Reel Talk: Bronze Videos with Peter Sidlauskas

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With Bronze Hardware starting out as an inside joke, it’s now a full time reality and job for NYC filmer Peter Sidlauskas. Did you know they didn’t actually make hardware until November 2014?! After last year’s Enron and this year’s Trust, Peter and his partner Patrick Murray have made their **very rare** mark on the skate world.—BLAIR ALLEY

Was Solo Jazz the first video?
No Solo Jazz was the second video; the first video was 56K, which was in 2012 I think. Once that came out people really seemed to take it serious, like whoa, maybe we should make product? Then the first thing that happened were the shirts, then boards came and then the hardware came.

The hardware came at the end?
Yeah the hardware came after everything. It was originally supposed to be Bronze Hardware and the hardware was literally the last piece. We just started making hardware through Chapman, the Champman dudes are the ones producing our hardware and they just started making it in November. It pretty much took three years for there to be actual Bronze Hardware and that’s just with the packaging ’cause we were actually just taking hardware and spray painting it. There use to be this company called Major Hardware and we knew one of the dudes there and we would buy bulk hardware from them and we would just spray paint—like get fucking bronze metallic spray paint and spray paint the hardware and we would just post photos on Instagram like, “Yeah this is how we do it, we just spray paint this shit.” I remember we made like 20 sets of hardware and we were like, “Let’s put it online for 10 dollars just to be stupid,” and to my surprise people bought spray painted hardware. I was just pretty blown away at that.

So it all pretty much started like as an online joke, then videos, then shirts and boards and then hardware last? That’s amazing.
Yeah pretty much.

How often do you guys come out with boards and shirts? Are you organized with it, or just whenever you sell out you’ll make new stuff?
We’re pretty much not that organized with it now. It’s getting a little more organized with the fees and all that stuff because at the beginning, we would come out with shirts whenever we wanted and I guess right now we’re still doing that. People do stuff in seasons, like this is the spring line and this is the December line, but I feel like in our case it’s kind of just whenever we want to make stuff. Right now we only have like four boards, four designs and it’s pretty much like we get stuff made and then it sells out and then its like, alright well we’re just going to make a completely different line and people always hit us up, “Oh when are you going to restock that thing?” Dude, you should have got it when you could have and now you can’t get it because we’re off to something completely new. We made these anime decks and pretty much you can’t turn Instagram likes into sales because we’ll make a board and it will get so many Instagram likes and we’re like “Oh god, we’re going to sell out of this in a fucking day,” but then you put it online and like 10 or 15 people buy it in a week. Whoa that’s weird, I thought it was going to do way better than that. Then eventually we do really small runs at the moment and when it sells out then it sells out and we really don’t make it anymore. We don’t really have an interest in reproducing old ideas and we’re really attention deficit disorder, we make something and then its like, okay move onto the next thing. People will always ask “When are you going to restock on the anime board?” Look man, that thing was around for at least two or three months, if you really wanted it you could have got it, but it’s gone now. We’re not going to restock on it, because then we have to buy another 100 boards and are a 100 people really going to want these boards?

The original: Bronze 56K, released in 2012:

I hate when you actually buy the limited thing and then that company rereleases it six months later.
Yeah you think you have something special and then it gets rereleased and then the thing you have is nothing special anymore. We honestly made boards thinking no one’s going to skate this. Like if we came out with a board, people are just going to want it just to have it, but I don’t know, I guess people really did skate some of these boards. I mean I see stuff on Instagram saying, “Yeah I just bought my new Bronze board and I’m skating it,” and I’m like dude only 50 of those were made! What are you doing?

So Enron came out last summer and Trust came out six months ago, was that kind of your plan after Enron was to put out this next one so soon after it?
No, actually that wasn’t the plan at all. I don’t even know where to start with this (laughs). Pretty much Solo Jazz was finished and I really wasn’t filming for a bit because sales started to go up more and I was just like, whoa, I need to be more in touch with this instead of actually selling and editing and stuff. A long time went where I wasn’t really selling anything and I think It was around April 2014. I remember Josh Wilson, who has first part in the Enron video, he just got on Hopps at the time, Jamal Williams’ company, and he said, “Yo Jamal wants to do some kind of collaboration with Bronze,” and I was like, alright what does he want to do? Josh said, “I’m not sure, he’s going to hit you up.” Jamal sent me a bunch of HD footage and I guess Bronze is really anti-HD but I was like, yeah whatever give me the footage. This whole Hopps Bronze collab kind of fell through and it didn’t really happen, but I had all this HD footage of Josh and then I remembered from two years ago I was filming the 5Boro team and I had all this HD footage of Jordan Trahan and I was just like I’m going to put something together with these two and I made a little five minute clip of those two. I showed it to some guys and they were just like “Whoa I want to get a clips in this!” Then all of a sudden it became bigger than what it was and then people wanted clips in this thing and so I was like, oh sure send me stuff. Then Brendan Carroll came in and he was like, “I got a bunch of HD footage too,” and it was like, oh shit okay. I guess that’s what it’s like with all the videos that we do, we don’t really plan on stuff, it kind of just happens where it’s like, oh shit we’re getting all this footage coming in. We hadn’t released anything for a bit, so we’re like yeah, we’re going to make this clip called Enron and in the promo I actually say, cause I knew people were going to get pissed that it was in HD, and Bronze is all ‘fuck HD.’ So I put in it that we’re coming out with a VX video by the end of 2014, but I didn’t actually think we were going to do that and I just said that to, you know, to keep people like, “Yeah just so you know we’re still filming for this video,” but I really do think we’re putting out a video.

So alright let’s just get Enron out and then by the end of 2014 people are going to be like, “Where’s that video?” Like fucking I don’t know, nowhere, but it’s weird, Enron came out and then a lot more of the dudes kept filming. I can’t take responsibility for a lot of the footage that’s filmed in the Bronze videos because I get a lot of help from other dudes and I didn’t think they were going to contribute footage for this video [Trust] because I know a lot of people want to work on their other videos. Then all of a sudden, the end of 2014 came, and everyone was like, “Let’s put it in the next Bronze video,” and I was accumulating all of this VX1000 footage and then at some point Trust was made. I was just like, wow this is insane. I really wasn’t even planning on coming out with Trust at all until the final month where it was like, wow we really can make a video. Everything kept happening at the last minute, for example, you know Brendan Carroll and Aaron Herrington and the De La footage? That was literally the last second out of nowhere. Brendan Carroll hit me up like, “Hey actually Ryan Garshell has all this footage of me, Aaron, and De La. He can send it to you.” I said, “Okay yeah that’ll be cool,” and everything just happened and I liked that ’cause there is really no plan, there’s no phasing anything, there’s no, “Okay you got to go film this.” It’s just really like whatever happens happens. I’ve seen videos before where you spend two years making a video, and you just have this picture in your head for the finished product and it’s really not what you thought it was going to be and you’re really disappointed. So I think, you know what? There isn’t even a video going to be made, and by the end of the year when a video gets made, it’s like wow, I wasn’t even expecting that. It’s better than I thought and that’s because I didn’t think anything was going to happen. It just happened with no expectations and made a really good video. It’s a win win situation if you don’t think you’re going to come out with a good video, then you have nothing to lose.

Kevin Tierney, cruising the LES. Photo / HEIKKILA
Kevin Tierney, cruising the LES. Photo / HEIKKILA

Is it the same guys that help you with the sales of Bronze who help put the videos together too?
Well the sales of Bronze is pretty much just me and my friend Patrick Murray. We came up with the whole concept and the image of Bronze. A lot of people that help out with the filming are JP Blair, Paul Young, Dick Rizzo, Johnny Wilson. They really made this all come together because there’s a lot of New York-based videos. When Johnny Wilson comes out with a video, it’s all filmed by him and edited by him. I was doing the same kind of thing, but now my apartment is pretty much a warehouse where people are just ordering shirts and shirts need to be sent out to shops. I feel like now I’ve become more into that and it’s a lot harder for me to go out and film so I’m glad that I have a lot of people helping me out. I know how hard it is to give footage up because when I was making full-length videos full time, I didn’t want to give up footage to anyone. It’s really cool that they’re down to contribute to this ’cause Bronze is really this big collaboration of filmers coming together making a cool video in the end.

“Pretty much you can’t turn Instagram likes into sales”

What was the soundtrack digging like for Trust? Cause I noticed you had stuff like the Drake and that old Mobb Deep demo tape or something which seemed like new areas for Bronze.
Yeah I spend a lot of time on Soundcloud and Youtube. You really get lost in the related searches of a really good song, and you find yourself digging into a whole black hole of the internet and all these crazy ass songs. I don’t want to seem pretentious and hipster of like finding all these weird songs, but I do like finding these songs, ’cause I remember as a kid watching skate videos and I loved when there was a song in the video and then they wouldn’t put the song title in the credis so you would have to find it out on your own. You have to Google the lyrics and try to find this song. I like that and that’s why every time someone asks for a song like, “What’s this song at 18:22?” I’m like, “I’m not going to tell you, you got to find it out on your own, it’s out there.” Once they find it, they’re going to be like, “Oh my fucking god, I cant believe I found this song.” It’s like a treasure hunt.

There were skate videos in the early ’90s that I didn’t find the songs for like 20 years. Songs in old 411s, these dope hip hop songs from a rap group that recorded an album but they didn’t have enough money to pay for their studio time so the album never came out. But some skater knew them and got the demo tape and it made its way into 411.
Yeah I love that where it’s like all these songs that maybe their friends made and they used it for their part.Like the Jason Lee song in Video Days, what fucking song is that? I can’t find it anywhere. And you’re not going to find it anywhere, it made you want to watch the part even more because of the song ’cause it’s the only way I can hear the song if I hear it in the video. Especially with this one [Trust] everyone keeps asking for Sean Powers’ second song and people are like, “That’s an R. Kelly song, but you slowed it down or something and I can’t find the remix version.” It’s out there, it’s on YouTube somewhere and I’m just waiting for someone to find it, because I know if that person finds it, then that person is the craziest person ever. He must have gone through so much shit to find that song, ’cause I know for a fact that song has like a hundred views, and if that dude finds that song then I’ll be like, “Wow, I cant believe he found it.”

Trust, dropped in March 2015

What filmers or videos would you say are your biggest influences right now?
Right now I don’t know, but growing up one of my favorite videos ever was this video from Canada called Supper’s Ready from the Green Apple’s skate shop. I’m not sure if you’ve seen that.

I haven’t seen that one. I was just watching something from them today called Video X or something. Is that before it?
That one’s good but Supper’s Ready is just like one of the best videos. It really changed my whole thought process of everything because that came out same time as Fully Flared, way back in ’07. I remember there was this formula for skate videos where there’s a person and a song, and then the next person with a song, and another person with enders. There might be some people with super 8 footage, but this video broke all the rules before it was cool to break all the rules. This video was made by Ryan McGuigan, you can find it on Vimeo somewhere. It was so sick to me, I remember when I saw it, it just changed my whole seeing how a skate video can be made. Oh, you have 30 seconds of footage? You have to share a part with someone or you have to be in the front section. But with this video, dudes have 30 seconds of footage and they had their own song, or they had 30 seconds of footage and they had two songs. How do you have a two-song part with only 30 seconds of footage? That’s crazy, you’re not suppose to do that. But he just made it work, he put all these random clips in it. That dude was really ahead of what was happening and now there’s this whole underground scene where they’re using random clips in videos. That video doesn’t get the credit it deserves. He was doing all that before anyone else.

Chaci, ollie. Photo / HEIKKILA
Chachi, ollie. Photo / HEIKKILA

 It seems like anyone who uses random clips now, they all site Bronze. Some guys in San Diego made a couple of videos and people say, “Oh it’s like San Diego Bronze shit.”
Yeah and I really do get flattered by all that, like the recent Gold video that came out, everyone was saying, “Psht, this is a fucking Bronze rip off.” That’s so cool that we’re associated with that kind of thing, that we made our own image. But I do see that more recently because when we started making videos, I’m not saying I invented this style of editing but what I did make with Bronze, there were a very limited amount of people who made videos like that and now there are so many. You just see random clips and it does make me feel, when I was making Trust, I was thinking it’s just like corny now. Is this getting played out? Is this a fad that’s going to be over in a couple years? I didn’t want Trust to be seen as this corny video that’s just like all these other people’s. “Ah typical Bronze shit doing the same shit they’re doing.”

“It’s a win win situation if you don’t think you’re going to come out with a good video, then you have nothing to lose.”

How did you settle on the stretched VX format for Trust? Or why did you decide to put it out like that?
It was by accident. I remember one of the videos that I made, Caviar, I accidently made the format to be HD, but it was kind of a VHS rip off video and I just exported it in an HD setting and it came out fine. I was like, oh I’m going to make every video like this ’cause no one said anything. I don’t do what a lot of people do where we’re filming HD videos, so everything should be HD, or we’re filming VX videos and everything should be VX. We’re pretty much mixed media, which is why I don’t get it when people get pissed off. Enron was all in HD because the first Bronze video was actually probably more HD than VX. 56K was a lot of 7D and no one said shit about that. We use a lot of HD footage and I hate when it’s full screen and then it gets cropped with those black bars on each side and then it goes back to HD and then cropped again. It would be cool if it was just the same frame length through the whole thing, and some people were pissed saying, “If you think I’m going to watch VX footage in 16:9 you got to be crazy.” But I’m sure that kid watched it, so that one kid on Slap that said that—I read these comments, I know. Fucking nerds, but yeah we use mixed media and I just want everything to flow the same way with the same frame dimensions. VX looks pretty good in 16:9 and it’s not detrimental, I watched the video online and on my phone before I watched it on a DVD ’cause most people are going to see it on their phones or on their computers. If it looks good on the computer and it looks good on the phone then I’m fine with it.

Enron, dropped summer 2014

Why the plan to make hard copy DVDs of your videos and put them out for free?
I made hard copies of Trust and Solo Jazz and 56K, and 56K came out with the last four videos I made previous to them. With Trust, I only made a thousand copies because I always wanted to put it out online first and then you have the option to buy this if you want. I still have people all the time hitting me up wanting to get a hard copy of Solo Jazz or 56K and I’m just like, yeah? You should have got it when you had the chance, but you can’t get it now so I’m sorry. 500 copies of Trust for my online store and 500 for shops and I thought that would be enough but now it seems like we’re running out. I get hit up by people like Josh Stewart who said, “The Japanese want 400 copies and I could use 200 copies myself.” Dude I can’t. It makes it more special when someone has a copy of the DVD and they know that there’s only so many copies out there. I don’t know if that’s pretentious or hipster of me, but I never really thought of myself making money off a skate video. There’re so many skate videos online and even when I put videos online, you have an option to buy it. That’s better because when you say you have to buy it at the shop, and then you’re hounding people to get it off line, it’s just such a hassle. I wouldn’t want to go through that ’cause a video is going to end up online anyways and I’d rather have it end up online how I wanted it. I don’t want it to be separated in parts because when I make a video, I want it to be watched from start to finish and if it’s uploaded in parts it takes away what I was trying to do. I don’t want to force it onto people, I’m only interested in the die hard Bronze fans. If you really want to buy it, you’ll buy it even if it’s on online.

What’s up with the Pig Wheels name drops on Instagram?
Yeah that’s a funny one. Shit where do I even start with this? So basically I don’t know we’re really into like ridiculous random stuff, and Pig Wheels are just so out of the Bronze community. Bronze gets put into this category: It’s Bronze and Palace and Polar and independent things and we’re just like, “Yeah but what about Pig Wheels?” It’s just such a random thing and I remember we actually hit up Pig Wheels and we were like, “Yo you want to do like a collaboration or something?” And they never hit us up back. We really weren’t that bummed on it but we put out the video and—I always like that little thing in there with the Pig Wheels logo. That’s kind of like an influence of old TV. If you have a community channel and you have those PBS kind of things and it’s sponsored by these things and I just threw Pig Wheels in there with AOL and the National Terrorist Funds ’cause we’re stupid, we don’t have a plan. We put that in there and when Trust dropped, some dudes from Pig actually hit me up and said, “Hey I work for Pig Wheels and what the fuck is up with that shout out you gave us? And Quartersnacks wrote that you’re 30 grand in debt to us. We don’t understand what’s going on. Can you please explain?” I said, “We were just trying to confuse people and make people be like ‘what the fuck is going on?'” And then he was like, “Whoa, well you really got everyone confused. Everyone here at TumYeto is down with Bronze and we’re really hyped on you guys.” I was like, “Oh shit thank God. I thought you guys were pissed. We actually hit you guys up a couple months back to do a collaboration but never got a response.” He was like, “Oh really? Well we would be so down to do a collaboration with you guys.” Maybe there’ll be a Pig Wheels Bronze collaboration in the future. Which is pretty cool. I find it so sick that something that starts off as a joke then ends up becoming reality. I live for that shit. Pig Wheels just came up in our heads one day like, let’s shout out Pig Wheels and now we’re actually talking to the dudes there and could come up with something really dope in the future. Maybe a 56 mm Pig Wheel. Bronze 56k mm it could happen.

Billy McFeely, backside 50-50. Photo / HEIKKILA
Billy McFeely, backside 50-50. Photo / HEIKKILA

Have there been any videos from the major skate companies that you’ve liked from within the last year?
I liked “cherry”. I can’t say that I’m hyped on a lot of the big company videos ’cause I’m kind of jaded from everything and when a new video comes out I don’t even know. When I was a kid I use to be so on top of these things and knew when every video was happening. Now it’s like, “Oh shit the new Real video is premiering next week?” What? I didn’t even know they were making a video. I’m just not that interested, or if you grow older you’re interested in a more closer space of things. You don’t really care much about what’s going on out there. Right now I care about what’s happening in New York and what my friends are doing. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just that it’s what’s more relatable. I like to see my friends skateboard because when I see a Johnny Wilson video, that’s my friend, I see that kid all the time. That’s kind of cool, I can see him progressing in the videos. In the bigger videos, there’s this new kid and he’s really good, but I don’t know that kid. As you get older, it doesn’t matter to you as much.

What’s the connection with Bronze and Bobby Puleo?
Not much, that was another idea that was just—I can’t believe we did that. My friend Pat, we do Bronze together, and out of nowhere we’re like, “Yo we should come out with a board with just some random pro’s name on it.” And I was like, “Who?” And he was like, “What if it was just a blank board that said Bobby Puleo on it?” I was like, “I don’t know. He would probably try to kill us or sue us or something.” He was like, “Nah but what if we spelled it wrong, then you can’t do that.” Right then I saw Bobby Pulio spelled wrong on a skateboard and that just seemed genius. Then I was like, “But what if we put the red line under it to make it seem like it was misspelled?” Then it was like, oh shit, we’ve got to come out with this board. It came out and it didn’t get as much hype as I thought. Only like 25 of those boards were made. I don’t really know Puleo, and he actually lives like two block away from me. I see him at this coffee shop where I live, but he has no idea what I look like or who I am.

Bronze_Boards_Jenkem_Interview
Bobby actually called up Kevin Tierney when the board started surfacing on Instagram and said, “Yo, what is going on? Why is my name on this board?” I don’t know what happened in that conversation but Kevin texted me, “Bobby Puleo just called me,” and I was like, “Oh my God! What did he say?” Kevin was like, “Dude I was on the phone with him for like an hour and a half.” I was like, “And what did he say?” Kevin was like, “He was kind of bummed at first like, ‘I don’t understand why my name is on this board,’ but then I kind of discussed it with him and by the end of the conversation he was cool with it and he wanted a board.” Then Puleo actually texted me and he was like, “Hey Peter it’s Bobby. I just wanted to know if you had any of those boards available.” I was like, “Oh yeah I actually do.” We were supposed to meet up and I was supposed to give him a board but it never happened and I guess that was my fault. I kind of flaked on him which is pretty bad on my part. I remember he was saying, “I’m actually making my own company called Victim and was wondering if you wanted to distribute it.” I was like, “Not really.” I mean I love Puleo, he’s one of my favorite skaters but the stories I’ve heard of him—I just wouldn’t really want to do business with him and have to deal with money with Puleo. Some of my friends were like, “Just try it out, you’d be distributing Puleo’s company. That’d be so cool.” I’m like yeah I know but I don’t think it’ll work. But he did see the board and he did want a board but he never got one. Maybe one day I can get him a board. It’s funny, I see him at the coffee shop, I’ve passed by him, made eye contact with him and he has no idea who I am. Which is kind of cool ’cause maybe it’s best he doesn’t know who I am. I read an interview with Vivien Feil the other day where Puleo cursed him out at some restaurant and I don’t want that happening to me. I don’t think you’re suppose to meet your favorite skaters.

What projects do you have coming up? You have a collab with Huf?
We got a little shoe coming out with Huf and then we got some boards being made with Palace Skateboards, that I think one of the dudes Sean [Powers] actually designed himself, and hopefully we can get that Pig collab going. I guess it’ll be the year of the collab. It makes sense with Huf and the dudes who are down with Bronze. I think they’re going to put on some of the dudes that are in the Bronze video, so I hope that happens. I like what Huf is doing, and Palace, they’re big fans of us and I like those dudes over there. I’m really hyped to see those boards in shops.

Bronze x Palace Paramount, dropped in the time since this interview was done.

Any plans for another full length Bronze video after all that or can you even see that far into the future?
After every video I make, I say this is the last video. I don’t want to do this again. I don’t want to put myself through that. I don’t know what the future is going to be like but then again, I’m just trying to go with the flow. Now it’s a lot harder, I remember when I started making videos in New York, there were like two people making videos. When the Bronze video was over, I was asking one of my friends, “What are you filming for now?” I swear to god he mentioned five videos he’s filming for. How the fuck did we even get into that? This dude is filming five videos. I feel like everyone wants to make their own video and it’s just getting harder and harder with Instagram and everything. I remember you had to actually own a VX1000 and actually have Final Cut on your computer, and now you can just have an iPhone and iMovie on an iPad and you can just make a video like that. Anyone can make a video which means everyone is making a video. I’m surprised Trust even happened the way it happened. It was such a blessing and if another blessing like that comes in the future, then I would be really happy. But right I’m now not planning anything and I’m not trying to predict the future.

Do you still have a full time job as well?
No. I did have a full time job, I worked at an insurance agency for like two and a half years, but I just quit that four months ago to work on Bronze full time. I saved up a bunch of money and so much stuff was happening, I needed to put 100-percent into Bronze right now, because in a year this could be over. If it was going to happen, its going to happen now. So I quit that job and now I’m pretty much doing Bronze full time because I can pay my rent just by doing it and that’s insane. I never thought or planned on making money off skateboarding at all and the fact that it’s really happening—it’s really just surreal because like I said, this whole thing started off as a joke—it wasn’t meant to be anything and now it’s kind of crazy. It has taught me a lot—I never thought that I’d have to work on catalogs or line sheets or getting things sent out to shops, but I’m definitely learning this stuff and I’m glad that I can just live in my own space by myself in a studio apartment. My kitchen is pretty much a warehouse, I just get boxes and stuff sent here, send it out to shops, and it’s pretty cool. It’s definitely better than working at the insurance agency because that shit sucks, I mean it’s not that horrible, but I definitely don’t miss 9 to 5, going to meetings, and going to work on Monday and people are like, “Hey, happy Monday everyone! Ha ha ha!” and fucking, “Thank God it’s Friday!” I don’t miss that.

Bronze think tank. Photo / HEIKKILA
Bronze think tank (Peter’s the one with the camera). Photo / HEIKKILA

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Follow Peter and Bronze on Instagram: @solojazz @bronze56k