Photographer, writer, skater, art fan, jazz lover and a creepy dude with a beard Isaac McKay-Randozzi is based out of the San Francisco area. Covering things arty, skatey and arty skatey he likes taking photos of everything and going down to L.A. He likes socks, stickers, walks with his daughter and the time between 2 and 6AM.
Dan Drehobl once had a clothing company called Freedumb when he skated for Think many years ago. Recently after years of hiatus, the company with it's head up it's own ass - Freedumb is back! This time with a mixed bag-of-nuts team of rippers that includes Jeff Grosso, Bobby Worrest, Maru, Marissa del Santos, Rob Welsh, Andrew Currie, Brandon Perelson, Kevin Kowalski and Preston Harper.
Lakai and Diamond have teamed up again for another great shoe collaboration. The Griffen is one of the best vulcanized shoes to hit the shops in the past few years, so check your local Lakai dealer for them.
France's Magenta Skateboards was formed in 2010 by brothers Jean and Vivien Feil, Soy Panday with Leo Valls as their first rider. Since then it has grown to add two riders from the US (Jimmy Lannon and Zach Lyons) and one from Japan (Koichiro Uehara). With distribution by Kukunochi (Japan), Theories of Atlantis (US), Blacks Arts (Canada) and Welcome Dist. (Australia) Magenta is reaching new shops all over the world. Their well respected and admired videos have been filmed, edited and directed by Vivien, Jean and Yoan Taillandier and they collaborate with many others that share a similar vision. Jean is in charge of the warehouse and shoots photos while Vivien manages the business, team jazz, skating and being a father. Soy creates all of the artwork that has gained fans far and wide. With a style that reminds us of an early Stereo and the mid-90s, Magenta is something all its own.
All photos by Jean Feil.
Why was Magenta started? We started Magenta because there isn’t any other brand that portrays skateboarding the way we experience it and feel it needs to be promoted. We also support the idea that passionate skateboarders need to take control of skateboarding and stop letting people who don’t have anything to do with this culture (or forgot where they came from) take control of it and affect the way we look at ourselves as skateboarders. Magenta is a 100% independent, skateboarder owned and operated company. It’s us, skateboarders, doing it all from beginning to end and no one influences our decisions or judgements other than the other skateboarders we’re friends with. Magenta is lead by Soy Panday (who does all the Magenta artwork and designs), my brother Jean Feil (who’s our photographer, one of our videographers and who does our logistics) and myself (I supervise everything and deal with all the business aspects of the brand). Skateboarding is our main interest and focus in life, so we wanted to see if other skateboarders could relate to our experience of it.
Aside from old man Soy, most of the people on the team weren’t skating during the mid to late 90’s, what about that time period resonates with you and the others? Soy has been skating since the late 80’s but Leo, my brother Jean and I started skateboarding at that time so of course it has a special value in our eyes. There was also an interesting setup happening in US skateboarding at that time. Two of the most notable things were that the business side was smaller, so creative people had more freedom to experiment and follow less conventional paths. Sub-cultures of street skateboarding started emerging based on the environment and architecture where it was happening (SF with downhill skateboarding, the use of NY and Philly’s urban city centers…), which is typically not the kind of stuff that happens with a traditional sport, so it opened new doors for skateboarding. Shortly after, big money started pouring, artists and idealists were told to adapt to new circumstances or leave. The pressure to turn skateboarding into just another sport intensified, turning skateboarders into athletes and discarding the ones who refused to adapt while creative or artistic minded people were pushed aside or used as marketing fronts. Compared to what happened right after (and a while before), the mid to late 90’s seems like a pretty special time in skateboarding to us.
At what point did you guys start to realize that skaters all over the world were into what Magenta was doing? Our intentions were to put it out there for French people and see how it would go. We thought a few passionate people would be into it in other countries, but we certainly could not envision generating the kind of interest that would get our brand distributed in 20 countries 3 years after starting it. People were supportive internationally from the start, sending emails with videos from their scenes and it just got more intense as we were producing more stuff. We’re trying to connect with all the scenes that show us love and the people who inspire us to work on projects and grow together in our understanding of skateboarding. The fact that we have an audience is an extra motivation to push ourselves to do more.
Josh Stewart, who already was a very busy man, started a distribution company in NY in 2010 because he believed in the chances of our brand in the US. At that time, we were aware that very few skateboard companies from the Old World had been offered such opportunity, especially by such a trust-worthy respectful partner who wouldn’t try to interfere or channel our creativity in any way. It has truly been a great help.
Vivien filming for Static 4.
Any plans to add more riders? I don’t want to ruin the surprise for everyone, but new shit is about to come to light soon.
If Magenta got an offer to be distributed by a larger American company, would you do it? I really enjoy working with Josh and I know he does it right by servicing small core US shops first, I’m very happy on what we have going together.
Your next DVD is going to be out in July, is there going to be a North American premiere? Our next DVD is called SOLEIL LEVANT, it is shot entirely in Japan and France and focuses on the relationship between our scene and Japan and its skate scene. It will feature the entire team (Leo Valls, Soy Panday, Jimmy Lannon, Zach Lyons, Koichiro Uehara and myself) as well as FESN leader Takahiro Morita of Overground Broadcasting fame who came to France for the first time last Fall. The TBPR guys from Osaka and a lot of friends from everywhere who came to France or whom we met in Japan. The film is about 35 minutes long and is aimed at making people want to develop connections with skateboarders from other cultures. We already have 3 US premieres lined up: Boston on the 6th of July, NYC on the 10th and Philly on the 12th. All the proper infos will be posted on our Facebook page shortly: www.facebook.com/magentaskateboards
How was the UK trip, what was the response to the video in the cities you went to? Can we expect a web clip soon? The UK trip was great, almost the entire team was there (minus Koichiro who was busy in Osaka filming for TBPR’s new film LENZ2) and being together with all the guys is always a great recipe for good times! The footage of the trip shall be included in a promo video we’re working on for Christmas. The response for the film was amazing, thank you England! I was especially amazed at how many people showed up especially since we haven’t released a trailer for the video yet and the weather was quite terrible (as everywhere in Europe this year). I take this opportunity to thank our UK distro Rocksolid for being rad and Note Skateshop in Manchester for supporting us big time since before we had a distro in the UK.
You prefer SOLEIL LEVANT to be premiered in a theater, what about the film requires that type of venue? When will North America be able to get copies of the film? SOLEIL LEVANT is not a traditional skateboard video. The film’s goal is to convey feelings and emotions and present our Japanese friends’ and our ideas about skateboarding and the world. The film has voices, texts, quotes and more, therefore the conditions in which it’s presented are important. The film was designed to be shown in a movie theater or to be watched on DVD at home, those are the ideal settings. The SOLEIL LEVANT DVD which will contain about 30 minutes of bonus footage shall be available worldwide at the end of July.
You’re currently in Japan with the rest of the Magenta team, what was your plan there? The entire Magenta team and staff (Yoan Taillandier and my brother Jean) flew to Japan to premiere SOLEIL LEVANT in Tokyo, Kobe and Fukushima. We flew to the city of Iwaki, Fukushima where Soy Panday’s clothing sponsor Remilla is based to show our support to the thousands of Japanese people that got directly affected by the Great East Japanese Earthquake of March 2011 and the nuclear catastrophy that happened as a result. SOLEIL LEVANT is dedicated to all the victems of this tragic event and it was a particularly emotional moment to premiere the film where this tragedy took place, especially after visiting one of the many ghost towns affected by direct radiation in the proximity of the power plant on the same day. We stayed in Iwaki and worked on a special project with our friend Takahiro Morita to show our support for the local skate scene, our friends there and everyone in Fukushima. What we experienced on those few days is beyound words and I think all of us will remember it for the rest of our lives.
What do you think the role of Magenta is in the larger skate world? What we enjoy in skateboarding is freedom, expressing creativity and individuality and we want to push the potential of this amazing tool. We want skateboarders and non-skateboarders to look at skateboarding differently. Not just as a sport or a mere past time for kids and adults who refuse to grow up. A skateboard is nothing without a brain that uses it for a purpose, and since skateboarding is such a powerful tool, you can choose that purpose to be creating art or developing an art form based around it. We look at skateboarding as a way to experience city life and to interact with other people in a non-verbal form. When you skate down a busy street and you ollie up a curb or a trashcan or you powerslide close to someone, you see how people react, they’re scared, alerted or amazed, but there is definitely something going on that is unique to skateboarding. People don’t really understand what’s happening. Sometimes they think you’re laughing at their expense. Kids and bums are usually amazed straight away and love it. Skateboarding in the streets triggers a lot of things in people that you will never experience if you do it in a skatepark or any environment secluded from the rest of society. Skateboarding can and should be many things that appeal to different people, but skateboarding in the streets has this really unique potential to be something very special that mixes aggression with grace, surprise, disbelief, live dance and theatre, while playing with architecture, cars & pedestrians, and even much more if you’re talking about a skateboard video that adds the sound, image work, atmosphere, etc. Skateboarding in the streets is unique, it’s different every time and we believe it still has an incredible appeal and huge potential for exploration. It’s based on this understanding that we’re a 100% street skateboarding company. I think to stand by that message without compromise in everything we do (videos, products, ads etc.) and do our best to promote this vision of skateboarding is what we believe our role in skateboarding is.
The pro decks always have the same stained veneers on the top ply and bottom ply. Aside from continuity, why? Most skateboards today are manufactured by people who target kids and teens, so their graphics use flashy colors and catchy, often violent, stupid messages because that’s what kids and teens without too much education are lured by society to believe is cool. We don’t subscribe to that vision and we dedicate a great amount of time to create carefully thought graphics that carry a positive vision of skateboarding for our pro boards. When we’re set on some ideas for each board, Soy draws them. He was the one to come up with the special veneer for all our pro boards since he knew he wanted to have wood knock-off in all of them. It makes the board look more like a nice precious object for adults rather than a toy for kids and therefore carries our message further.
Theories of Atlantis distribution (TAO Distribution) sold out of the newest series in a week and your Japanese distributor sold out as well. Have you been surprised by the response in the US to what a bunch of cats in Bordeaux and Paris, France have been making?
It's truly amazing that we could reach out to so many people so far away from us given we're such a small team only composed of skateboarders. The growing support for Magenta in the US is very heart-warming. Knowing that our boards are sold out in great skateshops all across the US and in cities like NY, SF, Philly, Boston and more; each with a rich history of skateboarding that influenced us is pretty insane.
We have made many friends in Japan since Soy, Leo, Yoan and I first went there in 2006 long before starting Magenta. We've been back pretty much every year since then and we grew more and stronger connections each time. When Magenta started it therefore got a lot of attention & support there. Leo and Soy are revered skateboarders in Japan, which obviously helped a lot. Encounters with fans of them in Japan often get pretty intense: kids cry, women faint and such haha. Zach and Jimmy have a big Japanese fan base too.
Any plans to add non-skate products in the catalog? Like a Magenta fanny pack? Sure, that’s our top priority, we got our best men working on this case around the clock!
Some of Magenta's new clothing, available in North America soon.
One of the best shops in North America, Orchard (Boston) is opening up a second location to better serve the Boston area.
We are incredibly excited to announce that we are expanding and opening a 2nd location, coming in August 2013. The new store will be conveniently located in the heart of town, on Newbury Street in the Back Bay neighborhood.
Since 2006 we have been supporting and fostering the Boston skateboarding scene, and we will continue to serve the city’s community and skateboarders with unique product selection, epic events, paramount customer service, and an authentic shopping experience.
We look forward to opening the doors and sharing this with you.
From his films and photography to his creations of wonderful cement, Pontus Alv is a man with talent, vision and a desire to spread the stoke. Running a board company is a business, but Polar Skate Co. is also a vehicle to get people motivated, active and inspired in their own right. He's one of the few European skaters who made it to the U.S. and became a pro and after returning home and skating for Cliché, his drive helped him to create one of skating's best films, Strongest of the Strange . That film continues to inspire countless others and his current edits for Polar continue this tradition, only now with his own crew: a hand-picked team of talented and creative individuals. As momentum grows and more get inspired, we can't wait to see what Pontus and crew do next.
Smile or frown when you think of the overall state of modern skating? It all depends on which direction you are looking. Right now there are some really cool small brands, scenes and things happening on an underground street level. People are creating their own societies and visions with its own ideas. People are making their own crew/scene videos that are really fresh to see and finally there are a few small brands happening around the world that are getting the support from the streets. I also think skateboarding-wise it is a pretty good time 'cause all kinds of styles, ideas, and expressions are welcome. It is not so strict these days; all forms are accepted: street-skating, hammer-skating, pools, parks and what not.
Then if I look the other direction I see big commercial corporate business that are in skateboarding perhaps for the wrong reasons. I can’t say all of the big business industry things are shit. Some of those brands do cool things to support the scene, but there are a few really horrible things going on out there. This green logo popping up everywhere and what not. But I try to focus on the good shit and the stuff that I am into and just block the rest out.
frontside wallride [ o ] ashley
Do you think companies like Polar have helped remind people that skating is about everyday fun? I think brand like Polar Skate Co. and people like me are giving people an alternative to the commercial things like Street League etc. In one way those big commercial things are the biggest gift to the underground scene—The bigger they get the bigger we get. 'Cause there are still tons of people out there looking for an alternative and it is just a matter of time before more and more people find out what goes on behind the scenes.
So yeah brands like us keep skateboarding fun and interesting and we are pushing hard for classic raw skateboarding and pushing the culture perspective of things by making rad videos, graphics, artwork and just pushing for the classic terms like "Skate & Create" or "Inspire others to inspire yourself."
It seems that you’ve made an effort to make Polar an international company, adding U.S. and U.K. riders and doing projects in the States and Japan. Why not just keep it a local thing? Skateboarding is global and our message is important on a global scale. I want to talk to the world and show our ideas and visions to the world. The global commercial takeover is happening everywhere, so we have to give an alternative everywhere. Where ever they go, we go. I just can't see my biggest love—skateboarding—be raped and turned into shit in front of my eyes. I wake up every morning going to the office and busting out culture hammers trying to push our visions out there.... It is a bloody warzone out there and skateboarders needs to stand up for what they believe in and say: NO YOU CAN NOT FUCK ME IN THE ASS. NOT TODAY, HONEY. Of course only if they do not agree with the green logo.
Pontus Alv, fakie flip [ o ] hamnen
Your “career” goes back to the mid-90s and there is that similar aesthetic with the art and videos you produce. What about that time period makes you want to continue that same feeling and vibe? The biggest time in skateboarding for me is between '87-'94—The golden age and I lived skated through it. It was so inspiring on all levels and so much rad stuff went down during those years. People just started to explore the streets artwork and whatever else. A really creative experimental time in skateboarding. All I do every day is to try to recreate a modern version of that time and pass that culture heritage onto the next generations so we can see some cool rad shit go down in the future whenever we are all old an retired.
one of the amazing cut-outs created by Pontus
Like some of the other companies featured in the "Worldwide Underground" article, your video edits are full-concepts: well edited and not rushed, but they have all been released on the web. When will there be a DVD? We are working on a small film; a power package. I will realize the promos and the small film on a DVD and with tons of bonus stuff. Perhaps combined with a small art book and little art show premieres. Working on it but nothing until spring summer 2014. To produce interesting skateboarding footage takes time.....
How has Josh Stewart’s Theories of Atlantis distribution impacted the company? Josh and I are friends and he is on the same page as me when it comes to skateboarding ideas and visions. This just makes it a lot easier to work and do things together. We are still working on getting all the things rolling but it is slowly coming together. Step by step, piece by piece, brick by brick— Rome wasn't built in a day. Do it right: grow slowly and organically.
Polar Skate Co. is distributed in Canada by YT Distribution and available in finer skateshops near you.
Have you heard back from fans of the company and people inspired by your DIY concrete work? Yes of course. The two videos I made before Polar Skate Co. set the foundation for all of this to start. The videos inspired skaters around the world to get together and create their own scenes. Over the last five years I think I got at least 250 mails from different DIY spots and scenes that got inspired. Then those projects inspire others and others—snowball effect. It was the entire point and message of the videos and it worked and it is the biggest paycheck that you can get. Our group of friends here in Malmö managed to create, document and present a vision/message to the world, and people around the world left their couch and tv and went out on the street and went mad. If I would die, today I would die with a smile.
What projects are coming up next for you and Polar? The main thing is to focus on the filming and traveling this year. Then just doing the stuff we always do: build rad shit, do artwork and just go mental.
Do you think the stoke has gone out of the industry? Depends on what direction you are looking. Skateboarding is really up to you; what you wanna make of it each day. So stay positive and look at the good things that are out there. Even if they are small and underground, there are still skaters just doing classic raw skateboarding stuff. The way we remember it and why most of us fell in love with this culture.
Check out Polar and 5 other great indy companies in the current issue of COLOR (11.1)
Geoff Dermer, owner of KITSCH skateboards, has been a staple of Canadian street skating for nearly a decade. Producing quality footage and photos, he always seems to leave you wanting more. Like the others in the Worldwide Underground, he puts his heart, soul and money into what he loves. We could use a lot more like him.
portrait by david christian
What is the idea behind Kitsch when it started over six years ago? I wanted to travel, skate new spots, meet new people and and work on projects with my friends, and at the same time try to create a brand that would get people stoked on skating.
There are a fair amount of board companies in Canada, what makes Kitsch different? The one main thing that sets us apart is that, as a team we have not been afraid to use our own money to travel around the world to find spots to skate together. From our first tour as a team to Portugal, to sleeping on floors in Montana, spending a month in China or driving 36 hours to skate ditches in Arizona, all to find new types of spots that don’t exist in Canada in an effort to push our skating further, and to meet skaters in other parts of the world as well.
Stacy Gabriel, frontside bigspin [ o ] delaney
Do you think that smaller brands are more in tune with what skaters dig? I think every skater is pretty different and I can only guess really, on one hand I believe bigger brands have the money to do different things. They can make way more products that a skater out there in a store might want to buy. As far as watching a companies videos and getting stoked to skate goes though, I think that since smaller brands cant pay their riders very much, if anything, that skaters who skate for smaller brands are more likely to be doing it for the love of it more than for a pay cheque, and you can see the difference in how their skating comes across.
Has it been difficult to get the boards and gear into the US and internationally? Luckily for us we have had distribution in Japan since our first year thanks to my good friend Watcho at Collage distribution. Anyone reading this who works at a distributor and wants to support a Canadian brand, holler at me!
Sean Macalister, feeble [ o ] christian
Aside from pure stupidity, why continue on doing something that makes you little to no money? Some might call it stupid, but Skateboarding has been the love if my life since I was ten years old, before I knew about sponsorship or anything like that, before the idea of making money from it was something I had ever even thought about. I loved the feeling of skating more than anything else then, and it feels even better now, 23 years later. Sure a couple of pros make millions, and parents all know who Tony Hawk is, but to me the act of skating still also goes against the grain of our capitalistic society in a lot of ways. We use our energy to have fun, to use architecture for ourselves in our own creative way, rather than seeing it for what it was intended for, we try to land new tricks for the feeling of it, to contribute to the session, not to make money.
Geoff Dermer, halfcab blunt 360 [ o ] delaney
Does it still stoke you out when you show up at a spot and a randumb kid is skating your board? Ya its a trip for sure, sometimes I say something like, hey thanks for riding my board bro, but most times I keep quiet and just keep skating.
Has this new wave of small skater run companies helped to inspire what you do? No, not really. For me it was riding for small skater ran companies when I was younger, remembering how much harder it was for them back then with no intenet or anything, but that they did it anyway, I think that inspires me even more.
What does this year bring for the company? Tours, videos? Yes, all of the above, and some demos too, I am looking forward to just getting out and being on my board as much as possible.
"Geoff Dermer was the one I was psyched to see the most and he was skating the manny pad in the rain." — Matt Berger (from an interview in Color 11.1)
READ MORE ABOUT KITSCH AND OTHER INDY BRANDS DOING IT RIGHT IN "WORLDWIDE UNDERGROUND" (Color 11.1)
Now that PALACE is available in Canada via Supra Distribution, expect to see this suddenly-trending UK brand on groms across the country. In this extended interview from our "Worldwide Underground" article in Color 11.1, Palace owner Lev Tanju spreads some gossip about who on the team is banging Rhianna as well as video evidence of their two newest riders.
Torey Goodall, backside kickflip, [ o ] ashley
Why start a new company in the already cluttered UK skate market? Why not I guess. I wasn't into anything anyone was doing and I had a lot of free time, so I thought fuck it.
How much of a roll did the PWBC play in the starting of Palace? Well I was doing the PWBC news and it was getting a good response. I guess I could see some of my mates were not getting looked after as good as they should of been. So in a way I wanted to do it so they could be in a better situation and not riding for people that would fuck them about.
Would you ever move the company to the U.S.? Dunno really, maybe in the Summer when the weather is sucking balls here. But as soon as it warmed up in London I would be back.
So, did Shawn Powers hump pop-star Rihanna or was that just some rumor? Yeah, with one of her dancers in a 3-way ting. I think they are dating at the moment.
You mentioned some new additions to the team recently, aside from Mr. Powers whom else is joining Palace? Loads of cool black people.
Like Benny Fairfax? Naw, he rides for the new Blueprint. (UPDATE: See video below)
Will he being staying in L.A. or coming back to London? Dunno. I think Blueprint are looking for more white guys with dreads on there team so he's gotta move to the UK to lose his tan.
Do you do the graphics? If so, do you have a background in graphic design or any of that jazz? Yeah, I do the board graphics and some of the tees, then my homie Ferg does a lot of the tees. Will Bankhead and Ben Drury do some too.
What is your definition of ‘trill’? TRUE and REAL
What companies did you follow as a kid? Alien, Aesthetics, Chocolate, Girl — all the dope ones basically.
Do you think they have influenced Palace? Naw, not really. I really liked what they where doing though.
Lucien Clarke, nollie flip [ o ] ashley
Will the Palace full-length come out on DVD? This year.
While you’ve embraced the Internet with edits from different trips (N.Y.C and L.A.) they are not rushed piecesl there is obvious time and effort put into them. What part does the WWW play for Palace as a young company? Well it obviously helps, everyone is all over the Internet now days. It also helps to get the footage out while it's fresh. It takes a long time to make real good videos, especially a full-length. So it's always good to drop stuff to keep people hyped. It's cool for us because the video is a London thing. So everywhere we travel goes on the internet, then the bang bang gully gully mashman London gnarly footage has been getting saved for the G-FUNK full-length project.
Read more about PALACE and other great indy companies around the world in "Worldwide Underground" (Color 11.1)
Heroin's newest video, Video Nasty is set to drop soon. I for one can't wait and if this trailer is any indication of Deerman's part, it's going scare your darkest oreo poop white with gnarly barrier domination.