Wheel Scene ISSUE 07/JULY 2012/FREE SCOTT RIDDLES/DAN COLLINS/FRITZ PEITZNER HOT CHIP/PEAKING LIGHTS/MILK MAID
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Behind the industry: Chad Anthony Escape from New York Behind the lens: Lonnie Gallegos Peaking Lights Escape to BCN Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly Dan Collins Fritz Peitzner Milk Maid Aaron Turner Hot Chip Scott Riddles The Hundred in The Hands Unit 23 Open Mihai Militaru Chewits Extreme Catching up with Fabiola da Silva Erick Rodriguez Product Review: Drift HD Album Reviews
Issue 07 July 2012 (c) Wheel Scene Ltd. Editor David McNamara Sub-Editor Chris Delaney Designers Gareth Lindsay Graham Patrick Web Design Ewan McDonald Stuart Chown Words Sam DeAngelis, Henry Wilkinson, David McNamara, Nina Glencross, Gareth Morton, Louis Flood, Chris Purnell, Rich Parker, Ian Kenneth Macbeth, Sam Deighton, Aaron Russell, Mark Binge, Craig Spaven, Michael France, Ben Tucker, Matt Alway, Photos Sam DeAngelis, Shawn Engler, David Black, Jaysin Williams, Sam Cooper, Steve Gullickhires, Armando Colunga, James Keyte
Cover photo: Alan Drummond
Wheel Scene is the UKâ€™s largest rollerblading and music publication, and offers a wide range of advertising packages and affordable ways to promote your business. Get in touch to find out more. Online www.wheelscene.co.uk www.facebook.com/ wheelsceneblading Email email@example.com Address: Wheel Scene 54U Wyndford Road Glasgow Scotland G20 8ES All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit permission of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within this publication do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the printer or publisher. Printed by Mortons Print Limited, Horncastle.
Well, I’m beginning to think we are cursed. We lost three skaters in this issue. Three! Jeff Dalnas fell out with his photographer, who kept arranging to go on photo shoots but then mysteriously never turned up. Colin Kelso injured his hand on the first trick during the first day of shooting for his profile and Louie Zamora broke his skates just before he was due to start shooting for his interview, and upon trying a completely different pair of skates discovered he couldn’t ride them. How much bad luck can one publication have?
To make matters worse, the music side didn’t go much better. SpaceGhostPurrp was due to give his first UK interview but decided he would rather continuously hang up on one of our writers instead. Lorn kept providing an incorrect telephone number and when we did finally get the correct one he was out of the country on tour, and Brother Ali and Aesop Rock advised that they would rather not discuss five albums that have had a significant impact on their artistic output – some people are no fun at all.
Stop it, darling. You will make me blush! Grindhouse The Blackjack Project Loco Skates Unit 23 Skatepark Hedonskate Vibralux Demon Xtreme/ParkDX Skates.co.uk VIHMIRU The House Skatepark The Works Skatepark Okay, I love you, too!
On a positive note, we have still managed to cram a bunch of interviews into this issue, including England’s Dan Collins and Aaron Turner, Romania’s Mihai Militaru, Texas’ Fritz Peitzner and Scotland’s very own Scott Riddles. We also chatted to Hot Chip, Milk Maid, Peaking Lights and several other leading independent music acts. On top of that, we re-cap on a couple of events that have taken place over the summer, catch up with Los Angeles filmmaker Lonnie Gallegos and find out what female blading icon Fabiola da Silva has been doing with herself recently. All in all, there is a pretty good selection of articles to keep you entertained while we cook up a fresh batch.
The South Will Rise Again
Chad Anthony discusses how he discovered rollerblading and the inspiration for his new clothing brand, Southern Scum.
The south, and when we say “south” we mean the southern States of the USA, has always been a hotbed for rollerblading talent and forward thinking individuals determined to develop the industry. After all, it has produced the outstanding talents of Walt Austin, Dre Powell, Julian Bah and, most recently, Montre Livingston amongst many others that would take far too long to name. The south is also home to some of the sport’s greatest innovators including Tom Hyser, who established Skatepile and developed Fiziks, the first ever suspension frame. Carrying on the proud tradition of visionaries, Chad Anthony has established a clothing company unlike any our industry has seen before. His brand, Southern Scum, may provide the usual selection of Tshirts and crew sweaters much like many other blading companies, but they also produce cut and sew items and one off garments to give customers the feeling that their item is truly unique. The brand is currently producing a selection of denim vests that come adorned with a various patches and badges that can be customised to an individual’s specific tastes and apparently this is one of several items that the renegade clothing company has in the pipeline – that’s if Anthony can keep up with the overwhelming demand there has been for his Americana-inspired designs.
How old are you, where are you from and how did you get into blading? I am 27-years-old. I originate from Booneville, Mississippi. I did some time in Kentucky and ended up here in Nashville, Tennessee. I started rollerblading in ‘99 simply because my homie Carlos Estrada moved to BGKY. He was into snowboarding and shit just as my brother and I were. We met him through our bud Michael Cole. He got Michael into blading and that dude shredded. When I seen how sick he made it look I started meeting other dudes that were into it. I seen a couple of videos, MTV sports and music festivals. I guess I can’t really pinpoint what got me into it except simply because I thought it was the raddest looking thing I had ever seen.
Are you riding for any companies at the moment? Nah, I’m pretty old. In order to skate for someone I think you need to be able to dedicate all of your time to that company. I’ve got way too much going on in real life. Shima has hooked it up with a couple pairs of blades. But my twin brother is in good with a ton of upper heads in the industry and has always managed to keep me pretty set on frames and wheels and shit. M1 Urethane just hooked it up on eight of the Trinity wheels so I am pretty juiced to try them out. You recently started Southern Scum. Where did the idea originate from? I have been screen printing for a few years now. At the time I was working at this super slow shop so I found all sorts of time to play with ideas. Me and an old bud were just kicking it at work and putting together a shirt design for some dudes down south to promote their flick. They were not into the T-shirt too much so we scrapped it. At some point in time my bud scribbled some shit on the drawing and wrote the word “southern” across the top. I had already put the word “scum” on the drawing. We printed a few of those and then people started wearing them. I hooked up with my dude Derek Sabiston who is sick at graphic art and worked on a couple more designs. Then those kind of went well. I got canned at that shop for working on Southern Scum on the clock and then ended up at a rad ass shop where the owners were pretty cool with me doing my own thing. I started rambling on a Tumblr and a couple of months later Stefan Brandow, Derek and my pal Wesley Sandlin turned in some designs for a local artist line I wanted to print. I went a little over board and printed way too much of everything, so I had to get rid of it. I started taking it to contests and shit and next thing I know all the dopest shops and bladers were supporting it. Now, I don’t know – it is what it is! You have quite a varied selection of items for sale. How does the creative process work? I have kind of become a home body. Plus I free my mind as often as possible. Just recently I really got into sewing and altering. There is not necessarily a process, I just come up with ideas, draw them and shit, pass them along to the homies and they make them printable. As far as all the limited edition goods, that stuff just happens. I just randomly run into things I think would look dope with an anchor or a patch or something and print all over it, sew a few things here and there and then push it as one of a kind. The demand for custom things has gotten a little extreme. I am pretty far behind on promises but, like everything with SS, I am just trying to let it do its thing. So I am never really in a hurry to make something.
What are your plans for the future of the brand? Like I said before, I want to let it do its own thing. I have been involved with a couple of other projects in the past and due to overkill and poor decisions they all flopped. But this is the first time I have ever had to collect receipts and worry about taxes and shit. Getting a copyright was kind of scary. I don’t really have any plans. Southern Scum recently purchased a van and so far that is about all the planning it needs. There are a couple of ideas being worked on as far as the next release line – also a couple of southern tours and a video. I want to hit up as many contests as possible to really help push the names of the dudes that support the brand so well. Then there is another project; SS is collaborating with an already established company that is working on a revamp. I am most excited about that. It is a really good choice for both companies and all parties who represent each one. It is probably the biggest and scariest move made yet but I have a ton of faith in both the idea and Southern scum. It should be a killer. Is there a team? Nah, I don’t really support the word team. There are supporters and there are followers, but then there is the crew and they already know who they are (The Wolfpack). They need no kind of introduction pretty much because everyone already knows who they are. They are the backbone and reason it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Pretty much all the main heads in TN, Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, all the way down to Florida – I can’t thank you all enough for busting your asses and making this get so out of hand. All I can say is we will be getting in where we fit in as often as possible. I know people out there probably think we are not the “scummiest” and maybe not the “best” but we are friends and having fun and don’t really give a shit what the haters have to say. I think I speak for everyone in the SS crew when I say we are ready to fuck shit up and have a good time. Be on the lookout this next year, we will be around.
The Escape from New York Tour was born after I took a month and a half hiatus out in California in January. I spent my days blading with San Diego’s finest whilst my nights were submersed in conversation with industry legends such as Louis Zamora, Justin Eisinger and Lonnie Gallegos. Our talks circled around the New York scene and quickly became stories of ”how it used to be”. I left the west coast with an uneasy feeling about how the New York rollerblading scene has been underexposed the past couple of years. I will be the first to admit that, yes, I grew up and grommed out in New Jersey, but I consider myself a part of the New York skate scene as much as the next guy. The problem is that New York City will eat you alive. She is a siren that never sleeps. She keeps us unaware of a world outside the city. On the plane ride home, it was clear to me that the only way to expose New York’s most talented rollerbladers would be to escape. Daniel Fabiano, owner of Scribe Industries and Con Artist Brand, and myself decided that we would spend three separate weekend tours featuring New York’s top twelve bladers throughout the east coast of the United States. Filming and skating everything we saw in order to expand the horizons and escape from the imprisoning lure of New York City.
We spent the next several days choosing and contacting New York’s finest bladers for the first installment of the EFNY tour, luring them in with the idea of a trip to Massachusetts to meet up with Thuro Skate Shop and Gabe Holm to shred the streets of Boston. We called Chauncey Jenkins, Chris Murphy, James Perez, and Sean Grossman to join us on tour, alongside special guest Tim Franken, all the way from sunny San Diego. The riders were confirmed and we set the date for the weekend of February 11. As the date drew closer, we were caught staring straight into the only snowstorm the east coast had seen all winter. With plans made and our riders already assembled, we decided that this wouldn’t phase us; so we re-routed the trip and detoured south towards Baltimore. We started off at Tri-State Skate shop, owned by EFNY supporter Greg Kieffer, and drove through rain and snow. We ran from the storm and made it to Baltimore by early Saturday morning. The city was dry – that’s all that mattered. Upon our arrival, we called good friend and USD flow rider Dan Breuer to show us around the city. In freezing cold temperatures, the tour riders came through at every spot we found. We were able to skate and film nine different spots on this tour and overcome the odds of extreme weather.
The 2012 Escape from New York Tour
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” — Words: Sam DeAngelis Photos: Sam DeAngelis and Shawn Engler
As the first leg of the tour went off without a hitch, we were confident for round two. We ran a Kickstarter with a trailer made from the first tour’s footage and made over 600 dollars to take the next set of NY skaters to Boston. With a line-up consisting of NY favorites Justin Brasco, Franco Cammayo, Ryan Many, Bobby Reichel and special guest Wake Schepman, there was no doubt in my mind that we were in store for some hammers that warm weekend in March. We left New Jersey at 9am and headed to NYC to cut towards Hartford, CT, confident that this time we would have great weather to skate Boston. When we got to Boston we headed straight for Gabe’s shop. Found in a great location, with tons of space for product and even an art gallery/mini ramp located upstairs, we were instantly overwhelmed; not only with how great Gabe’s shop looked but also how well it supported rollerblading and other industries. On both Saturday and Sunday, Gabe and friends toured us throughout some amazing spots. Some that had been seen throughout famous videos exposing the versatility of Boston’s blade scene and others that, lucky for us, were untapped areas of the city. Gabe’s inside knowledge of these spots gave way for exclusive Boston tour footage. Dan, Ryan, and myself snapped away as New York’s finest shredded up the streets. The third and final tour came upon us quickly. Backed by another Kickstarter, we moved towards Roc City Skates in Rochester, NY. With yet another solid tour crew, headed once again by Dan Fabiano and myself, we added photographer Shawn Engler. The line-up included Jose Henriquez, Jordan Baez, Pablo Munoz, Jesus Medina and special guest Brian Bruno, who I flew out to New York out of pocket. Upon leaving for Rochester in April,
we saw inevitable storms ahead. Instead of canceling due to weather, we simply escaped the city. On the road, we stopped in Poughkeepsie and Albany, where our skaters laced countless spots shown by our upstate tour guide, Jesus Medina. The plan to do work on the way was a success, as we arrived at Rochester late Saturday, ready to shred the city all day Sunday. We visited Roc City Skates on Sunday morning and were greeted with star treatment. Owners Nate Hall and Grant Hazelton gave us a complete tour of Rochester and some exclusive spots. Roc City Skates is a fully-equipped, blade only sanctuary. Nate and Grant regulate a high quality atmosphere, offering great discounts and even complete custom setups! The trip to Rochester was a success, which included some of the hardest blading witnessed all tour. My plan had worked; the tour was a complete success. To me, this is the only way I could fully give back to a scene and industry I love so much. With Fabiano’s unconditional dedication and insurmountable help, The 2012 Escape from New York Tour came to life. Stay tuned for the final film release and also keep a look our for next year’s tour. We plan on going bigger and better as we map out trips across country and, eventually, overseas.
Over the past decade, Lonnie Gallegos has built up an incredible filmography that includes some of the most engaging blading videos ever made. Notable highlights include the Black Fabric team video, A Staggering Artwork of Heartbreaking Genius, the Feet series and the Fade Nation series â€“ executed in conjunction with Brandon Negrete. He has documented the skills of rollerbladingâ€™s elite talents, creating iconic sections featuring Robert Guerrero, Louie Zamora, JC Rowe and Chris Haffey amongst many others, and exposed newcomers that are certain to establish their own legacies in forthcoming years. It has been over a year since his last release, Fade Nation: Green, but Gallegos has been keeping busy, releasing regular online edits for Xsjado and, most recently, TRS Rollerblade. In addition to his commissioned work, he is also putting out independent edits featuring some of the best bladers the west coast of America has to offer for his Tumblr page, Blader Stuff.
It seems that each year brings with it fewer DVD releases in the blading industry, so we decided to ask Gallegos, who has been putting out visual treats with his own time and money for quite some time now, what he thinks of it all. Plus, he offers a little insight into his life since deciding to end his collaborative efforts with Brandon Negrete and his working relationship with Bravo, the company that owns Senate. By the sound of things, it has all been a haze of marijuana smoke and late nights spent in front of a computer screen.
Behind the Lens: Lonnie Gallegos
The LA-based filmmaker may have turned his back on full-length videos for the time being, but his output is as prolific as ever.
What have you been doing with yourself since the release of Fade Nation Green? Things are moving along for me. After I finished Green I disappeared into downtown LA alone and lost my mind for a bit. I quit working, or maybe I was fired, it’s hard to tell when you’re freelance. Either way, after a few months of roaming I ran completely out of money so I decided to move to Long Island with my mom and spent the summer bumming around New York City in an attempt to get my mind right. I spent the majority of my time there taking photos and filming with Ryan Many, Mal Ashby, and any of my Cali friends who came out to visit. I figured out that I really just didn’t like NYC in terms of a living situation (and the weather sucks), so I came back to LA at the end of the summer and put together my website/résumé so I could get a big-boy job.
What happened to the design job you had in LA? Everyone is looking for a new job in the US. I got laid off that design job after two years. That was when I was working at Bravo Sports (the company that owns Senate). Thankfully I was semi-young and had no real responsibilities at the time. I felt really bad for the people who have families and a mortgage and real bills that go beyond buying a bag of weed. Losing that job definitely worked out in the long-run though. A few months later I landed a gig editing commercials for DVD releases at a really cool advertising agency in LA. I worked there for about two years but lost connection when I slipped off to NYC. I finally have a job again, but when you’re working in the film industry you need to line up new jobs all the time because the work is inherently temporary. How would you compare the skate scene in New York compared to LA? There’s definitely a different dynamic between the two. In NY there’s a lot more of a session vibe. It’s friendly, but competitive and quick too. They don’t really need security guards to kick you out of spots in NY because there are usually five people sitting on the obstacle anyway, which is something we don’t deal with out west. We can go to a school and session all day without even seeing another person. And in NY people will roll deep. It could be because they don’t need a car but it’s not unusual to session with 20 plus heads at the same time. In LA we intentionally avoid one another because everyone is on some “exclusivity” thing which can be weird if you actually do cross another crew. But at the end of the day blading is pretty much the same everywhere. Get clips, watch clips, get faded, whatever. That’s what’s so great about the scene worldwide: I can go anywhere and find the dude with eight wheels and we will probably get along. Hopefully he can find me a bag of grass, too. I see that you have been making a few RB edits recently with Rob Guerrero. What is the deal with that? Rob and myself have been close ever since I started doing tricks on blades. I think we’ve always worked together, even if it was for another project. The way the RB thing came about was that Rob and myself did an edit for my blog (3SunnyDaysInLAWithRobG), threw an an RB logo at the end and called it a day. RB liked the response so we drew up a deal (the same one I have with Xsjado and USD) for online content and they asked me if I could put together another edit, so we did the 2DaysInNYCWithRobG piece. With the success of those edits they proposed that I go on tour with the TRS dudes through Cali, which sounded great to me as I had been in New York sweating all summer. So I hopped on a plane, met the dudes at LAX and we hit the streets from there.
Are you working on another DVD release or any upcoming online projects? I’m doing edits with the RB tour footage, but in sections by skater. As for a DVD, I’m not too sure. Do people buy DVDs anymore? I’d love to put together an entire blade video again but I’m not sure if it’s a reasonable goal. I’ve been tossing around the idea of making a video with some really fresh dudes, but only time will tell if it actually works out. What do you think about the massive surge in random online edits over the past five years? It seems like everyone is making edits these days. I enjoy being able to see what people in different scenes skate like and how other videographers are doing their thing. But there’s something about online edits being our main media source that bums me out. The problem with online content is that you must want to see it; you have to search for it specifically. Even all our magazines are predominantly online now. It all just seems a bit weird to me because DVDs were probably the last tangible good aside from the skates themselves that were putting money back into the industry. Without them we really don’t have much to sell, so we have no money to be made. On top of all that, people started to put out really good stuff online so it really makes paying for (and waiting for) a DVD seem unreasonable. Thankfully a lot of brands know that these edits don’t just appear. There’s a lot of work that goes into them and they are fair about compensation for that. What do you think is the way forward then, apart from making money from skates and DVDs? Do you have any ideas? The only real solution I can come up with is to build our community. The more people who participate, the more skates are sold and the more wheels are sold etc. Is it possible to make a living from simply producing online edits? In other extreme sports the answer is yes. In blading the answer is no. It seems like some of the OGs are getting back in the game. Kevin Gillan is skating again and Randy Spizer was spotted skating hard at the AIL Finals at Woodward West. What would it take for you to hook up a new Randy Spizer section? We’ve actually been filming a bit. Him and Rob have been training on the low. Is Black Fabric dead or can we expect any more garments in the near future? We don’t die, we multiply – slowly.
California-based experimental pop duo Peaking Lights are not afraid to ask some of life’s biggest questions and look beyond the confines of earth for answers. — Words: Henry Wilkinson Photo: David Black
Husband and wife duo Peaking Lights have perfected the art of making a groove so mellifluous that you wish it would never end. Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis (whose initials, incidentally, spell out ACID) rose to prominence last year with the sleeper hit ‘936’, which put dub, lo-fi and psychedelia through the musical blender to create a hypnotically mellow summer soundtrack. Specialising in creating sprawling organic jams that sound as though they could last forever, their follow-up, Lucifer, which is out on the appropriately-named Weird World Record Co. this month pushes this aesthetic even further. Utilizing an even more kaleidoscopic set of musical ingredients including afro-beat and reggae, Peaking Lights once again set out to elude categorisation and drowsily blur the notion of genre. “Some good friends that we played the record to first when it was still in its conception and before it had been mixed all said the same thing… that this record was like a night time version of the sound that we’d been working with,” explains Aaron, who makes talking over Skype feel more like catching up with an old friend than interviewing a stranger living over 5,000 miles away.
The album opens with the twinkling of ‘Moonrise’ and closes with the tentative murmurings of ‘Morning Star’, accompanying you through the hours of darkness like an ultra cool pirate radio station. “When people listen to it I just want them to feel really good and positive. I really like that Lucifer means ‘morning star’ and that it’s the first sign of daylight. There are a lot of really positive things around the name that both of us were attracted to.” If this is what a night with Peaking Lights sounds like, they must throw some of the best house parties ever. So what about the sinister, ominous connotations of the name Lucifer? “It’s funny because a lot of language gets changed around and misconstrued by power structures. In the Bible, Jesus is referred to as Lucifer, which is the morning star. It’s interesting that it got turned around and bastardised in such a way through the power structures and people wanting to put up smoke screens about what’s real and what’s not. Where do these words that we use even come from? What can be eaten up by the masses or sold to them doesn’t really have anything to do with the reality or where it comes from.” Rant over and it’s clear that while conventionally “Lucifer” carries satanic connotations, these guys don’t really do convention, and for them the album title is “more to do with having things brought to light, new ways of existing.” Just as anticipation builds throughout darkness in the countdown to daylight and the rejuvenating morning star, the tones of optimism build steadily throughout the album, culminating in the uplifting and funky ‘Dreambeat’ as weary party goers push on through to dawn. References to astrology and astronomy permeate the album and maintain a soothing celestial quality throughout; in fact, it’s easy to imagine some of these songs playing inside some pimped up flotation tank. This, however, is just one aspect of their multi-faceted sound. “It’s not like when we write songs [we think that] because this particular astrological event is happening we should probably keep it in this particular key. It would be cool if we did do that, maybe someday we’ll do that and create the masterpiece,” jokes Aaron. While many groups will cite a few pivotal albums or bands that they have been inspired by, these guys point instead to a myriad of interests and aspects of living, astrology being just one of them: “The lyrics always have a lot to do with nature. We study and we read about things that maybe people consider occult. To feel open about what is out there in the world is very important. There are just so many infinites and I feel good trying to find those infinites rather than being afraid of them.” Eclipsing all these infinites was the birth of their first son, Mikko, whose presence can be felt throughout the album.
“He’s become a taste maker – when he starts bobbing his head we know we’re in the right direction”. He has a more tangible presence on tracks ‘Beautiful Son’ and particularly ‘Lo-Hi’, where he can be heard crying beneath the dub-inflected beat, shimmering keys and what sounds like pan pipes, (but such are the layers of sound that it’s hard to tell, and far easier to just lose yourself in the groove). “’Lo-Hi’ is about exploring the world through a child’s eyes, the ups and downs like a roller coaster, going through the peaks and valleys. He’s inspired a lot of it. As a parent you don’t want to be jaded, we want to teach our child about happiness in life, being good, being a loving person… being able to share and connect with other people.” Fusing an exotic range of musical styles and a host of slightly esoteric pursuits, Lucifer sweats optimism and warmth without ever sounding cheesy or artificial. “Both of us like so many different kinds of music and just try to let those things flow through us. For us, we don’t really write the songs, they just kind of happen.” Long may it continue.
The Traveller Returns Fritz Peitzner reflects on his lengthy journey with close friend Josh Glowicki and discusses his plans to resume globetrotting as soon as possible. â€” Words: David McNamara Photos: Jaysin Williams
Fritz Peitzner is back in his home state of Texas after a nine month sabbatical from the USA with blade buddy Josh Glowicki. The childhood friends pooled all of the money they were planning on using as a deposit for an apartment and their respective life savings in order to fund the journey of a lifetime. What originally started as a plan to move to Berlin for several months soon turned into a seemingly-endless country-hopping adventure after the pair met some knowledgeable locals at Winterclash that advised there are better European cities for blading during the harsh winter months. “The plan was to move to Berlin for three months after Winterclash, but as soon as we met up with everyone they told us that Barcelona would be cheaper and better around that time so we ended up there.”
Once in Barcelona, the pair began documenting their journey with regular online podcasts for boot sponsor Razors. The first edit featured fellow teammate, and former Wheel Scene alumni Tyron Ballantine, and became an instant online hit. After that, the man behind Razors gave them a list of must attend events and supplied the plane tickets to get there. He was also kind enough to supply a little bit of spending money for daily essentials like accommodation and food. Although, from the look of their videos, it seems highly plausible that a lot of this money was spent on funding late night, post-skating activities. “When we got to Barcelona we made our first edit and informed Andy from Razors about our plans to travel around and film while we were out there. He hooked us up with a list of events and dates and we just went to everything – nine months in total.” From there, the duo travelled across Europe and made appearances at some of the continent’s biggest blading competitions, capturing everything that they witnessed in various online edits, aptly titled Fritz and Glow Invade Europe. They even ventured to Russia for a brief period to see what the Soviet Union had to offer in terms of skate spots and partying. Their antics have become infamous throughout the blading world and it is highly unlikely that anyone with an internet connection has not witnessed one of their highly entertaining video diaries. Throughout their journey, the pair travelled to many countries including Holland, Germany, Italy and Poland, but it was a certain fateful night in France that sticks out in Peitzner’s mind when reflecting on some of the crazy events that took place during their travels. “I had a pretty scary moment on tour in France while visiting Maxime Kind and Freddy White,” he begins. “I was in party mode one night and no one wanted to go out so I went alone to the bars that were only a 15-minute walk away. I already had two maximators in my system and was feeling pretty good, so I started mingling with a group of people who got me totally wasted. At around three in the morning I started walking towards the house but got completely lost and ended up at the same cathedral like five times. I had no phone or address and I was worried that if I didn’t find the house I would have to sleep at the cathedral and possibly wait there for them to come find me. Luckily, I kept walking in circles for two hours until I finally found the place.” When most Americans come to Europe, they are quick to notice many cultural and visual differences between their host country and their homeland. After all, the dichotomy between the EU and the US is glaringly obvious from the moment one steps off the plane. From an aesthetic perspective, the roads are distinctly
narrower on this side of the Atlantic, the buildings are older, the food is considered to be a little more obscure and the weather shifts dramatically from country to country. However, it was the bathroom facilities that provided the biggest surprise for the travelling Texan. “I guess the only odd thing that I found was that some places didn’t have seats on the toilet and I hated it,” says Peitzner. “Oh, and sometimes the showers and toilets had no separation, so you had to be extra careful not to get the place all wet.” During their journey, Peitzner and Glowicki spent quite a lot of time in Poland and enjoyed the hospitality of the Hedonskate crew, fronted by shop owner Mirek Ragan. In one of their final edits, they give an insight into what life is like living and travelling with the bedrock of the country’s rollerblading scene. Being in the spiritual homeland of vodka, the pair decided to consume as much of the ethanol-based substance as their bodies could handle. This did not always produce the best outcomes. “Oh, God, there were many good and bad effects from the vodka – it’s a good thing we were with professionals. Josh went to jail in Poland and threw up on a girl – those were pretty bad times.” It would seem that one night, after a few too many shots of Poland’s most popular export, Josh Glowicki became a little mischievous and, alongside Latvian blading poster boy Nils Jansons, the pair decided to have a race over various cars parked along the side of the street in their drunken haze. What they thought was simply some harmless, if not destructive, fun was not the opinion shared by the local police and the pair found themselves on the receiving end of some standard-issue batons and a night spent in a cell to sleep it off. “I could not believe it when I saw the cops give them the beat down and cuff them but we could not do anything to stop them,” recounts Peitzner. Since returning to Texas, Peitzner has been helping out at his father’s stonework business and trying to fit in as much skating as possible around his other commitments. He admits that nine months of fun has taken its toll on his finances and he is now struggling to regain enough funds to pay for more plane tickets. “I have been saving to get back out there, hopefully for summer, but since we came home I’m super broke,” he says. “It’s been tough getting back to normal.” Now safely secure in the bosom of his family home, and after a few months spent regaining some kind of routine that does not involve waking up on a strange floor uncertain of which country it may be in, Peitzner has had time to consider his future and put together a blueprint of goals that he would like to achieve in the foreseeable future. These plans involve work, further education and, of course, rollerblading. Although he is not quite sure which one is going to take priority for the time being. “I’m going to be busy juggling everything I want this year between skating, going to school, working with my dad and getting back to Europe. I’m kind of just going with what comes first.” He may not be entirely certain what he is going to do next, but being back in the Lone Star State has offered Peitzner the opportunity to get some more filming done. He recently completed a full-length section for the Texas scene video Dag Days, which is being put together by close friend Anthony Medina and will feature profiles on Josh Glowicki and Mason Richard. The hawk-eyed amongst you will notice that two of the photos in this feature were taken at Eisenbergs Skatepark in Plano while the
ramps were being deconstructed. The park is now closed after more than 15 years as a home for skaters and the venue for the infamous annual Hoedown. When talking about the skatepark that kick-started so many love affairs with blading, Peitzner is the first to admit that it was pivotal in his passion for the sport. “Eisenbergs was a huge part of the Texas scene. If it wasn’t for them, a lot of people wouldn’t have ever even touched skates. I grew up skating there and so did most of my friends. They are currently still looking for a place and have plans to make it more of a camp.” Like many people that have a strong interest in the culture of blading, Peitzner is concerned about what lies ahead and believes that one of the main reasons that it is struggling to regain any kind of recognition, both from mainstream media and other extreme sports, is due to the fact that there is so much negativity and internalised hatred within the sport. “I think people voice their opinions way too much about the state of our sport and what others are doing for it,” he says. “Our sport is supposed to be fun and an outlet for people to be themselves. The cool thing about it is I can be friends with all sorts of people. Rollerblading is going as far as we let it go and all we need is to let it happen.” While it is important for each individual to voice their opinion in order to improve products, brand image and even an individual skater’s development in order to strive towards a greater good, Peitzner is of the belief that many people simply use online forums and websites as an excuse to fuel harmful rumours and gossip without any consideration for the feelings of the people involved or the effect that is has on other people’s perception of what we do. “I hate to see these comments and hear people speak in person about shit they have no idea about. Some of these fuckers have only been skating for a short amount of time and they’re already repeating shit they hear.” However, when it comes to the sport, he is pleased to see that, for the most part, skaters have stepped back from trying to kill themselves for the sake of creating a spectacle. Gone are the days of people doing sketchy front flips at X Games simply to incite hysteria from the crowd. Many individuals within the sport have worked hard over the past ten years to establish the fundamentals and more young skaters are taking the time to learn the basics properly before going for the big stunts, although Peitzner believes there is still a long way to go. “I think that some people are slowing down and actually learning tricks and not going out and looking like an idiot in front of spectators when they skate, but I think some kids got the wrong idea and are confused with the whole style thing. Regardless, there aren’t so many people going out to kill themselves and that’s good (laughs). It makes rollerblading look fun and easy when people look like they know how to skate. I think Europe is the place to be because of the variety of skaters and events”
Larking About Sam Duckworth a.k.a. Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly has learned to take life a little less seriously and, in the process, released the most joyous record of his career. â€” Words: Nina Glencross
Since 2004, Sam Duckworth has been making music as honest and humble as only he felt he could. From his Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly debut Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager to his more recent solo effort, The Mannequin, Duckworth has always approached his music with the idea that honesty is the key, even if that means releasing five completely different albums. “Sometimes honesty can come from being really introspective and sometimes it can come from just having a laugh and letting it all hang out,” explains Duckworth, with the band’s latest album Maps falling well and truly into the latter category. “I guess it’s a bit different from my other albums, in that, it’s a bit heavier,” he says, explaining that the “natural reaction” for him was to make something entirely different, almost the complete opposite of anything he had done before. In short, he explains that the main idea behind Maps was “to make a pop record that sounded like it came from a 25-year-old kid from Essex that grew up listening to punk rock and isn’t the most articulate speaker,” and, in many ways, it does. In true Get Cape style, there are songs which people can identify with and which translate well on the album both musically and, perhaps more importantly, lyrically. Take ‘The Long And Short Of It All’, for example, which features London based MC, Jehst. “In my opinion, Jehst is the best MC in the country, if not the world,” says Duckworth, with a strong sense of true admiration in his voice. “I just think the way that he’s able to tell stories and paint pictures with words is extraordinary,” he continues, adding that it was a pleasure for him to work with “somebody that spends so much time and focus on making sure that what he was saying was articulate and developed and true to himself.” The album was produced by Jason Perry (Kids In Glass Houses, The Blackout) who Duckworth describes as, “probably the happiest man on the planet,” before crediting (or perhaps blaming) him for the upbeat nature of Maps. “I’d heard really good things from Kids In Glass Houses about how fresh and fun it was to make a record with Jason,” recalls Duckworth. “He just made it comfortable, we’d turn up to the studio and just hang out, make as much noise as we could.” The singer continues, explaining that, after the recording of his rather introspective solo effort, The Mannequin, it was a refreshing experience to approach recording in such a relaxed manner. “It was a really nice way to make a record,” he explains, “to not have to feel pressured and laboured and just to kick back and enjoy making music.” The first songs we heard from the album were ‘The Real McCoy’, released as a free download with a Black Keys-esque sleazy blues feel to it, and first single ‘Daylight Robbery’, a happy-go-lucky pop gem if ever there was one. These tracks offered fans a possible preview of what to expect from the new record. Or did they? “To be fair, I’d say they’re probably the two heaviest tracks on the album, which is why I wanted them to come out first,” reveals Duckworth, “so that people can dip their toe into the pool and not put on the record, thinking they’ve got the wrong disc.” The video for the latter track was co-directed by Duckworth and sees him parodying various music videos, from R.E.M’s ‘Shiny Happy People’ to the Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ and even Get Cape’s very first single ‘War Of The Worlds’. “The plan was to try and make our own versions of videos we liked for as little money as we had,” explains Duckworth, adding that any downtime in the studio was spent going out and getting a kick start on the video. “There wasn’t really a technical side to it,” he laughs, “we were just larking about.” To celebrate the release of Maps, Duckworth and co set out on a tour which took in Spain, the UK and even a trip to the Channel Islands. Having last toured with the band in October 2010, it’s no surprise that Duckworth was incredibly excited to get back on the road once again. “There’s something about playing in a band or with other people in an environment where there’s a crowd, there’s an energy there that you can’t
find anywhere else,” he explains, “Maps is a really live sounding record and the key for us to let people know about it and to let them know that we’re back is to play some shows.” Aside from a few festival shows this summer, Duckworth is hesitant to reveal, or even make anymore plans beyond the tour. “My new motto this year is just to finish things and do them as best as I can,” declares Duckworth, inadvertently revealing how, just as with his music, he’s also very honest with himself and what he believes he can achieve as a musician. Where some bands take on world tours, festivals, TV appearances, radio sessions and countless interviews, for Duckworth, the music comes first and foremost. “I don’t want to try and take on too many things that are going to distract from the task at hand, which is honouring this record.”
Rob Glanville Dan has a boundless enthusiasm and an infectious personality that makes him a pleasure to be around. This enthusiasm is most evident in his passion for skating. He has an obvious will to succeed in his chosen passion and has always had the determination, commitment and dedication to do so. I’ve been lucky enough to have skated with him throughout his career, watching him blossom and grow from strength to strength. There is no pretence to his skating. He is solid and strong and has developed to the extent that tricks others find difficult he can do with ease. I wish him all the best for the future and look forward to watching him progress even further.
Gareth Morton I have known Dan Collins for around ten years now. In this time, I have seen and continue to see him reach new levels of maturity in style, personality and coherency, not only through skating but on a personal level, too. He has become someone that I would consider a close friend, always down for a session wherever it may be and whose love for rollerblading is tenacious and still continues to grow stronger. His style is synonymous with his personality. It can be both delicate and rugged raw at the same time, and his versatility in being able to skate street, park and anything else in between is an enviable quality in any rollerblader.
One of South London’s finest blading specimens reflects on ten years of great sessions, new friendships and landmark moments in the sport. — Words: Gareth Morton Photos: Sam Cooper
Name, age and years skating? My name is Daniel Collins, I’m 22 and I have been skating for around 12 years.
is a moment of clarity where my mind is completely blank, free of all the distractions. I think it’s just being so focused on that one particular thing that you forget about everything else.
Tell us about your family and the influence that they have played on your skating. My family have always been very supportive of me and this has definitely influenced my skating in a positive way. They helped me travel to attend events and competitions when I was a kid and never told me to stop when I was coming home broken from sessions. My mum manages hospitals so I got to skip the queue in A&E a fair few times!
What was your favourite pair of skates? The first pair of skates I bought brand new was a set of Aaron Fienberg classic thrones. I skated them until every part was absolutely trashed and learned so much on them, so they definitely stick in my mind. I am currently riding the Valo Light black and wines with Create Original frames and Eulogy Wheels and I can happily say it is the best setup I have ever skated in terms of comfort and performance.
Do you have a pivotal moment that sticks in your head that made you feel like you had made it on a personal level? There have been a few. Grinding my first handrail was an incredible sense of achievement. It’s that moment when you realise that you might actually be able to do the things you have seen in videos or magazines. Getting hooked up by Loco Skates was also a good moment. It’s a great feeling when you think that there are people who like your skating enough to support you and want you to represent their brand.
What do you do when you are not skating? I play a lot of poker, so I am often at the casino. Other than that, just the obvious things, such as chilling with mates and listening to music or going out and trying my luck with the ladies. I also enjoy cooking.
When you first started skating did you think that you would see yourself where you are today? Not at all, I remember wanting to one day be good enough to do some of the things that inspired me but never really thought I would get to that standard of skating. I remember when I had only been skating a year or so seeing some of the OG skaters in London killing ledges and rails. I still find it strange that I am now skating at a similar level with some of the people that inspired me as a kid.
What do you attribute to getting as good at skating as you have? Perseverance and practice, when I was starting out some things seemed totally unachievable but with time you gain confidence. When I progress and become more confident in my skills, my ambitions also progress and I believe I can achieve more. Do you have a pre-session ritual? Not really, every session is different. I find that the best sessions arise unexpectedly. Sometimes if I try and get myself super juiced to skate and over hype the session it can have the opposite effect due to expecting too much. I think it’s better to just go skate and see what happens. What is the best place that you have been able to skate? As far as street spots go, I would have to say the old Mayor’s Office ledges in London. Maybe it’s just me being nostalgic but, man, that place was sick! Some of the best sessions I can remember were had there. Skatepark wise, I would have to say Saughton Park in Edinburgh. We went there on tour and it is definitely one of the best I have been to. Which UK skaters impress you most at the moment? That’s a hard one because there are so many sick skaters in the UK right now. Names that come to mind are Elliot Stevens, Dan Ives, Joe Atkinson, Nick Lomax, Alex Burston and Leon Humphries. What goes through your head just before you lace a big trick? Absolutely nothing, during the build up there are all sorts of things going through my head. The mind games that every skater is familiar with, but I find that just before I lace a big trick there
What is your current day job and how do you find it dealing with the work/life/skating balance? I work here and there as a barista, making coffees in a bistro. I make money at poker, so that contributes quite a bit to my income. I like to consider myself as a bit of an entrepreneur and I am always interested in finding new ways to make money. I try and keep my work life as flexible as possible to allow me enough free time to skate. What music motivates you to skate? All sorts, really. Good music is good music and there are tunes from any genre that can get you juiced. I would say, at the moment, mostly ‘90s hip-hop and good drum and bass. How do you feel that the rollerblading Industry, media in particular, has changed in the time that you have been skating? At first you had to wait for a magazine or a full video to drop before you could see new skating. Now there are thousands of media updates and edits available at the click of a mouse. I think that sometimes production value gets a little bit lost because of some people’s haste to get things out there quickly. I would much rather wait and see an amazing finished article than watch a thousand half-assed edits slapped together and posted online without much care or attention to detail. On the whole, I think it’s a good thing though as it allows people to be totally up-todate with everything anywhere in the world all of the time. And sometimes all you need is a quick little edit for things like competition results or new product promos. Anyway, it’s nice to stumble across a little gem whilst sifting through the swathes of crap. I call it the TK Maxx effect. What are your top 3 Video Sections of all time? Louie Zamora – VG14, Dustin Latimer – Brain Fear Gone, Aaron Fienberg – Words What do you think is the future? The kids starting out skating right now are the future. All around the world there are kids trying crazy stuff and pushing the boundaries of what we think can be achieved on skates. The level of skating is so high right now that I can’t even think of the things that will be getting done to better it. What do you hope that the future will hold for you? I just hope I can keep having fun skating whilst pushing myself to get better and stay fit and healthy.
Who have been your biggest influences in skating? Louie Zamora, Aaron Fienberg and Dom Sagona were all skaters I looked up to as a kid, but, really, the biggest influences were and continue to be the people that kept me skating when I was a kid. The ones that introduced me to, and made me feel included in, the lifestyle of blading and without whom I would probably not still be skating today: Ed Inglis, Rob Glanville, Ben Walker, Leon Humphries and Gareth Morton. What Influences your style? Hard to say, I try not to imitate any sort of style as I think it is something that should develop organically. The mood I am in often determines my style of skating. Who are your favourite people to skate with? Anyone whose name has already come up in this interview, and all the Loco boys â€“ not forgetting all the Kingston warriors. Pretty much any of the sick guys I have met through skating.
Any last words or people you would you like to give thanks to? Thank you to everybody at Wheel Scene for giving me this opportunity to speak, all of my amazing friends and family for being generally awesome. Coop for taking sick photos and putting up with me being a kiln at spots and not forgetting the boss man, Jake Eley, and the boys at Loco Skates for hooking me up.
If you had a time machine and you could go back in time to any session that you have skated where would it be, at which time and with whom? There have been way too many amazing sessions for me to single one out and I am sure there are still many more to come. I would rather just wait for the next one and enjoy it when Iâ€™m there.
When a group of friends embark on a rollerblading holiday there are a few certainties: Someone will get into trouble, someone will do something stupid and there will be an endless amount of stories that provoke laughter and disbelief in equal measure. Wheel Scene photographer Sam Cooper recently returned from a week-long excursion to Barcelona with a group of eleven-strong testosterone fuelled fellows that featured Dan McLaren and Michael France, two of the finest street skating talents England has produced over the past ten years. Escaping the horrible weather that has plagued the UK over the course of spring, he returned with a collection of great blading shots and a few amusing anecdotes about the hilarity that took place while he was there.
Cooper was asked to write a brief summary of his time spent in the street skating capital of Europe and prompted to encourage the other members of the group to do the same. He was under the impression that he was simply providing a travel article that could be used to showcase his photography skills. However, the real goal was to allow each member of the group to name and shame those they believe did something that was worthy of mockery. For the most part, it was bitterly disappointing to find that everyone in the group got along really well and there were no fist fights that resulted from seven days of grating on each other’s nerves. However, Issue One cover boy Matt Alway did not emerge from this vacation entirely unscathed, as it was discovered that he is slightly naive about the world at large and struggles to think before expressing himself through speech – poor guy.
Escape to BCN
Wheel Scene staff photographer Sam Cooper spends a week in Barcelona with a group of bladers from various parts of England and asks them to provide accounts of the events that transpired. — Photos: Sam Cooper
Sam Cooper The week consisted of me and Matt Alway joining up with Mancunian videographer Brett Davies and a bunch of northerners neither of us had ever met in the exciting city that is Barcelona. Craig Spaven organised the whole trip and brought a bunch of friends with him. Luck also had it that while we were out there Dan McLaren and co. we’re out there. Needless to say, with such a large group, some great times were had and some timeless memories made. Of all the shit that went down, I would have to say these incidents are the ones that have stuck firmly in my mind: 1. Just about everything Matt Alway said. Stupidity knows no boundaries when this boy’s mouth opens.
6. Getting a right good spanking by el policia for buying and drinking beers on the street only to then have them chase after us again with all blues and twos for hill bombing down Las Ramblas. 7. Waking up on the morning of the day we were leaving to find Michael France, Aaron Russell and Mark Binge still up from the night before with the plan to drink themselves through the hangover. 8. Stepping off the plane and going straight to The Forum to watch team McLaren/France obliterate the infamous ledges. 9. That first beer.
2. While shooting Aaron’s sweatstance, a fat sweaty Spanish local stood right in front of us and took a piss to everyone’s amazement and laughter, only to practically windmill that shit dry. 3. Meeting a Carlos Pianowski look-a-like who happens to be a tramp that can be found at parallel most days, totally fucked off his face, getting his solo rock out game on with his shabby radio blasting out some heavy metal.
10. Meeting up with one of the less-than-talented locals at a spot and being convinced to follow him to another spot. We were all convinced it would be total shit. However, when we got there we found it was the spot the Rebirth guys had spent the last few years looking for and just about everyone wanted to skate.
4. The amount of times the terms “we out here” and “swag” were said – totally serious of course.
11. Going to one of the best spots of the trip only to have to leave mid-session due to Brett deciding to do take out a small Spanish child on bike with a flying that grab and subsequent hostile reaction of the locals.
5. Matt and I going out on the first night with the Rebirth boys to one of BCN’s biggest clubs after what had already been the longest day ever. This resulted in me being a total mess and needing to be looked after by some shaved head Spanish angel and a dirty hangover the next day. Meanwhile, Matt had the time of his life and proceeded to go out getting clips the next day, still smashed.
Although I have said these are the moments that stick out the most, in reality the whole trip was one long highlight. Going to my favourite city with a group of guys I barely knew was a risk and an experience in itself. Coming away with a whole new group of people I know I can call good friends is a testament to how good the week was. For me, Barcelona is the city that keeps giving. After eight trips to the cultural melting pot I am still hungry for more.
Sam Deighton I met a few new people on this trip and, needless to say, we all got on really well. I even got on with Brett, the comedian of the group, although I did manage to make him speechless on one occasion and I do require some form of medal for that – it’s a near impossible feat! With the people we took and the surroundings we had, Barcelona was such a chilled place, with some really awesome skate spots that are a must for anyone that blades. However, my favourite part of the trip by far was skating from spot to spot, diving between cars on Las Ramblas or taking the scenic route along the beach. Watch out for the helicopter seeds; they are brutal when mixed with the square flooring! I took a fair few slams due to those little buggers. Aaron Russell Describe Barcelona in two words? “Proper tren”, shout out to Francey for making that the funniest phrase ever. I could not begin to describe how exhilarating and exciting the city truly is. This was my first trip abroad blading, and surely won’t be one to forget any time soon. There wasn’t one area of Barcelona that I could have put a bad word to; each area of the city boasted its own character in terms of architecture and the spots. As far as the guys who came on the trip, I didn’t know what to expect as many of them I had never met before but, by the end of the trip, I felt like I had known them for months, not a week. I could not have asked for a better week away with a bunch of top lads. Next year? I wouldn’t turn down the offer. Mark Binge There are so many memorable moments from Barcelona, I don’t know where to start. From skating ‘til 2am, to hanging out at the apartment with several litre bottles of San Miguel, to Spanish lessons with Micky France. It has been a rollercoaster of laughs. Hand on heart, I can say it’s been the single greatest week of my life – living the dream and making new friends – and I’m looking forward to doing it all over again next year. Craig Spaven For me, the real highlight of the trip was the group itself. Eleven rollerbladers, some who had met before, some who hadn’t, thrown together in an apartment in one of the greatest cities in the world for a week – sounds like a recipe for success to me. I would now consider the other ten guys from the trip to be good friends, and I would not hesitate to go on another trip with them tomorrow. That’s the beautiful thing about our small community, meet a rollerblader from anywhere in the world and you are instantly friends – whether you speak the same language or not.
Michael France BCN 2012, oh my days, what a trip. For me, the reason for the whole trip was to prove I could still cut it! I am not sure if I accomplished this or not but I was happy with how it went. It turns out I’m not the young guy I was the last time I went but I still had the time of my life. With one hard day’s skate and about two steady skates seemed to be the pace I could manage. It sucks getting old but what can you do, eh? Landing in Barcelona, it soon dawned on me that it was gonna be a good giggle. From Bannaos (what I lived on) to dodgy muggers on the subway, not one moment passed where we weren’t laughing and smiling. New friends and old first class all the way, I couldn’t have asked for a better time! Barcelona is truly the Mecca of our sport and it won’t last forever. It’s the European version of California at less than half the price. Ben Tucker Sex, drugs and skating – what an epic trip! From the second we all met up it was instant friendship. A lot of us had never met or even spoken before but what an amazing group of people. I can’t help but laugh while looking through the 1000+ photos that I took! Barcelona is an amazing city with stunning views and so many skate spots – it’s unreal! Everywhere you look there’s a wicked bank or sick ledge – it’s insane! I spent the mornings roaming the streets scoping out spots, evenings processing photos and footage on the laptop and all the time in the middle photographing and filming this great bunch skate their asses off! Favourite memory of the trip: Francey ordering chips on the first night: “El chipos” Haha! Matt Alway It was my first trip to Barcelona and my expectations were quite high. As Sam and I made our way to meet the rest of the group, just walking through the street made me realise that it wasn’t just a cool place to skate; everyone was doing their own thing but yet being appreciated for it. Being in Barcelona made me feel like I was 12-years-old again, as we cruised from spot to spot it never got boring and there was always something new. It was an awesome group of lads and I hope this trip is the first of many.
The Wise Words of Matt Alway
I have been trying to think how to sum up the trip and it’s been hard. I would say the main factor in it would be that I went there only slightly knowing three of the eleven that made up the group and returned with great memories and friends. If you think about it, that is the special thing about skating: When would you ever go to a new place with new people for a week if it weren’t for a shared enjoyment of rolling about on plastic boots with wheels attached to the bottom? (Editor’s note: A Club 18-30 holiday?) A lot of cool things happened during the week as well as some notso-good things, from my perspective.
Throughout the group’s stay in Barcelona Matt Alway really shone as a talented young skater, but he also proved how insanely stupid he can be. Here are some of the absolute gems he came up with during the week. “...corrr that’s right fancy, isn’t it?” Matt’s reaction to the mocha with a chocolate pattern in the foam. “How do you think they make menthol tobacco, spray it with crushed up Mentos or something?” Matt figuring out menthol tobacco
The Good – – – – – – – –
Skating the best places in the best city. Gaining more appreciation for tricks seen in edits from Barcelona. Matt Alway being Matt Alway. Micky F’s take on Spanish (add an “o” onto the end of everything) Giving an eight-month-old puppy a beer. Skating by the beach at two in the morning. Carlos the hobo. Craig Spaven’s sarcasm.
“...just like that guy playing the piano thing with the springy bit.” Matt trying to describe an accordion. “Did you see that? It well freaked me out, thought we was crashing.” Matt’s first experience of being on a metro train going round a corner.
My suitcase dropping a couple of wheels as soon as I ar- rived. Lack of sleep. Falling on the same body parts day after day. Having to leave.
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It’s a Lonely Process
“Milk Maid sort of happened by default,” says Martin Cohen, frontman and founder of the Manchester-based psychedelic surf-gaze outfit. Once the bassist of indie rockers Nine Black Alps, Cohen decided to leave to pursue other musical ventures when the future of the band was uncertain. “I still really wanted to play music but didn’t know anybody who needed a bass player or a guitarist,” explains Cohen. “I thought, ‘Okay, if I need to start a band, I need to write some songs’,” and so came the birth of Milk Maid. Now with the release of second album Mostly No looming, Cohen is slowly settling into his position as a frontman. Admitting that it was “a shock to the system” with debut record Yucca, he explains that, “I’m worrying less about writing songs, which doesn’t mean I’m getting any better at it either, I’m just trying to enjoy it a bit more.”
Milk Maid frontman Martin Cohen advises how he was left to his own devices while making the band’s sophomore album. — Words: Nina Glencross
Music reviewers are quick to point out the comparisons between Yucca and Mostly No, whether it’s the psychedelic nature more present on the latter record, or Cohen’s ever increasing penchant for dark lyrics creating a continuous theme of despair. Cohen struggles to see much difference between the two records. “Probably the main difference is how it sounds, the songs on Mostly No sound a bit sweeter,” he explains, “but there are songs on the first record that, when played live, sound more similar to songs on the new record,” which makes sense considering that many of the tracks on Mostly No were played on the Yucca tour, giving them a chance to mingle with songs from the first record, being jammed out by a full band on stage before being recorded. He adds, “There’s probably just a bit more movement on the new album, it has more of the ups and downs which were there on the first album before the production levelled it out a bit more.” After recording Yucca himself at home, Cohen’s plan for Mostly No was to record with the band in place at the time, but, as with most things, life happened. “The others moved to London and Australia and God knows where else, so it ended up being recorded in a very similar way to the first one,” he explains, not that he’s complaining, of course. “It’s just a more stress free environment to work, you can take your time a bit more without worrying about the money. You can just keep making new music without having a budget, without having to compromise.” But it’s not all fun and games. With no one to bounce ideas off, Cohen admits he felt like he “went a bit mental” when recording the album on his own. “It sends you fucking insane,” he exclaims. “I was just by myself for too long and started thinking guitars were out of tune and had to keep re-recording them.” Releasing ‘Summertime’ as the lead single from Mostly No (“It’s got a ‘wah’ solo in it so, you know, it’s obviously going to be a hit!”), Cohen is also gearing up for a UK tour of the new album, with a brand new line-up in tow to help create that highly intense performance Milk Maid is known for. “There’s been about eleven people in the band over two years but now it feels like it’s going to stick,” he says. “When it comes to playing live, I just try to have fun because you’ve already done all the hard work, writing and recording the songs.” Looking to the near future, Cohen is already keen to get started on album number three. “All I think about on a daily basis for the band is writing new songs, that’s the only really important thing,” he reveals. “If I haven’t written a song for a week, that’s when I start hating myself, because I’m not being creative enough or trying hard enough.” And so Milk Maid continues just as it began, by default, through Cohen’s simple yet genuine love for making new music.
WHEE L E SC
Just Can’t Get Enough Aaron Turner provides a brief insight into his life and explains why all he does is work and skate. — Words: Louis Flood Photos: Sam Cooper
Farnborough, a town located in the north east of Hampshire, is well-known within the aviation industry due to the fact that its airfield is the site of the Royal Aircraft Establishment and home to the famous Farnborough Airshow. It is also the location of the first ever powered flight in Britain by Samuel Cody, an early pioneer of manned flight, which took place on October 5, 1908. What the hell does this have to do with rollerblading? Well, the answer is absolutely nothing. It does, however, provide a tenuous link between Aaron Turner and his birthplace, as the up-and-coming skater currently works within the aviation industry as a laminator for Contour Aerospace, placing protective skins on airplanes for a living. The 23-year-old enjoys the work and the financial return that it provides, but he does concede that the long working days do limit the amount of free time he has to hit the streets on his skates. “It sounds like a simple job but I’m getting good money. It is 12-hour shifts - so it does cut into a lot of my social time – but I skate when I can.”
The statuesque skater was first introduced to the sport when his parents bought him a pair of skates at an early age. Unfortunately for Turner, those skates happened to be a pair of budgetpriced toys that were not designed with comfort, strength or even functionality in mind. “My mum and dad got me some Argos skates,” he begins. “The condition of my skates was so bad I had to skate with no bearings (laughs).” Surprisingly, the ergonomically-flawed contraptions did not diminish his enthusiasm for blading and, nine years later, he is still just as enamoured with the sport as he was when he first stumbled upon it at the age of 12. Over the past couple of years, Turner has been travelling up and down the UK and appearing at major events including Slamm Jamm and The Chaz Sands Invitational, as well as making the effort to visit London on a regular basis to trawl the streets in search of new terrain with the likes of Blake Bird, Leon Humphries and Dan Collins. He has built up a collection of contacts within the gradually-expanding UK rollerblading scene and it was one particular individual that provided him with his first boot sponsor. “My sponsors are Remz, Only Shallow Clothing and IDare Clothing,” says Turner. “I was speaking with Mark Trebble, just asking about his day and having a little conversation, and he mentioned Remz skates. I asked how much he was selling them for and he replied: ‘Do you want to be in the team?’ When he said that, I was literally spazzing out.” In addition to distributing Remz in the UK, Mark Trebble is also responsible for BHC, the company that started out as a video venture and has, over the years, morphed into a wheel and clothing brand that boasts a team consisting of Albert Hooi, Leon Humphries, Alex Burston and Dominic Sagona. Despite the fact that Turner is usually sporting a piece of BHC clothing whenever he straps on a pair of rollerblades, he is quick to dispel any misconception that he rides for the company; he is simply a loyal customer. “No, I’m not sponsored by them,” he says. “I do get some wheels sometimes. I wear their clothing ‘cause it’s baggy but I also wear a lot of striped polo T-shirts, possibly the best thing ever made (laughs).” Turner is instantly recognisable within the UK scene due to the fact that he towers above most of his contemporaries, rocks shoulder-length dreadlocks and is one of only a handful of black skaters in the country. Considering the fact that the last iconic black skater in the UK was Ty Brissett, who received a pro skate
from USD before disappearing into oblivion a few years back, does Turner think he could be an ideal candidate to fill that void? “Damn, I don’t know about that one, but I do know that as long as skating doesn’t die that’s all that matters. I mean, I saw Mike Johnson when he was at a shop called Ukskate back in the day and it gave me so much motivation. If a black man or woman reads this, I would say, ‘Just buy yourself some skates - it’s just better than life itself!’” Regardless of Turner’s ability to promote ethnic diversity within the UK rollerblading scene, there is no denying that his enthusiasm for the sport is infectious. Whenever he attends a skate session he is in constant transit, rarely sitting on the sidelines even after a harsh fall. It comes as little surprise to find that he enjoys the chaos of skate competitions and tries to organise his schedule so that he can attend as many as possible. However, he would prefer to see more grassroots events that take place on real street rather than keeping our sport hidden from the public eye within the confines of a skatepark on an isolated industrial estate. “I think the national scene is getting better,” he begins. “There are more comps now, more tricks getting laced and edits are getting better, but the one thing I would like to see is more real street comps. The vibe from a street comp is so much different than at park comps. The last time I went to a street comp was the A Chosen Few comp in Milton Keynes – best event I have ever been to.” For many skaters dedicated to their craft, truly committing to rollerblading and consciously deciding to push one’s skills to its very limit means forsaking all other hobbies and interests, and Turner is no exception. It comes as no surprise to discover that, in his younger years, he was a gifted basketball player. After all, he is tall as hell and built like a track and field athlete, with slender-yet-defined muscle structure. However, once he fell in love with blading and the culture that comes along with it, all of his other interests fell to the wayside and now he mainly divides his time between skating and work. “I sometimes play on and off,” he says, “but I’d say my only hobby is skating – I just can’t get enough of it.” This year will see the 23-year-old working towards several shortterm goals in order to travel further afield on blading excursions. He also has plans to show the world what he is capable of by filming as much as possible. “My plans for this year will be saving money to go abroad, doing my driving lessons because taking the bus just annoys the life out of me (laughs) and make as many edits as possible – I hope.”
Hot Chip’s Al Doyle reflects on over a decade spent as part of electronic indie’s most iconic outfit and offers an insight into their latest offering, In Our Heads. — Words: Chris Purnell Photo: Steve Gullickhires
Every two years we are met with an Olympics, mid-term elections, and a new Hot Chip record. This year, right on schedule, the Mercurynominated south London electro indie outfit return with their fifth record, In Our Heads. “We’ve been away a while,” guitarist Al Doyle begins. “It’s nice to know that people remember who we are.”
Debuting in 2000, Hot Chip’s Mexico EP was a mix of Kraftwerk-esque beats, shimmering synths, harsh acoustic guitars and an abundance of pianos. It wasn’t groundbreaking, and nothing that the underground club scene in London, in which the EP was released into, hadn’t heard before. But what set it apart from the rest, and what reviewers raved about, was the vocals of Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard. Taylor’s impressive vocal acrobatics allow him to reach the falsetto register – an octave Chris Martin keeps trying to master – that drew comparisons of Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley, which contrasted Goddard’s lower monotone. Hot Chip were on people’s radars. Al Doyle, a frequent collaborator with Hot Chip in these early days, was an unknown musician sitting in a pokey flat in Peckham, claiming unemployment benefit, when he received a call from Taylor, someone he had only met a handful of times before, asking if he wanted to be in his band. From there, Doyle has gone on to join LCD Soundsystem and form his own project, New Build. When asked if his side projects impact on his work with Hot Chip, Doyle says: “There’s definitely a crossover. Some of the guitar and bass sounds that I’ve been developing alongside James (Murphy – LCD Soundsystem) over the years will be the ones we’ll use when the Hot Chip tour starts.” After a contemplative pause, he adds, ‘In the recording process, I was doing a little bit more singing on this new record, or at least my singing has been fore-fronted slightly more so that was hopefully a result of doing quite a lot of singing with New Build and building my confidence up a little bit.”
2002 saw Hot Chip’s self-released Sanfrandisco E-Pee, which was fun if not good. Plinky-plonky sounds feature more and due to some moments of genuine melancholy, we see Hot Chip’s sound expand into something more than just a good time. They were making music people cared about. Goddard and Taylor brought in two collaborators, Owen Clarke and Felix Martin, along with Doyle to help fill out the sound in the recording studio and on stage. “We’re rehearsing the live stuff at the moment, and worrying about doing our first shows for what will have been over eighteen months.” Doyle, on a break from the rehearsal room, says he nervous, but the excitement in his voice is palpable. “It’s a little bit nervy to get out in front of a shit load of people, but hopefully they will be pleased to hear some of the new songs.” He continues, “And they’ll dance around to ‘Over and Over’. I mean, it’s just guaranteed. It’s always something that you can pull out of the bag, so I’m glad we’ve got that one.” Hot Chip’s 2004 release, Coming On Strong, was a heady mix of electro and hip-hop, with all the elements they have now honed into one sound coming together. But in 2006, the band released The Warning, and with single ‘Over and Over’, Hot Chip hit the mainstream and garnered broadsheet reviews, award nominations and chart success. The record was more serious in tone, but still had the fun. They hit a balance people loved. Hot Chip were seen as songwriters, not simply kids with computers. Doyle joined the band full-time during this period. “The Warning as an album was pretty much written before I was involved,” says Doyle. His words were deliberate and rehearsed, like he had told his original story many times before. “The live stuff was definitely helpful.” His tone changes and he perks up. “The hard work that Hot Chip put in on the live show right from the early days definitely put us in good stead and I think for many years a lot of people preferred the live sound to the recorded sound.”
Playing live is what Doyle is most excited about, as it was where his talents are best utilized. On the topic of recording the new record, he believes that “it is a different process for me because I’m not really involved in the writing of the music, so it’s more of giving an opinion on the mix, and that kind of thing.” When asked if that was frustrating he replies: “It’s always been the case in Hot Chip.” He laughs. “I’ve been with the band for nearly ten years, so if I’d not been enjoying that then I probably would have left a long time ago.” 2008’s Made In The Dark and 2010’s One Life Stand brought more success and more chart hits, but reviewers often remark that the sound has not evolved much since The Warning. When asked about 2012’s In Our Heads and how the music had developed since One Life Stand, Doyle says, ‘It’s not a radical change in direction.” He adds, “Over the last few records we’ve built up a pretty recognisable sound, and it’s really pleasing for us to be in a band that has its own sound.” So Doyle, if not happy, seems content with the direction Hot Chip’s music has taken. Some bands, including Blur, Madonna and, of course, The Beatles, change pace, mood, intent, and in Cat Stevens’ case even religion, in order to keep each record as new and different as the last, while other bands, like Oasis, Foo Fighters and Spoon, find a sound they are happy with and develop it. Doyle explains the sound of the new record: “It’s a lot of big bouncy pop tunes with strange noises in them and it’s got a lot of Alexis’ and Joe’s vocals over it.” And on a very basic level it may be, but on the same basic level Beethoven’s ‘5th Symphony’ is a driving percussion with some strings over it. “The difference this time,” Doyle hastens to add, “is the time and care that we took over the sonics and the production of the record.” Produced by Hot Chip and friend Mark Ralph, a producer and engineer with a long list of credits that include Gwen Stefani, The Rakes, Robbie Williams and New Build, In Our Heads is the first Hot Chip record to be entirely recorded in a studio. “We’d been released from our previous record contract, so there was no particular deadlines hanging over us,” says Doyle. “We were able to do the record until we felt as though it had been done, without any kind of external pressure, which was probably the first time.” When asked if he had anything to say about the time spent with DFA, the band’s previous record label, Doyle remains diplomatic. ”We’d never really had a cigar chomping fat guy ringing us up saying finish the record, but at the same time, there’s a tiny bit of time pressure usually with finishing records.” With taster, ‘Flutes’, already released and provoking positive reactions from fans and critics due to the 80s inspired beat, Taylor’s melancholic vocals and a cacophony of synths, it looks like Hot Chip are onto a winner once again. In Our Heads is promising to provide fans with more of what they love, critics with the reaffirmation of their beliefs and newcomers to the band a perfect jumping on point – as perfect as any other. What it may not have, however, is anything we haven’t heard before. But if you feel like Doyle, maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Down for the Cause
One of the biggest characters in Scottish rollerblading, Scott Riddles, talks about his efforts to build the national scene and defends his questionable taste in women, music and tattoos. â€” Words: David McNamara Photos: Alan Drummond, James Keyte, Matty Pearce
First impressions can be deceiving. Scott Riddles wears a variety of loud, baggy outfits that always seem to incorporate a snapback cap and silver chain, and sports some of the most ill-considered tattoos ever witnessed on human flesh. He also seems to be driving a new car every six months but the running theme throughout all of his automotive choices appears to be anything that looks like a boy racer toy. Then there is the fact that he is the only person I know that listens to Franky Morales’ rap music without any hint of irony. However, simply dismissing him as a gangster wannabe white boy would be extremely short-sighted. He is just a man that has a very strong sense of what he likes and doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks. Just like a peacock, he is not trying to fit in with the latest trend; he is making a conscious effort to stand out from the crowd in order to attract attention, and it works. Just ask any of his numerous female conquests.
Despite the fact that the rollerblading scene in Scotland is extremely small and we have shared mutual friends and acquaintances for many years, I never actually had a conversation with Riddles until a couple of years ago. We had crossed paths at various events and exchanged mandatory greetings but our meetings were so short and infrequent that we never managed to strike up a friendship until I moved back to Glasgow in 2011. Until that point, I simply dismissed him as a bit of a lad that listened to the type of awful music that is only found on Ministry of Sound compilations and conformed to the cliché ‘90s rap dress code. In my defence, he does own a T-shirt that reads “Thug Life” and still, to this day, wears it on a regular basis. However, after attending several Scottish Rolling monthly sessions, which Riddles organises, and street skating in Glasgow together a few times, I began to realise that he is probably one of the most likeable characters our scene has to offer. Not only does he make an effort to get various skaters from all over the country together every weekend for a big session, but he also takes it upon himself to provide the majority of the entertainment. At any particular spot, you can simply start calling out random tricks to Riddles and he will attempt them. If he gets close to landing it on his first attempt, it is guaranteed that he will keep going until he executes it or goes down. Then there is the fact that he often refers to himself in the third person. On one occasion, after driving for 30 minutes to a kink rail on the west coast, Riddles took one look at the spot, glanced at me and walked away, saying: “Riddles doesn’t do kinks.” Another amusing personality trait that Riddles possesses is the way in which he refers to periods of time. He doesn’t remember specific years in the same way other people do; he reflects on them in terms of the skate that was released at that particular time. It is quite funny to witness just how much of an impact rollerblading has had on the way he expresses himself. When recounting how he was first introduced to the sport and his subsequent development as a skater, Riddles regularly replaces years with skate models. “I first saw skating in Portobello, Edinburgh seaside, and there was this guy in Oxygen Argons skating a marble curb. I got talking to him and ended up buying my first pair of skates, Bauer FX.1. I got the kitchen knife out and cut a wee groove into them. With a flat set-up, it was virtually impossible to do grinds – that was in 1995, maybe. Then I moved on to Rollerblade Menace and started from there, grinding curbs and skating three-sets. When I first started skating I stayed local in Portobello. After Salomons were released, ST-8, I started going to Bristo Square and started getting to know everyone.”
Considering he goes through skates like most people go through underwear, it seems only natural to find out some of Riddles’ favourite models over the years and why he keeps returning to USD after brief periods riding other brands. “After Salomons went I tried Razors and they were alright, but they wore down pretty quick. USD skates do have flaws, the bolts loosen off quite easily, but I always seem to have a pair in the house. I have been wanting to try Carbons for so long so I bought a pair. Previously USD have been slated for all their stuff breaking, but I think that’s inevitable. If you skate hard and do big stuff, you are going to break your skates. If you are a pussy and you just skate skateparks then they will be fine.” Riddles’ first encounter with rollerblading took place over 17 years ago and he is still going strong. Even though most of the people he grew up with have either quit or done too much physical damage to continue, he is thriving and pushing the boundaries of street skating in Scotland. Riddles is one of only a handful of skaters in this country that can perform several hurricane and truespin variations on handrails, and that is no mean feat considering he does them on rails with hardly any run-up and a missing top step, making the manoeuvres disaster grinds by default. There is not a spot in this country that Riddles has not left his mark on and, as his second decade of blading rapidly approaches, he seems slightly surprised that he has managed to keep going for such a long period. “I didn’t think when I first started that people would be doing the tricks they are doing now. People are now going crazy. I also didn’t see myself sticking with it that long, but the more I kept skating the more I enjoyed it. I certainly didn’t think I would be travelling with skating. The first time I ever travelled I went to Livingston Skatepark and saw Josie skating, he destroyed it. It made me think to myself, ‘I am just going to keep doing this.’ It kept me out of trouble.” In addition to being a regular source of hilarity, Riddles also happens to be one of the most productive members of the Scottish blading scene. On top of organising the Scottish Rolling monthly sessions in various cities across the country, he also creates regular online edits for the Scottish Rolling website and still finds time to film personal edits every couple of weeks. But where did the idea for the site and the gatherings originate from? “Originally, it was Kyle McGivern from Bathgate that started the whole Scottish Rolling thing,” says Riddles. “He brought out the Scottish Rolling Underground DVD, then Chris Doughty and James Keyte got involved. It has been slacking over the past year because Doughty has been busy and I’m not up to gear on Wordpress. All I can do is upload videos.” It would seem that Riddles is being slightly hard on himself when he claims to be “slacking”, as the site features a new video almost every week and it is the only online platform dedicated to displaying the national blading scene. However, he does have plans to expand the website over the upcoming year and hopes to provide some much-needed exposure to the country’s most underrated skaters. “There are a couple of people I have been wanting to do sections on for ages, Andy Mills for one. He is such a sick skater but he always seems to be filming instead of skating. I also want to get a lot of people from Glasgow involved because a lot of people have been saying Scottish Rolling is really cliquey and it’s basically the east of Scotland that we’re covering.”
Scottish Rolling may be a non-profit site, but that hasn’t stopped Riddles using his hard-earned money to promote the site throughout the UK. At this year’s Noiya Jam in Sheffield, he gave the organisers £100 from his own pocket in order to fund the best trick contest that ended up being a fiercely fought battle between Loco Skates riders Joe Atkinson and Elliot Stevens. Usually, when companies sponsor events, it is to build up their brand and show potential customers that they are doing their part for the industry. However, Riddles was happy to part ways with his cash just to motivate his contemporaries to skate harder and push the envelope. “I like seeing people try really hard and if there is money on the plate then people are going to go for it,” he begins. “If I see there is money up for grabs then I am gonna try things I haven’t tried before and risk hurting myself. It’s always good to have a best trick at a comp. I want to see Scottish Rolling get big and start sponsoring more events.” Over the past couple of years, Riddles has been travelling across the UK and mainland Europe in order to find new spots and connect with other people that share his passion. Despite covering many miles in his homeland and skating some of the most iconic spots in the country, he is adamant that there is no scene better in terms of spots and skaters than South Yorkshire’s city of steel. Although he believes the best obstacle England has to offer is slightly further down the road. “The best place in the UK that I have visited so far is probably Sheffield. Every time I go we seem to skate different stuff. Sheffield has a lot of good rollers, too. I skated Cambridge a while back with Lewis Bowden and that was pretty sick, too. The Lando ledges are probably the best ledges in the UK, to be honest.” Beyond the UK, Riddles’ favourite destination is one that is shared by pretty much every skater that has ever been fortunate enough to visit. Would you like a hint? It is the birthplace of the iconic sculptor, painter and ceramicist, Joan Miró. That’s right, it’s Barcelona. “The weather is great and the spots are literally flawless, although we’ll definitely find a flaw because we are Scottish and we like a moan. I have been to Paris in 2001 and that was pretty sick – hopefully when I go to Vegas in January that will be good, too.” One of Riddles’ most likable characteristics is his unwavering, brutal honesty. He is physically incapable of keeping his opinions to himself, regardless of the topic, and the results are often hilarious. Every time the guy straps on a pair of blades, he always makes sure he has his trusty iPod with him, so it seems only necessary to find out some the artists that are in his current blading playlist. “A lot of people think of me as a big, white gangster because I listen to a lot of commercial rap. I love all that Rick Ross and DJ Khaled stuff, I like the beats. I have some gay music, like Justin Bieber and Conor Maynard. Plus, I love that Franky Morales track, ‘I Made It’. The boy’s a G! If I like the sound of the music and I can skate to it then I will listen to it.” There are few certainties in life, but when it comes to Scott Riddles, there are three things that you can be sure of: if he is in a nightclub and there is one slutty girl in attendance, he will find her and sleep with her, if there is a track on the radio that makes you laugh or cringe with disgust he will probably own it, and if you put a handrail in front of him, he will make you shake your head with disbelief at the sheer volume of ridiculous tricks he can lace down it. Riddles, we salute you.
Aside from skating, Scott Riddles has two main vices; tattoos and ladies. Although he is the first to admit, that where either of these two obsessions are concerned, he does not always have the highest standards. Tattoos I have about 16 tattoos. There is no theme whatsoever. I have the Scottish Rolling tattoo, which now looks like a gang tattoo. I have my birth sign, but that’s just a tribal mess. I also have roses, skulls, a boom box and some other stuff. When I first started getting tattoos I thought tribal was the in thing – I didn’t really know - now I hate them. I think I was just a NED going through a stage of getting a tribal tattoo because I thought it was cool, now I think it’s the worst thing ever. Ladies Fuck it (laughs), you know what I mean? Any hole is a goal. That applied to 2011 Slamm Jamm when I ended up back at some state’s house and I thought to myself, “I am doing this for the team.” The next day, I woke up and I was dying to get out of there. Now I have a girlfriend so I can’t be doing that.
Tales from the Trenches: The Hundred In The Hands
Jason Friedman, one half of New York electronic duo The Hundred In The Hands, shares some of his experiences from life on tour, including one incident involving an over-affectionate fan at a show in LA.
Disaster clatters my head as we hurtle up mountain passes, rain strapped highways and black-ice covered roads filled with fire, brimstone, blood, gore and violence; dark visions that pick at your dreams while trying to get a nap in a van lurching under the bone-crushing weight of amps, drums, speakers, cases and metal stands. Okay, so I get nervous. Likewise, I can get shifty-eyed paranoid examining those strangers lurking a bit too close in distant cities around the world, when accents turn Cyrillic, or indeed Glaswegian, and the unknown curve of streets and shadows plays tricks on you. Mostly, this just turns out to be a suspect foreign biscuit or well-meaning Wiener Schnitzel that I just don’t like the look of. This is it, generally. Touring is a blank stare out a window as hours turn to hours and the grandness of cultural diversity is reduced to fields of sheep, cows and those occasional nutters who chose to stock their pasture in llamas and ostriches. Only occasionally does a fan cross the line like a far too riled up young man in Los Angeles jumping on stage, grabbing at Eleanore, hugging her and choking her as she tried to get the chorus out. Or, on a crowded highway five hours from a show in Paris, an engine goes kaput leaving us stranded at an empty French garage on a French holiday with all the French workers off taking long drags of their French smokes. After six hours sat there we finally got a new van and arrived in Paris as our set was supposed to end. Did that show sound any good? I couldn’t tell you. The place was rammed, everyone pushed together in silence erupting into a cheer as we threw our stuff up on the stage and started into it, riding the adrenaline and relief. It was the greatest show ever in the history of greatest shows. And then it gets surreal in the most ordinary of ways. Like what the fuck are we doing in the shadow of the Kremlin walls looking at Lenin’s tomb after having been driven at 90 mph through Moscow by huge Russians in Audis? Is it just jetlag or am I really looking at a bunch of Belgium boy scouts and two proper Friar Tuck monks standing under a tree in the rain? Then there’s of course any Saturday in a British city centre when the Middle Ages suddenly make perfect sense. When we want to see the good stuff, we usually have to Clark Griswold it - rushing from Rennaisance church to giant stone lion to fancy pants palace. What’s your town got? We’ve got 15 minutes, point us in the direction. Then, every so often, you do get taken aback: Looking out at the endless snow in Norway, the every cowboy movie ever plains of Wyoming, green hills and Moorish castles in Portugal or some Hansel and Gretel forest surrounding a German festival. Really, it’s because we make music? That’s why we get to go here?
Unit 23 Open
Rollerbladers are a resourceful bunch, especially in the UK. There are very few remaining specialist rollerblading shops in the country and many of the retail outlets that stock rollerblading products are downsizing their range dramatically. However, that hasn’t stopped our national scene from growing stronger at a steady pace, and this is confirmed by the gradual increase of annual events over the past few years. A perfect example of a great yearly contest is the Unit 23 Open that takes place at Unit 23 Skatepark (funnily enough) in Dumbarton on the west coast of Scotland. The event was launched by Razors UK rider Scott Quinn and the hardworking folks at Unit 23 in 2011 and this year it took place once again on June 23. True to their pioneering spirit and constant endeavours to improve the park for its visitors, the staff at Unit 23 Skatepark built not one, but two new obstacles for skaters to test their skills on. The first being a moderate height pyramid box that is ideal for switchups and spin-to-grind variations. In addition to the rails and boxes that currently run down the street section in Hall Two, there has also been a newly-installed rail box with a healthy drop on the other side, acting as an interesting alternative to the kink rail that is usually the focal point when professionals compete for first place. It looks like the biggest skatepark in Europe is determined not to become complacent with their range of obstacles, as it seems like there is a new toy to play on with every passing year. The great thing about this competition is that a lot of emphasis is placed on encouraging young skaters to get involved. In fact, at this year’s event it seemed as though there were more skaters in the under 16 event than the open category. Like ants, they took over the spacious skatepark all day, throwing themselves off ramps with reckless abandon and trying to lift their tiny bodies up onto the rails in Hall Two. This year, the battle took place between four bladers that frequent the park on a regular basis. Tony Hoggan and Paul Brown put in notable performances, executing 720s and 900s with relative ease, not to mention
a couple of cheeky misty flips thrown in by Brown for good measure. Unfortunately, it was not enough to hold off the charge from Jack Mckell and Jason Reilly. Both skaters flew around the course at high speed in every round and linked together lines that included big spins, high airs and massive transfers. In fact, between them, each skater only fell short on a couple of tricks. The 2012 version of the Unit 23 Open entertained a couple of visitors from foreign shores. All the way from Australia, Josh Nielsen, who released a staggeringly impressive section in the Craig Smith produced Melbourne scene film, Seven Rats, showed face and mixed with the locals. Unfortunately, Nielsen was unable to compete due to injuring his coccyx while filming in Aberdeen earlier in the week. However, he managed to strap his blades on for an hour so that he could session the infamous rail set-up that has become one of the most well-known skatepark obstacles in the world thanks to regular edits from Chaz Sands. One travelling skater who not forced out of contention was France’s Roman Abrate. The Razors rider attended West Coast Clash 2012 the week before and romped to victory by landing massive spins, disaster grinds and switch-ups that look as if they belong to a video game. Well, his second Scottish competition appearance in one week was met with the same outcome. Seasoned competition skater Steve Swain put in a brilliant performance that included illusion spin fakie 720s, switch 720s and some really big transfers, but that wasn’t enough to get him on the podium. Even stellar skating from USD pro Nick Lomax and local hero Chaz Sands couldn’t fend off the iron-willed Frenchman, who took home top honours with flawless lines that included flatspin 540s, a 450 royale and a 450 backslide to budget savannah. It looks like Abrate is taking a healthy sum of money back to his homeland, as he can add the winnings from this event to his £1,000 purse from the week before. The only question is, which event is he going to dominate next?
It is pretty much common knowledge that if you are a skater and you are sponsored by Hedonskate, you are either extremely talented on skates or you have a mental problem that involve menacing little voices in your head telling you to attempt huge stunts with very little concern for your own well being. Mihai Militaru falls somewhere between the two. He possesses an intoxicating combination of raw street skating style with an eye for a unique obstacle or circus style stunt involving launch ramps set up next to high drop rails, using the latter to launch huge mute 540s off whatever grind he has chosen to grace the object with. The Romanian blader has remained relatively underrated for years despite numerous impressive competition performances and a slew of jaw-dropping online edits. His recent ‘Winter 2011’ online segment was a feast for the eyes due to numerous solid lines, a bunch of random obstacle choices and the fact that he laces a flawless 450 royale down a huge stair ledge that would take most other skaters numerous tries just to land a basic grind all the way to the bottom. It’s the kind of profile that you would expect to see in a highly anticipated DVD release and Militaru puts it on the internet amongst his various other montages like it is nothing. The best part is; to him it is nothing. It is guaranteed that within a few weeks he will have gathered enough clips to release another show stopper.
Wheel Scene decided to steal a few moments with the Bucharest native to find out where the love affair with blading began and why he would like to ride for Brian Shima’s boot company.
All These Plans
Romania’s most prized blading export, Mihai Militaru, offers his opinion on how his beloved sport has changed over the years and why he plans to fund a year-long skate expedition. — Words: David McNamara Photos:
How have you seen skating change over the years? Skating is constantly changing and there always have been things that are in trend, be it the cess slide period, the negatives, the hype about creativity, or simply a trick that is nice to do, like alley-oop x-grind, or backside fastslide. I think trends do influence your skating more or less. I also think people’s focus is also on their gestures from the moment they start preparing for a trick, their clothes and haircut. Everything that the viewer sees on the internet in a rollerblading edit is constantly evolving. For example: When I started skating in 2001, my friends told me that a unity is old school and no one does that trick anymore, so I didn’t even try to learn it. Fresh in 2012, they introduced the slopestyle concept at FISE in France. I’d love to compete in that way. What is the scene like in your country? It is maintaining. It’s good that Valentin Moise has been organising We Tour for a few years now. That’s becoming big, more and more riders know about it. I’d like to see more kids doing stuff, to be honest. What is not that big as when I was young is the connection on the messageboards and on the internet in general. I keep saying that it is so easy nowadays to have a camera and shoot some pics and videos with your friends and make a post with them. I don’t know how many people, when they turn 18 and get a car, wish to go to the next city on a skating trip with their friends. For me it was all about this. Parties came along wherever we were going. You don’t have to think like, “Oh, this weekend I’m going to the club.” Try thinking instead, “this weekend I can skate new spots with new people and make an edit in a different city. Wouldn’t this be great? Are you working or studying at the moment? In 2009 I started my own company called 360view. I’m doing filming and editing, some photography, the new thing I am working on is VJing and visual installations. Are there any DJs or music acts that you would like to VJ for? No one in particular. I think about it more like doing something new, visually speaking. I started this for fun and what I’m thinking of is to break the barrier of the rectangular shape of the projector. I have came up with some funny results. VJing live, staying on the beat of the song is something I have to learn - and this takes time. I just started last New Year’s Eve after I bought a projector.
What do you like to do when you are not rollerblading? Mostly I stay behind the computer and do something productive. Have you had any really bad injuries from rollerblading? I broke my arm in 2002. That would be the worst. Do you have any sponsors? Hedonskate from Poland. And I hope I’ll get somehow in touch with SSM. I love SSM Are you filming for any videos at the moment? I’m kind of always filming. And you know how it is, you have footage and you decide what to do with it. I’m just filming for my new section, a normal edit for the internet, although there has been too much bad weather to get it finished. What are your plans for the future? For this year I plan to work a lot to buy more equipment. The plan is that 360view grows into something nice and becomes able to sustain itself. I want to finish and launch the website within one month. And a longer term plan is to stay in Bucharest for the next two/three years and build a portfolio. And then, at some point, to leave Romania for a better place where I can do what I do here and have better conditions to rollerblade, like Barcelona. I want a one-year vacation that will be similar to the routine of a pro, to be at all the major events, on tours and all that. That will be the best possible year and I never stop dreaming about this. If the rollerblading industry won’t make it happen for me, it will happen anyway. 360view will “sponsor” me but first it has to grow. In one year you’ll see me everywhere!
How did you get into rollerblading? There was this crew from my hometown who were skating. They all started two years before me and they had one rail and three small ramps. Also they were the kids from the centre of the city. I was coming from the neighbourhood. They were doing tricks like makio, topsoul, soul, royale and kindgrind and half of the fun was just to cruise around the city. They were so cool at the time! So one day when they arrived at the spot, I was on the rail with my fitness skates, doing short mizous. Then they explained to me that they have special skates for grinds and that all the tricks have names and that was it.
What artists do you like listening to at the moment? The newest artist I discovered that I like is Akua Naru. She was playing live recently in Bucharest and some friends asked me to help them film an interview with her. I like her songs and listened to them non-stop for like three days. Other names are: Gramatik, Zaz when I’m on my bike, Sail, Weekend Wolves, Alexander Spit, some Jay-Z and Kanye (laughs). And Mihai Bivol recently showed me some good new names in French hip hop: Guizmo is one artist. There are more, I forgot the other’s names.
How old are you, where are you from, and when did you start skating? I am 25-years-old from Pitesti, Romania. I started skating in spring 2001, which means I have been skating for 11 years.
Chewits Xtreme Inline Open
Rich Parker provides an insight into a rollerblading competition through the eyes of the organiser. — Words: Rich Parker
The rain was lashing down hard on Sunday, the third of June, when Creation Skatepark opened its doors for the first ever Chewits Xtreme Inline Open. The event was the first of its kind for a while in the UK, as it is rare for a competition to feature park and vert categories. It was great to see so many rollerbladers turn out for the contest. Some of the top UK riders made the trip, along with a few international rollers. We even had rollerblading legend Toto Ghali come over as head judge, alongside another of our sport’s icons, Jenna Downing. The day started with the open vert contest. For many in this event, it was their first experience of competition. The top three guys held it together well, with Sam B-C cruising around the ramp nicely with a mix of airs, grinds, spins and flips to take the win over Zach Dean in second and Nathan Carr in third. The open park contest had a really good turnout and a high level of skating. Danny Brain was hucking some big tricks, including a flatspin 540 transfer from a spine to the back of a volcano but had trouble staying on his feet, so he didn’t manage to make it onto the podium. Mark Andrews put down some solid skating and clean 540s over the big jump box, which was enough to take silver, but even he couldn’t quite match the flow and style of James Bower, who really made his mark on the course, earning him first place. The expert vert contest ran in a jam style format, with skaters being judged on the overall impression they made on the session. There was a lot of talent and it was good to see the UK guys out in force. British vert veteran Doug Peel-Yates was able to put in some clean stylish runs - even more impressive due to his mere three hours sleep the previous night. Alex Eastwood was powerful as ever, but
unfortunately lacked consistency when it counted. My brother, Rob Parker, was able to turn back the clock and bring some of his old tricks out of retirement, pulling a fakie 900 on his second attempt after having not tried one for two and a half years! However, this was not enough to take the third position away from the stylish Italian rider, Davide Giannoni, who mixed it up in the air and threw some hammers on the coping, with an impressive soul to switch truespin mizou. The silver medal went to Pavel Mitrenga from Bulgaria, who was flying high and also had clean flatspin 540s and big mctwist 900. Thankfully for me, I was just able to edge my way into first place with the help of some flatspin 900s and a straight spin 1080. A special mention has to go out to Rob Pruett, who smashed himself up during the vert contest by attempting a huge drop in from the girders 8ft above the deck. Ever the warrior, he picked himself, gave it another try and was able to stick it. Unfortunately, he had already done enough damage to take himself out of the park contest. As the last event of the day arrived the excitement level was high, as we had all seen the guys practising for the expert park contest and knew that things were going to get crazy. After two preliminary heats, the judges managed to whittle it down to six of the best. Jack Swindle was flipping and spinning all over the place, sticking 900s over the box and misty flips over just about everything else! Adz Naz skated at the high level we have come to expect from him, grinding all the way down the escalator quarter and transferring to land in the transition of the judge’s ramp. This was enough to place him firmly on the podium in third place. It came down to a battle between two of the UK’s best for first place. Blake Bird and Steve Swain were going back and forth, nailing trick after trick. Steve was going huge, as always, but stunned everyone when he pulled a massive 720 transfer out of the vert ramp to land fakie in the bowl. Even that wasn’t quite enough to grab the gold from Blake Bird, who skated with a lot of energy and had very well considered lines packed with back-to-back tricks. Blake took a royale all the way down the huge free standing rail at the back of the park, transferring to land in the vert quarter, then hit a super stylish fast tap 540 over the box. His gold medal was secured during the jam portion of the finals after pulling a disaster truespin alley-oop makio on the sub box. It was a great way to wrap up the event.
Catching up with Fabiola da Silva
When it comes to accolades, there is no woman in the world that can compete with the mighty Fabiola da Silva. The Brazilian pro skater has won over 50 medals in a career that has spanned almost two decades. She is also the most decorated female in X Games history, winning gold a staggering seven times and taking home a silver medal on one occasion – she must have been feeling unwell that day. The Sao Paulo native was so dominant in the female vert event that she was granted permission to compete in the male vert competition and still managed to end up in the top ten on a regular basis. In addition to her ridiculous amount of trophies, Fabiola can also boast that she was the first woman to land a double backflip, lacing the hazardous manoeuvre back in 2005. Since X Games dropped the inline competition from the US event, Fabiola has drifted away from the limelight but her skating is stronger than ever and she is in the process of promoting a range of signature children’s products in her native Brazil. She currently divides her time between performing at the Mat Hoffman Show at Universal Studios and presenting a children’s television show. She may not be impressing viewers on ESPN any more, but with the relentless drive that Fabiola possesses, it was inevitable that she would land on her feet – literally and figuratively.
Wheel Scene stole some time from the female blading icon’s hectic schedule to discuss her current projects and find out her thoughts on the state of the rollerblading industry.
Wheel Scene: Hi Fabiola, what have you been doing lately? Fabiola da Silva: I still skate a lot. The reason people don’t see me much at contests is because I do a lot of shows! I do the Mat Hoffman Show at Universal Studios (Island of Adventures). I’ve been doing the show for the past four years so it’s hard for me to leave the show and go somewhere else. But I skate all the time and I travel quite a bit. Who are your current sponsors at the moment? I’m sponsored by TNT Energy Drink (Brazilian Energy Drink) and I get skates from Valo. I understand you are married now, is that correct? I’m not married anymore (awkward). What do you think about the current state of the sport and the industry? Well, I’ve been skating for 18 years! I have seen a lot of changes and every year I think the sport gets better. These days I think the rollerblading industry is small but, at the same time, all the companies and people that are involved in our sport do a great job supporting and representing all the athletes and the rollerblading industry. They all do a lot for the sport and I think if it wasn’t for them we would not be where we are now! I really respect and appreciate all the hard workers that are making our sport grow. What would you like to see change? I think all the older skaters, like me, should someday get together to try to make something different for rollerblading, like create an association and put some sick contests and events like we used to have back in 1998 when rollerblading was huge! I miss those old days - it was a lot of fun! Are you working on any projects or tours at the moment? I have my line of kid’s skates, helmets and safety gear here in Brazil. And I have a kids TV show that I’m the presenter of. I am also participating in some local contests here in Brazil, Mat Hoffman Shows and putting a school together here in Brazil to teach kids rollerblading! I love what I do and if I can motivate the next generation I will do everything that is in my capability.
To the ignorant, white, middle-class member of the general public walking down the street in Long Beach, California, one of the United State’s biggest maritime centres and a highly influential city within the global economy, Erick Rodriguez poses a threat. He is a young man with dark skin, saggy jeans and a sizeable collection of bright and sparkly jewellery on his person. Then there is that knowing smile that appears on his face with alarming regularity. He has a glint in his eye that insinuates he knows something you don’t, and it’s worrying. His appearance and demeanour pose the following questions: Is he a gang member? How did he afford those expensive accessories and did anyone suffer in the process of acquiring them? The Truth: E. Rod, as his friends know him, is not a member of any gang, but he very easily could have been.
Rodriguez grew up on the west side of Long Beach, one of the poorest areas of the city, and discovered rollerblading when he stumbled upon a random kid in his local area doing grinds. The pair struck up a friendship based on their fascination with rollerblades and the possibilities they presented. “I was walking home from school one day and seen a white kid in the middle of the ghetto with some Roces Majestic 12s doing frontsides on the sidewalk and was immediately hooked,” begins Rodriguez. “That white kid’s name was John Nunez and I will never forget him as long as I live, thanks bro! That was 14 years ago, so I would say I started around 1998 or something like that.” Even though he has been involved with the sport for almost a decade and a half, it hasn’t been until recent years that Erick Rodriguez has made a name for himself within the industry, both as a skater and a talented filmer and editor, producing online edits for Razors, USD and his joint online venture with Rachard Johnson, 9to5 Mixtapes. E. Rod has known the LA rollerblading icon since his early teens, but it wasn’t until he took a bullet in his right leg within walking distance of his family home that the pair became close friends and formed a working partnership.
“I come from a gang-affiliated family and if it wasn’t for my rollerblades I’d probably be gang banging too – or dead or in jail,” offers Rodriguez with such nonchalance that it would appear he believes this to be a certainty. “I was never given a hard time though; my family were just kinda happy that I wasn’t out running the streets and that I was able to get along with a different crowd of people.”
Erick Rodriguez explains how rollerblading saved him from a life of crime and why his video production skills are paying the bills. — Words: David McNamara Photos: Armando Colunga
“I met Rachard and Franky (Morales) when I was like 14-years-old at a skatepark in Costa Mesa called RSA Inline. Years went by and I kinda drifted away from rollerblading and started hanging out in the streets more, then in 2007 I was shot in the neighbourhood I grew up in. A few days later, I got a call from Rachard while he was on tour in New York talking about he heard I got robbed for my jewellery and all kinds of crazy shit that didn’t happen. Long story short, he sent me some skates and is the reason I got back into it – shout out to my bro LARJ!” Growing up in one of the roughest parts of Long Beach, Rodriguez has always been acutely aware of gang activity within his local area and his own family, but even though it possesses a prominent ugly side and is the place where he could quite easily have been killed had that bullet strayed a few feet higher, he remains adamant that Long Beach is a great place to live and believes it was only a matter of time before some of rollerblading’s most popular personalities set up home in his city.
“I was born and raised in Long Beach CA and that is where I live now,” he states. “A lot of rollerbladers started moving into the city a few years back – Chris Haffey, JC Rowe, Rachard Johnson, Coco Sanchez, Jeff Stockwell and a few others – so you’ll randomly run into someone while you are out skating. I honestly don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to live here. It’s got great weather, dope skate spots, good kush, amazing taco spots and the beach, of course.” Despite the fact that Rodriguez had to learn all of his tricks switch as a result of the incident which the police simply referred to as “a victim of crime”, he has managed to rise up through the ranks quite quickly since getting back into the sport only a few short years ago and now boasts a sponsor list that includes Jug Footwear, M1, Fenfanix, Renegade Bearings, Fifty-50 and Tri-State Skate. He just needs a skate sponsor to complete the list, and he is currently in the process of sorting that out. “As far as a boot sponsor, I got something in the works!” In the past year, with the help of Rachard Johnson, Rodriguez has produced over 66 videos for their site, 9to5 Mixtapes, which includes profiles, montages, product adverts and teasers for his latest venture, BladerGang. Apparently the talented young videographer is in the process of compiling footage for a full-length video that will feature some of the world’s most recognisable pro skaters and a selection of gifted up-and-comers. “Like it says in the first BG edit, ‘BladerGang is a family of rollerbladers all around the world doing what they love most’ and the idea came from Franky Morales, Julian Bah, Dre Powell, Rachard Johnson and myself. Then it became something I would have never imagined. The line-up for the video will include almost everyone’s favourite pros along with a bunch of really talented skaters.” Last year Rodriguez released an online trailer for the sophomore Fifty-50 team video Juice 2, which is set to feature JC Rowe, Rachard Johnson, Anthony Williams and Jeremy Soderburg amongst others. However, since the teaser clip surfaced there has been very little indication that the video will ever see the light of day. According to the skater, the frame company is in the process of getting their product exactly how they want it before they involve themselves in the long and arduous task of creating a team video. “There’s a lot going on with Fifty-50 and the main focus at the moment is making frames before a team video can be made,” he says.
It would be reasonable to assume that, considering the staggering amount of output Rodriguez creates and the long list of companies that he has produced work for, that making videos for the rollerblading industry would be enough to pay the rent for his apartment and provide some form of financial stability. The fact that he strolls around with a huge, jewel-encrusted, gold crucifix around his neck at all times would suggest the same. However, it is his work outside of the industry that is currently paying the bills as he has recently been filming wedding videos and taking any commissions he can find in order to fund his numerous blading-related projects. “I have started doing all kinds of work lately other than just action sports,” he begins. “Unfortunately, rollerblading doesn’t pay enough to be able to make a decent living, so I used the skills I’ve learned in skating and put it to use in other areas.” For the highly productive 27-year-old, it appears that 2012 is going to be even busier than its predecessor, with regular online edits to film as well as the forthcoming debut BladerGang video and his various responsibilities outside of rollerblading. For most people, that would be enough stay occupied for the foreseeable future. However, Erick Rodriguez is not like most people. He operates on what he calls the “no sleep” routine, and he is currently negotiating with an as-yet-unnamed brand to release another DVD. “I’ve been working on a few online projects along with filming for the first BladerGang full-length video and I’m currently working out a deal to put together a DVD for a company.” Could this be the same company that Rodriguez is also working towards signing a boot sponsor deal with? It looks like we will just have to wait to find out. Aside from his immediate plans, what does the future hold for Erick Rodriguez? Where does he see himself in five year’s time? “I’d be 32 so hopefully skating the way Alex Miranda does and having just as much fun doing it, most likely working some type of video production job. I kinda live for the moment, though. No one is promised tomorrow, so enjoy it while you’re here.” E. Rod shout outs: Shout out to Wheel Scene for taking the time to check in with ya boy. Thanks to Armando Colunga for the photos, all of my sponsors that show mad love and a huge shout out to my BladerGang Fam (swagg swagg) WE OUT HERE! E. Rod 9TO5
Straight out of the box, it is tough to believe that the Drift HD Camera Helmet is not a toy. It is so light (a BlackBerry seems heavy in comparison) that it seems difficult to conceive that it is not merely a hollow, plastic casing. It is also so compact that is can easily fit within the confines of a jean pocket without feeling bulky. The specialist action sports camera features 1080p HD video, 170 degree wide angle lens, 270 degree rotating lens, external microphone and a bunch of other impressive features. GoPro are widely considered the leaders of the niche, compact, action sports camera market, or at least the most popular, but Drift is a contender to the throne. For starters, the price tag is much more appealing; the Drift HD retails at £229.99 and features a remote control, a built-in LCD screen and all the straps you need to attach it to your chosen object, whereas the GoPro Hero HD
retails at £199.99, but you have to pay an additional £79.99 to purchase an LCD screen so you can actually see what you are filming. Plus, you need to place the GoPro within a skeleton housing to make it waterproof, but the Drift HD is made with a waterproof rubber casing. Pretty clever, huh? In action, the Drift HD has many advantages. To capture the action, you simply choose between video and photo on the easy-to-use LCD screen, point and shoot. You can playback the action and delete whatever you aren’t happy with before continuing. The rotating lens comes in handy when you want to switch between watching your subject through the viewfinder and following them with the camera. To charge the battery, you simply plug in into your computer and it instantly begins – just like an iPod. Another plus is that there is no need to upload any software, as the camera acts as a portable hard drive. However, the camera is not without its flaws and, although few, they can be extremely frustrating at times. The weight of the camera may make it easy to carry and use, but it also makes it difficult to keep steady while filming lines or following a skater towards an object. Also, the LCD screen is so small that it is difficult to see the action through the viewfinder while filming, especially when filming in daylight due to glare from the sun. In short, this is an exceptional beginner camera for those that want to film high quality footage but are not confident enough to invest a large amount of money in a digital SLR or a HD camcorder and all of the accessories that are needed to capture certain angles. The fisheye effect is relatively successful and it is possible to capture some great clips with this tiny gadget, although some may find it limiting as their filming skills progress. Words: Louis Flood Rating: 3/5
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Despite showing great promise with the release of Eating Donuts & Other Refined Foods and DXNCE EP, Jeremiah Jae’s debut album falls short. The tracks lack any real cohesion, with the MC simply rambling over monotonous rhythms on at least four occasions. There is not one infectious beat on the entire record and Jae either refuses, or simply doesn’t know how, to sculpt his verses around one significant chorus. The production on ‘Seasons’ and ‘False Eyes’ show a glimmer of hope, but it’s short lived. This is the kind of art rap that hipster white kids eat up because they like to think they are in on the joke. Unfortunately for Jae, Blu and Saul Williams do it to much greater effect. He is a talented producer, no doubt, but he’s never going to be revered as a wordsmith.
Artist: SpaceGhostPurrp Album: Mysterious Phonk: Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp Label: 4AD Rating: 3/5
Essentially a compilation of the best of the Floridian rap prodigy’s self-released mixtapes, Mysterious Phonk is an impressive, occasionally excellent debut, but ultimately one that promises more than it delivers. For one thing, the new versions of tracks like ‘Mystikal Maze’ and ‘Don’t Give a Damn’ have been scrubbed up and shorn of the rough edges and straight-up weirdness that made them so intriguing in the first place. Sure, those early mixtapes were a mess, but they had a chaotic charm that is strangely lacking here. What’s more, the cleaner sound affords more room in the mix for Purrp’s vocals, which, frankly, does him few favours: he’s clearly a wizard behind the mixing desk, but on the mic he has neither the flow nor the rhymes to match the quality of his often dazzling productions.
(Ian Kenneth Macbeth)
Artist: Milk Maid Album: Mostly No Label: FatCat Rating: 3/5
Similar to debut effort Yucca, frontman Martin Cohen recorded Mostly No primarily at home on his own. Sometimes this tended not to work in his favour as he was constantly forced to question the tuning of his guitars (and even his own sanity), having to record and re-record parts of songs several times. But despite this minor setback, Cohen struggled on and the result is a record which is an interesting development of their debut. Whilst the more upbeat, nod-a-long songs such as ‘Do Right’ and ‘Drag To Find’ sugar coat Cohen’s penchant for dark lyrics with a fuzzy wall of fresh surf gaze-y beats and melodies, the more mellow, breezy tones of ‘Stir So Slow’ and closer ‘No Goodbye’ highlight his evident talent as a songwriter through clearer vocals. Despite Cohen having never listened to The Jesus And Mary Chain, the similarities are, at times, uncanny, particularly in opener ‘Dopamine’ and ‘Summertime’, the first single, which, according to Cohen himself, is about “telling someone to wait ‘til the sun is shining and the birds are singing before killing themselves”. Overall, Mostly No demonstrates how Cohen has honed Milk Maid’s raw and wholly authentic sound. (Nina Glencross)
Artist: Jeremiah Jae Album: Raw Money Raps Label: Brainfeeder
Artist: Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly Album: Maps Label: Cooking Vinyl Rating: 3/5
Maps sees Sam Duckworth explore more musical territory, with a more varied and interesting selection of styles, whilst maintaining his talent as a songwriter. Along with the likes of ‘Vital Statistics’ and ‘Easy (Complicated)’, both lead singles ‘The Real McCoy’ and ‘Daylight Robbery’ are among two of the more upbeat, heavier tracks on the record, with the former exploring a more bluesy rock pop route via The Black Keys-esque riffs and the latter offering a slice of sheer 90s indie pop bliss. The more lo-fi acoustic tracks, such as ‘Call Of Duty’, ‘The Joy Of Stress’ and ‘Snap’ are where Sam’s lyrics really stand out, delivering stories of people and places. MC Jehst gives the record a fresh twist with stand out track ‘The Long And Short Of It All’ and a thought provoking prologue for ‘Offline Maps’, while the record is brought to a strange close with 90s pop anthem influenced ‘London’s Burning’. Though it is varied and explores new territory, Maps still maintains that relaxed, smart and all round organic sound Get Cape are known for. (Nina Glencross)
Artist: Jim Noir Album: Jimmy’s Show Label: Jim Noir
Jim Noir is like the lovable storyteller at the local pub. He is pleasant, relatively amusing and everyone loves to be around him, but he is never going to make it very far with the limited amount of talent and lack of imagination that he possesses. This is his third fulllength attempt and, although he appears to have learned from his incredibly misguided sophomore album, it is clear that he will never be blessed with the ability to write a great pop song. Two of the tracks on here mention his love of tea, for God’s sake, and neither reference is clever or charming. ‘Ping Pong Time Tennis’ is almost laughable, a bland tale about a letter exchange with the Queen. Noir should stick to making remixes for Camera Obscura. His subversion of ‘French Navy’ is widely considered to be his best work to date.
Artist: Frank Ocean Album: Channel Orange Label: Def Jam Rating: 4.5/5
Odd Future’s resident R&B crooner, Frank Ocean, created a world of hype with his 2011 mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra and Channel Orange delivers on it. ‘Thinkin Bout You’ and ‘Pyramids’, the two tracks leaked ahead of its release, are sultry soul gems with a hint of 808 and the rest of the album stands up to these two instant classics. His full-length debut adopts the same approach as his mixtape, gliding effortlessly from track to track with cassette clicks and intimate chatter. Tales of pushers, addicts and heartbreak run throughout, and the sombre tearjerker ‘Pink Matter’, featuring an inspired cameo from OutKast’s Andre 3000, will have the ladies on their knees, weeping. Elsewhere, OF’s Earl Sweatshirt lends his promising rhyming skills to ‘Super Rich Kids’ and Pharrell Williams applies his superior production talents to ‘Sweet Life’. This is the best release from the Odd Future collective to date. (David McNamara)
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Across 8. Alt metal band with the single, ‘Loco’ 9. Mo Sanders pro wheel 11. The latest Xsjado pro team rider 14. Lil Wayne’s rap metal album 15. Yearly skate tour that commences in Romania
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