Behind the DC Video: Born Under Punches

Behind The Video

The DC Video

Born under punches, The DC Video chronicles the last couple years of head traumas and triumphs, the battle-torn struggles, the meat, the potatoes, and all the other realism that gets edited out of conventional reality-based transmissions.

Obvious favorites (Anthony “A.V.E.” Van Engelen, Brian Wenning, Stevie Williams, Rob Dyrdek, Josh Kalis, Colin McKay) are strikingly represented, as well as the highly impressive N.K.O.T.B. (Robbie McKinley, Ryan Smith, Lindsey Robertson, Ryan Gallant, Greg Myers)—giving faith that the future will indeed be more extra than ordinary.

But above all (and I’m absolutely positive I’m not alone in this sentiment) Danny Way has pressed high above even his own bar-raising tendencies, proving once again that he, along with the entire DC family, is not at all like the rest of our watery world’s inhabitants, satisfied with finding their own evaporating levels, but rather intensely focused on filling skateboarding’s basin to the brim—the over-splash happily intoxicating the remainder of skateboarding’s observers, enthusiasts, and otherwise obsessive individuals.

Danny Way Interview

Who came up with the big-ramp dimensions, and how’d you know what would work and what wouldn’t?

Well, obviously you go from what you’ve done in the past. But the first time we did something like that, it was just a shot in the dark. When nobody’s ever figured out those formulas, it’s stuff I’ve gotta just pull off the top of my head. Hopefully what I’ve learned from skateboarding gives me enough information to hit it somewhat close to on the nose.

When you build those structures, do you make it so you can adjust—move things around a bit?

The only things that can move, really, are the takeoff ramps—so the gaps are bigger. We can make the roll-in taller, too. But as far as the structure goes, it’s pretty much a done deal once it’s built. The one we built for the video was tremendously bigger than the last one. All the dimensions were a lot different—I mean night and day. I basically went from the King of Skate thing to where we’re at now. We could have gone in between there, but I was like, “Screw it, let’s just bypass that, and hopefully the formula I’ve been using to figure out these dimensions in the past will work.”

Did anyone put a radar gun on you?

No, we never found one. But I’m gonna make that happen. The way I look at it is, you’ve got these guys bombing hills on skateboards, and they’re going 60 or 70 miles an hour. If a board can go that fast, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do that.

It gets to a point where it’s scary just ’cause you get so high out of the ramp, and there’re a lot of things that could go wrong at that point. There are definitely a lot of variables.

How big is the transition on that quarterpipe?

Twenty-five {feet}.

And how much vert does it have?

It has two feet of vert. There are some secrets to this stuff that I don’t really want to reveal. I’ve got my own theories that I’ve come up with, and it’s cost me a lot of money and time to figure that shit out.

How big is that board you ride?

That’s confidential information. We’ll just say that it’s as big as a long board, like a Yardstick or something from back in the day, in that zone.

It doesn’t seem like you’re really that concerned with setting records or you’d just be launching straight airs—instead you’re kickflipping, tossing varials, and noseboning frontside rodeos. Are the record attempts just an excuse to build huge ramps and try things you’ve never thought of before?

The record attempts are just because it’s possible. I like to do it while it’s up. Now it’s definitely moved into what’s really possible on these ramps, not just how high you can go.

It’s obvious I know that the biggerhe ramp, the higher I can go. It’s cool for me to know that I did a 23-foot air or whatever it was. It’s a cool feeling to know that’s the highest air I’ve ever done on my skateboard. It’s a personal thing that fulfills my skateboarding desires.

As far as the tricks I’ve been doing, it’s all the tricks I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Once you figure out how big and high you can go, and once you learn the tricks, then you can probably do the tricks in those zones. That’s what’s important to me—getting comfortable doing airs and jumps that far. So once I learn these tricks, then I can progress it to that height and distance.

I saw you a week or so before the premiere and you were a couple days recovered from knocking yourself out after over-rotating over that gap ramp. You’d just spent the day pounding fence posts at your house, you were already talking about going out to the ramp again to get some more stuff before the deadline. Where does that need to work—that need to drive things forward—come from?

That’s the day I said I was going to do that stuff, and that’s the day I wanted to get it over with. I don’t want to be up there doing jumps that far and airs that high every day. But I definitely have a lot of self-drive, and it’s not about impressing other people or outdoing other people. There’s always been somebody in the back of my head who’s trying to challenge what my limits are. That’s why I’ve been doing the stuff I’ve been doing and not following everyone else and doing the same contest routine or whatever—trying to be better than everyone else. I’m trying to follow my own goals and trying to be better than the challenges that I put forth for myself.

A lot of people are just going to talk about the ramps you set the records on, but you also skated the indoor DC ramp, you skated pools, and you skated real street in your part. What made you think you still needed to go backside three the big four in Barcelona?

I’m trying to send a message to kids growing up skateboarding that it’s not about one thing or the other—it’s about all of it. My theory’s always been if you ride a skateboard for a profession, you should be able to ride that skateboard wherever possible. If that means showing up at the street spots to hang with the guys who skate street, then that’s what’s going to happen that day.

The Habitat video’s {Mosiac} coming out real soon, and hopefully I’ll get some street footage in there, but for the Alien video I really want to focus on a street part. I’ve been skating my whole life, and street’s really important. I feel like I haven’t put 100 percent effort into it for a while—I have a couple minutes of straight street footage.

Also, if you watch that stuff on the indoor ramp, those are all … there’s a line in there where I did a couple rodeos or something, and then there was the kickflip Indy over the hip backward, but those were the only two tricks I had where I grabbed my board. When I made that part I wanted to use the skills I learned on the streets and try and really put them into gear on vert—learning how to control the board with you feet. If people slow it down and check out some of the stuff on the indoor ramp, there’s actually a lot of technical tricks in there that for me were harder than some of the stuff you saw on the big ramps.

Let’s say this big-ramp stuff became something that people started to copy or they got to ride your ramps—do you see anyone else trying this stuff?

Yeah, I do actually. With motocross and snowboarding, a standard’s been set so kids know what to follow. It just happens to be that I’m the one guy doing it on my own right now, but if I can get a couple of other people to start getting into doing stuff like this, hopefully it’ll send a message to everybody that there is a whole other department here that hasn’t really been tapped into, and it’s a lot of fun once you get comfortable doing it. The last month that I spent at that Point X place, obviously there was a learning curve and I took some beatings in the process, but at the same time I had the most fun I’ve had on my skateboard in a long time.

Anthony Van Engelen Interview

You’ve been pretty busy with video-related stuff lately—the Alien Workshop video {Photosynthesis}, cameos in Girl’s Yeah Right!, the new Workshop video, and you just finished The DC Video. What can you tell me specifically about the DC video that made working on it a unique experience?

It was a lot harder for me because I came out of the Workshop video. It was really hard to get psyched immediately again—to make the transition, I think, when you put a lot of time and effort into something for a few years and then you’ve gotta start all over from scratch again. You want {your next part} to be just as rad or different or whatever. It’s hard to get back into that and achieve that.

You mean it’s hard to constantly go out and skate, even when you’re not feeling it, or if you’re hurt, things like that?

Yeah, and a lot of times I don’t want to {skate} because, well, we all know the crisis of street skating these days. There’s a lot of it, but it’s really dry, and everybody kind of does the same thing. I can’t compete with all these kids flying down 50-stair rails. I’ve gotta skate some wacky obstacle, and those are few and far between. For me, I battle through a lot of what I want to skate and what’s out there. That’s always a tough one. I go out and skate—I love it, but when you’re under the pressure of the camera, deadlines, and stuff like that, it can take the fun out of it and make it feel like a job.

How do you go about thinking about what you want to have in your part?

I go with the flow. Nothing I have is planned. I just can’t skate that way. I’ve tried to before and it’s way too militant. Skateboarding wasn’t meant to be that way—for me at least. I’ve just gotta cruise, and whatever comes up, it’s cool. Doing this video, I’ve learned that I can’t put that much pressure on myself—it’ll come if you’re out there skating constantly. If you’re out there having fun, it will come to be.

You seem like a guy who tries to keep things low-key, but is that hard now with the level of exposure you have—back-to-back videos, magazine coverage, and especially now in the throws of this premiere tour?

I’m not looking for the spotlight, but if it hits me for a second, then that’s fine. I don’t care. But by no means am I some dude who’s out there trying to bring it on myself. I just go with it. Whatever happens.

You’re a big Ted Nugent fan?

Yeah.

What’s the story with getting his song for your part?

It was kind of crazy for a minute. We really didn’t think we were gonna get it because we were going through his lawyer. We were really trying to get to him—we knew if we could do that, it would probably work, because he controls a lot of his music—I think he owns all the rights to his music.

I guess, Joe Brook who works for Slap—his best friend married Nugent’s daughter—so we kind of had a little connection there. We ended up getting a good deal on the song. I was stoked. If I couldn’t have skated to that song or another Nugent song, I don’t think I would’ve had a song. I would’ve been real pissed.

Have you met the guy?

No, I haven’t. I feel like it’s possible to do it. Joe Brook was talking about interviewing him for Slap. I think he could set it up so I could go out there and interview him and shit.

I just went and saw him like two weeks ago in San Bernardino, {California} with ZZ Top. It was sick.

Stevie Williams Interview

The stuff you got done for your part seems to be pretty natural. I don’t know if you give it a lot of thought, but how do you go about collecting what yoing it. The last month that I spent at that Point X place, obviously there was a learning curve and I took some beatings in the process, but at the same time I had the most fun I’ve had on my skateboard in a long time.

Anthony Van Engelen Interview

You’ve been pretty busy with video-related stuff lately—the Alien Workshop video {Photosynthesis}, cameos in Girl’s Yeah Right!, the new Workshop video, and you just finished The DC Video. What can you tell me specifically about the DC video that made working on it a unique experience?

It was a lot harder for me because I came out of the Workshop video. It was really hard to get psyched immediately again—to make the transition, I think, when you put a lot of time and effort into something for a few years and then you’ve gotta start all over from scratch again. You want {your next part} to be just as rad or different or whatever. It’s hard to get back into that and achieve that.

You mean it’s hard to constantly go out and skate, even when you’re not feeling it, or if you’re hurt, things like that?

Yeah, and a lot of times I don’t want to {skate} because, well, we all know the crisis of street skating these days. There’s a lot of it, but it’s really dry, and everybody kind of does the same thing. I can’t compete with all these kids flying down 50-stair rails. I’ve gotta skate some wacky obstacle, and those are few and far between. For me, I battle through a lot of what I want to skate and what’s out there. That’s always a tough one. I go out and skate—I love it, but when you’re under the pressure of the camera, deadlines, and stuff like that, it can take the fun out of it and make it feel like a job.

How do you go about thinking about what you want to have in your part?

I go with the flow. Nothing I have is planned. I just can’t skate that way. I’ve tried to before and it’s way too militant. Skateboarding wasn’t meant to be that way—for me at least. I’ve just gotta cruise, and whatever comes up, it’s cool. Doing this video, I’ve learned that I can’t put that much pressure on myself—it’ll come if you’re out there skating constantly. If you’re out there having fun, it will come to be.

You seem like a guy who tries to keep things low-key, but is that hard now with the level of exposure you have—back-to-back videos, magazine coverage, and especially now in the throws of this premiere tour?

I’m not looking for the spotlight, but if it hits me for a second, then that’s fine. I don’t care. But by no means am I some dude who’s out there trying to bring it on myself. I just go with it. Whatever happens.

You’re a big Ted Nugent fan?

Yeah.

What’s the story with getting his song for your part?

It was kind of crazy for a minute. We really didn’t think we were gonna get it because we were going through his lawyer. We were really trying to get to him—we knew if we could do that, it would probably work, because he controls a lot of his music—I think he owns all the rights to his music.

I guess, Joe Brook who works for Slap—his best friend married Nugent’s daughter—so we kind of had a little connection there. We ended up getting a good deal on the song. I was stoked. If I couldn’t have skated to that song or another Nugent song, I don’t think I would’ve had a song. I would’ve been real pissed.

Have you met the guy?

No, I haven’t. I feel like it’s possible to do it. Joe Brook was talking about interviewing him for Slap. I think he could set it up so I could go out there and interview him and shit.

I just went and saw him like two weeks ago in San Bernardino, {California} with ZZ Top. It was sick.

Stevie Williams Interview

The stuff you got done for your part seems to be pretty natural. I don’t know if you give it a lot of thought, but how do you go about collecting what you have to get done for your part?

I just skate, yo. That’s all I do—skate and film. When it’s almost time, when it’s like in the middle of the video where everything is starting to get rounded up and edited, I look at my footage and see what I’ve got—see what else I want to get, and make sure I don’t have too many of the same tricks. But for the most part, I just skate. Try to do my thing.

Is making a video all fun and games?

It wasn’t all fun. It ain’t fun filming.

Because of deadline pressure?

No, no pressure. I don’t feel any pressure from videos. I just skate and film. Just getting a trick done—you’re working on a hard trick—and it’s taking from ten minutes to two weeks, you know what I mean? That’s frustrating because you get so close and you want to quit because it’s not working. But for me, the minute I want to quit, that try, I get the closest I’ve even gotten, so it makes me want to try even more and land it. Once I finally land a trick, I’m psyched because I can move on to the next trick or the next line.

Every trip is a memory—every clip is a memory. It’s pretty weird that a long time ago I used to look up to all these dudes. Then I got on this team, I’m skating with them, and now we’ve got another generation looking up to us. It makes me feel more dope, ’cause I feel I’m still in the mix. I’m psyched that I’m still repping my team, repping with my team, and skating. It’s one of the greatest feelings for me.

Skateboarding can kill you. Do you do anything to keep healthy?

Stay on the ground {laughs}. It’s like, everybody jumps down shit and I jump on shit. I don’t really get hurt too often, jumping up on top of shit, but the higher the ledge, the higher the fall. I don’t know, it probably equals out at the end of the day. My body’s still sore just like somebody who was jumping down a set of twelve. I think I’ve been skating thirteen years going on fourteen years. It ain’t how it used to be. Not at all. I’m 23. People will be like, “You’re still young.” I’ll be like, “I’ve been skating for fourteen years—hard.”

Would you have done anything differently if you could have?

Yeah, but I’ll do those things for the next video. Now that this video’s done, I’m gonna start working on the next one right now. Like, tomorrow {laughs}. I ain’t trying to break right now. I’m ready to make some kids happy who are psyched on Stevie.

Brian Wenning Interview

Was making the DC video different than the other stuff you’ve been in?

It was a little bit. There was a little bit more pressure. Before, I would just skate and we’d film for the hell of it. Now we actually go out and film just for the video—trips and stuff—whereas back in the Love Park days, we’d just skate and then somehow we’d film the trick. This was like filming a real video, but it was still mellow.

Whose idea was the True Hollywood intro?

That was Greg Hunt’s idea. That was all real photos and real footage. Nothing was even planned out. It just came together as a joke, and then somehow, everybody liked it. I didn’t like it at first.

Why?

‘Cause I’ve done all those things that they’re joking around about. But everybody gets a kick out of it, so it’s cool. That’s why I was sort of weirded out, ’cause I was like, “Damn, I actually did all those things {laughs}.”

You seem a bit more underground than some of the other DC guys. Is that by design or is that from all the time you’ve spent living away from Cali?

I don’t really have that much fun shooting photos unless it’s with like {Mike} Blabac or {Ryan} Gee. Those are pretty much the only people I shoot with. I don’t like shooting photos of random things.

Just to fill an ad or whatever?

Yeah, I’d rather not have the ad. Which is kind of bad, too, ’cause kids who pick up the magazine aren’t gonna really

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