You were the guys doing Monster Skateboard Magazine before right? What happened? Well, that’s a long and boring story, but you asked for it. Monster was owned by Factory Media which got bought by the Forward Media Group. Forward´s main interest (surprisingly) was to make money but revenues were decreasing, so to reach their targets Factory thought it would be a good idea to get rid of all the print mags they owned, cut the expensive editorial staff and printing costs and furthermore only run the websites and try to shift the ad revenues from print to digital (which we still think was a bad decision). Forward wasn’t too Fuck everybody interested in print anyway when they Factory. So in the end it was a else, we’re bought business decision made by business bigger than men who have a lot of experience Jesus! with Excel rather than skateboard culture. At first we were bummed, cause Monster lasted for 33 years and was the second oldest still running stkate mag after Thrasher. But in the end it was the best thing that could happen to us. The whole team left the building and starting our own thing from scratch brought a lot of creative potential and a lot of fun, too. Now we’re free to do whatever the fuck we want. That’s great! You mentioned Lamborghinis – and no, running a skate mag will never get you there (only Porsches) – so from a business perspective it’s understandable to not invest your money in skate mags, but we can make a living out of it and that’s all we want. We couldn’t be happier with Solo and the feedback so far!
shit? It’s not the same and that’s one of the main reasons we continued, to provide a platform for skateboarding and skateboard photography. We have a big archive of magazines in our office and when you grab a Thrasher or a Transworld or a Monster from back in the days, you can see what was happening in a certain time. You can see which riders were hot, which tricks were state of the art, which clothing was hip. You can get the whole vibe of an era. Try to do this with the internet. Nowadays, many kids think Nike, for example, is a “real” skate shoe company. They don’t know shit about skateboard history, and probably don’t even give a fuck. Don’t get mad at me boys, but don’t you think, you, like pretty much all other medias, are a bit part of the problem? Don’t you think it should be your role, to try to teach them all that? I mean, imagine, you’re a 10 years old kid today, you open a skatemag, you have Nike ads, Nike riders everywhere, you go to a skate shop, you have more Nikes than anything else, and pretty much all the top pros winning contest lately are also wearing Nikes... That’s a tough one and not easy to answer, especially not in a few sentences. We’re planning an article about authenticity in skateboarding where this topic will also be an issue. It’s interesting and necessary to think about stuff like that but there are so many pros and cons that you can discuss for a long time and maybe never get to an answer.
Talking about big business, what’s your opinion about skateboarding at the Olympics? We wrote about the Olympic Games in the editorial of issue #7: If you, for your part, find it important that skateboarding reaches worldwide recognition, skate parks blossom from the ground and some people in the scene increase their turnover, and don’t hold anything against competitions and an evolution pointing to mass sports, then it’s quite legitimate and there is no reason to oppose Olympia. If creativity is on the forefront of your thinking and you rather hang out at grimy best scenario spots with a crew of weirdos and would be only visit contests to shotgun some beers with your homies, Fred Gall there is no reason to welcome winning gold! Olympia. Simple as that. Our personal point of view is the second one – we don’t give a fuck about the Olympics. The perfect scenario for us would be: Most of the skaters get kicked out from the Olympic village because of partying, some of the others get disqualified for not wearing a national jersey or disrespectful behaviour, the winners get disqualified afterwards because they didn’t pass the drug test and skateboarding would be banned from Olympia forever. Second best scenario would be Fred Gall winning gold.
Alright, one last bullshit question! I had to deal for over 15 years with millions of rollerbladers kids overwaxing all my local spots, and now, same deal with mini-scooters idiots and their parents in my local skate parks... What do you think, how long will it take them to finally disappear? We donâ€™t know, cause we mostly hang out at street spots and there are no scooter kids. But Factory started a scooter magazine a few years ago and it went down in flames after only a few issues, cause the scooter sales driffted to zero from one day to another, so we thought that would be already over. We were very surprised to see that there is somehow still something like a scooter scene that now is hating DC on Instagramâ€Ś Guys, thanks again for your time. Keep on keeping on with your great job. Wish you all the best for the future. Cheers!
I never did Versus for the fame or anything like that. No. I mean I first started it, because I couldn’t find a job as a graphic designer for a skatemag... So, I was like, “Fuck it, let’s just do my own!” And then, I kept on, years after years, because my friends and I were always doing trips here and there, shooting photos of our shitty lame ass tricks. But who cares, we had the time of our life, and I didn’t wanted to forget about all that. Versus was the perfect media to keep our memories alive. FB, Instagram, and I don’t know what else, didn’t even existed yet, and anyway, even nowadays, the shit you post today won’t last forever. Printed zines will. That’s why Versus is still going. Anyway, fuck the fame, fuck the glory, but still, I’m fucking stocked everytime Thrasher is talking about Versus. Thank you boys! Next step is to reach #253... To have one more issue than the legendary FTBX (RIP) and maybe even make it in the Guiness World Records Book! Ahahaha, just kidding... Alright fools, go buy some skatemags now! Cheers!
Do you know if Mike Mo ever faced repercussions for getting in an accident with those kids? I think driving that golf cart, the repercussions, whether deserved or not happened to him. Not being able to skate this long, that’s probably one of the worst repercussions you could probably get. And on the bright side nobody else got hurt at his responsibility. Who has the best selling Girl board right now? Me… Yeah. [Laughs] What about Malto? Yeah, of course me… the kids love 40 year olds. Nah, I’m kidding. I don’t know. I think it fluctuates, but I think it’s probably Jereme Rogers, because we are still secretly selling J Casanova collab boards. Apparently the infamous Crailtap park is gone? What happened? We got rid of the park because we had another off-site warehouse that carried Fourstar and Lakai and it just got to the point where it didn’t make sense to have that second warehouse. So we consolidated and brought everything in under the same site. But I think we’re gonna try to make room within the next year so we can put a park back. There’s been rumors for a while that Marc Johnson was going to leave Lakai... then he really did leave to Adidas. What happened? The rumors have been around for years. They have been hitting Marc up for years. He was courteous enough years ago to let us know they offered him something, and we were able to match it at that time. It was all good. I don’t think it was something he wanted to do at the time, he wanted to stay on Lakai. Financially, as everyone knows, in recent years, it has been rough. We had to do some things financially and rearrange and lower some people’s pay, him being included. But he was understanding and we talked about it. Then recently, we had to make more financial decisions and he was going to be affected again. For years he was greatly paid and we did our best to not touch him at all. Even throughout the financial struggles, we didn’t make any pay cuts to him while other ones were going down. He was highly protected when it came to that stuff, but it came to a point where there was nowhere else to cut. We had to reduce pay and I just told him, you know what, this sucks. You’ve been in this for fucking years, putting your all into it, blood, sweat and tears and I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking you to stick around. We talked for a while, and I knew he was going to go skate for them. Everybody started talking about the rumors again, but it was a mutual thing and fully respectful. It was a sad moment. It sucked for me to have to tell him that, and to have to say, “You should probably take a better offer,” because these motherfuckers
are coming at you all crazy. He’s almost 40 years old, I think at this age you should go get yours. And if he was gonna stay on, I didn’t want him to be resentful for the decision. I sent him a termination agreement over a month ago and in that agreement we asked him to hold off a while from announcing because we had our product and the agreement was to protect us and the production. But I told him I was open to talk about the agreement and change anything. We asked him to keep it on the low for a while. But I knew it was asking for a lot. But… that’s what he’s getting paid for… Then I heard more rumors and I hit him up for a couple of days and he wasn’t responding so I had to be blunt. I was like, “Hey, I’ve been hearing these rumors that you are about to be announced at the Away Days premiere. What’s the deal with this?” I thought he was going to be on the team through at least the summer or July. Then he finally got back to me, but was just like: “No, there’s no announcement… who would say that?” So I asked him again, “There’s no announcement tomorrow?” He’s like, “No.” Then the next day, the night of the premiere I just get a text, “Marc was just announced in the video.” I was just like… that is insane. Last night on the phone he said nothing was happening. He could have called me, he could have talked to me, and said that’s a little too long to wait and keep quiet, because of certain agreements pending, or whatever. We’re friends, lets talk about it. Or if it’s not a friend thing, let’s get the lawyers to talk about it. Did you guys work it out? Are you guys talking now? His only response was, “Did you read the agreement?” insinuating that there was something wrong with it. Besides that he hasn’t responded to me. He won’t respond to me. He lied straight to my face. He told me nothing was going to happen. I would have done anything to make that agreement what he wanted. It was just like… for him to boldly lie to me on the phone. It was so disrespectful. It was disrespectful to the team, it ruined their night, it’s fucked up the team has to find out that way. You think you have a relationship with someone… Just to be clear, you told him to go take other offers though… So you aren’t mad at him leaving, you are bummed that he didn’t give you more time? I’m mad that he told me, point blank the night before the premiere, that there would be no announcements and that he would talk to his lawyer and we’d figure all that out. All the people that work hard for him, that design his shoes, the salespeople, production people, the team – everybody that works for Lakai was there and for them to show up to the premiere and get blindsided like that… We didn’t do anything to him to deserve that. For them to find out that way? It just makes us look like fucking idiots, because this dude is a pathological liar. He couldn’t be man enough to tell me straight up. The night before the premiere, when Marc and I talked, he could’ve told me… I would have been mad but at least he would’ve been honest and I could’ve called the team and told them instead of them finding out like that. He recently had things come up personally
and I respect his privacy and distance. I’m just truly disappointed how he went about this. I’m curious to see what he has to say for himself. I can’t wait to see what type of lie he is going to say to justify his action. What are you gonna do with that upcoming Marc Johnson Lakai product? What does a company usually do when this sort of thing happens? Send it all to his fucking house, COD with a fucking strap on, and no vaseline. Well what we’re gonna do now, first things first, I’m gonna kick him off Chocolate. I’m not gonna text him, so he can read this or someone can tell him. Maybe he’s already quit in his mind, who knows. Marc, is kicked off of Chocolate as of right now. We’ll deal with whatever we have to deal with. Shoe wise… we have a lot of shoe production in the works… Normally when this happens to companies we’d usually take legal action, but that’s something we think is not in our character to do. But I’m starting to consider it, but that’s not really on the top of our priority list. Is there any way you guys can figure it out or he can make it up to you in your mind? I thought we had a pretty good relationship. But now that we don’t have a working relationship, period, I don’t see why we’ll come across each other. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. There’s somewhat of a good dude in there, but when he becomes the liar guy and can’t count on him for anything… He’s an amazing skateboarder, don’t get me wrong, he’s seriously one of the best skateboarders ever, but there comes a time, amazing skateboarder or not, if you aren’t a truthful person… I don’t fuck with anyone that isn’t truthful. I have a funny theory I wanted to share with you. Oh yeah? I have one too. 20 year theory. Oh yeah? What’s that? I have a 20-year theory. When we started celebrating 20 years of Girl, Brian [Anderson] and Alex [Olson] quit. When we started celebrating 20 years of Chocolate, Gino [Iannucci] quit. No good things happen at 20 years. So the moral is, just cut your company off at 19, before the curse starts? Yeah, I would say that. I think that’s the best company policy to have. Just an exit plan at 19 years. [Laughs] Or skip that year and don’t mention it and just go from 19 to 21… Yeah like elevator floors. 20 is the new 13…
Jonathan Hay, the man behind Confusion skatemag is a fucking cool dude. Not only because he’s often talking Versus in his mag, no, but I mean in general. Anyway, I’m not here to talk about him, and if you want to know more about the dude, go read Versus #71 where he had an interview. Wanna know the result of the last Street League event? Check the last Nike ad? Learn some shit about the new Adidas video?... Huuumm... You won’t get any of this shit in Confusion. But if you wanna know about the new fools killing trannies, find out where the best DIY spots are, and all kind of related stuff, buy this fucking mag, you won’t be disappointed! Check that: http://www.confuzine.com/
all photos by
Christophe Merkt / BS Air
Yves Marchon / BS Ollie
Luca Franzoni / BS Wallride
Luca Franzoni / FS Boardslide
Oli BÃ¼rgin / FS Ollie