The trailer for Spirit Quest contains an animal motif. Do you remember what first triggered the animal connections?
I honestly don’t remember how it started. I guess just in my head, just me being obsessed with match cuts and animals. But it resulted in me watching animal documentaries, saving and cutting clips that matched with skater’s movements. And searching NYC, San Francisco, and Japan obsessively for spots with animal elements.
Do you have an archive of animal footage stored up now? You must have delved pretty deep.
Yes. I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours watching animal documentaries and logging clips of specific movements/feelings. I learned a ton about animals that I wouldn’t otherwise have known so it was great. I felt like I was losing my mind for a long time though. I still feel that way.
Did you have an interest in animals before the project?
In the Instagram clip of Glen’s ollies the monkey is standing in the same stance as Glen, and the chameleons face the same way in the trailer. Did this level of detail take a long time to achieve?
It took an unfathomably long time.
Where did the idea for the camera flip come from?
The desire to destroy all remaining VXs.
Did you drop many in the process of getting that clip?
Actually, no. It went perfectly.
How did you pick the skaters for the video? Were there any skaters that you really wanted to include?
It wasn’t a very conscious process. I just skated and filmed with my friends. As filming went along further, I made new friends that got absorbed into the video process. For example, I met Marty Murawski on a trip to Baltimore I went on to film for Zach Lyons’s part; Marty and I became really good friends and he started coming up to NYC every couple of weeks to film for it as well.
But there were a few people I really wanted to make sure that I filmed full parts with, like Matt Town. He’s had footage in every one of my past videos, but never a big section. I think he’s a really incredible and special skater, so I tried hard to make sure he had a heavy part of the video.
Oh, one more: Hiroki Muraoka. I’ve always been a fan of his skating, and I met him right after the Tengu premiere. I ended up traveling to Japan three times to film with him. I love him.
Also, Quim wanted a part in Tengu but it didn’t work out, so we made sure he got one this time around.
It’s cool that Quim just got on Politic before the vid comes out.
Yeah, really hyped. It’s a perfect fit. Some other Politic guys are in the video too, Taylor Nawrocki and Danny Renaud.
In another interview you describe the ‘shape’ of a film. Did Spirit Quest have an initial shape?
Yes, it has a definite shape. Unlike Tengu, which sort of grew as it went along, I had a pretty strong idea of the shape I wanted this video to have from its inception. So the processes were quite different.
How were they different?
Different journeys. Also, Tengu was pretty straightforward for the most part. SQ explores a lot further.
Will the video have parts for each skater, or be divided into montages?
Yes and yes.
How do you pick the music for the sections, do the skaters choose their songs?
No, for the most part I find the music. I went on a several years-long journey into African music that influenced the video a lot. I also asked some friends of mine who are musicians to make original music for the video, and worked closely with them to get the sounds I was looking for. I basically just hope the skaters trust me to make their parts good [laughs]. Oh, and a few songs are made by the skaters’ parents. Which I think is pretty unique and special.
Did you have any support making this video?
So you fitted it around other commitments?
Yes, I work full-time outside of skateboarding, and make the video happen around/during that.
Which skate film makers do you like to watch at the moment?
I honestly haven’t been watching skate videos very much at all recently. I’m a bit too focused on finishing my own, and am too busy with that and about a thousand other things. But I like anything that Josh comes out with of course, and Zach Chamberlin’s video “Bright Moments” was really fun. Looking forward to the Evisen video by Katsumi Minami.