“BARBARIANS AT THE BEZERKER”
Fancy Lad’s full length video Is This Skateboarding, contemplates the innocence and creativity left in the sport that is losing its genuine quality to posers and popular media. It’s hinted at several times throughout, that what’s being captured on film is skateboarding the way it’s meant to be: personal, inventive, fun and full of childlike wonder. Some moments made me think of the LameBoyz 1.5 movie, while other times the voiceover commentary got me thinking me of the short film SCOTT. I asked the lads some questions about why and how they do what they do.
Why did you choose the title ‘Is This Skateboarding’ for your latest film? With the different ways of riding that you guys invent, and sporadic moves based on the bounce of the board, it seems like you’ve created something new because you are bored of other skateboard videos out there today…
It is an attempt to reinvent the wheel. Skateboard videos are pretty set in their ways. They have a formula and stick to it. This is probably the most traditional FL video to date, but it still seems miles away from anything else that is going on. It is supposed to showcase our deviation. The fact that people have to question the validity of creativity is strange to me.
Maybe haters will be wary of your creativity, but you’ve definitely hit the jackpots of Thrasher posting your video, as well as Adult Swim asking you to do a short Web Experiments segment. It must feel good to have that kind of validation for doing things your own way. If you happened to get large sums of money, from a sponsor or a random donor, would you decide to do anything differently? Or would you keep the humble scratched lens effect?
Well, we have recently fixed the scratch on the lens. They crew was pretty split in how they felt about the decision. It is a tough decision whether or not one wants to try to maintain a certain aesthetic in the video, or to go all in and see the very absolute most terrible possible version of using a scratched lens. We pride ourselves in making the most out of our very limited means -it is part of what thrives our creativity. So in a way, I would be nervous with a big budget. I might freak out and hire Danzig and Billy Corgan to play a game of table tennis on film.
Why is it important for you to document/remember these moments? Do you think you’re doing it as a reminder to not adhere to the phony aspects of society and adulthood?
I don't think we are capable to adhere if we wanted to. There is a similarity between skate videos and comedy which is what gives them a great opportunity to present something uncensored and unadulterated. The quest for truth and beauty and beauty in truth is at the core of creativity and comedy. People look to comedians to give them a dose of truth, in the sea of people fake as fuck filled with ambition for all the wrong reasons. Richard Pryor said, "a young comedian gets started by trying to do what he does and doesn't know he's a comedian until he finds out."
What’s your process of putting together the soundtracks for your videos?
I had a dream last night that Nirvana had reunited at my school with the Kurt Cobain imposter lookalike/singalike guy from Youtube. Everyone stays quiet while watching them from their seats. During the end of the performance, the band unenthusiastically smash their instruments with no emotion.
Abe appearing as a police officer, and other scenes like Matt wearing blue lipstick and humping a unicorn, adds a lot more to character and to the overall storyline. Also at the beginning of your video New Hell, these words show up on the screen: “In using awesome powers for its absolute minimal output we’ve made beautiful fools out of valuably fading situational characters.” Do you think these facets of personality and plot are what makes an audience more inclined to watch?
Yes, I don't know if we are necessarily making "skate videos" per say. I think that there is something that we are doing that is more than skate videos. Something that appeals to people outside of skateboarding. It is a unique brand of comedy. I'm not sure how to describe it yet. It would help if someone smarter than myself would write a script for us to follow loosely.
I’m sure if you had a script competition for your fans, you would get some pretty good responses. On an ending note, I wanted to mention an audio clip from the movie American Beauty that you had included in your 2015 Chicago tour video: “I’m just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose.” Do you feel like this motto represents what’s at the core of skateboarding?
It spoke to me at least, which is why I decided to use it. I think there is a lot of self realization that comes with selecting these quotes. I would say it myself, but it's easier scouting them out from movies I identify with. It’s a lot harder writing it on your own, and watching through endless movies trying to find some sort of meaning or relevance behind them for countless hours.
Photos: Brendan Jaccarino