I have been a fan of Magenta from day one, partly because I think that there is a continuity between the organic imagery of early Landscape (who Soy rode for, for some time) and Magenta’s art direction. Magenta advocate worldwide connections, between people and scenes. This motif might also be used to describe our conversation, which roved between subjects as varied as Japanese fashion, Hungarian skateboarding, Landscape, and Mike Daher.
I really enjoyed Just Cruise, we had a premier for it in Bristol. Your edits seem to be centred on spots, and for me, feel reflective of a session.
Yes, I mean, those seem to me to be 2 different things though. The spots because a video can be a form of invitation for people to come out to where we are – or to travel in general – so you’re definitely sharing what you want to show of your surroundings, you want to show diversity, you want to show interesting architecture, stuff that looks like everyone could have fun on. And on top of that, I guess we want to show what our sessions look like. But I assume good sessions are pretty much the same everywhere…you’re out in the streets with your friends having fun and away from your concerns for a while.
Have other scenes invited Magenta in?
Oh, for sure. The Rios crew’s video in Budapest is pretty inviting, looks like a really sick crew. I love watching Feher Ati’s skating. Plus his name is Attila and that’s pretty gangster. Haha. In South America the scene seems strongly connected to DIY art openings and stuff too and it looks very interesting… I speak to some FB friends from Argentina, Brazil and stuff every now and then, and they keep saying we should come… I don’t know, everything is inviting to me. If I could I’d go check out everything.
Are there any Magenta trips planned this year?
As of yet, not really… I guess we have a tendency to not plan very much in advance. We tend to play it by ear, as, being an independent brand, it depends on whether we can afford it or not. But then again, our riders usually move on their own. Ben is always traveling with the GX1000 crew a lot, Jimmy does that quite often too, Leo is in the US right now visiting both coasts, Masaki was in Budapest recently… The whole ‘tour’ thing is not really our culture, and for a small brand like ours it’s quickly costly…
Yeah I can imagine. I was on a Finnish government website the other day and they were advertising skating as a tourist attraction. Skate tourism in places like China and Copenhagen are getting really big.
Official from the governments? Haha… I mean, they kinda did this in Bordeaux, communicating on skateboarding a lot, and then they give you tickets for skating in the streets. But I guess it’s understandable… skateboarding is pretty popular these days, it’s one of the most practiced sports in the western world, and it’s a population that does travel a lot for their activity, so it does represent tourism money. There’s a lot of money to be made on cheap beers. Haha… I’m not sure their communication campaign is based on how street skateboarding can broaden your traveling experience by hanging out in areas rich and poor from dawn to dusk…
Magenta once ran an advert of a powerslide. What were the thoughts behind this ad?
It seems people think of us as a powerslide company, I guess because Leo does them all the time and it caught on, but it was just a fun ad to do. I mean, powerslides are fun, they’re not some serious stunt -which a majority of the ads are- and we just wanted to say it’s not mandatory to go out and do stunts, you can just go out and have fun, that’s really the only thing that matters in the end.
Did you see the Quartersnacks post about Magenta parodies? – they were very powerslide heavy.
Yes, I’ve seen some stuff. It made me laugh to be honest. And I’m sure that the guys who made them, well, they had fun doing it. Haha. Nothing should be taken too seriously. I mean, it’s not like we’re “hardcore” about powerslides; I actually suck at them. Haha. It’s an easy caricature, and I like to indulge in it too. I’ll make fun of Leo for powersliding all day and he’ll make fun of me for nose manualing everything in sight. It’s all good. Also, I must say I haven’t seen any parody of his Soleil Levant powerslide stunt under a tiny table-like sculpture. Haha…
I have always been a fan of Landscape, and Magenta too. Do you think there are any links between the two – perhaps that both use natural imagery?
Yeah, I guess this is what had originally drawn me to Landscape, and they became a part of my inspirations. I never thought of it this way, but their logo means tree, and ours is a plant. They are two pretty positive brands too.
Glen Fox and Koichiro Uehara have very unique styles and come from very interesting scenes, what other scenes are you particularly hyped on right now?
I always enjoy the GX1000 edits, because they’re all friends of mine who I don’t see much, so that hypes me up. The Parisien scene too, because that’s where I live, where I’ve skated the most, and it’s fun to see where the youth is taking it. I’m hyped on my friends, and I’m quite easy to be friends with… I dunno. I’m hyped on nice people.
I’ve heard great stuff about the Paris scene at the moment.
Yeah, there’s a good energy here these days.
Have you seen The Killing Floor Mike Daher guest board? I know you both did one at a similar time. Cool coincidence.
Yeah, I saw that! It’s sick. I guess we have the same influences, we also both did a Kenny Reed guest -ours was a long while back now. Mike is a G, i’m stoked he got 2 guest boards. And i’m stoked the other brand was The Killing Floor, I like their art direction.
What do you guys have planned for 2016?
We’ve put a lot of energy into our clothing, and we’re really stoked on what’s gonna come out this year. Starting from Spring the whole production quality has increased greatly, and it will even get better as the year goes on. Some legendary guests were hyped on doing stuff with us too, so we’re super stoked. We got some nice collabs on the way too. And in Spring, we are also launching a premium clothing line in collaboration with our friends from Caste Quality, called Aime… Shit, there’s actually a lot going on this year… Starting to pay ourselves would also be a nice thing to do this year… We’ll see. Having fun, skating, and keep doing what we love doing while we’re still around, that’s a pretty good plan to me already.
How is ‘AIME’ inspired by Japanese craftsman clothing, and where does this concept come from?
“Inspired by Japanese craftsman clothing” is a bit of a way to sum it up. The line is inspired by what we have seen over the course of our travels, to Japan notably, but not only. There is a bit of ‘every’ culture in there for those who wish to look. From Japan, we have taken the simplicity of design that makes the clothing more timeless and chic. The Japanese are very good at ‘freezing’ things in time instead of letting waves of trends follow each other in an infinite waltz. Once something has reached maturity they freeze it and keep it unchanged, which makes Japan a country of specialists – they don’t let go of what’s good; once it’s good, it’s good, they study it and they know it needn’t be altered. In that they have inspired our line, because certain things won’t succumb to successive trends, they’ll always steadily navigate to the side. A good pair of pants should always remain a good pair of pants, regardless of the passing trends, and this is how we thought our line.
From the craftsman clothing we have taken a certain functionality, look and feel. The pockets are reminiscent of craftsmen and artists’ blouse, something convenient to put a pen and notebook or alternatively a pack of cigarettes. It’s not particularly Japanese, because old french painters would wear those pocket blouse to paint, but i guess it’s something you could see in Japan. From skateboarding – and from the US culture – we have taken the ample cuts and the durability of the fabrics; it’s not gonna fall apart if you slam, it’s made to last. The fabrics have been chosen to “age” well – they’re all nice fabrics, but not stuff you have to worry about, because they’ll look even better when old and worn out. Then the overall sobriety and chic are definitely French. We can’t help it. It’s in our blood. Haha..
And how was it working alongside Chris Fireoved?
There is always something incredible working with close friends. We met Chris on his first trip to France as he was on a filming trip for This Time Tomorrow by Chris Mulhern. It’s quite funny that one day you meet someone from the other side of the planet, then you bump into him again and again, here or there, and a couple years down the line you’re creating something like this together. It’s quite surreal when you think about it. Anyway Chris was more experienced than us in how to actually design it – in terms of patterns or sewing for example, from his experience with his own clothing company, CASTE, as well as from working on projects with brands like UNDERCOVER or more recently LAUREN MANNOOGIAN. Chris made sure all clothing and seams were ‘clean’ from the inside out, stuff you don’t necessarily see from the outside, but which makes a real difference, in terms of durability or shape holding for instance. He, and Vivien, also picked all the fabrics, which are all amazing. Basically, he made it so that the line doesn’t just look high quality, but actually is high quality. Fuck, working with him was the best! Chris has the best sense of humour. He could almost be french. Hahaha. I wish he lived in Paris still. Chris, come back now, stop this nonsense man.