Theories: Ratkid & “What Goes On” Zine
Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez
Ratkid has logged some serious miles over the past few years In which he manages to always find some interesting scenery. The “What Goes On” zine is a sampling of some digital photos He has captured over the past year or so. I asked Rat some questions in our latest “Theories” article to supplement the zine which is available in our online shop..
-The first part of the zine is photos from China which I assume are from The Make trip. Whose idea was it to hit China for that?
I believe the idea would belong to Orlando, the owner of The Make. A whole bunch of them had been to a different city in China the year before and they liked it so much they planned another trip, which I was lucky enough to be a part of.
-Clarky had mentioned the food there was terrible, do you agree with that and did you have a go to food spot?
Well he was the unfortunate victim of apple food poisoning so I feel him on that. I remember the breakfast at the hostel being the most tasteless thing I’ve ever had in my life. Outside of there, we would mess with the late night street food like skewers of any and everything. I got to try some pig brains and other Chinese delicacies. There was some pretty good noodle spots, but after a while, the food would start smelling like the garbage and vice versa. After a couple weeks I had enough.
-The area you guys rode looked like some sort of slum/poor section, what was the deal with that neighborhood?
The first time we ended up in a slum like that we were like ok this is pretty cool, there’s some good obstacles here. Then we realized that there was several of these neighborhoods scattered around the city, and that their puzzle-like alleys were filled with shit to ride, as well as shit in open sewers. They were noticeably darker, colder and smelled worse than the outside world. They were by far my favorite terrain to ride out there, for Marv, not so much.
-What are all the places you traveled in the zine photos?
There are photos from China, New York City, Philadelphia, Texas, Mississippi, Baltimore, Upstate New York and Greece
-What are some places you would like to go but haven’t had the chance yet? (For riding or other reasons)
Top of the list would probably be Philippines and Seoul just for the culture and visual aspect. Not to mention some cities in South America for riding and then in the US, Nebraska and Arkansas just for lurking purposes.
-You definitely have an interest in the run down or overlooked neighborhoods of a city, why are these places so appealing to you?
Well I grew up in a fairly nice neighborhood and it just got boring real fast, so the run down neighborhoods were very inviting and refreshing. At this point it’s very unexciting and sometimes uncomfortable to be riding or lurking around some nicer areas. As far as the overlooked part goes, it’s not really something I set out to do differently than other people, I just like to be in places I enjoy for whatever reason they might give to me.
-That same thing sort of applies to your riding also. Is that intentional or is it the natural way you ride? (Finding obscure spots and neighborhoods)
I’m just a product of my environment.
-The zine is named the same as a video project you put out years ago, any chance we could see a “What goes on 2” video?
So I’d just like to say that the name of the video was made up by Dave Belcher while we were living together and riding / filming said video. While making the zine, I figured why not just keep the name going and he was cool with it. As for the second video, I have some footage stocked up ready to make a small video with and the plan would be to put it out on DVD along with the first video, which should be getting done pretty soon.
-Are you into any conspiracy theories?
I don’t particularly research any, but I’ve sure listened to some drunk people talk about them. I might have a couple of my own too…
Theories: Sam Jones & “Connetication”
-Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez
Whether the medium is DVD or Youtube, the feel of a full length style project that someone spent time on is always good. Sam Jones recently released his “Connetication” project which was filmed over the past year and a half mostly in Sam’s home state of Connecticut. I asked Sam a few questions about the video for our series of quick “Theories” interviews…
-Given that individual edits are commonplace, what made you want to make a full length style video?
Well, this was originally going to be a 5-7 minute mix style video that myself and my good friend Josh Foisey were going to make with riding from Javaun, myself and a few others. I ended up filming a lot with a few people early on, then started riding with a couple of the younger guys from my scene who were motivated to go out and find new stuff to ride. From there it just molded into a longer style video and all the guys were down to keep filming for it.
-As with any CT video there is a good amount of Uconn clips, are cops there still a bitch to deal with?
It definitely was pretty hard to ride there a little white back, but recently it’s been a bit easier.
-Noticed a healthy amount of new spots. What is your preferred method of finding new stuff, are you a IG/street view lurker or do you keep it old school and ride/ drive around?
A solid mixture of both. Generally, Javaun and myself would spend some time on internet/google maps during the week. On the weekends we would try to have certain spots we would want to go to, then just drive around and explore those areas. Our good friend Kevin Job helped us out with finding some fresh spots as well.
-I know you have ridden with skateboarders quite a bit over the years, are you influenced by skate videos or filmers?
I don’t watch skate videos too often, besides local ones, or a few that my skate friends will show me, but I definitely like the way certain skate lines are filmed. There has been a lot of awesome local skate scene type videos from around the area with some friends in it that I am psyched on.
-What’s the deal with that roof/storm door setup you barspun? How did finding that come about?
Javaun had recently gotten hurt and couldn’t ride but he was still down to go pedal around on his cruiser bike. We actually had no real plan that day but I brought my camera bag with me and we stumbled upon it tucked away off a side road.
-Since the video is SD/4:3 I gotta ask if you are a hardcore VX/SD guy or do you not really care?
I don’t really have a strong opinion on it. I appreciate both. I wanted to buy a camera 3-4 years ago, and a DVX setup was a somewhat cheap option that looks good so I got one. We are probably going to be filming HD for our next project.
-You rode to a classic Pete Rock track, and the rest of the music in the video has a smooth groovy feel. Is that a reflection of what you listen to on a daily basis?
For the most part, yes. I definitely wanted the music to reflect everyones riding and style well, but at the same time be the type of stuff I listen to.
-Did Javaun attempt to ride down any ladders for this video?
Thankfully no, haha. He almost did at one point, but thought twice about it this time.
-Are you into any conspiracy theories?
Theories: Jon Schimpf and Jib “Tape 4”
-Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez
-Photos via @jibbmx
Amidst the haze of instagram content and vlogs, Jon Schimpf has released the fourth installment of his Jib series, “Tape 4”. The DVD is another quality full length street video that Jon has added to the East Coast scene. Great care and thought was used in the production from the filming and music, to the riding itself. I decided to ask Jon some questions to get insight into the video in this new feature interview series entitled “Theories”. See what Jon had to say below.
The Jib “Tape 4” is now available here in the online shop.
-You’ve used the term “realistic street riding” in the description of this video. Explain the concept behind that.
Simplicity. all the little nibs or stylish spot use clips that some people feel self conscious about actually using in their part, i love that stuff. i like to go out and document exactly what’s happening in my scene, what an average session feels like in this area. to me, some of the most enjoyable clips to watch don’t always have to require hours of attempts or absolutely killing yourself. i think the fun can start to fade away at times for everyone involved when the aforementioned scenario’s drag on for too long.
-The documentary footage you used about Philly is actually really informational and sets the stage for the video well. How did the idea for that come about?
I really wanted something historical about pennsylvania given that the large majority (over 95%) of the video is filmed within the state. i like the common theme of odd interludes using appropriated footage in skate/bmx films, so i thought that continuing doing that on topic would make sense for this release. pat schlitzer and i stumbled on an old documentary from 1981 called “penn’a du” and knew it would work well when cut up. i loved how certain scenes were from the areas the crews reside in (or in between) and how certain shots/dialogue paired with scenes i had shot.
-Since theres so many crews in Philly riding and filming, was there any concern for ABD’s or is that not something you care about?
I mean, i definitely care about that.. but probably a lot less than others. like anybody else doing this, i try to stay informed on what may have occurred at a spot i’m filming at. so do the other riders in my scene that i ride with. if someone films something and realizes the ABD and doesn’t want to use it, i get that. but at the end of the day, if something similar goes down at a spot or someone films something that someone else has been sitting on and they couldn’t of known, does it really matter? i think it says more about someone’s character if they get totally bent out of shape over that, if it’s not intentional. go film another one haha.
-You had mentioned avoiding trends and gimmicks when it came to the soundtrack, is that in regards to a certain type of music?
I really love all types of music. when approaching a soundtrack for a video, i try to select tracks that I can listen to over and over again, not just something that i enjoy right now. spending enough hours in a timeline cutting clips up usually helps me realize the difference between the two.
-Are you a die hard SD/VX guy, or does that not matter to you as long as the content is good?
No way! caring about something like that is too much man. something is of value because it evokes feeling, is of interest, and made well. regardless of the medium. i love all cameras and appreciate how other film makers/artists arrive at their own results. if it’s good, it’s good.
-Any notable A/V issues while making the video like a broken camera, missing footage, or any other type of glitch?
One DVX-100b filmed the entire video and it ran perfectly the entire time.
-The hop hop selection is very atmospheric and smooth in the video. Any particular groups or artists whose work influences you?
I’ve always been a big music fan. it varies quite a bit! but my recently played items on my device have artists like: currensy, bad bad not good, mick jenkins, bronson, squid ethics, jhfly, vince staples, jonwayne, telequanta, bsd.u, anderson.paak, wun two, creepoid, nothing, etc.
Yes. he’s one of the best to ever make beats/produce tracks. slum village, donuts, his independent beat tapes, his work with tribe, pharcyde, the roots, list goes on forever. RIP.
-Meek Mill or Drake?
Del the funky homosapien
-Do you listen to trap, or any popular type stuff?
A bit of post trap, cloud rap, it’s never consistent. a track or two or album here and there. top rappers of the moment often feel like pro wrestlers to me, it can be really entertaining but deep down you know it’s all smoke and mirrors.
-are you into any conspiracy theories?
I heard 9/11 was an inside job.
Zack Cooke Photo Gallery
-Intro: Lino Gonzalez
-Photos: Zack Cooke
No matter where the session is you can always catch Zack Cooke with some type of camera on him. While a lot of people who call themselves photographers are worried about using the newest gear or whether you use film or digital, Zack is not worried about any of that. He is more concerned with having a good time with his friends and snapping a flick of that scene so he can look back and remember. Here Zack has selected a few photos to display that show just that. Enjoy, and don’t let the good times pass you by.
The SSP Tee with photo by Zack Cooke is available here in our online shop.
Another Brick In The Wall – Government Center Station
-Text: Lino Gonzalez
As of March 22 2014 the Government Center MBTA stop is officially closed for 2 years due to renovations. As part of the update they will be demolishing the brick headhouse which which has been appearing in BMX videos and magazines for the last 15 plus years.
First a bit of history about the building itself. Following the demolition of Scollay Square, the station was built in the early 1960’s as an entrance to the Boston subway system a.k.a. the “T”. The name was changed to Governmnent Center from Scollay square in the mid 70’s during the construction of the new Boston City Hall. The station served as stops for the blue and green lines of the MBTA system. The Govt Center station was one of the last of the brick bank style stations still standing. There was a similar but smaller style building at Copley Station as well as a few others in the system that also were used as BMX spots but have since been demolished. Boston used to be synonymous with the look of the brick spots due to these stations and the Boston Medical Banks being in just about any footage or photos that came out of Boston. The city now seems to be in favor of replacing the classic brick look with a modern glass and aluminum look which definitely lacks the familiar character.
Here is a photo of the head house being built during the 1960’s redevelopment of Scollay Square. More photos of Government Center construction can be seen in the Boston City Archives at:
Here is an artists rendering of what the future station will look like:
As far as the BMX history goes the building has made appearances in many well known and local videos over the years. While the exact beginning of the building appearing in footage would be hard to pinpoint but I imagine would be sometime in the mid-early 90’s. Over the years the building and Govt Center area has served as a meeting spot for locals as well as out of towners. For a lot of people this is the first spot in Boston they have ever ridden. After 9/11 security was stepped up a bit for a few years and riding the banks was pretty much a bust for a while. I had my own personal run in there with Boston’s finest by being ticketed and wrestled to the ground by one of them but in recent years it seemed that the BPD has had much better things to do.
The station has appeared in many videos over the years but here are some clips and photos that stand out to me from some well know videos and publications:
Standard Domination – 1998 – Jerry Bagley
The spot appears twice in Jerry Bagley’s part in Standard Domination which was one of the biggest video that year and one of my all time favorites. Jerry does a high carve on the bank in one clip and also hits the bank and manuals the brick platform. Jerry’s clips along with the rest of Standard Domination can be seen here: http://bmxmdb.com/films/631-Domination
Props Road Fools 4 – 1999 – Nate Wessel & Mike Tag
Road fools 4 brought some of the best riders of the time through the city of Boston. Here Nate Wessell can be seen stalling the top of building which is possibly the first time that had been done. I have heard tales of other people stalling it before him but have never seen footage to back it. Also seen in this video is Mike Tag doing a gap to manual on one of the green sand boxes that are kept outside the T stations during the winter months.
DigBMX issue cover – 2001 – Jared Zorowski, Photo by Ryan Worcester
As far as print goes, the banks appeared on the cover of DigBMX magazine issue 19 in 2001 with Jared Zorowski blasting a tabletop.
Standpoint 4 – 2004 – Sean “Fish” Hoskins
Fish made his way from California to the banks during a trip to Boston in summer 2003. Fish did a few different lines here but this transfer from the lower to the upper bank is the clip that ended up being used in his standpoint 4 bio. Fish’s bio can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N10eZH8zH8
S&M Edit – 2008 – Rory Ellis
Rory Ellis does multiple moves on the banks in this S&M edit including Barspin, Tabletop, and Icepick. Corey Martinez had also done the Icepick on the roof in 2003 while filming for Animal’s Can I Eat video. Rory’s clips can be seen here in the video: https://vimeo.com/3175160
Chris Marshall Photo – 2011 – Garrett Reynolds
This is probably my favorite thing that has been done here. This is one of those things that didn’t seen possible until it was done but Garrett Reynolds has a habit of making wild stuff come true. This photo was shot during the filming of the Deadline video and was featured in a SoulBMXmag.com photo gallery with photographer Chris Marshall.
All good things must come to an end. Here is the station as it sits behind barricades on March 23 2014:
-Intro: Lino Gonzalez
-Questions: Anonymous Contributors
-Photos: K.C. Russell
Upon working with Caype for a second time we thought it would be fitting to ask him some questions to give a background on his work. You might ask “what does graffiti and BMX (specifically street riding) have in common?”. They both exist in different but parallel worlds. Both carry extreme risks. They both require a level of obsession that will not be understood by the average person. They both ultimately hold no reward and do not offer anything of value to normal society except when it is regulated by their terms. They both have people that are just passing through who will not leave an impact. They also have people who’s work is respected and remembered such as Caype’s…
-What drew you into writing graffiti? Were you immediately obsessed or did it take time to get interested?
What first drew me to graffiti was my elementary school art teacher, Mr P. In 1986, he showed me the books, Subway Art and Spraycan Art. Those books blew my mind. I skated with the older kids from my neighborhood. They had beautiful tags. The first writers I noticed were Fate, Jester, Soap, Mass, Detect, Mach, Jayroc, Sly, Sick, Kon, Remote, Tale, Knoe, Prank, Secret, Deseat/Deceit, Blame, Fame, Haze, Demise/Dem and Sez. The main crews I saw were DCA (Def City Artists), and AMPM. Then in 1990, OD crew took over the graffiti scene.
-What does Boston graffiti look like to you from the throne. After over 20 years of activity what does it look like from that perspective?
I don’t sit on a throne. I’m lucky to find a seat on the train. There’s no pot of gold at the end of the graffiti rainbow. Just an 8 X 10 cell.
-We know you’re sober now, but could you explain the ball and chain relationship between drugs and graffiti? Why do many of the best writers OD?
For me, graffiti like alcohol and drugs are an addiction. I could never do enough. I always wanted more.
-Top 5 pieces of graff in Boston?
To name any specific 5 pieces would be misleading. Graffiti is a subculture. My favorite tags, Pieces, and throwups are those done by Boston’s first generation writers. They are and always will be the originators of the Boston style. Their graffiti was the foundation for whatever Boston graffiti has been and will be. In every era there have been a handful of innovators producing quality work and a majority of followers playing it safe.
-What was it like being one of the first victims of the internet vandal squad?
It was bugged out. When I started writing, the internet didn’t exist. In the mid to late 80’s, the only exposure I had to graffiti was what I saw in the books I mentioned, and what I encountered locally. My relationship to graffiti was personal. The knowledge I gained about graffiti came first hand. There were no graffiti magazines, no digital cameras, no cell phones, and no beepers. I had a rotary telephone in my house.
I maintain that without the pioneers writing tough in the mid 80’s that laid the foundation, Boston graffiti wouldn’t be what it is today. I sought out knowledge of the art form by leaving my house, taking the train to random destinations and exploring the city. From a young age I was borrowing my mom’s camera to take pictures of what I found. They were sacred gems. I hunted it down and only shared my pictures with a select few. Graffiti was underground at that time. Every image anyone had was a hard copy. My family had a typewriter. Information wasn’t available at the click of a button. Nobody had computer. I put in miles of footwork patrolling the city and train tracks. In the early 90’s, Boston started to have its own style. OD crew broke free of the traditional bar letter structure with the no-negative space style of piecing.
To see the effect the internet has had on the subculture of graffiti over time is sad. The internet destroyed graffiti. Graffiti was a rite of passage when I was growing up. It was street and artistic. There were unspoken rules to learn. The rules weren’t told they were experienced. There was actual risk and danger involved. It was a way of walking through fears. Now, cops and writers hide behind the computer. A lot is lost. What is a cop without a robber? Nothing. Writers used to rob walls, trains, busses, and streets. If they got away then they got away. Now writers post pictures of what they see or do as if it’s not a crime.
The internet broke down the infrastructure of the subculture and pimps it out. The internet is used to pimp writers out like hoes and when writers post, they’re the tricks putting money in the pockets of the same system they’re revolting against. If nobody ever posted anything ever again, graffiti could stand a chance of going back to its roots. The game is to be sold not told. To look at a picture of graffiti is a privilege. They’re priceless. Evidence that what can seem impossible is possible. Pictures represent proof of historical truth.
Pictures are also what the DA uses in court to prosecute you and confine you to a cage. And lawyer fees are pricy so if you’re going to whore yourself out on instamyspaceafacebookafriendstergram, think long term in terms of money. Make a book and be professional about it. At least you’ll stand a chance at breaking even on the lawyer cost of doing the graffiti you’ve done and have a record of how your addiction manifests itself aesthetically for historical purposes. Scientists studying ego or art history professors may want to refer to them in the future.
-You have schooled so many writers in generations after you; including kings from the ground up. Who are some of your favorites?
My favorites… They know who they are.
-Most graffiti you have done in one night?
No matter how much I wrote, it wasn’t enough.
-Has there ever been a time where you actively decided to distance yourself from graffiti? If so what pushed you to do so?
For certain. I tried to stop writing graffiti countless times. I swore to myself I’d never do it again. I’ve prayed to God that I’d never write again. I could stop for a period of time but never quit for good. I wrote graffiti just as prolific as ever right after finishing a year sentence in prison for graffiti. I thought I had a graffiti problem. I never had a graffiti problem. I had a graffiti solution. The problems were still there. Graffiti wasn’t the problem. I was. I can relate to those people who consider themselves addicted to graffiti. I tried to fill my internal void by writing graffiti for decades and it never worked. At times I thought it was working but I’d always end up back in a cage wondering how it all happened. I thought… Man, I must have the worst luck. No matter how many times I tried to stop, I always went back to it. It provided me with a temporary solution to the problems in my life but it always kept me trapped in a vicious cycle of my own demise. I’m so grateful I found the way out.
-What is your favorite instrument to write with?
I like them all, but my favorite was ultra flat black KRYLON spraypaint with a New York fat cap.
-Why is it important to sketch with a pen instead of a pencil?
Hahahahaha! Silly rabbit, pencils are for triers and I’m a doer.Art is a competition. The clock is always ticking and I have no time to worry about the past. Erasers don’t make sense. I’ll make sense of what I’m doing in the now. As long as I focus on the present, I know the end result will be off the hook.
-How do you feel about older heads posting a lot of flicks and/or personal stashes online? Do you feel like it can cheapen a respected writers name if they self promote online?
I think I’ve said my peace with that one.
-What are the best and worst things graffiti has given you?
I loved graffiti but it never loved me back. That’s the best and worst thing I’ve realized. My new solution has given me perspective. I don’t have to dwell on the past or worry about the future. Today, I have a solution that offers me the choice to be truly free. -CAYPE
Caype for 90East Winter 2013 Tee now available at… http://90east.bigcartel.com/product/90east-caype-tee-black