on the occasion of my exhibition I Am The Coin ( I used an image of the painting as my exhibition announcement. The painting depicts some of the coins that I used in my exhibition and the title of the exhibition has been hidden within the coins in the painting. 7. My Office Wall.

volume 8 issue 1

Spot finding in a busy city... Lapierre going for virginity with this balls-out kickflip. See kids you just gotta have style... yo go for the classics, pussy and kickflips tabarnak!!! comberphoto.

wordsby adam green


he first time I heard about JS Lapierre, I was sitting in my friend’s car and I even remember where we were because my friend just talks and talks and talks, so I was paying more attention to the scenery. At one point in his constant rambling I heard him say threeflip noseblunt, and it caught my interest. I was like, “What? Threeflip noseblunt, who?” And he replied, “JS Lapierre.” I think my exact reaction was “Who the fuck is JS Lapierre?”

Well, in the last two years I found out who the fuck JS Lapierre is. At first he was a shy 15-year-old park killer who would just constantly be learning and landing, learning and landing, and now not only do I skate with him all the time, but I have the privilege of calling him my friend! Lapierre is a fucking killer and he always comes through! I’m not talking shit either, anyone you know that has seen this kid skate will tell you he’s pure natural talent. JS is down, he makes the impossible look good. He’s “Dime”, and he’s going nowhere but up!



“The dream is mainly about getting laid.”

Color: So I guess I’ll start with the usual, buddy! Where do you come from, Lapierre? JSL: I’m from a small town called NotreDame-de-Stanbridge. It’s fuckin’ shit! Where the fuck is that, man? It’s, um, 45 minutes south of Montreal [Quebec]. I lived with cows for awhile, man! Do they even have a [skate] shop in NotreDame-de-Stanbridge? Nah, dude [laughs]... There’s only a corner store and a church. Four hundred people live there. No way! [Laughs] It’s pretty shit. Since you lived in the middle of nowhere, what got you into skating? My buddy had a mini ramp and I started skating with my friend’s brother’s board and about two weeks later my mom bought me a board. Shouts to Simon Porlier! Was there any other dudes skating there? Nah, dude, we were the only ones holdin’ it down. We were kook status, man! How old were you then? I was about eight years old. I was already blowin’ it! Fuck, man, I didn’t even know that. That changes everything. You’re a dirty child prodigy! Did you ever get to skate street? I started to skate the streets when I was 10 but I was skating the shittiest spots, like three stairs and curbs. Kook status. Sounds like fun, so how old are you now? I’m 17 and blowin’ it. Fuck, that’s right, still underage. Skating for you back then were you aware of possibly making a living out of this? I guess was just skating for fun and I’m still skating for fun pretty much. Unless you’re skating with Josh Clark! [Laughs] Nice, I guess people would think that’s harsh but you guys are roomies and every-

thing. What’s it like living with Josh and I? [Laughs] It’s pretty sick, I guess I’m not a total kook ‘cause you guys set a good example [laughs]. Josh is pretty much my dad. What about me, dude? What type of influence do I have on you? Man, you scare the shit outta me, Cigg! Sweet. So what are you gonna do for the winter ‘cause, like, I wanna know if I’m gonna have the house to myself and shit. I might go to California and go “chase the dream” [laughs]. I’m so over this Montreal weather, [it] gets you depressed as fuck!

For those who don’t know, what is “the dream”? The dream is mainly about getting laid… Like groupies? Yeah, they “chase the dream” with skaters. Especially at Roy Bar [laughs]. What about in California? Still about getting laid, fool! What’s the deal with Roy? Well it used to be a skate bar but now it’s called “Salon Officiel”. They still do Roy Bar nights when the beers are cheap, which is

(opposite) “King of Vancouver” catchin’ a nice switch kickflip fatty to flatty right before the sunsets and JS turns into the“King of Chasin’ the Dream”! woronaphoto. This is a fucking sweet spot, but not everyone is down to skate it once they get there. Lapierre doesnt give a fuck... Just rolls in to our nations capital and charges this well known 12 stair with a picture perfect noseblunt! woronaphoto.



“Just a few years ago I was living on a farm with my parents and shit and just sucking at life.”

never really do it ‘cause I always skate when I’m in Montreal. I’m also into [Black] Sabbath!

Nice. So back to Cali – when are you going, man? I hope to go back for a few months and try to get things going with my sponsors. Soon, for sure. Nothing is gonna come to me here in the cold and I’m ready to go stay there, and for awhile.

What about the computer? You’re always on the computer. What’s going on with the computer? I’d say I’m lurking babes on Facebook and blowin’ it! I need my own computer, I’m always on yours… Sorry, Cigg [laughs].

Who’s blowin’ it and who’s not? We’re all blowin’ it in our own ways. Like, most of the guys are too baked or too drunk to skate. Riedl is just too drunk! Fuck! Killing Jack Daniels every day, starting at like 8 a.m.!

With Sabbath full blast! So what kind of shit do you have for us in the future? Video parts? Well, we just did a video, The Dimestore video, and I’m super stoked on that, props Phil [Lavoie]. And hopefully I’ll continue to get pics in the mags as much as I can.

So why do you hang around with us if we’re all blowin’ it and you’re killing it, are you nuts? [Laughs] I also blow it. But the Dime is sweet and all the guys are fucking good! I always have fun when I skate with them, even when you’re depressed!

What is the Dimestore (for those who don’t know)? It’s, uh, a bunch of losers skating together. There’s Chris St-Cyr, Chuck Rivard, Antoine Asselin, Bob Lasalle, fucking gnar pro status Ryan Decenzo, drunk Riedl, stoner Balek, you, depressed Adam Green, Black Mic, Seb the Mexican, Vin Diesel a.k.a. Thomas Parent [laughs], Greenwood who disappeared, but I

Thanks, buddy, and speaking of thanks who do you wanna shout out to so we can wrap this up and go get baked? First of all I would like to thank my family. James at Supra and Krew, Raj at Deathwish (Mehrathon trading), guys at Ultimate distribution for Bones and independent, everyone at Ultimate boardshop. Everyone I skate, film and shoot with. Friends.

Being 17 in California and ripping is pretty gnar, do you ever get overwhelmed by what’s going on around you? Yeah, I’m pretty stoked on what’s going on with me right now because just a few years ago I was living on a farm with my parents and shit and just sucking at life. Living by myself is definitely hard, but it’s a good thing. I get to do shit that I could never do back home. No opportunities. California is so fun because I’m from such a small town! It’s pretty surreal. So for sure I get overwhelmed, but I’m stoked! What are you into other than skateboarding? Fuck, that’s a hard question. I would say I like reading and playing guitar sometimes, but I 62

heard he’s, like, getting married. FB who’s got a career in the rap game, Phil Lavoie who fell two stories onto his head, and myself!

good ‘cause lots of Dream Chasers are there. Pussy!


Even while chasing the Dream, JS finds time to throw down this hardflip gap too whatever. Always on top, always on time! cliffordphoto. (opposite) Bringing down the pain! This is another example of how JS just kills rails. I guess he got sick of doing normal lipslides and just put down this gap to lipslide! woronaphoto.

volume 8 issue 1

wordsby dylan doubt

Mike O’Meally

photosby mike o’meally


ike O’Meally’s photography has always kind of transcended the usual “fisheye at the bottom of the rail” style that we have all grown accustomed to. Any of his articles are rife with interesting atmosphere and superior lensmanship. Mike has been hard at work, hanging out in and around the grassroots L.A. boxing scene, the fruit of his labour featured here. Mike’s stunning documentation of inner city pugilism clarifies that his body of work will not be limited to kids flying through the air. His book, La Familia, is available through the intertubes and at finer booksellers everywhere.



Lil’ Petey.

[ o ] HENRY

Girl Winners & Losers.

Anthony Mosquero.

Liz Quevedo Corner.



volume 8 issue 1

wordsby julia lum

photosby jeremy r. jansen


rawing inspiration from the likes of “master” painters such as Diego Velázquez and John Singer Sargent, the portraits of Stephen Appleby-Barr are no Sunday paintings. The Toronto artist has combined carefully researched practices of the past with a penchant for the archaic. Appropriating the conventions of Victorian cartes-de-visite and daguerreotypes, the artist inserts his colleagues, friends, and contemporaries into mythic tableaus, complete with the mannered expressions of identity that pervade these historic sources. What results in this body of portraits is a legacy of an imagined brotherhood that highlights the residual ritualism of contemporary societies and fraternities. Appleby-Barr’s interest in collective identities parallels his own membership in the five-man collective Team Macho, which includes Lauchie Reid, Chris Buchan, Nicholas Aoki, and Jacob Whibley.

The Invisible College, a show of recent works at Narwhal Art Projects (Toronto), demonstrates Appleby-Barr’s growing mastery of his medium. The delicate luminescence of portraits such as Punchy Graduation are complimented by complex Caravaggesque compositions such as The Trail. However his grand gestures are not without humour – conveyed by playful titles such as We Walk on No Path and Under the Sign, the latter depicting a gold insignia floating above a forlorn young dandy. I had the opportunity to ask Appleby-Barr about some of his influences and ideas as he continues to scour the culture of the past with an eager eye towards future works.



“I will struggle with every piece, but in that struggle is the path to a better understanding...”

art images courtesy Narwhal Art Projects.

Neon Rider, 2009 oil on linen, 13" x 77"

Color: What is the Invisible College? SAB: I listen to a lot of audio books while I’m working. I was listening to this one about secret societies and came across the term in reference to students of secret teachings. I loved the idea and adopted it to name the show. After my show, someone informed me of the existence of the Invisible College. Now known as the Royal Society, the Invisible College was a group of natural philosophers who operated outside of the academic system of the day and engaged in the free exchange of ideas between its members. It was a secret fraternity dedicated to the development and protection of natural philosophy. No small task by all accounts.

anything so dashing. But it’s a setting that I’m trying to recreate in the work, to some degree. Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell talk a lot about the contemporary value of mythology and archetypes. Ideas that were once currency are now artifacts. That’s only natural, things change, and ideas/stories/methods have to change to accommodate these shifts. But isn’t there some danger in tossing out the whole tradition just to accommodate the innovation? Maybe I wish there were more active analogues between past and present. I don’t really know where I see my work, but I like the way you put it. Maybe it would work better to say “a hidden past showing a historicized present”.

Is this a follow through from some of the themes you explored in The Nortammag Archives, (a solo exhibition at Magic Pony, 2008)? Very much so. The themes I peruse are tradition, artifact, and fraternity. Nortammag was me testing the water with a toe. Invisible College put me up to the ankle.

What is the relationship of your work to self mythologies/group mythologies, and how does this play out in the way you make your paintings? When my fellow members of Team Macho and I were studying illustration at Sheridan College, we started a fraternity that the work I’m producing is trying to comment on. We started the frat to keep us engaged and committed to the ideals we held collectively. Or maybe it was just on a whim. Either way that was the result. A big part of participating in this group was authoring the story of our fabled society. Retroactive continuity. Many mythologies were born of this practice, and then found their way into our work.

Your work hints at alchemy, coded iconographies and secret societies – do you think these things have any analogues in our present day? Do you see your work existing in a historicized past or a hidden present? Secret teaching is a way groups like the Royal Society generally referred to the pursuit of understanding through unconventional methods. They were secret because many of the methods were not condoned by the day’s social standards. Perhaps your research led to some findings that would put you in shit with the church? Better keep it secret until you understand it better or until the political terrain changes. Pretty adventurous stuff. I’m not suggesting I’m doing

What role do you see yourself playing in Team Macho and how do your individual interests fit in with the collective? Lauchie and I have been working collectively since our second year of college. Many of our current interests were developed in tandem. Our interest in counterfeit histories and dead technique .secretpledge


was our first meeting point. We’d produce ‘zines that are basically love letters to Edward Gorey. We’d sit around discussing what we liked or hated about the canonized saints of art history (almost strictly pre-modern, mostly painters). Team Macho and the fraternity that preceded it were natural extensions of that shared interest. How do you research your reference points, and what kind of relationships do your works have to their sources? I’m also interested in how you integrate your subjects with your historically-referenced material. How do you choose your sitters? How do you decide what ways to represent your sitters? I spend a lot of time in archives and old books looking for images that will serve as a starting point for a piece. I have tons of documented references lying around in folders or books or folded into the crease of other books. I’ll look at an old daguerreotype and it will make me think about a portrait by Van Dyck, and that will remind me of a portrait by Sargent and that portrait in turn has always reminded me of a friend of mine. That friend of mine is representative of a certain ideal I cherish. So that’s one way of coming up with what to paint. It’s a process of association.   For you, what is the enchantment associated with daguerreotypes and early photography? You name it, I love it. You know they used mercury to expose them? The fumes of liquid mercury! Insane... Also, at the time these images were produced, specifically portraits, all anybody understood of portraiture was taken from the tradition of painting. So, it’s like the sitters and photographers were all referencing paintings with every pose. And due to long exposure times the sitter had to be propped up and rigged into place with a variety of contraptions depending on the complexity of the pose. All coming together to produce some oddly strained “natural” poses. I don’t think photography was trying to usurp painting, or maybe it was, but to progress it needed to assume its tradition to inherit its position as image maker. A very useful era for me to draw reference from considering my aim. Can you tell me a bit about your invitation from Trinity College archives? I met this young fellow at my show and he was holding up a tattered old copy of the Trinity Review (University of Toronto) and comparing its contents to the work on the wall. After breathlessly expressing my interest in having access to the archives, he and the archivist invited me in. I’m excited to explore their images to see if I

can find anything relevant to the story I’m trying to tell. I feel hopeful something will come of it.

(opposite) The Invisible College, 2009 oil on linen, 16" x 20"

Punchy with Cricketbat, 2009 oil on linen, 10" x 15"

Some local celebrities are depicted in your portraits, as well as some close peers and collaborators. Do you go outside of your personal circles when you paint portraits? You probably mean Shary Boyle and Owen Pallet. Owen just lives down the hall from me and we’ve been friends for years. Shary was the first person I ever contacted without really being friends first. We had some friends in common but I’d only ever met her once briefly. I really love Shary’s work. I think about it a lot. And one day I found an image of a late 1800s Governor General, and I saw Shary there in that image. Or felt Shary there, or something. How has this new body of work evolved from previous works (for instance, technically, subject matter, etc.)? I’m starting to involve settings, which has the effect of creating more narrative work. Before, it was strictly portraiture, now I’m trying to play with history painting as well. I’m looking forward to working that way more often so I’m looking into opera and stage design references. The technical end of things is way more complicated. I switched materials for this show and it was a big adjustment. With oils, there is a huge range of what you can do. The theory and practice of oil painting feels inexhaustible. I’ve been reading a lot, trying to understand how they work and I don’t feel like I’ve even scratched the surface. I was never trained in oils, and I rarely painted while I was in school. I always focused on drawing. I still struggle with every piece, but in that struggle is the path to a better understanding. A sentiment shared by the invisible college, I think. You seem to be playing with the conventions of history painting in your new series. How does this genre present new challenges for you? Many new challenges technically, but in a way it will solve a lot of issues in my pursuit of creating a narrative. History painting is classically viewed as portraiture’s bigger, cooler brother. I’m excited to scout locations, costume, and references that will lead to rich visual results. I’m about to go to Vienna and Paris where I hope to expose myself to many historic sites and look at them from vantage points that they are not commonly viewed from. These are places that are not shy about their own histories and traditions. I’m hoping this will help me inform the new work. colORMAGAZINE.CA



volume 8 issue 1




… Alex Morrison DC top EMERICA pants SIMPLE shoes .ourglass




… (opposite) Brad Phillips vintage shirt MATIX pants … Kate Sansome INSIGHT top LIFETIME jeans OPENING CEREMONY shoes by Chloë Sevigny FILSON bag .ourglass


… (opposite) Ron Tran COAL balaclava LEVIS jeans COMUNE shirt vintage shoes … Tegan Moore OBEY top MATIX jeans





… Les Ramsey artist’s own sweater ALTAMONT jeans FENCHURCH shoes … (opposite) Liz Magor FENCHURCH sweater THEORY pants MAG boots






volume 8 issue 1

wordsby dan post


illustrationsby aye jay

he skateboard graphic is an underestimated art medium that is often overlooked on its destructive journey from the skate shop wall to the streets. But while skaters have been out marking up the masterpieces of legendary graphic designers VC Johnson, Pushead, Jim Phillips, Marc McKee and wave-maker Todd Bratrud, other artists have been drawing inspiration from these iconic styles. In an effort to pay homage to his biggest influences, California-based artist Aye Jay, known to the skateboard community for his designs on Consolidated, Creature, and Foundation decks, has created illustrations replicating each artists’ infamous style to accompany our look at said artists’ iconic images, their influence on skateboarding, and the future of the skateboard graphic.

“It marked a time that everyone respects and therefore takes from... Plagiarism, is the biggest compliment you could give.”

vc johnson illustration by aye jay.

—jordon hoffart

Jordan Hoffart, frontside boardslide shove it. nunezphoto.

VC Johnson, arguably the grandfather of skateboard artistry, is probably most recognizable for his work with PowelPeralta throughout the 80s. His iconic designs helped define the skateboard movement and are some of the most recognizable to date. As those who were around him will attest, it was his attention to detail and his dedication to a burgeoning craft that set him apart from the rest. His work ethic was what made VCJ so special and still serves as a model for today’s industry leaders.

that graphic has his drawing style and technique embedded within it. Every aspect of his style that would follow was in that particular graphic.” But for Peralta, this one wasn’t his favourite, citing instead Lance Mountain’s first model that VCJ did with the Future Primitive graphic. “He showed a different side of his work on that graphic and he worked labouriously on [it] to capture the primitive simplicity and the organic unadorned techniques of cave drawings.”

Stacy Peralta, co-founder of the infamous Powell-Peralta, remembers feeling the buzz around Johnson: “I realized very early on that we were dealing with an artist of serious talent,” adding that it was the artist’s commitment that defined him, often spending “eight hours a day, seven days a week, and many months on each and every graphic he created.” In terms of making sure everything was perfect, Peralta remembers that “he didn’t work fast. He took his time and was very deliberate and extremely dedicated to getting each drawing right.”

This attention to detail was what made his graphics so special and part of the reason Powell-Peralta was as popular as it was. Not only did the young skaters all want his boards, most of the pros he designed decks for were honoured to represent his work. A Canadian connection, Kevin Harris, talks about his board designer: “VCJ was the artist you definitely wanted to be involved with in creating graphics for your board. Powell-Peralta was number one through the 80s and their graphics were the strongest in the industry, and VCJ was the guy.” When George Powell told Harris that VCJ was considering designing his graphics, he was excited, to say the least: “We talked about Canadian themes which he went to work on designing. A couple of weeks later… I received a sketch and the rest was history.”

Perhaps it was for this reason that one of VCJ’s initial pieces with the company stands as his most prolific and would serve as a template for his future style. Peralta recalls: “I think the Ray Bones graphic was one of the first pieces he did for Powell-Peralta and



pushead illustration by aye jay.

A legend in his own right, Harris still feels the importance of working with VCJ, saying, “I was very privileged back then to work with such an icon in the skate industry. It is still exciting to see my graphic with Powell on re-issue models.” But Harris wasn’t the only one in awe of Johnson. Todd Francis (Art Director for Element Skateboards) cites the legend as “my gateway drug into skateboard art. His graphics for Powell grabbed you by the balls and made you go ‘whoa, how the hell did he do that?’” Francis believed that it was because of the “painstaking detail, the perfectly hatched lines, and the force of the black ink.” VCJ made you feel that “by holding a board he’d done in your hands, you were a part of something sincere and powerful, even if you didn’t deserve it one bit.” VC Johnson’s classic style continues to set itself apart from today’s graphic designers. “I think he was more old-school in his approach and more classical than many artists working in the skate world today,” says Peralta. “He’s also a very talented technical illustrator. The guy’s got serious chops.” VCJ will forever be an invaluable source of inspiration for many artists and because of his contribution to the early years of deck design, 84


he remains one of the most important figures in modern skateboard culture. While the popularity of Johnson’s graphics were beginning to gain momentum across the ever-expanding markets of skateboarding in the 80s, there was another out there who was pushing the limits of the medium in ways that were not only changing how boards were designed, but also the attitudes of the kids who were riding them. Known simply as Pushead, the artist behind Zorlac decks is notorious for his punk-rock attitude and dark imagery, which oozed its way into the collective minds of a generation and solidified his infamy as an important piece of skateboard culture. Pushead is probably best known for his abrasive skull imagery that not only graced the surface of Zorlac’s pro models, but also the pages of Thrasher Magazine throughout the 80s. In an increasingly competitive market, what set Pushead apart was that he was creating graphics that were a bit edgier than those of his peers. “It was unbelievable at the time, because they were way cooler than anything in the skateboarding world,” recalls artist Lindsey Kuhn. “They had a dark, aggressive feeling that, as

a skateboarder, I could relate to.” As skateboarding culture continued to embrace this darker edge, Pushead pumped out detailed skull graphics that graced the covers of the early punk records most skaters were listening to at the time. “In the late 80s and 90s it seemed that his t-shirts and record covers were everywhere,” says Kuhn. Some people began to accuse Pushead of selling-out when his graphics were picked up by big bands and companies, but Kuhn never understood why this stigma was attached when he was simply getting paid for drawing great graphics. Think The Misfits, and Metallica circa And Justice for All! While Pushead may have been one skateboarding’s most prolific artists, it wasn’t only his designs which continue to inspire people, but also his personality and attitude. Photographer Glen E. Friedman affectionately calls him “Mr. Adjective in every sense of the word… meticulous to a fault… a punk in the finest sense of the word, an audiophile of the friendliest order, O.G. skater, and an originator.” In terms of controversial artwork, Marc McKee is another prominent deck artist who used his edgier tone to help define the companies and pros he worked

pushead inspired illustration by marc mckee c. 1985. marc mckee illustration by aye jay.

“One of the ways I learned how to draw was copying the drawings Pushead used to have in Thrasher back in the 80s. I held onto one of them and scanned it. It's from circa 1985.” —marc mckee

with. Designing graphics for the likes of Daewon Song, Danny Way, Eric Koston, Chris Haslam, and Jason Dill, to name a few, McKee is the man behind World Industries’ infamous Devil Man and credited with launching brands into superstardom while epitomizing a generation of skaters who don’t take themselves too seriously. Veteran freestyle and street skater Rodney Mullen had the pleasure of working with McKee throughout his illustrious career and for this reason can explain why his work is so identifiable and prolific. He says, “again and again, Marc has captured and synergistically melded the personalities of legendary pros into company images and themes with unprecedented versatility,” calling his pieces, “as conceptually powerful as they were artistically executed.” As an important part of the company, Rodney says McKee “has been the most creative force in World Industries as a whole,” responsible for the famous Devil Man and Reaper series’ which “resonated with skateboarding so profoundly that it… not only hoisted our companies to unprecedented success as well as longevity, but also spoke and even defined us as a culture with graphic clarity.”

McKee left his mark on skate culture mostly through his ability to encapsulate the attitudes of skaters so effortlessly in the often controversial graphics that people like fellow artist Matt Irving (Juice Design, Stereo, Element, Delphi) believe made skateboarding in the early 90s such a “unique beast”. Irving adds, “his approach to board graphics epitomized how skating was a backlash on popular culture. We didn’t care to fit in and his graphics gave everyone a reason to remember that offensive things were good.” Skateboard artistry is a bit different these days however, and McKee believes the success of his iconic art can be attributed to the processes of the past. With silk-screening: “you had to set up the artwork in a certain way so that it could be printed right. The end result was all the graphics had a really bold, graphic look.” He calls this “a classic look of board graphics,” adding that it usually incorporated “bright colours combined with heavy black outlines.” McKee has noticed that there has been “a resurgence of really detailed graphics lately and also graphics that have a sense of humour.” Aye Jay’s infamous activity book collection, that allows its readers to interact with his humourously detailed designs, is

evidence to this insight and his art demonstrates a lot of McKee’s purist influence. There are a lot of challenges with today’s market however, to which McKee has much advice to offer. For him, over-saturation is a serious problem, admitting that “riders don’t seem to be as into what their graphics are as they used to be.” He adds that, while graphics come out so often now with pros often having four or more in a year, it used to be that “a lot more thought went into what each graphic would be.” It’s the ever-present popularity of McKee’s bold graphics and iconic politically incorrect approach that has people like Rodney Mullen confidently stating of the artist: “In 20 more years, he’ll still be creating his amazing artwork as naturally and unassumingly as he always has, still saying the same thing.” Jim Phillips knows exactly how fragile the term ‘icon’ can be. For him, popularity in the skateboard art industry relies heavily on the right marketing strategies and, with changes to the business, he sounds off on everything from icons and ad campaigns to how new technologies have drastically altered the nature of his most popular medium. .skateboardgraphicartist


“It’s classic skateboarding. There’s nothing more timeless than that old Santa Cruz shit.” —ryan smith jim phillips illustration by aye jay.

Sometimes the push and pull over direction that occurs between an artist and the company he designs for is what creates the most iconic pieces. Take Phillips’ series for Rob Roskopp as an example. The highly recognizable graphic featuring a monster arm breaking out of a target and pointing to Roskopp’s name began as a collaboration between Phillips and the rider himself, but when management began to ask for more of the monster the design began to evolve. Phillips admits that, “by the fifth [one], it was so crazy that I’m not sure where it could have gone.” That being said, Phillips still believes that any graphic can get huge if it has the right marketing plan behind it. “For the artist, much depends on the marketing and distribution of the image, and very often it is out of the artist’s control no matter how imaginative, or how much skill and effort is mustered.” He doesn’t necessarily 86


believe that an image has to be amazing in order to sell: “you can take an image of a turd… and with enough marketing, make it the most famous image on earth.” He warns though, that artists shouldn’t get too comfortable with their success. “Nothing is more fleeting than fame, and the same is true for the most famous icon. Even something… like the Screaming Hand, died a miserable death and virtually disappeared off the face of the earth during the decade of the 90s.” There is always hope though, as the right icon can be revived, as did the Screaming Hand when featured on the cover of Phillips’ book The Surf, Skate, and Rock Art of Jim Phillips, making the graphic, as he puts it, “bigger than ever in the tidal wave of nostalgia.” In terms of current design trends, Phillips, like McKee, is wary of new ways of creating art. “Computers,” he says, “are one of

Ryan Smith, smith grind pop out. doubtphoto.

“You can tell that he loves skating, his sense of humor comes out in his work, he's got a classic style and everything has just a hint of evil to it.” —don pendleton

getting better.” This is kind of a blessing and a curse for him. On the one hand he’s enjoying where he’s at artistically, “but when I look at my stuff, I always know if I did apply myself I could do things a lot better.” Knowing this may give him enough edge to be placed among the elite.

the ways things have changed, as well as the methods of printing and applying images to decks.” Not entirely sure they are more useful than detrimental, he quips “they will do twice the work in half the time, but I think it tends to make many artists lazy, depending on shortcuts like image banks instead of basic drawing skills.” He believes that there is something to be said for the old ways and adds, “new is not always better and it takes a special effort to produce something that has any connection to the past.”

When asked about his contemporaries, Bratrud finds it hard to define modern style. He says: “most of what’s out these days is so far from what I believed to be skateboard graphics,” adding, “the amount of logo-only boards that happen these days don’t even really count as graphics in my eyes.” He shares McKee’s sentiments in that today’s graphics “don’t even compete with something that’s actually illustrated, and as far as illustrated graphics [go], for the most part it’s all pretty good these days, just not enough of it if you ask me.” Like Phillips, the biggest difference for Bratrud between skateboard art then and now is the process. He too thinks it has become too easy, happily reminiscing about the days of cutting Ruby Lyth, lucky enough to experience handmade board graphics before the computer took over.

When asked to give advice for aspiring board artists Phillips has this to say: “follow your dream… it is very difficult to make any kind of name in art if you limit yourself to one narrow expression.” In terms of following in the footsteps of people like VCJ, Pushead, McKee and himself, Phillips says, “becoming an artist is hard enough without specializing in a genre that has been pioneered and well-established by countless other artists.” Like McKee, he too is wary of oversaturation: “They say in business to find a need and fill it but who needs another short-run graphic after millions have been done. [Don’t] expect to make a decent living in an arena that is saturated with wannabes who will forgo compensation and work for some perceived glory.” Despite his foreboding message on the nature of today’s industry, Phillips continues to inspire the new regime, like Todd Bratrud, to keep striving for success. “Todd Bratrud is an utter beast!” exclaims famed Flip Skateboards owner/rider Geoff Rowley. “Out of all the younger generation deck graphic artists out there he stands alone, boldly doing what every artist dreams of – drawing whatever the fuck he wants and making a living from it! Werdlife!” Clearly an artist who isn’t afraid to have fun, Bratrud represents the new breed that values the old adage: you gotta know where you come from in order to know where you’re going. Drawing from the aforementioned big-name artists, Bratrud is sarcastic, dedicated and a classic in his own right. Nothing is taboo in Bratrud’s art. When asked about his work with Consolidated Skateboards he says: “I can’t ever think of a time when there seemed to be a graphic that was off limits.” For instance, “there was a point where we were going to do a board that had a huge vagina from nose to tail. It never happened, but not because it was over the top, it was just an idea that never came to be for some unknown reason. Laziness?” It is this same approach to work ethic that has troubled the artist for most of his career. 88


Bratrud’s advice to aspiring artists is this: “focus on what you personally enjoy doing art-wise. You can’t or shouldn’t do what you think people wanna see, just do what you wanna see and eventually it should catch a gear if you keep at it.” This has always been his mantra, which is the reason why veteran artists might enjoy hearing contemporary skateboard graphic artists like Don Pendleton (Alien Workshop, Element) saying: “I think Todd Bratrud encompasses the classic skateboard artist. You can tell that he loves skating. His sense of humour comes out in his work. He’s got a classic style and everything has just a hint of evil to it.” todd batrud illustration by aye jay.

Often credited as being hard on himself in terms of critique, it is a constant battle for Bratrud to apply the same dedication of his predecessors like VC Johnson, while maintaining the enjoyment he’s held onto since the beginning. “For me it’s more an issue doing things as good as I might be capable or doing things only as good as is 100 percent fun to do.” He knows, though, that he could always work harder, admitting that, “drawing never came natural, it was something I really had to work at,” and he feels now that he’s “gotten to a place where I really enjoy what I’m doing and don’t so much want to work harder on

To a skateboarder, the term ‘skate and destroy’ is an epic motto for the rebellious spirit of a misinterpreted culture, but to the artists who put their work underneath the feet of these misfits, it takes on a whole new meaning. A certain amount of pride must be swallowed when putting your heart and soul into a medium that in essence is designed to be ruined, but nothing compares to the awe these designs inspire whenever we gaze up at the skate shop wall or when the camera catches the bottom of a deck at just the right time during a trick. It is for this reason that some artists have been forced to rethink a career in art and have left the rest of us appreciating the indelible mark skateboard deck artists continue to leave on our community.

volume 8 issue 1

wordsby rhianon bader


s I write these words, Vancouver is in the midst of a corporate overhaul in the form of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Everything here is positioned to accommodate the influx of tourists, athletes and media – advertisements with those five linked rings have been burned into my eyeballs and steps have been taken to herd ‘undesirables’ into temporary shelters or delegated protest zones. But, there’s at least one up-side to the exorbitant spending of tax dollars by Olympic cities… new skate spots! The construction of new sports venues, plazas, metro lines and public sculptures are all part of the Olympic tradition. Yet this architecture built to support the Games – a celebration of exclusive athleticism – unintentionally creates new spaces for street skating.





It’s a bit of an ironic situation, but not entirely surprising. As usual, skateboarders are acting as subversive opportunists, not having to submit to the compromise or hoop-jumping required to officially be a part of the Games, yet still benefiting from them. Street skating’s peculiar exploitation of the city landscape probably seemed like a passing trend to anyone who first noticed our descent onto downtown streets in the 80s. But it’s sure as hell here to stay.

guage, unites individuals of different social construction, and in general tries to live outside society while being simultaneously within its very heart,” writes architect/former skater Iain Borden in his book, Skateboarding, Space and the City. The relationship between skateboarding and the Olympics is similar in that most skateboarders reject the idea of having anything to do with the event yet will often physically occupy the Olympic-themed spaces that are its heart.

“...Like romanticism skateboarding brings together a concern to live out an idealized present, involves coded dress, language and body lan-

If you think about it, dozens of cities, from Beijing to Atlanta, have had to undergo major construction projects in order to accommodate the

(opposite) Haitian dictator "Baby Doc" Duvalier sent Dieudonne Lamothe of Haiti to the 1976 Montreal games with one threat: finish the race or be killed. Luckily, he didn't say “Don't run the slowest time in Olympic history, 18:50:07,” because that's what Lamothe did. Beats execution. A little less pressure fell upon Nate Roline, but he brought the backside tailslide home anyway, with a kickflip thrown in no less. nicholasphoto.

Charles Hefferon and Dorando Pietri: 1908 marathon. Hefferon led until the last few kilometers, when he accepted an ill-advised glass of victory champagne from a spectator... and became ill. He was overtaken by Pietri, who entered the stadium exhausted and dehydrated... and became ill. Pietri took the wrong path, collapsed, was redirected, and collapsed four more times. Helped to his feet, Pietri won but was later DQ'd for accepting assistance. Flo Marfaing knows better than to accept champagne under such circumstances. Cab backside tailslide. sharpphoto.

Olympic Games. A bunch of skate spots around the world have been bi-products of this construction. One of the most famous is Montreal’s ‘Big O’ – a concrete tunnel to tight-tranny mini that was originally built as part of the 1976 Olympic Park and has stood the test of time as one of Canada’s most documented skate spots. There’s also the much-skated Olympic Plaza (OP) in downtown Calgary, which was created as the medal ceremony venue for the 1988 Winter Games. Olympics-fueled architecture also includes projects that indirectly support the event. In Vancouver, one of these is the Canada Line rapid



During the Paris games of 1924, American sharpshooter Sidney Hinds notched a perfect 50 score for the free-rifle gold. This despite being shot during his round by a Belgian who accidentally dropped his own rifle. Hinds later became an American general, but his war wound came in the Olympics. Paul Shier, representing the land of lorries, spanners, bonnets, and bad teeth, brings in a cracking backside tailslide. sharpphoto.

transit project, as well as the public art chosen to decorate station entrances. Artist Marie Khouri’s sculpted bench outside Olympic station made it into the papers when the artist got upset because within a couple weeks skaters had both waxed and worn the curved ledge – I mean, “bench” – with a shark-fin shaped tranny on top. Even though her intent was “to do a piece that people could interact with” she had obviously been naïve in thinking people would only use such an obstacle for sitting. She was pretty quickly called a hypocrite for seeking to avoid the untouchability of gallery art yet rejecting the interaction when it didn’t take the expected form. One comment on the CBC noted the unique appreciation we, as skaters, have for the overlooked details of our urban surroundings: “In 50 years Ms Khouri’s art will be remembered more fondly by skateboarders than by any bleary-eyed commuter putting out their cigarette on it ever will.” Khouri, to her credit, later admitted that when art is put in the public realm the artist loses control over it and “actually, this is the way it should be.” Obviously we aren’t usually pitted up against artists. Hell, these days skateboarders and artists are often one-in-the-same. For the most part architects are pretty cool with us too. In fact there even seems to be a growing trend of architects and skaters being in cahoots. Some architects, like Norway’s Snøhetta, have not only recognized the appreciation



skateboarders have for surface textures and unusual obstacles but have also consulted with them about what’s best for skating, later including this feedback in their designs. Another architect who doesn’t hide her sympathetic attitude towards skateboarding is Zaha Hadid, who even has skaters working at her firm. Speaking about the Phaeno Science Center in Germany, which is a maze of smooth concrete banks, firm architect/skater Dillon Lin said (with a wink), “We design spaces that are flowing and continuous, and – just by coincidence – skateboarders look for that kind of continuity.” It also just so happens that Hadid designed the aquatic centre for the London 2012 Olympics and from what I’ve seen in photos, there’s sure to be some skating going down there soon. But, as Iain Borden reminds us, “skateboarders’ actions are neither a significant force nor a real threat to established ideologies.” Some of us may be tempted to attribute some greater political significance to the wayward nature of street skating. The reality though is that at the core it’s all about fun, which partially comes from the thrill and novelty of skating something we aren’t supposed to. Skateboarders are comparable to protesters in the way we pester the authorities, but unlike protesters our actions are not meant to be a direct challenge to authority. When we go skate, we don’t think “Alright, let’s make a statement against the sanctity of private property!” Yet many of us do share with protesters the same civil disobedience, and a certain cynicism towards the ‘powers that be’ or ‘the way it is’.

Among sports that are no longer Olympic events: roque, rackets, jeu de paume, pelote basque, croquet, polo, power boating, cricket, golf, lacrosse, rugby, tugo-war. Will we, as old folks roll our eyes, and chuckle at how skateboarding was once an event, or will we just skirt the whole sordid affair? Coulten Huber, wallie. thorburnphoto.

“Whether skateboarding finds itself welcomed into the bombastic core of the Olympics or forever stays on the concrete fringes it doesn’t really make much difference to the everyday skateboarder.”



“Who the hell is going to represent the international skate community when the time comes.”

Yet how sincere is this ‘fuck you, we’re different’ attitude that permeates skateboarding, from the industry to the individuals? Almost every major skate brand is owned by one of 10 large distributors. Independent ownership is a rarity. So skateboarding isn’t really that different from any other sport (a word we are so often reluctant to use!), it’s just a matter of good marketing to make skating seem like it’s still underground and “real”. Which brings me to another question: what is it that’s so unsettling about skateboarding being most likely becoming an Olympic event? Ever since the ‘80s skaters have been pretty vocal about not wanting to be a part of the Olympics. Yet skateboarding was recently shortlisted as a possible demo sport for the 2012 Olympics – a big deal considering dozens of other sports have been trying to get in for decades. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been clear that it wants to make the Games “relevant for young people”, which really means that it wants to secure the ratings and the following of wee generations around the world who currently don’t give a shit about the Olympics. The IOC has already added snowboarding and BMXing, but there’s been some troubles getting skating involved, firstly, that new sports can’t be introduced, only new ‘disciplines’, which means the closest sport we can enter under is probably cycling (logic: we share a similar contest course to BMX). But the biggest worry for skaters seems to be who the hell is going to represent the international skate community when the time comes. Each sport’s “governing body” gets a load of money from the IOC to develop itself worldwide, so there’s been a lot of organization trying to swindle their way into the position, including at least one roller skating organization. So it’s a relief that a bunch of old skateheads got together to form the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) with almost 70 member countries on board. Dave Carnie summed up the situation in an article he wrote: “Opinions about skateboarding in the Olympics is mixed amongst the members, but the one thing we all agree is that when it happens, it should be run by skateboarders and the benefits ($$$) that come from it go back to skateboarding.” I think we can sleep at night knowing that at least we won’t have roller skaters determining the fate of skateboarding. Beyond that though, what does our seemingly inevitable integration into the Olympic corporate vacuum really mean for the average skateboarder? Not too much.



I asked Rob Nurmi, veteran skate photographer and the ISF’s Canadian representative, what he thinks about all this. His response is a reminder that overreaction is pointless. “It will not be a step backwards, it won’t change what skating is to you, or me. It will just open opportunities for those that want to [get involved]. Skateboarding will always be skateboarding, it’s all good,” Nurmi says. He also mentioned the international aspect that the Olympics would bring, which I think may be such a rad possibility that it overrides all the petty worries about our culture being disturbingly commodified (besides, that’s already happened so get over it. Case in point: Sheckler featured in Men’s Fitness magazine). I mean, think about it, what if almost every country in the world, rich or poor, got funding towards a local skate scene? Skateboarding truly has potential to be a universal sport. We all know, as skateboarders, that it’s one of the most accessible sports in the world – age, ethnicity, language and social background all seem to dissolve once skateboards are involved. The Skateistan project, which is a free skateboarding school for boys and girls in Afghanistan, is an example of the positive direction skating could go with more funding and recognition worldwide. Skateistan has equal male/female participation rates, unifies people of different ethnic/social backgrounds and gives kids somewhere to direct their energies. All within a fucking war zone! Besides, if you look at other sports like snowboarding becoming Olympic, you see that only certain pros and companies are interested the medals and money while others hang back. And it’s an obvious point, but drug-testing alone excludes many of our most ‘prestigious’ athletes from competing. The bottom line is that whether skateboarding finds itself welcomed into the bombastic core of the Olympics or forever stays on the concrete fringes it doesn’t really make much difference to the everyday skateboarder. “We will always be an ‘art form’, we will always be a magnet for people with originality, with creative spirit. That will never change,” says Nurmi, who’s seen all the ups and downs since he started skating in the mid-70s, and knows that despite all the nonsense skateboarding’s essence perseveres. “It’s like saying ‘do the Oscar’s affect the form of movies?’ Yes, they do, but it doesn’t stop the true form, or the radical forms.”

(opposite) At the 1968 Mexico City games, HansGunnar Liljenwall, a Swedish pentathlete, was suspended because he tested positive for a banned substance. That substance: Alcohol. He drank several beers before the pentathlon... which was against the rules... so he was suspended. Keegan Sauder, keeps it clean, and sneaks in a nollie lipslide moments before this rail, and plaza fell victim to “Olympic reconstruction”. hammekephoto.




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[ o ] DOUBT

Lucas Puig

volume 8 issue 1

wordsby saelan twerdy

photosby jeremy r. jansen


oronto gets kind of a bad rap. For Americans, it’s Canada’s cute attempt at having its own New York city. For most Canadians, it’s the sprawling, smoggy financial centre that thinks it’s so important. Vancouver’s got the ocean and the mountains, the laid-back West Coast vibe and the famous marijuana. Montreal’s got the almost-European bohemian cool, the unbelievably cheap rent and lax liquor laws. Toronto? Well, it’s got the CN Tower. That’s the common wisdom, anyway. Torontonians themselves, of course, know different. Hogtown isn’t the biggest city in Canada for nothing – it’s a massively diverse metropolis, and its patchwork of distinct neighbourhoods are miles deep with history and character. That also means that it has some of the best arts infrastructure in North America: you can barely trip over a streetcar track without landing in a bar, art gallery, or concert venue.

.beneaththetower 101

In the early part of the last decade, Toronto’s music scene (as far the rest of the world saw it, at any rate) was mainly defined by loose, large-scale indie-pop collectives like Broken Social Scene and the Hidden Cameras. In recent years, some of the city’s biggest exports have been virtuoso violinist/composer/arranger Owen Pallet (a.k.a. Final Fantasy) and the hardcore punk band Fucked Up, both of whom have been recipients of Canada’s Polaris Music Prize. Fucked Up, in particular, has been a backbone for Toronto’s current rock and punk community. Continuing Toronto’s tradition of large groups fostering spin-off projects, members of Fucked Up have several other bands (one of which, The Bitters, is featured in this issue), and their ubiquity means that a large cross-section of Toronto musicians are either friends with or have played shows with Fucked Up.

“All I know how to do is write songs that sound like a combination of Nirvana, The Ramones, and Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle.”

For this profile of Toronto music scene, we’ve focused on a handful of rough and raw guitar bands that define some of the most fertile territory in the city at the moment. The honest, urban country music of 100 Dollars is revered locally, but deserves broader exposure, while lo-fi garage-rockers Little Girls had the good fortune to gain widespread internet attention prior to playing a single show. The Bitters and Teen Anger are both rising fast among those who like it loud and catchy, and Telephone Explosion, the cassette (and sometimes vinyl) label run by members of Teen Anger, is a crucial outlet for T.O.’s garage-rockers. This is by no means a comprehensive overview of what’s up in the Big Smoke right now, but we hope it gets you started on the right track.


he Bitters are the duo of Aerin Fogel and Ben Cook, who also plays in Fucked Up and records solo as Young Governor. With only an EP and a single out so far, both on the Captured Tracks label run by Mike Sniper of Blank Dogs, their brand of “cave pop” has already garnered well-deserved attention. Their songs are stripped-down and savage, with melodies that dig in tooth and claw and don’t let go, even if their super-raw and doomy recordings sound like they’re emanating from subterranean caverns. With a heavy handful of releases scheduled, including a full-length on Woodsist, a single on True Panther, and a split cassette with Little Girls (plus more on Sacred Bones and Wild World), they’re set to become one of Toronto’s most prolific new bands. We caught up with them in their basement practice space to discuss underground music in Toronto and elsewhere.

102 goingundergroundwith.

Color: How did you guys start playing together? Aerin Fogel: I tricked Ben into it. I was bored and really wanted someone to record with. Ben Cook: I also got suspended from Fucked Up for two weeks because I was stealing too much in Europe. They put the fucking dunce cap on me and they locked me down here for two weeks. So we started recording songs. A: We did one for fun, and Ben liked it and wanted to do some more. But it took us a long time, we wrote and re-wrote a few songs over the course of a couple years before we decided to actually do more. “Warrior”, I think we wrote two and a half years ago. B: It took me a really long time to figure out that song was good It’s an awesome song! B: Yeah, I’m really slow. With Fucked Up winning the Polaris prize, how does that affect that band dynamic? B: It didn’t really affect the band dynamic at all, it was just a thing that was honestly really unexpected, just like all the other crazy shit that happens to the band, it’s just

crazy that week and then you get over it and then it’s business as usual. In terms of business, is Fucked Up working on a new album, planning any tours, or are you more focused on your individual projects? B: There’s always stuff going on even though some of us have our own side projects. Even though I’m home and Fucked Up aren’t touring, I’m still practicing five days a week. We’ve got the next record in the Year Of… series, Year of the Ox, another 12-minute long thing with a string quartet, so we’re practicing with strings, and I’ve got to somehow finish The Bitters’ 12-inch, I’ve got another seven Young Governor records coming out, fuckin’ labels e-mailing me asking when they’re going to be done. You guys have a huge amount of stuff slated to come out... B: We have a 12-inch EP and the single that just came out and we decided to go right to an LP on Woodsist. (continued on p. 131)


hen 20-year-old Toronto native Josh McIntyre uploaded a few songs he’d recorded onto his new Myspace site in early 2009, he never expected more than a handful of his friends to hear them. But barely 24 hours later, he’d been blogged about so enthusiastically that he was already getting offers from some of the world’s hippest record labels. Now, with releases on New York’s Captured Tracks and Mexican Summer under his belt, he’s got a proper full-length, a proper band, and he’s heading off on tour, taking his gloomy-but-catchy lofi rock to the world. Inspired by the deliberately raw and spaced-out sound of J Dilla’s hip-hop beats as much as the hiss and fuzz of today’s wave of lo-fi rockers, Little Girls make the most of reverb and distortion, evoking the disorienting angst and painful fragility of teen dreams. We caught up with Josh as he was kicking off his US tour to talk about what the future has in store.

curious about what you had in mind when you first started: what inspired these songs in the first place? It’s really funny to look back, but I had no idea what I was doing when I started recording as Little Girls. The first song I did was “Youth Tunes”. And it was never meant to be heard outside of a handful of people. I just made it one night, listened to it once, thought it was cool and posted it up. I wasn’t planning on being lumped in with any scene

How do you feel about the music scene in Toronto, generally? What do you like and dislike about it? What other bands in Toronto are you excited about right now? I actually really like the Toronto scene, aside from it being somewhat cliquey. Favourite Toronto bands: The Bitters, Actual Water, Brides, Teen Anger. I think that, up until recently – before Fucked Up got big, anyway – Broken Social Scene and the Arts & Crafts/Paper Bag records scene was Toronto’s biggest export. You’ve got a different vibe, but you’re signed to Paper Bag. How do you feel about the label so far? I feel like with the records I’ve done it’s been very balanced. I released two records on New York labels, and now I’m putting one out on a Toronto label. I think Paper Bag has done a great job in representing Toronto and I’m glad to be a part of it.

Color: I understand that you had another project before you started Little Girls. Is that still a going concern? What was it like? Did you have any other bands prior to Little Girls? Josh McIntyre: Yeah, before Little Girls, I was one half of a duo called Pirate/Rock. I played drums and did backup vocals. As of right now Pirate/Rock is sort of on hiatus. Once Little Girls started taking off we had to put Pirate/Rock aside. Joe [the other half of the band] is now working on his own solo music, and it’s incredible. Before that, I had tons of other bands. I was basically playing in punk and metal bands from grades eight to 11. Then in grade 12, I started producing hip-hop beats from then until the present. How long have you been playing live, and how is the band dynamic working out? Concepts is all you, right? Do you plan on incorporating the band into future recordings? The band started playing live in late April. Which was weird because I’d already had the Youth Tunes 7-inch and the Thrills 12-inch on Mexican Summer out, but had never played a show. Having a band was definitely tough at first. The original line-up is completely different from the current line up. Concepts is all me recording. As for future recordings, it’s going to be a mix of solo stuff here and there, but I definitely am enjoying the band dynamic. We just finished writing a new song as a band called “Masks”. It’s pretty sweet. And we’ll be writing more as a band. When you started recording Little Girls songs, you obviously couldn’t have anticipated the attention they’d get via the internet. People are trying to relate you to other artists doing similar things now, but I’m

I recorded “Youth Tunes”, “Venom” and “Ebonics” all in the same night. I posted them later that night. Once I did those three, I hadn’t planned on recording any more. By the next day, I’d had an offer to do the 7-inch and the 12-inch, plus Paper Bag started e-mailing me. Once I had agreed to do all these records, I knew I had some work cut out for me.

Given that indie music now is increasingly blogdriven, and it’s easy – theoretically, anyway – for someone’s recordings to get attention pretty much the second they’re finished, how do you think this affects artists’ approach to producing music? I think now in the blog era, because it’s so easy to put out music, people are forced to keep putting new music out. On the one hand, I think it’s great because it keeps new music constant, but on the other hand, artists may start to feel rushed to keep putting music out. I generally like it, because I have constant access to my studio, and I love to record. So I’m always recording.

“... I love to record. So I’m always recording.” or movement, that just kinda happened. As far as inspirations for the songs, it was basically an escape for me. I was going through some rough patches at the time, and just to get my mind off things, I started recording. How many had you written before you started putting them online, and did peoples’ responses to the songs you put up have an affect on your output?

What are your plans for after this tour? After the tour we’re probably going to start recording some more stuff as a band. More 7-inches, a tape with The Bitters, and who knows what else. Toronto aside, what music are you stoked about right now? All I really listen to is hip hop. Dilla Dilla Dilla! Little Girls’ debut album, Concepts, is out now on Paper Bag records.

.toronto’srockscene 103

“There’s some crossover but we don’t really fit in here. It’s always a colourful bill when we play.”


n the weekend before the 20th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down, some gut-tearing home renovations are taking place in the apartment of G.C. Gary, guitarist of firewater garage band Teen Anger and one half of small-run cassette label Telephone Explosion. Acting as Toronto’s rugged middle-ground where The Cramps and The Gun Club meet, Teen Anger have released two rough-hewn and already out of print releases on tape, along with a split LP with San Francisco surf-punk band Charlie and the Moonhearts. With a U.S. tour planned for next year, fans can expect a new full-length record this spring, tentatively-titled Give Me Pink. During a rest break, Alex Lekay and fellow housemate Sharon Needles of the band met to discuss the merits and pitfalls of living in Toronto. Color: You’re a band in the city of Toronto, what’s that like for you? G.C. Gary: Being a band in Toronto is cool because there are a lot of shows and a lot of bands, but none of the bands are really similar. Some cities have scenes that revolve around the same styles of music... Montreal got big with electro-rock and all those “wolf” bands. It’s not like we’re in Orange County or San Francisco or any of those places. Alex: The other night I was saying in Toronto there’s no in between: there’s either super indie-rock bands or hardcore ones. G.C.: Yeah, there are a lot of hardcore bands, but there’s a lot of experimental stuff too... there’s a lot of different stuff, but it’s good. The bottom line is that it’s good. Any other bands in the city that you particularly like? Alex: Spooky Reuben. G.C.: Spooky Reuben, Anagram... Sharon: Magic Cheezies. Alex: Cool Peter.

104 beneaththetower.

Sharon: 100 Dollars... Alex: The Band. G.C.: It’s funny because a lot of the bands we like and play with don’t sound like us. Sharon: There’s some crossover but we don’t really fit in here. It’s always a colourful bill when we play. Alex: Fucked Up has some crossover too. G.C.: Oh yeah. So, how would you describe your music? Alex: We got dubbed “cow punk” in New Brunswick. G.C.: Which is the worst term ever. Sharon: Like cows with Mohawks! G.C.: But I’d say we’re more punk than garage... G.C.: It says “blues” on our Myspace. I think we’re more country and blues than some other 60s revivalists. Sharon: “Bluesy Swagger” is what we get labeled sometimes. G.C.: Which I think is pretty good. I am glad we got that adopted for us.

Bluesy Swagger just sounds like “Boozy Swagger”. Sharon: Boozy Swagger! We’re Boozy Swagger, yeah. Any problems living here? Sharon: Lugging gear in the snow. Alex: Obviously alcohol is a big component. Why aren’t liquor stores open later? Sharon: I hate the radio here. But what was that radio station we were on, CIUT? Alex: Yeah, “Equalizing Distort”. G.C.: There you go. That was good. Another reminder that you should support your local college radio station. Anything else you’d like to promote? Would you ever write a song about Toronto? G.C.: I think all our songs are topical. They’re all about Toronto, more or less. We wrote a song on our new record called “Rats” after the garbage strike last summer. And our last record is called “Banned from the Beaver” because we got banned from the bar after our show. Toronto is a part of our lives every day so it’s something we talk about in our songs. But is there anything good? G.C.: Just dive bars, mostly. Check out for releases by Teen Anger and some other quality bands.


ne Hundred Dollars are a country band. Certainly not “new country” and not really “alt-country”, either. They don’t wear cowboy boots and they don’t sing about any faded sepia fantasy world, or about prairie skies or the Rocky Mountains. One Hundred Dollars plays country music for cities, and they tell stories about people who live and work in them. “Realness” is the quality on everyone’s lips when One Hundred Dollars is mentioned, and singer Simone Schmidt’s lyrics are replete with chilling detail and downtrodden poetry, made all the more powerful by her unique voice: she’s only twenty-five, but she sounds like she’s smoked a hundred years of cigarettes and survived a generation of loved ones. The band’s debut album, Forest of Tears, earned lavish praise in their hometown of Toronto, but they were prevented from touring when band member Ian Russell was diagnosed with leukemia. He’s since recovered, though, and the band is embarking on an ambitious project to document the country with a series of “Regional 7-inches” released on labels all over Canada, each devoted to telling stories based on specific communities: work shortage in St. John’s [NL], VLT gambling and the oil economy in Fort McMurray [AB], and cycles of colonization in Vancouver. We met up with them to talk about country music, storytelling, and the city of Toronto.

“Pete Seeger thought you could sing a song and change the world, if everyone sang the same song, and I don’t believe that. I think there’s a lot harder work to be done than writing songs.” Color: Not a lot of young people start country bands. What interests you in country music? Simone Schmidt: From a form perspective, I like that the country genre is conclusive. In terms of writing, you start somewhere and then you get somewhere. Like, if you write a good song, you issue in a metaphor and you follow it to its end. There are other forms of poetry and there are other forms of lyrics, but I really like that in particular about country music. I like ballads, too, and telling stories. I think storytelling is very important in terms of conveying thought in our culture. I like the way that country music got me to play with language and the poetry of

ideas. It’s different than punk, in that sense. I like that it makes you follow a rhyme scheme sometimes, and I like melody and harmony in country music. I like how singers in country music get super wild sometimes, in skilled and subtle ways, to convey emotion. That’s what I like about country music.

President’s Door in Guelph [ON], but I didn’t take it seriously. Basically, I had a totally different ambition in life than being in a band. But now it’s taken over my life to a large degree. I was working... should I say? I was an anti-poverty organizer, I was passionately involved in welfare rights in Ontario and I thought bands were cool, but it wasn’t my passion and focus. But then Ian got sick and I couldn’t do a lot of work that required me to be on time for meetings or give to anyone else, so I found that country music was a great expression right then.

Ian Russell: I like how familiar it feels to people, even if they aren’t actually familiar with it.

Ian, I understand that you beat cancer. Congratulations! I: Thanks! I was sick, but I got better.

Were you playing music with anybody else before? S: I played a bit with this band called Shit On the

Has the experience affected your outlook? I: It doesn’t really change anything for me. I’ve always just

(continued on page 131)


November 19, 2009 - Oceanside, California

volume 8 issue 1


o the door kicks in and there it is, the scene of a lifetime. A balding middleaged man sucking the filthy rotten toes of a Hastings street lady of the night. Who kicked the door in? I have no clue, but that is not relevant. I turn to Sascha and mouth the words ‘what the fuck’.

Wow, too bad for you (or not depending on your taste) this is not Hustler’s ‘Hot Letter’s’, however it is Sascha Daley’s introduction for this interview. Now you might be thinking “what the hell is this, but who cares, the point is that you’re probably still reading and wanting to find out more and will continue on doing so. Not because you are finally at the point where you are finally getting around to completely reading this magazine cover to cover, but because this got your attention right off the bat and in my books that is better than reading about how rad of a dude this guy is and how much he rips. The point being is that not unlike Hot Letters, the start of this feature is fiction (well I am pretty sure hot letters is 99% fiction) So with that being said, just like a porno mag, get to the part that you really came for… the photos. Ryan Smith: Alright, are you ready for an amazing interview? SD: I’m psyched, it’s gonna be tight, gonna be really good. These questions are from the fine folks at Color... let’s see... Where were you born? Know that. What’s your father’s name? No one cares. How did you come to be? Your dad fucked your mom. How old were you when you moved to Vancouver? I was 18. How old are you now? I’m 22. That’s not bad, so, like, four years. Yeah, but for pretty much the past three years I’ve been in California for every winter almost. It’s not a full four years of being fully stuck in Vancouver. What do you do to pass a rainy day while you’re still pursuing your goal of becoming a professional skateboarder? Pretty sure drinking is out of the question now, I guess. I chill a lot, like pretty hard… I started reading all these books on conspiracies and shit and I got into that type of thing and then I got over reading

those books. I was like, ‘Man, that shit’s just making me paranoid, why do I fucking want to read these books?’ and the only reason that I want to read them is so if the apocalypse happens or some shit happens I’ll just, like, go into the woods and live off the land like people were originally intended to do. So I got the SAS Survival Handbook and it teaches you how to sterilize and drink your own pee. So when you can’t skate you hole up in a room reading survival books thinking that you might not ever be able to skate again and you’ll have to go and live off plants… head to the woods and live off the land? Yeah, I’ve got this survival pack that I’ve been working on, it’s just this packsack with this space blanket in it and, like, rope and a sewing kit and a sweet Leatherman knife and stuff like that. ‘Cause if the apocalypse comes you’re definitely going to need a space blanket and a Leatherman... You probably will if you think about it. If you knew it was coming and you had this packsack with all your shit and the book and you just went off into the bushes for awhile...

.interview 109

“I’ll just go into the woods and live off the land like people were originally intended to do.”

(opposite) When you get tested for Chlamydia you get tested for everything else. You give blood and urine, which is everything and then they look down there... Sascha is basically an STD doctor at this point. Frontside fiver. doubtphoto. Some might even call Chlamydia a “seasonal disease”. Backside nollie. nicholasphoto.

Okay, okay, here’s a random off the wall one. Would you agree with this statement? ‘If a man has the clap more than twice do you think this means he gets laid a lot, or he doesn’t give a fuck when he’s getting laid and doesn’t wear a rubber?’ Uh, I don’t know, maybe a combination of both?

That’s cool. Do you think it’s hard coming from Canada, like, you’ve got the big fish in the small pond syndrome so when you come down here you’re kind of acting the same instead of just trying to focus on skating? Uh…

Alright, that’s a fair answer. Who hasn’t had it, man, you know? People get laid. Yeah, I haven’t, uh... It’s been awhile since I got that one, but... If you can catch Chlamydia six times and you don’t get…

When you’re in Vancouver it’s such a small place, like, you can go lay it down, you know everyone, you’ve got all your friends there so you’ve kind of paid your dues there, you’re king of the hill. Do you think that transfers over so that when you come down here you act the same way? I don’t know. I definitely don’t think I’m king of the hill anywhere. I’ve never thought that even in Canada, so when I go down there I don’t think I’m king of the hill, when I’m here I don’t think I’m king of the hill. When I go down there... I mean, maybe when I was younger I didn’t really understand some things and I just kind of took some things for granted.

I didn’t want to get numbers out of you, but that’s fucking amazing. Six times. Yeah, and a thing to think about, not catching anything else is a fucking miracle. Wow, That means you get a lot of action. I used to. I’ve had a girlfriend now for seven months.

.saschadaley 111

Did you plan or did you just take it as it comes? Now I have a plan and before I didn’t have a plan.

there and there was such a mix of people staying at the [Black Box] park and it was hard to get in on any sort of a mission or anything. Sometimes I’d get vibed out by people who’ve been there...


You know, I mean in Canada it’s easier to keep your sponsors happy and still go out and have a life, whereas here when you’re living your same life, people don’t know you so they might look at it like ‘well, this dude’s just fucking...’ ‘cause I know, being Canadian we rage pretty hard and manage to pull it off fairly easily just because that’s just how fucking Canadians are, but when you come down here, people might trip on it a little bit harder, you know? Yeah, I’d say I’ve probably mellowed out a lot in the last year so I think people’s views on me have probably changed quite a bit. I haven’t really been raging very much over the last year. But when I used to come down there, yeah, I was like straight vacation. ‘I’m going to California to skateboard and have a good time,’ to live all aspects of life. Not just like, ‘I’m going down there to fucking skate like a Nazi’ or something. I was like, yeah, if I get a few tricks I’m already ahead of the game ‘cause at least I’m skating when everyone else is just chilling, hanging out smoking weed on the couch at home in Vancouver.

Sure, I mean, a lot of it down here is, like, you can’t go with a crew of dudes, it’s impossible to skate. I mean, tricks take forever, for me it’s like there’s five other dudes on the team waiting and some flow dude is trying to get his trick. When you first came down here were you surprised, were you like, ‘oh, this is skating down here’? I don’t know. I somehow expected some of it but it was just weird. I don’t know if I had matured enough in myself to be able to handle some of the situations I was in and really take advantage of it. I was just, like, a kid and kind of naive and not really sure how to operate. Now... maybe I learned a little bit late, but not too late. I guess I was kind of thrown off, I was like, ‘holy fuck, people don’t even really skate that much and during the weekdays you just go to the park.’ I mean, there’s weekday spots, but everyone’s just like, ‘when the weekend comes, skate’ and then people just chill.

Alright, what’s your plan? Just to keep on skating as hard as I can and do everything I can for my sponsors while I’m in the States and just try to focus more on that rather than just having a good time. Well, I mean the good times will always come, but it’s definitely a lot easier when you’re solid. Yeah, I know that’s true. I used to think I’d skate better when I was hung over or half cut but now I don’t think that’s true. I definitely did. When I got loaded, the next day when I was hung over I’d have to justify… I’d skate harder for the party because I’d be like ‘dude, I was so wasted last night I’m gonna get a hammer today and I’m going to get so much more wasted tonight.’ I had so much more incentive, ‘if I get a trick today then I just justified last night or the last three nights that I was up.’ Yeah, I know. No one can get mad, what can anyone say to you, you’re ripping, right? Like, fuck it. Sometimes that’s kind of the poison of skating… Unfortunately, I’m just as guilty but dudes go out and party and get fucking hurt so they’re just, like, a liability. Then there is your Gilbert Crockets out there that don’t do fucking anything and the sponsors are like, ‘It’s nice, he is going to be a fucking nerd and not do anything.’ I mean he’s a cool guy, don’t get me wrong. The Chief used to love the fucking psychos, you know, when he was a young dude. I mean, Trainwreck, me, fucking Brockman, all of us, you know. He loved it, but nowadays… Yeah, I guess everybody grows up and everybody changes, even Jamie [Thomas] changes. Do you have any other interests outside of skating? No, not really, no. I just keep on getting more deep into skating and the deeper I get into skating the less I care about anything else, you know? Just try to get on the program, you know. Before, I’d come down 112 interview.

So what’s going on with you? I mean, you have so many opportunities, more than anyone else I know from Canada, you stay at Black Box, stay at my house, Colin’s house, the DC ramp, um, why are you in Vancouver right now?
 Ah, just because I had to come back and wait until I could go back, because I was in the States for six months last year, and I gotta get out, ya know, before it gets over six months, so I’m just waiting to come down basically. Has being a ladies man ever cut into your skating? I don’t think it’s ever really… No, no, fuck no. I mean, maybe a couple times but I don’t even think so, fuck no. I was always out skating. In Barcelona I was out skating when we went on that trip, I was a little bit of a ladies man on that trip but I still skated every day. It’s not really a distraction or anything it’s just I like both things and it’s easy for me to find a balance.

I’ll commend you on that [finding a balance]. Thank you. What do you want to talk about, man, I mean, we’ve covered Chlamydia... I don’t know, what do people talk about in interviews? I don’t know, usually their stories are the best part – the dirt. Okay, here is a story. I got into a fistfight with four dudes outside the bar on Christmas day last year. I beat up four dudes and I took my friend’s sister home and she gave me a beej while her parents were upstairs. [for details visit] Oh my god. Sometimes being drunk and being a skateboarder you just river your way through some of the most fucked up, sketchy situations where you’re supposed to, like, die or you’re supposed to be fucked

Sascha would never let a woman get in the way of a good session. He’d just tell her, ‘yo, I gotta go skate’ and that’s that. Frontside bluntslide up and down. Tits out for the ladies! nicholasphoto. (opposite) They say a river runs through it. That may mean that a man can get away with sleeping with another man’s woman, escaping from a bar fight scott free or catching a kickflip such as this without a facial slam. rhinophoto.

“Am I not keeping it real because I’m not a fucking asshole anymore?” and never allowed back in the States. Like when I was in Newport Beach and ended up in that drunk tank for 16 hours, yelling at these cops ‘cause they were making fun of me ‘cause I was Canadian... Spitting at them. ...Spitting at them and, like, kicking the back of the squad car. Like, kicking at the back of this dude’s head. I dunno, maybe somehow, when deep down you’re trying to do the good shit but you’re doing bad shit, you just river your way through shit… I kind of wish this was like a dual interview. I’d like to ask you some things. I heard you smoked a cigarette on some plane recently and got away with that scotch free. Yeah, I did, somehow... Somehow you just fucking river it. They’re just like ‘what the fuck?’, they’re so thrown off. But we’re not all as quick witted as you, Ryan. But, I mean, that’s the stuff that you get away with when you blatantly do it. [Like when you stole beers], they’re like, ‘There’s no way that dude’s stealing that. I’m watching him right now. There’s no way, he’ll be back.’ Yeah, exactly. I just walked in, I looked so sketchy, man, this was the holiday that I got into the fight with those dudes and I just looked like the sketchiest dude. I walked in, looked at some wine and grabbed a warm case of Lucky and then was like, ‘fuck, if I’m going to get caught for stealing this shit, I might as well steal a cold one.’ So I grabbed the 15 cold ones and I headed for the door and basically my plan was if someone at the store grabs me I’m just going to lump ‘em and take off, like, there’s no way you’re going to stop me from getting these beers. If I’m going in there to get them I’m fucking coming out with them. And I sprinted to the car and got in and was like, ‘that was so easy, I should do that more often.’ But I didn’t. I stopped doing that. I tried to steal these steaks – this was the last time I tried to steal anything, at the beginning of the summer – we were at the lake all day in Courtney, drinking and stuff and my friends mom wasn’t home so we wanted to have a BBQ at the homie’s house and I was like, ‘just drop me off at Safeway’ which coincidentally is a block away from my mom’s house, and my homie parked in this cul-de-sac. So I went into there with no shoes on and no socks, shirt off, some swim shorts and just grabbed an eight-pack... What were you going to steal, what were you going for? Eight-pack of steak, an eight-pack of tenderloins. Where were you going to put it though, like, in your fucking trunks? No, this is the same thing as the liquor store. I just grabbed the steak and a big thing of barbeque

sauce and I just walked out the door. I took one step outside Safeway and this old man just grabs me so hard on the shoulder and is like, ‘Safeway security, stop!’ and I just turned around and smashed the barbecue sauce on the ground and threw the steaks at him and sprinted as fast as I could towards the cul-de-sac and I had told my friends ‘Have the car running, have the door open, I’m coming’ and everyone had the tailgate down and everyone is sitting there smoking and I’m like, ‘Get the fuck in the car! We’re about to get fucking busted!’ and everyone just jumps in the car and we burn out of the cul-de-sac and there was, like, a family at the park who were just like, ‘what the fuck is going on?’ That was a case where shit didn’t work out, but I still got away so it kind of did. Wow, I thought you were going to say you smacked the old man and I was like ‘damn.’ Naw, I wouldn’t. I just turned around so fast that I just kind of let go of everything and just kind of bottled the barbecue sauce at his feet. But I haven’t gone back there for awhile. I think that’s why my mom didn’t have Christmas in Courtney this year, for some reason she had it in Vancouver. I kind of think she didn’t want me coming back there, ‘cause usually I’m, like… well, I have a girlfriend now, but when I used to come back I’d come back to party.

“I was on fire. I was skating and drinking and just boning. ” like a couch in a building, I stayed at the DC ramp for almost five months and I just had a key and I could come and go when I wanted to and have people over and skate the ramp and keep it mellow.

Well, fuck, dude, I’ve got a lot of questions here that are really funny, but I don’t want to fuck your kit up. That’s okay.

Yeah, but I heard stories about the DC ramp. You didn’t really play your cards right... I just had that one night, but I don’t even think we should really go into that. Like, I don’t think we’re supposed to talk about that.

No, I’ll take a pass on those ones and keep it mellow. When you come down here and you look for a place to stay are you looking for the most productive place for you or do you just stay where you can? Or a place where you can skate, be around cool people and actually have some action at night. I don’t even know. I just kind of river it each time I come down. For awhile I didn’t even go back to Black Box ‘cause everyone got kicked out and I wasn’t really involved with that. I was kind of just there... I was there a week before shit hit the fan there, when one of the big windows got broken by this dude, but I just kind of try to find any place to stay. It doesn’t even matter, 114 survivingthe.

It doesn’t matter, the ramp’s gone, they don’t give a shit. I just had some people over, I just kind of... I was having people over, but just, like, four or five and we’d turn off the light at the front and have some drinks and skate the ramp but I just came up with this idea to have more than a couple people over, like 15 or 20 people over, and it ended up just not going very well. Somehow in your head you thought it would be okay to have a party at Danny Way and Colin McKay’s ramp [laughs at him].


That’s kind of why I stopped going back to Canada. Yeah, that’s why I don’t really go back to the Island very much anymore. I haven’t been there in so long. Probably since that incident. Sketchy.

(opposite) There’s nothing like a massive boneless to shake out the cobwebs of a long night of free drinks and loose spanish ladies. Oh wait. One thing... the morning bone. Damn. So was this boneless BONE-less? Only Sascha knows for sure. blabacphoto. Take note. If you are planning to have a “small” party at your sponsor’s warehouse, you’d best try to keep it under wraps, and when you DO get busted, you better be ready to bust your ass and make up for it. 50-50 kickflip. morfordphoto.

Yeah, uh I don’t know what I was thinking, man, that’s a good one, I don’t know. Looking back, I’m so fucking lucky I didn’t get caught or it didn’t turn out worse. Jimmy happened to come by, he was coming to pick up lights and I was pretty wasted and just being a little fucker and he was just like, ‘how come there are so many cars in here?’ and... He actually told me about it. He got a phone call from someone saying ‘there’s a party at the DC ramp’ so he came by. Yeah, I guess word travels quick around there. I noticed that you had the ‘made man’ kind of attitude a lot of times when you were skating, rather than the flow rider thing, keeping your head down and shredding. You would definitely go out and party like you had a shoe and a board. [Laughs] I don’t know about that, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Well, whatever, it is what it is. It’s cool. [Dylan Doubt:] Do you think people expect that of you now? Like, you’ve sort of got a reputation? Ryan, I’m sure you’re the same way, where you see your old friends and they just expect you to be raging all the time. Yeah, and sometimes it’s like I almost feel bad, I’m like, ‘Am I not keeping it real because I’m not a fucking asshole anymore?’ The peer pressure isn’t the hard part, it’s the fucking party. You’re a happy dude and if you’re at a bar drinking and a chick wants to leave with you, you’ll leave with her. You’re like, ‘Alright, cool.’ Where with a lot of people it’s like, well, I’m kind of like this too, but kind of like, ‘I’d rather make out with a bottle than a chick.’ That’s when it becomes problematic. I guess I’m lucky that I’d rather take the pussy over the beer or the fuckin’ whiskey. Pussy over Whiskey.

Yeah, that’s a good trait. And it’s always towards the end of the night and then the next day you’re not as hung over as everyone else and you got laid, you got the endorphins going. Especially if you got the bone in the morning, that seriously cures some of your hangovers so much… Like on the Barcelona trip. I wish you were there, man, I was on fire. You would have been psyched. I was skating and drinking and just boning. At the time it was perfect, I mean it wouldn’t have worked at all right now for me with having a girlfriend obviously, but it was glory days times. But do you think it was that perfect? I mean, how many more overseas trips did you go on after that? Uh, none. Everyone said they weren’t bummed though. Like, I talked to Rogers and was like, ‘Yo, sorry if I was partying lots, but you guys weren’t, like, bummed though?’ And he was like ‘fuck no.’ But I don’t know. Maybe people were and they just didn’t want to say it. .apocalympics 115

Well, actions speak louder than words. If you didn’t go on any other trips, but they were like ‘oh no, it’s cool,’ but they’re booking tickets and you don’t get the phone call... Yeah, but to defend myself here, I have been invited back on DC am trips and I’ve been on DC U.S. trips since that one. That wasn’t like the end of my... Oh no, I’m not hating on you, don’t get me wrong... That’s part of the life, dude. 116 saschadaley.

I was just like a kid in the candy store. They fly us out there, DC picks us up in a limo and gives everyone out there a card with their name on it for free drinks at Manolos [bar] for the three weeks we’re there. It’s like, of course people are going to go crazy. These are skateboarders. I mean, you give me a bar card and I’m 19 in Barcelona with all the DC dudes? Of course I’m going to have a good time, you know? It would kind of be a shame if you didn’t.

When all else fails, just smash the BBQ sauce on the ground, and make a break for it! Backside kickflip. blabacphoto.

I know what you’re saying, man, I hear ya. It was good while it lasted. Now it’s all in the past. I’m just trying to skate now. Basically. I’m a big fan, dude. Thanks, I just want to progress, I’m taking it seriously now. I did get to live it like that for awhile and it was fucking wicked...

That’s the thing, when you’re pro and you’re on it you still get to live it like that. I just think that you’ve just got to keep your head down for the first bit and then you’ve got it like that. Fuck it, who cares. Yeah, I don’t feel bad for what I’ve done. Those days will come again, you’re going to go on to have plenty more good times. Yeah, I think I might go out and have a good time,

but I think I might do it in a different steeze, you know? I’ve had good times since, but I’m growing up and I feel like in the last year I’ve matured so much. I feel like if I talked to myself nine months ago I would have been like, ‘Who the fuck is this guy?’, you know? Now when I go out for a drink, I deserve it and I don’t feel bad the next day ‘cause I haven’t been getting drunk every single day. I feel good, though.



SILAS BAXTER-NEAL CAMPUS VULC SIGNATURE EDITION Š 2010 adidas America, Inc. adidas, the trefoil logo and the 3-Stripes mark are registered trademarks of the adidas Group.

volume 8 issue 1


RYAN DECENZO backside kickflip [ o ] mikendo. 121

BRANDON DEL BIANCO 180 nosegrind [ o ] woytowich.

BILL MARSHALL kickflip [ o ] ceglia. 123

124 GUY MARIANO crooked grind [ o ] acosta.

DAN ARGET 5-0 grind [ o ] comber.

STEFAN JANOSKI frontside kickflip [ o ] allan. 127

JESSY JEAN BART 50-50 [ o ] levrai.


SEB LABBE backside lipslide [ o ] ying. 129

volume 8 issue 1 (continued from p. 102)

The stuff that’s going to be coming on your full-length, what’s it like? B: We tried to make it a little bit cleaner, not so... kinda the opposite of some of the lo-fi shit that comes out where everything is covered up... and I know that’s kinda the world we’re releasing records in right now in terms of The Bitters, for sure, Captured Tracks and all that, so we kinda went the other way with it and we’re making it a bit cleaner, almost bigger-sounding. And in terms of songwriting, it’s pretty much like a dark 90s grunge record. There’s definitely some Alice in Chains harmonies on that shit, Meat Puppets’ fuckin’ Monsters record... I read that interview you guys did with Dazed Digital, and you were saying that people perceive lo-fi bands as being cheap and/or lazy… B: Oh no, that’s how I perceive them. Well, you guys might make things for cheap, but it’s pretty hard to call you lazy when you’ve got, like fifteen things coming out between all your projects. B: I think that was actually kind of a poke at Toronto, just how a lot of cool bands have a lot of cool ideas, but they don’t follow it up with records. That’s why I like the fact that I can release, with all my projects, like, 30 records a year. And the Bitters is one of the most active bands, we have the most planned. I don’t like lazy people… I did want to talk a bit about Toronto, generally… B: I definitely think Toronto would benefit from a vinyl-only label. I guess there’s

(continued from p. 105)

Telephone Explosion doing their cassette thing, that’s pretty cool, but I always thought Toronto was missing a source of vinyl. Like, labels will print vinyl, Paper Bag or whatever the labels are around here, but there’s nothing that especially speaks to that way of releasing music, and I think that would be a great thing for the city.

enjoyed myself. I’m a pig, I do what I want. Now I can do it and not have to barf in a hat. We played a show once where I had to barf in my hat. But we kept on playing shows. S: Ian was super chemo-ed out for awhile. He was really weak... and psychotic, sometimes! He’d tell me he was going to rip off my balls!

What other bands in Toronto are you guys stoked about? B: A band I see consistently that I always like is 100 Dollars. I think they have an awesome straightforward approach to writing songs. It’s not overthought, and that’s different for Toronto. There’s a lot of overthinking, insecure songwriting. People are trying to hide behind some shit, but 100 Dollars is real.

Can you tell me about your regional 7-inch project? How’s that coming along? I: Really good! We’ve got our second installment out pretty soon. The idea is that it’s a 7-inch series, each about a region in Canada and people in that area. Originally we got the idea because we got sick of hearing bland, patriotic songs about how beautiful Canada is, how it’s got beautiful mountains. Fuck off! There’s a lot of bullshit in Canada.

What about some all-time favourite bands? A: Anything that Phil Spector wrote. B: I dunno, Nirvana made me pick up a guitar. I love the Ramones. I was super into hardcore for a long time, you know, CroMags and Bad Brains and stuff. Just simple, straightforward shit. Nothing crazy. Is that a description of what you want to do with the Bitters? B: Not really. It’s just that all I know how to do is write songs that sound like a combination of Nirvana, the Ramones, and Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle. Basically, all I listen to is 70s and 80s punk and early 90s alternative music. You guys seem pretty cool with having people call you a “cave pop” band. B: That’s because Aerin made that up! She a fucking marketing genius, she just doesn’t know it yet. A: I know it! I put it on our Myspace and people just picked it up. B: I want to know what other bands are in the “cave pop” genre. They owe you big time. The Bitters’ Wooden Glove EP and East 7-inch are both available now from Captured Tracks.

S: You want to talk about Canada, Canada’s not responsible for those mountains. Canada’s responsible for people getting deported from the beauty of those mountains. I think it’s really important... like, look at Cadence Weapon, he just got named the poet laureate of Edmonton. People think of independent musicians as the poets of our generation, but they’re only talking about loving a place because they travel it and they’re graciously accepted along the way. And that’s really nice, but it’s a very particular experience, and if you look beyond that experience, I think there are more important stories to tell. I’m from Toronto and I read the news but I also hear a lot of stories from people that are migrating back and forth, lots of which have to do with work, the labour force in Canada, industry. So your interest in storytelling is pretty politically-invested. S: I don’t see it as political, I think it’s more nuanced than that. I know how to write a polemic and I can write a polemic, but I’m interested in the cyclical nature of reality. I feel like there’s a difference between writing propaganda and writing a song. Poetry lets me explore those nuances. What I look to write about is the truth of things. I try to be honest. There’s no political motivation. Pete Seeger thought you could sing a song and change the world, if everyone sang the same song, and I don’t believe that. I think there’s a lot harder work to be done than writing songs. But I love writing songs.

What other bands in Toronto do you guys feel close to? I: Anagram, Castlemusic. S: Fucked Up. Paul Mortimer: Quest for Fire, The Constantines. S: There’s other bands that I admire from a more roots tradition, like the Foggy Hogtown Boys, but we don’t actually end up playing with those bands. What do you like and dislike the most about Toronto? I: I like Toronto, there’s lot of good stuff going on. What sucks about it? People think they’re so cool. S: There’s the pretence of multiculturalism, it’s presented as a diverse city, but if you go to Finch and Kipling... it’s still a very segregated society in a lot of ways. I grew up in Toronto, so I love it here. My dad’s family lived here for many generations, but the changes that happen here, I struggle with a lot. Maybe it’s talked about too much, but the gentrification, the overdevelopment, the lack of affordable housing, the obvious commitment to try and displace homeless people from the city is something that I find to be very brutal and despicable. But I love High Park, I love the lake even though you can’t swim in it – I: The CN Tower! S: The CN Tower’s awesome! Forest of Tears is out now on Blue Fog Records. The first two 7-inches in their Regional series are also available: 14th Floor is out on Blocks Recording Club from Toronto and My Father’s House is on Deranged Records from Vancouver.



volume 8 issue 1

Beauty and the Beast 2

meza & chilen (girl & anti-hero) How could you possibly write a bad review about a girl/anti-hero joint project of any sort, let alone one like this? I feel like they could be on the 6th sequel and we would still be talking about how great the idea is. Sure it’s mostly skateparks, but this is a kind of skatepark skating that i could watch for days. There’s one Vincent Alvarez switch tailslide revert that I rewound no less than 8 times. It wasn’t an epic banger, just one trick in a line, but damn, it was a tutorial. Here we have some of the most interesting bunch of dudes, maybe not skating the most interesting spots, but they are enjoying the hell out of it, and that comes across. It may not feel quite as epic as the original, but rarely does anything live up to the first time.The one thing that stands out about the honeymoon being over is that the new generation of dudes on both teams are doing a hell of job of carrying the torch. —dylan doubt

OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE (orchard) There are two significant features you’ll notice when you first grab your copy of Orchard Skateshop’s new disc entitled, “Out of Body Experience.” The first, is a classic list of your favorite Boston skateboarders you grew up watching, as well as a bunch of names that will be new to your ear. The second detail, is simply the sheer amount of heart that went into the packaging. Massachusetts natives Kevin Coakley, Lee Berman, Joey Pepper, Jahmal Williams and Lurker Lou, collectively get down at some cutty spots set to rare dandy jams. This tape marks the return of Hopps rider Jerry Fowler, and introduces you and your television monitor to Fritz Mead and Broderick Gumpright. Aside from having two of the most wicked names, they’ve successfully mastered the art of riding their skateboards on the most dangerously appearing spots anyone would ever skate. So instead of going to the skatepark today, go rip through some crust. —jeremy elkin

Genuine Dillweeds

Prevent This Tradgedy

Genuine Dillweeds is another pile-inspired video from the fine folk of North Vancouver. Reave Dennison, the creator himself, has first part with a long list of mindfreaking maneuvers. Early grab frontside 360 at Secret 10 and dogpiss Black Ice on the same day – a truly talented teen of today. The montages with the people you only ever see in North Van are the most amusing. Zane Cushing finds himself in one of these sections, but luckily he filmed most of his footage elsewhere before temporarily retiring to the Northern shore. Silas Borsos came out skateboarding on enough Sunday’s to film a couple dillweeds for Dillweeds, Ryan O’Connor somehow slithered out of the warehawk’s deathly grip to go skateboarding while Nic “The Man” Duffield has his classic fakie flip tail line. Danny Hagge and Carley Brew can be found shredding the veins of Venus while “The Base” rolls up in that white truck. Carl “Buzz” Wilton got off tank long enough to get an “oogady”, Chase Arrowsmith showed me how to get fired at American Apparel and then later showed me how good he is at skateboarding. Daniel Empey is some wizard, some hucker too... Triple flips on flat and enough boneless variations to wrap the video. Original skateboarding and exceptional music make this video worth the watch. —zach barton

I like how these videos have a cycle to them. There always seems to be a string of slapped together brotage Thrasher vids that come out over the years, but then every so often they bust out with an almost legitimate (comparatively speaking, of course), yet totally ruling video. I mean besides all the beer guzzling there are actual parts this time around with some of the most jamming dudes out there on a board. I mean you have Bacca knocking out his hounds-tooth like nobody’s business and fuckin’ up any transitional surface, beer in hand. Gravette, holding down the Northwest coast, 50-50 monster, rail dancing calypso, seems to have held out his best tricks from his recent Creature part and given ‘em to the Phelps instead. What’s sick about Thrasher are the random savage bros that end up with parts, look no further than Devin Appelo. I think this kid could ollie anything… I mean he tried flying over the first hubba at Clipper! Must be metal legs. Are we looking at the new wave of machine-man skateboarders? Molinar and Ethan harmonize well in a combo part, some tight innovative urban shreddery and still with the best 360 flip in the business. Andrew Allen, the working man’s man, heavy as a Mack Truck, with a bigger trick selection than your average G. And finally rounding it all off is Nick Trapasso, absolute mindfreak technician when it comes to his board skills. I guess the more weed you smoke does in fact make you skate better. So grab that bong and try and do a better backside bigspin flip. Oh, and did I mention the soundtrack rules? Better start to like it if not. You’ll definitely be hearing the groms blast it at the park for the next six months.

reave dennison


—gordon nicholas


distributed by Ultimate

volume 8 issue 1

FOS intro and photoby isaac mckay-randozzi

What happens when you mix one part skate rat, one part artist, one part do-it-yourself maniac and a dozen patches? You get Mark “Fos” Foster. As the guiding art (and business) hand of both Heroin and Landscape board companies out of England, his plate is overflowing with responsibilities, from team management to ordering boards. Recently he added a side order of garnish by taking the job as head chef (art director) of Andrew Reynold’s Altamont clothing. His artwork has appeared on every type of skate product from shirt to shoe. The talents of this well-traveled man about town have taken him from the comforts of England to the stained streets of San Francisco, Shanghai and beyond.




— A new Mac soon, long overdue. The one I have now is slower than a set of flatspotted Chinese wheels. / Zebra Popstar pens, you can only get ‘em in Japan. Best things ever. Next time I go to Japan I’m buying 200.

— Altamont shirt art due today, Deathwish series due early next month, Heroin Pro series due two months ago, lagging on that hard. / I really like the Heroin Pro Balls boards, Deathwish Antwuan Black Jesus, Altamont Horror film poster tees. (‘I want to eat your Brain’, ‘Heads on Sticks’.) The Emerica shoe collab was a good one too.

— New Early Starter from the caf near Goldsmiths: egg, bacon, hash browns, beans, tomato, tea. Banging! / Baked beans, fried egg, bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomato, mushrooms, toast, and tea at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.




— The next set of patch jeans. I’m gonna start ‘em this year. / Gotta be the patch jeans. I ever tell you they were a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom?


— Japanese Pop Music. / I gave up video games years ago ‘cause they’re a waste of time, but I have Unreal Tournament on my Desktop Mac that I play sometimes.


— The Heroin Skateboards book if we ever get ‘round to it, I started writing it at Christmas when I was back at my parents. / Disposable 2, so sick.


— “Be Reet.” (It’ ll be alright.) / “Nowt.” (Nothing.) Was so bummed that wasn’t in the predictive text in my phone.

— Gold plated Supreme tool, thanks Berto. / Indy Balaclava from the 80s given to me by a guy known only as “Gnarly Guy.”

— Heroin patch when we get ‘round to making ‘em. / Osaka Daggers Patch.

SHIRT COLOUR — Purple / Black


— The Shred Pit / Stockwell





— Osaka! Going soon. / Burnley


— Pommier, Gunsho, Simon True. / Jim Phillips, Pushead, Blender.

— Who cares? / Who cares?

— Zombie films, tea. / A Tom Waits album and a lot of black coffee.

distributed by Ultimate

volume 8 issue 1


couple tracks: singles 2002-2009 (matador)

Just as they did last year with Jay Reatard (R.I.P.), Matador’s introducing newer fans to Fucked Up’s pre-Matador back catalogue of singles and B-sides (plus a few more odds and ends) by collecting two discs worth of them on Couple Tracks: Singles 2002-2009. The band is so prolific the sprawling 25-song tracklist only touches their total output, but the nicely compiled set gives a decent overview of a band that most people only know from their critically praised LP, The Chemistry of Common Life. While the latter “introduced” Fucked Up as a band breathing new life into hardcore, most of Couple Tracks finds them playing it pretty straight – which is not to say that there aren’t some quirks to be heard. The Daytrotter version of “David Comes to Life” bursts through your headphones amidst echoey vocals and funk guitar, the bluesy groove of “Magic Word” (from the same Daytrotter session) spins itself into AIDS Wolf-like noise by the end, and there’s even an amped up, snarling cover of C86 act, the Shop Assistants’ “I Don’t Wanna Be Friends With You.” —quinn omori


there is love in you (domino)

Lots of records earn themselves the proud distinction of being described as “ethereal” among the wonderful people around the planet who care to share their opinions on such things. I was tempted, as an experiment, to gather up and share a list of the adjectives already deployed by reviewers in their attempts to get at the essence of Kieran Hebden’s latest record. A quick Googling reveals one count of “distilled”, three of “gentle”, two of “organic”, two of “glisten”, three of “minimal”, two of “dubstep” and one pun on the title. I couldn’t find an “oneiric”, but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere. Nevermind, here’s what you need to know (and I can’t take credit for all of these): this is the best Four Tet record yet, it will be one of the best albums of the year, and will age better than his previous efforts. I don’t know if anybody’s mentioned that last part yet, it might be mine. —michael barrow

BARN BURNER bangers redux (metal blade)

Barnburner are harder than Priestess and hookier than Bison B.C., two bands these mega-bros share much in common with: tour buddies, pure Canadian blood, and a knack for pretzeling groove-rock with skate-thrash. Barn Burner’s debut comes a-bustin’ with lumberjack riffs and beers stacked taller than a Douglas-fir. From the ultra-detailed, lowbrow cover-art masterpiece by Cody Fennel, featuring Barn Burner’s mascot Bernard Burner enthroned with a staff of beer cans and leftover pizza, to songs called “Fast Women” and “Beer Today, Bong Tomorrow”, this is enjoyably energetic dude-metal with a stoner/sludge touch and refreshingly decipherable vocals. Do they reinvent the genre? No, thank god – “Holy Smokes” is basically my 16-year-old self’s heavy metal boner – and sure, they’re better live than on record, but this Metal Blade reissue/remaster of Bangers proves (especially on new track “Half Past Haggard”, a rip-roarer and the album’s best) that it’s nothing but up for these Montreal torch-bearers of the fun, the mighty and the fuckin’ eh. —dave bertrand


transference (merge)

Spoon is the Martin Brodeur of indie rock — they get older, but their performance never seems to falter... until now. Whereas their previous records have been nearperfect exercises in restrained rock and roll, Transference finds frontman Britt Daniel willing to colour outside of the lines a bit in terms of his songwriting. Like any gamble, Daniel’s choice to play fast and loose for a change pays off on some tracks, and costs him on others. The first half of the record seems to have missed out on Spoon’s usual quality control process. Fortunately, things pick up as the album progresses. “Written in Reverse” and “Got Nuffin” harken back to the angular riffs of A Series of Sneaks, and the few curveballs Daniel throws at us make it past home plate. The fact that Transference fails to clear the hurdle of Spoon’s back catalogue might surprise some fans, but what should really confound us is — with the bar set so high — how did a sub-par album not happen sooner? —luke simcoe



teen dream (sub pop)

When Beach House first emerged in 2005, their aesthetic was already fully-formed: Alex Scally’s slide guitar and Victoria Legrand’s surprisingly soulful, throaty voice and vintage organ (plus the clattery, coughing heartbeat of their homespun drum samples) were all they needed to evoke their specific dreamy, melancholy moodiness. They couldn’t be more aptly named. Drafty, abandoned architecture, a kind of timelessness, the romance of the sea, the idea of immersion, lostness, the gentle slap of waves against a pier – it was all there from the start, and at no point have they deviated from that course. Instead, it’s been a slow expansion, an increasing sophistication of the same approach. The only difference is that, having moved up to Sub Pop and hired a better producer, Teen Dream is by far their most layered and polished album, and their most focused. It’s a beautiful record, even if it sometimes seems (like previous Beach House albums) to be just a pretty face, never quite disclosing what’s beneath the surface. —saelan twerdy

black noise (rough trade)

Black noise, they say, is an inaudible frequency thought to precede catastrophic events like earthquakes or floods. It seems mysterious, inexplicable, and not a little creepy. In keeping with that vibe, whose effect is enhanced by regular use of field recordings taken high in the Swiss Alps, Black Noise is both a calming and unsettling listen – an odd, ambient study on isolation and, of course, silence. Despite all this, the record is never bleak. Pantha du Prince warms Black Noise with bells, guitars, chimes, and voices, consistently reassuring us that he has a romantic’s reverence for melancholy (the Berlin-based producer cites 19th-century painter Caspar David Friedrich as an influence) rather than a bleak obsession with darkness. The result is a smartly put together minimal/left-field electronic (read: techno) record that will yield a number of thought provoking spins for fans of Gui Boratto, Múm, Trentemoller’s The Last Resort, or DFA’s more techno-inspired 12inches. Oh, and the Animal Collective dude guests on here, too. —michael barrow



causers of this (carpark)

Toro y Moi is Chaz Bundick, a South Carolinian who on Causers of This channels equal parts Noah Lennox (Animal Collective), Thomas Mars (Phoenix) and Flying Lotus. It’s a more playful record than Life of Leisure — last year’s massively well-received release by Bundick’s friend and fellow South Carolinian Ernest Greene (a.k.a. Washed Out) – but it’s no less “chillwave-y”, or “glowfi-ish”, or whatever it is we call this shit these days. What’s important is that beneath all the filters, reverb and buzz is a charming, introspective pop record. Bundick’s voice often flits and echoes away in the distance, a far-off part of a fuzzy electronic landscape. Samples will brake suddenly, before Bundick pitches up and down in his warped gyre. Causers of This sounds like it’s playing on an old, stretched cassette — its hisses and pops remind of a summer fire on the beach which, as you may expect, is probably the album’s most ideal venue. —michael barrow

i will be (sub pop)

Those who’ve followed Dee Dee and her Dum Dum Girls moniker through a handful of 7-inches and the jaw-dropping 12-inch that she released in 2009, will notice a definite jump in the fidelity department. Long gone are the hissy four-track recordings that kept many a would-be fan at arm’s length. With a hyped release on major indie label Sub Pop, Dum Dum Girls, now backed by a full band including drummer Frankie Rose (formerly of Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts), are poised to take their infectious garage gems to a wider audience. Lead single “Jail La La”, which has been rerecorded and now practically jumps outta the speakers, is exemplary DDG, with saccharine harmonies, propulsive bass, ringing fuzz guitar, and Dee Dee’s Chan Marshalllike vocals laced in reverb. DDG invokes the dulcet sound of Phil Spector’s girl group production but jilts it with a fist-pumping, ramshackle punk sensibility, marking I Will Be as one of 2010’s most addictive records. —mark richardson




Three ladies from Brooklyn making cutesy, simplistic and, well, pretty garage pop are bound to elicit Vivian Girls comparisons, which are indeed rampant these days but frankly unimaginative. These gals have more in common with early 90s twee bands like Tiger Trap or even Beat Happening, and, unlike their Brooklyn contemporaries, the Girls At Dawn don’t rely on tons of fuzz and a lo-fi aesthetic to mask any shortcomings. Sweet-as-syrup vocal harmonies, daydream lyrics and sparse drumming are presented in a clean, no-frills package. The palette here is definitely limited but the girls work well within it. The brevity of the 7-inch format probably works in their favour. —mark richardson

The year 2010 has just arrived and Sun Araw has already released what will undeniably be one of the best 7-inches of the year. The dark explorations of Heavy Deeds and The Phynx are in the rearview as Cameron Stallones returns to familiar, friendly territory: down a dub-laden jungle river and ashore an untouched lunar beach. A Side, “Bump Up (High Step)” is reminiscent of the mystic riddims of his debut release Boat Trip, while the flip, “Live Mind”, is on some alien reggae tip, featuring glass-bottle percussion, steel drums, wah-guitar overload and wailing flutes, producing a mesmerizing tropical throb. —mark richardson



Chicago’s Hozac Records has been so busy scooping up bands from distant cities across North America that they virtually neglected their hometown talent throughout 2009. This situation has been remedied, however, with a release from psych behemoths Plastic Crimewave Sound, which is fronted by the infamous Steve Krakow (Galactic Zoo Dossier head honcho and underground Chicago music historian). Here we have two sides of bad-trip biker boogie that plays quite well over the brevity of the 7-inch single, especially considering the group’s usual 20-odd-minute excursions into cosmic-psych explorations. Extra nerd points for their cover of Dead C’s ultra-obscure “Bad Politics” single taken from a hard-to-find New Zealandonly EP. —mark richardson

A standout amongst first-wave dubstep producers, Jamie Vex’d has since adopted a new sound and a new name. With last year’s stunning In System Travel EP and an infamous mixtape for the LuckyMe collective, Vex’d cemented his position as a true sonic pioneer, venturing into the high-end wonderland occasionally called wonky. The aptly titled Starfox EP sounds like the bizarre, next-level theme music to the video game that shares its name. The richly detailed textures of Kuedo’s sound bring to mind the hyper-real vistas of a certain 300 million dollar 3D experience, but rest assured — the plot here is much thicker and no rehash. The music evokes day-glo digital flora, squealing synth leads pitched to their extremes, adrenaline-piqued rave chords unfolding into computer prompt alerts, slabs of mutant bass — all carried by the march of lurching drums borrowed from the Flying Lotus school of percussion. It’s all very, very massive. —rj basinillo



Amongst the most buzzed-about producers in the world today, Peter O’Grady’s debut single “Hyph Mngo” was one of the most startling breakouts of recent dance music history, an unforgettable pocket of concentrated rave bliss. As Joy Orbison he’s achieved a level of crossover success generally unheard of in the scene and The Shrew… keeps the hype moving. Swelling, endorphin-releasing chords and post-dubstep drum science have been Orbison’s trademarks and he stays within his comfort zone here. The title track is the more Mngo of the two, but the more restrained “So Derobe” has been seeing more spins from all the notable heads, an undeniably effective roller in-between tunes with a slick R&B cut-up. On remix duty is the mysterious Werk Discs label-boss Actress, whose grayscale techno touch is set to blow up in the coming year and his enlistment is proof of Orbison’s ear to the hip. Honestly, there’s no stopping this kid. —rj basinillo

AFCGT is an underground super group comprised of Seattle’s industrial punkers the A-Frames and exotic experimentalists Climax Golden Twins. The fivesome, barely two years old, have already released a handful of über-limited CDRs, a 10-inch record and an LP, garnering a quiet acclaim along the way from the eager few who have thus far been paying attention to this unsung juggernaut. The group spent most of its time on previous outings trying to find their footing and figuring out a way to combine their distinct and disparate sounds – not an easy feat considering the group has three guitarists. The results are much beefier than past releases, with tracks like “Black Mark” and the ten-minute centerpiece “Two Legged Dog” showcasing the band flexing their muscles and unleashing blackened and pummeling psychonautic attacks. Unfortunately, AFCGT still retain a few tendencies towards noodly (and sometimes grating) experimentation, but kudos to Sub Pop for actually releasing this beast and keeping it strictly on vinyl. —mark richardson

s/t 7” (hozac)

s/t 7” (hozac)

the shrew would have cushioned the blow ep (aus/simple)

sun ark 7” (not not fun)

starfox ep (planet mu)

s/t (sub pop)



the new arto series available now

volume 8, issue 1



co-founder / creative director

DYLAN DOUBT photo editor


circulation / managing editor


graphic design


guest typographer

NICHOLAS BROWN arts editor

SAELAN TWERDY music editor

MILA FRANOVIC fashion editor

RHIANON BADER copy editor



LUC BASLANTI frontside flip Olympic Stadium, Montreal QC mathieuphoto.

Please recycle this magazine.

adam wallacavage, anthony acosta, babas levrai, brian caissie, chris rooney, dan mathieu, deville nunes, gabe morford, jeff comber, jeff thorburn, jeremy r. jansen, joe hammeke, jon bocksel, leo sharp, michelle ford, mike blabac, mike o’meally, mikendo stanfield, nick ceglia, owen woytowich, raymond molinar, ryan allan, simon true, terry worona

senior photographer

STAFF WRITERS mike christie jay revelle


joel dufresne


adam green, caleb beyers, dan post, dave bertrand, isaac mckay-randozzi, julia lum, leah turner, luke simcoe, mark richardson, michael barrow, quinn omori, rj bassinillo, ryan smith

CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS aye jay, jon bocksel

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par·kour (pär-koor') n. An activity in which participants attempt to clear all obstacles in their path in the most fluid manner possible. Parkour is not a sport, in that there are no rules, teams, or points. The magnitude and technicality of a move are secondary to the flow and beauty of it. It is not about competition or showing off as many in the discipline consider it an art form rather than a sport. By urbandictionary's definition, skateboarding and parkour are one in the same. Sometime during JS Lapierre's gap to frontside lipslide, a parkour posse decided to infiltrate the session with their effortless flow and dynamic style. Completely meshing with the urban environment, they took us by surprise, walking on walls, running along railings and flipping over double sets. This perfectly executed first try frontside flip was NBD I'm sure, but who's taking notes in the world of (hardcore) parkour? woronaphoto.

ISSN 1920-0412 Publications mail agreement No. 40843627 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: fourcornerpublishinginc. 321 RAILWAY STREET, #105 VANCOUVER, BC V6A 1A4 CANADA




Volume 8, Number 1  

The first of 2010 with an art twist on the Vancouver Winter Olympics featuring a double cover with Ryan Smith (backside noseblunt) and Keega...

Volume 8, Number 1  

The first of 2010 with an art twist on the Vancouver Winter Olympics featuring a double cover with Ryan Smith (backside noseblunt) and Keega...