“Skateboard Concerto”: wir sind Berlinern

October 5, 2013

Ok, sorry if it’s a bit similar of a post than the one below, but it so happens that the excellent people at Cons Space in Berlin -new, huge street art museum/gallery/skatepark set in an abandonned factory by the Spree river- just booked The Skateboard Concerto project I did with classical piano player Fortunato d’Orio, in Berlin!

The actual Skateboard Concerto, as is (18 tunes from legendary skate vids played live while said vid is brodcasted on a screen, on stage) will be performed on October 9th (infos here).

Also, the Cons Space asked Fortunato to score an 8 minute edit of footage they filmed at the venue indoor’s skatepark and in Berlin. The resulting song Fortunato will write for this will be performed on October 16th.

Berlinern, kommt!

> Full-on interview about the project by The Skateboard Mag.

> 3 short films by Katie Callan around the project right here.

The venue:
CONS Space 002 BLN
Alt-Stralau 4
10245 Berlin

Hours:
Thursday, October 3 – Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Monday: Closed
Tuesday to Thursday: 4pm – 10pm
Friday and Saturday: 2pm – midnight
Sunday: 2pm – 10pm

Fortunato d’Orio happens to be what’s up

May 21, 2013

fortu_montage

Hey there -you might not be around the corner, but on Saturday night (May 25th) in Marseille, France, I’m curating a three-day event around an “adult” cultural approach of skateboarding, meaning that there will be guests as odds as contemporary artists, contemporary dancers, documentary makers and that, well, sorry, a few polysyllabic words might be used at one point or the other.

But the one performance I’m the proudest of is this one : I hired ace classical piano player Fortunato d’Orio (from the Opera de Mulhouse, mind you) to cover, live, classic tunes from 20 classic skate parts -while said part is playing, mute, on a giant screen behind him.

As Fortunato started to send over his reworks, I couldn’t help but matching some of them to the actual video part -Hers’s what a few of them sound like… More infos here. Come!

If that’s too intellectual, I’ll add that we’re actually having Wu Tang (for real) playing the night before!

Re: Music⎪ Adam McNatt

February 23, 2013

adam_mcnatt_012Adam Mcnatt at his current daily grind -Ink Gallery tattoo shop in San Clemente. Photo © Seb Carayol

It’s hard to pick a part from Snuff that was not ground breaking -as was actually the case with pretty much all the 101 videos when Natas company was around. Besides the introduction to Wu Tang on the Western side of the Atlantic as far as skateboarding is concerned via Gino’s part, it also featured quite a  banging of a part from a teenage, pre-tattoos, pre-Evol, even pre-360 flip to 5-o on that box at the SF contest,  Adam McNatt. Yes, the one set to this 1986 slightliy crustier cover of Scott McKenzie’s San Francisco by The Smarties.  As the ’90s often did it, this specific song was a nod at a specific event in Adam’s life… But let’s let him explain why this one, and how picking music in general on his own video parts went.

Adam McNatt: “My first real part was in the Powell video, Celebrity Tropical Fish, but we weren’t involved at all music-wise, they just did their thing and you’d see it when it came out.

But on Snuff, the If You’re Going to San Francisco song, Natas wanted to use it for my part cause he thought it was cool, I think I was actually going to San Francisco to live up there. Skateboarding was really different back then, really technical, flipping in and flipping out of little curbs.

I started doing a lot of stuff later with 411 and a lot of my video stuff I’d give to them cause they had such a big reach all over the world. What was fun too is that they gave me free pick on music choice and stuff .

But overall, one I was really happy about was in the Evol video, forgot the name of the actual video [Still Life - Seb's note], but I used a song from The Genitorturers, it’s some kind of English heavy metal goth thing, its’ this chick singer and it’s all hardcore, like  S&M , they were this weird band and they had that song that was pretty good ["120 Days," mistakenly credited to "The Cenitortures" in the video's credits -Seb's note]. I ended up using it for that video and it came out pretty cool.

Parental advisory : explicit soundtrack

January 20, 2013

dgk_behindscenes01©daughtersNot enough words. © Matt Daughters

(Original article was written for ESPN Skateboarding -this is the extended version with videos)

It’s only been, what, four months since the last update? That’s the time it took me to get hyped on skate flick related music, truthfully.
Sure there’s been the occasional FTC edit here and there (by the same Ando who made me obsessed with Gucci Mane, thanks a lot !), an Elijah Berle section over there, but all in all, well, I was relying heavily on old ghosts from times past -and yes by that I mean Lord Finesse and Cali Agents.
And then came the DGK video.
Of course, DGK’s new video Parental Advisory isn’t the only skate video, ever, to bare an all hip hop soundtrack. Think Zoo York, ponder Ian Reid’s work’s vibe in general. Still… It had been a while.
In some interview, Stevie had mentioned at how he was gonna try to revive the spirit of old Chocolate videos, this and that, but to my very surprise, he really sort of did.
Is it the lines? The blue-collar filming? Who knows. It might have to do with the 100% contemporary hip hop soundtrack, which I found myself absolutely flabbergasted to actually really, really enjoy as, well, please refer to my “latest” hip hop references in the first paragraph.
Old farteries aside, here’s how picking the most hip hopest soundtrack this side o’ Zoo York’s Mixtape went down with mastermind Brad Rosado.

When did you start working on gathering tunes for the video?
Brad Rosado: I pretty much started gathering music soon as I started the video. I have a playlist of 2,000+ songs that I’ve been building up for about 4 years now. Every time I hear a song that could potentially work for a video part or commercial I throw in that playlist. The good thing about it is that the playlist works well for all the Kayo brands. There is hip-hop, rock, soul, skits, instrumentals, etc. Even with all those choices of music it was still hard to match up songs for the video.

brad_rosado©daughtersBrad Rosado, heavy mental music reviewing ©Matt Daughters

Was it before, or during editing, according to each skaters’ part, or did you already have a general idea of what songs you wanted in there?
It was pretty much all of the above. There were a couple songs that I’ve been wanting to use for a video part for years and they ended up working out. Some of the songs were finalized a week before the project was due. I definitely knew the flow I wanted for each part but making sure it was timeless was the hard part.

Whose decision was it to make it 100% hip hop?
That was a group decision for sure. I wanted to throw in different genre of music but with the intros and the style of everybody’s skating it just made more sense to use all hip-hop. Maybe we will use some other type of music for future projects.

Do you remember a few instances of skate flicks over time that bared a 100% hip hop score like that? If yes, what are/were your favorites?
I feel it’s pretty rare that the soundtrack is all hip-hop for a skate video. The only one that I can think of off the top of my head is the Zoo York Mixtape videos. When those came out I was definitely hyped on it. I didn’t really listen to anything else at the time so it was dope to see a video do that.

Did some of the skaters come up with ideas themselves?
It was a mix for sure. A lot of people didn’t really have specific tracks they wanted to use. Instead they gave me a group of artist that they would be down to use and I found something they were into based off of that. One of the only dudes on the team that picked out their own track was Rodrigo TX. He gave me a Prodigy track that Tyrone Romero from LRG came up with. The idea was to use the Prodigy track and then use the original sampled track mixed in. Vinny Ponte then helped us mix it together so it seemed like it was one song. The first time I watched the footage with TX and those tracks we knew we found the perfect match.

Marcus is another person that picked a good one. He suggested about five tracks to me. Out of the 5 I picked the C-Bo track and once I played it with his footage I instantly knew it would work perfectly. The rest of the tracks were all trial and error. Eventually we found a perfect track for each persons part.

When you put this together, was there a concern of trying to match the skater/where he’s from?
That was definitely something we were trying to do but didn’t really work out like that. Marcus, Lenny, and Derrick’s part were the only ones that ended up using music from where they are from. The West Coast tracks definitely brought their parts to life. The rest of the soundtrack was mainly East Coast hip hop.

All in all, how involved was Stevie in the soundtrack?
Stevie wasn’t involved as much as I wanted him to but he definitely had a big influence on the style of music we used. I picked his head on tracks without him knowing really. Sometimes we would be chillin and I would play some music and I could tell if he was hyped or not.

Sometimes I would put something on for him to hear and he would tell me to stop playing a track because it was played out. If he liked it we would listen to that track like 3 times. Same thing goes when we were on tour playing music in the van. The team showed that same influence.

Was Jay-Z Stevie’s choice? Did he bring options to the table?
Jay-Z wasn’t Stevie’s choice. He originally wanted to use Meek Mill which was a good choice because of the Philly aspect. The only thing is that Meek Mill raps about coming up in the game. Stevie had already came up a long time ago and is a legend, so it made more sense to use something stronger. When I hear Jay-Z rap I feel like it’s Stevie rapping sometimes. Sounds kind of funny but if you listen to the lyrics of the song in his part you’ll know what I mean. I actually used the instrumental of this track in my first video almost 10 years ago.. So editing with it was already familiar.


The only downside of using this song is that we had to cut out some really good tricks out. We thought the song was that good so we had to make the call. We are planning to drop a deluxe edition of the video next year and you will get to see that footage then.

Any particularly funny/entertaining anecdote from putting together this soundtrack?
There is definitely a couple, haha.. Jack’s track got picked out kind of randomly. I originally wanted to use a soul track and was stumped on a hip hop track to use for him. I brought 5 new songs to review for possibilities for his part to the crew. I had a song that I knew would be perfect but I wasn’t really hyped on the lyrics. I remember playing the songs for Eli Soto and Matt Daughters. I played the N.O.R.E. track for them and tried to skip it kind of fast but once they heard the line “I sneak up in the club” they were sold. It went perfect with the intro of his part so it made sense. There was a little bit of a battle trying to use a different song but at the end of the day it was the best choice and made the part stand out.

Derrick’s song was the last song that got picked out and it was literally at the last second. Me and Derrick originally picked out Kendrick Lamar’s Westside Right on Time. It went really good but we ended up cutting out footage which made the song too long to work with the footage. Definitely panicked a little with finding a replacement.

I had to drive down from LA to SD to edit the rest of the video and knew I had to find a song on the way down. I had a hour and half to do that pretty much. We were on the last couple of days to finish the final edit so the pressure was on… The day before I bought the new Kendrick album and knew there had to be something on there that could work.

When I got in my car I picked a random track off the album and it was the ‘M.A.A.D. CITY FEATURING MC EIHT’ track. The second half of the song came on and instantly knew it was the right one. It never got approved by the crew to use for the video but I listened to the song the entire way to SD and already had it edited in my head. That night I did the edit and everybody was down so it worked perfectly.

Wasn’t there something with Kelan Dadd’s track, too?
Keelan’s song was a hard one to find. The only artist he felt worked with his skating was Kanye West.  I tried a bunch of different artist but he was right, it had to be Kanye, so we chose the song “Cold” off of Cruel Summer. The song was real dope so we tried everything we could to make it work. After two minutes into the song the DJ kicks in and starts talking about Chicago the rest of the track. We knew there was no way around it so we had to pick another track. So we met Keelan half way and used a Pusha T song that had Kanye in it called ‘New God Flow’. It ended up working perfectly. The song definitely talked about Keelan’s life in a sense. My favorite part is when it talks about Moses parting ways in the sea and he does the manual trick across the gap. An alias Keelan goes by is Skate Moses so it was a funny coincidence.  Anyways, the song worked good and made a classic part. Probably one of my favorite tracks in the video.

dgk_keelendadd©daughters

Editing dock madness, like it’s 1993 all over again © Matt Daughters

Meanwhile at the Blue Tile Lounge

August 13, 2012

Sometimes it’s that easy of a concept : recently, North Carolina’s finest DJ Merlin and DJ SPCLGST, aka the Tones Brigade, decided to release “Live from the Bluetile Lounge – The Rebate” -basically, a mix of tracks of all styles and genres, all coming off skate video soundtracks over the years.
For good measure, it’s super-spiked with, quote, “shout out drops from some of  your favorite NC legends and rippers like Dan Murphy, Justin Brock, Kenny Hughes, Jed Shooter, Connor Champion, Rodent from the Skateboard Mag, plus Josh Frazier of Black Sheep Skateshop , Sturgill Horn, Chad Shooter, Travis Knapp-Prasek, Cameron Keene, Ian Isenhour and many more repping North Cacka to the fullest!” Sounded like awesome on paper, it’s even awesomer upon listening. The mixtape is here and the tracklist is below. Good job, North Cackans! And looking forward to The Rebate’s rebate!

Musically Speaking⎟ Karma Tsocheff: “Sean Young was a guitar wizard, man!”

July 20, 2012

A heavy-hitting member of the Hellride Crew, Karma pioneered the kind of all-terrain skating that today’s Grant Taylors put back on the map. A year after his move to Ohio with wife Julie, he still skates tough, runs Karma skateboards, still plays guitar… And took some time to give us a rundown of his musical past and present.

“I was in a band with Tom Knox [called Friendly Fire, thanks Pinche Gringo! -Seb's note], that was the first thing ever. Tom played guitar, I played bass, we’d play punk music for sure, those are my roots. You know that photogarpher Mike ballard? He came and shot some band photos of us one back in the day. We went out in the alley and shot a band photo, we did some 4-track recording and stuff. We never played a show. That was probably when I first got on Dogtown, in 1990, and it lasted about six months. The funny story with that is they did get a gig to play a show and I went down to practice one night, and there was this other friend of ours and he was playing bass. I got ousted out of the band but they didn’t really tell me, they were like, “Oh, he’s here. He’s gonna play the show.”
I remember being really let down, I was really bummed out –“I’m not good enough a bass player”. I could maybe pluck out a couple notes on a guitar and I was picking this bass and playing in a punk band. It was like, “where do I put my finger?” I had natural rhythm but I didn’t know anything. I remember leaving there all bummed, “Fuck those guys, man.”

My real first band after that, that I played shows with, was with my old band where Ethan Fowler was actually the drummer. We were called The 6th degree theory, you know the 6 degrees of separation? We wrote songs, and it was just two guitars and drums. We did some studio recording, a demo, 8 songs maybe, on a 2-inch tape. Sounds really good still to this day. Ethan was a phenomenal drummer. We recorded, made CDs and stuff. I don’t know if they’ve ever been up online. That lasted about six months.

You know who I learned a lot of music from? Sean Young. Maybe a year before he was kinda over it, he used to come to my house every day on a different board.  A longboard, some pointy little cruiser, some Powell board. It was kinda cool. That guy is a guitar wizard, man. He taught me so much shit on guitar. Nicest fucking person, just the sweetest. He liked to play pool and play music. Then I think he fucked his knee up pretty bad and probably couldn’t get surgery. That’s how I remember it. Gnarly skater. Who can play some ragtime guitar, man! He’s the king.

Anyway, after that, we started with the band AM magic, that’s with Doug saenz and again that guy MikeAlexis guitar player. We made two full LPs, you can hear a lot of old songs that we never put on CD on the website. Me and Doug, we were in bands for 13 years. We played over a hundred shows, made a couple records, kinda learned to play our instruments togeteher.

Doug turned into a really cool multi-instrumentalist. He did drums, percussion, trumpet, keys, vibraphone… Nick Freitas was also in our band for a while. We recorded a record with him. He played in Mystic Valley band and he’s in that band The Broken Bells and stuff with the guys from the Shins, and Danger Mouse. It’s pretty rad. He played on our second record and helped mix it and stuff. It’s called Magique Concrete, it was Mike Alexis’ idea kind of a play on that style of abstract music that that French guy invented, (Musique Concrète/Pierre Boulez –Seb’s note). It’s cool to see your frinds grow up and kinda see their talents coming on their own. That was the best part in being in bands.

Nowadays I play every day and it depends, I don’t have a particular style in song writing. I sometimes like to just use a pedal and a bunch of effects and loop stuff, I like words too. I do indie rock, I guess?”

Jenkem and the songs that never were

July 17, 2012

It’s good to see that the excellent Jenkem Mag grew a little bit out of the all-Big Brother fascination in order to come up with its own wicked twist on things. Exhibit A, this excellent post by Luke Physioc about tunes that shoulda, woulda, coulda been in skateboard flicks but haven’t. Good job! As everybody’s starting to scribble their own list…

Paulo Diaz & Quim Cardona : Bitchin’ and brewing

May 22, 2012

When I got in touch with Balthazar, world-reknown artist and psychedelic surrealism icon Mati Klarwein‘s son, he mentioned how he had been a hardcore skater since he was a kid in Mallorca, and how that’s why the art his dad did for Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew LP ended up as a collab with Western Edition -the amazing little story is all explained in this article.
But you know how people like us (nerds?) go: we need to get to the bottom of things. It’s a disease, almost. So when Balthazar mentioned Paulo Diaz’ and Quim Cardona’s random and impromptu visit to his dad, I couldn’t help but reach out to Quim and have him explain how it all went down, and where his passion for Mati Klarwein’s art came from. Cazart! 

When did you start to get interested in Mati Klarwein’s artwork?
Quim Cardona : We grew up with a close friend whose dad was a well-known Jazz promotor, Teddy Powell. We listened to The Last Poets, Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Bitches Brew, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, P-Funk, and many others.  Mati created  cover art for many of those artists… Before recognizing who the artist was, we knew his art.

Also, there was this skateboard company that Teddy skated for, it was started by Chris Pastras from New Jersey. In the early ’90s, I remember they printed a Bitches Brew board in Everslick. I bet that’s something a lot people forgot about.

Mati Klarwein in his NYC studio. © Bettina Rheims

Did anybody in particular introduce you to Mati’s work?
I met Paulo Diaz when I first turned pro in 96 In San Francisco skate contest for the first time. A couple years later met again while we shot the commercials for Adidas in 98′. Later we travelled together to places like France, Finland, Prague, and throughout Europe… On this tour, Paulo was studying an art magazine called Juxtapoz and there was this article about Mati in there, titled “The Most Famous Unknown Artist Alive”.

Balthazar Klarwein © Nicholas Middleton

We had instruments with us, staying at hostels, touring through Europe. The article totally reintroduced us to Mati’s art and now we realized who his name was. The craziest thing was that his phone number was at the end of the interview! So Paulo picked up the pay phone and called. Low and behold who answered? The man himself.

The funniest thing was that Paulo introduced himself and I as two pro skaters. Mati said, “If you guys are pros, then my two sons should know who you are.” Both Salvador and Balthazar knew who we were… The next day or so we called and he invited us to visit Mallorca. He gave us directions and we hopped on a cruise boat from Place de Colom in Barcelona. We bunked with a musician from Argentina who played the guitar.

When we got there we caught a taxi to the part of the island where they lived. One thing Mati told us to look out for was the orange gate at the driveway. The sun was hot, and the land had a dry, arid climate in August, filled with these beautiful old olive Trees. We walked up a windy dirt road and the house of Mati appeared. It was a very beautiful place. There wasn’t much to skate but a slab of cement from the foundation of a room.

Paulo Diaz, rare guitar-less appearance. Courtesy Balthazar Klarwein

Enjoying the company of Mati’s children, we talked and admired the view of the landscape and ocean with no other neighbors or cars in site.  Later that day, he cooked for a whole party of people. Invited a circle of friends, artists, musicians from the neighborhood. Music played all night, everyone ate, danced, there was wine. Paulo serenaded everybody with one of his song on the guitar. Mati was dressed in a long white robe, and he played the African drums to the music and we danced. The night we stayed over, he put us up in the studio where he worked. Waking up to a Mati painting in your face was surreal!

In the two days we spent we didn’t have the experience to get to know the man that well, other than he was really sweet and kind to welcome Paulo and I as guests in his home. We spoke shortly in the morning before we took off to Barcelona to continue our journey. Mati Klarwein and family are really good people and I’m glad to have crossed paths.

Quim Cardona and a very stoked Balthazar Klarwein (far right). Courtesy Quim Cardona

Bonus round : The Ian Johnson interview

Putting jazz artists on skateboards is nothing new to Ian Johnson, Western Edition’s art director -it’s even become somewhat of a trademark. Thing is with the Mati collab: this time, it was fully official. 

Did you know/worship Klarwein’s artwork besides Bitches Brew‘s cover?
Ian Johnson: I was aware of his work on that album and other albums but i did not know his name or how prolific he was.  I didn’t worship it, I thought it was cool but wasn’t really into pyschedelic art when I was younger. But getting to do this project and learning more about him has led me to be more fond and appreciative of his work, which is hopefully what happens to other people.

What are some of his pieces that you like most?
I think the Crucifixion is pretty amazing.  I also like the Yusef Lateef and Eric Dolphy Iron Man ones to quite a bit but thats probably because I’m big fans of theirs as well.  He has a pretty amazing body of work, so many rad pieces.

Concept-wise, how did you decide to go this way with bitches brew’s artwork?
Well, it seemed to be the most obvious interpretation on decks for me really given that that is how it was laid out on the cover.  it would have been a bit much to do an 8 deck series, but this was you can make it like that if you choose by getting 2 sets or just get one and flip it around as you choose.

Did his son Balthazar submit a bunch of pieces you picked up from?
Yes he had a few, this one just made the most sense for us.  It’s also a bit of tip of the cap to an old Blue skateboard deck that was out around the time I moved to SF so its a bit nostalgic in that way also. The others were cool to though, and I would love to do a one off in the future…

As a jazz fan, is this collab more special than others?
It is more special for sure plus it’s a big series and done in a style that i don’t remember ever seeing before, the double sided series. I’m not a huge fan of the album, truth be told, but it is obviously a seminal and important record in Miles Davis’ evolution and transition into fusion.  It’s always great to be connected to one the greats in anyway, both Mati and Miles.

Can you give me a few examples of jazz artists or their estate being pissed off at WE for using their image on skateboards?
I never got any pissed ones really, we are so small compared to a majority of skate companies that most of the time I don’t think many people in jazz really see them.  I think I remember hearing Don Cherry’s daughter saw one, I don’t think she was pissed.

The only other time was Jimmy Cobbs people were kind of bummed at first about not being compensated for the Miles series we did a while back but we apologized and explained that we aren’t doing to steal or get rich and gave him a set and a percentage. Then they were happy and wanted to do something in the future.

Going nowhere heavily

February 15, 2012

Sorry was busy with these prints on the other side of the blogosphere…

Also, in a rare, menage a trois-type of promotional move, I wanted to inform those who care that I just started a rare reggae reissue (vinyl only!) label, making sure I picked the most obscure, unsellable 12″ ever to make sure I’d bomb commercially. Brilliant !

Anyway. The label is called Reel-Heavy Music, the 12″ in question is coming out in a couple weeks,  and its life and tribulations are documented over here

Interlude⎢Geoffrey and the Pacemakers

January 15, 2012

When legends collide! Thanks Arto for the raddest portrait I’ve seen in a long time… Photo © Artofoto

Sometimes, being a freelancer takes you to unusual places, where you end up talking about football (I’ll never call it “soccer,” suckers!) with a pro skater for an hour or so.
Such was the case with Geoff Rowley regarding his multiple winks to footballistic culture -the most famous being of course his use of Gerry And The Pacemakers’ You’ll Never Walk Alone in his Really Sorry part, which doubles as Liverpool Football Club’s anthem, duh.
How did that one tune come into the picture? Geoff explains.

**********

“If you’re from Liverpool, especially where I grew up -2 miles from the Anfield Road stadium-, everyone is singing that when you’re a kid.
The generation that came before me, they adopted it as the song for the city because of what it meant: the passion for the city. You’ll Never Walk Alone reflected the passion for the Liverpool FC, too.

It was just the right time for it, for me and for to use it. It fit well. The band is from the city also, it’s Gerry and the Pacemakers, my dad’s brother played with musicians and various bands from that kind of era, the Beatles and all this movement of the Merseybeat bands came from all that scene.

It was a pretty fucking rad message and it came from a really small town. That meant a lot. So, that’s why. Every song has to mean something to me or it means nothing to me, I can’t just go, “Oh, that song is so fucking cool.” I put a lot of passion into my skating cause I love it, it’s personal like that for me. I don’t want it to be the same shit.

When it came out, I gave the video to a lot of people in my family. My dad’s brother, like I said, who was in a lot of these Merseybeat bands from the 60s, he got a kick out of it. They all did. And my grandmother before she passed away, she got a real kick out of it. Imagine that old lady watching that skate video, saying, “This is a song from my youth, at least that means something to me. Good job, Geoffrey,” you know? That was cool.

And a lot of my friends from the City kinda appreciated that I fucking didn’t forget where I came from, you know what I mean, that I wasn’t trying to be something else, and that I put something in there that fucking… meant something.”

The skateboard version…

… The solo version… 

… And the version with a 40,000 people choir:


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