November 25, 2008

VHS...Vintage Historical Shreading

It's funny to think that something that came out in 2000 is now 8 years old. In the year 2000 videos were not on discs, most flatland bikes had straight tubes, contests were not a battel, most riders had breaks, was running strong, EXPN pumped a lot of money into flatland, visors were OK to wear, the EP was available, and tight pants were not cool. Fast forward 8 years and everything has changed.

Infinite Pieces is a product of this very different time for flatland. The EXPN contests brought riders from all over the globe to America. This is when American flatlanders got to see how good all the international riders were. With all of these riders coming together and competing the progression was insane. If you don't own Infinite Pieces you are missing a great chapter in the history of flatland. Chad documented this time period real well. I asked Chad Johnston a few questions about his creation...

Year(s) the video was filmed?


When did it come out?


Equipment used...

During that time we were using a Sony Hi-8 camera, a custom PC and Adobe Premiere, I forget what version, 4.? or 5.1, something like that.

Your living situation at the time, what was it like?

We had been living in Long Beach for a short-time in a tiny place with increasing rent when we started filming for IP. Near the beginning of that production we decided to give up our apartment and travel. We hit a few spots on the west coast and then took off to Europe. Netherlands, Brussels, Germany and France. When we returned to California we continued to travel and eventually ended up staying/editing at my brothers house in Bakersfield. We were pretty much nomadic for a year and finally got re-settled in Long Beach. It was a great time for flatland and for us, so many new things. We named the project Infinite Pieces because in our minds there was/is no end to the possibilities.

Quamen Martti.

There are a bunch of different riders in the video. How did they all end up together? Did you have a list or did you just film whoever was around?

Yeah, so many styles. A few of the Euro and Asian riders were coming through California and staying/meeting with us and often our guests would encourage us to visit them. Martti, Viki, Alex, Alexis, Steingraeber and many others insisted that we give them the chance to return the favor of hosting travelers. I can remember Mike S showing me issues of Freedom with Matti Rose and I said, “I gotta go to Germany”. Jesse told me of legendary German riders like Ulrich and Ali. Alex was telling me all about Paris, so we went. So glad we did. I had a small list in my head of who I wanted to film, but each rider would say you also gotta meet this guy and this guy, etc. It grew organically.

The sections are mainly short in this video, giving it kind of a mixed tape feel to it. Was that your intention?

Yeah, I wanted to make sure each persons personality came through and since everyone is so different I think it makes sense for each rider to have there own section. I try to do that for most projects (except Blend), I think it really was obvious in IP because of the large amount of riders.

This video seemed like it was filmed during the EXPN era of flatland. Explain the effect EXPN had on flatland during this time.

Some guys were making a lot of money and some guys were hungry to get a piece of that pie so we saw a lot of progression in a relatively short period of time. There were a lot of contest in the US so international riders were drawn over here. We saw high level tricks and perfect runs! To bad ESPN could not figure out how to make it work out for their network. It seemed like flatland was going to continue to gain exposure at a fast pace.

This video as I remember was one of the first to feature a lot of European riders. Do you think this time period was when flatland really took off in Europe?

Not really, flatland had been strong in Europe for a long time at that point. Probably more like under-exposed. The internet wasn’t giving free videos all day long and PAL video systems were very uncommon in the US so we rarely saw or heard about those guys. Truth is there was/is a large number of great riders from overseas. Maybe this video was among the first from an Americans point of view.

Favorite thing about the video?

That’s a tough question to answer, because I don’t want to have favorites. I guess the best thing is the variety of trick and styles.


1 comment:

John Findlay said...

This is by far my favorite video, with maybe only Groundwork ahead of it. Everyone comes across as so original and underground; even though it was at the height of ESPN and X Gaymes. No pumping, sweatpants, or battles. Just concern for good, original riding.

Look at Simon's bike! I can't remember if it's in Infinite Pieces, but i know in Paved Paradise his freecoaster is so fucked up. His pedal circle-k UNDER the frame is insane.

I lost my copy last year though. Chad if you read this PLEASE release it on dvd!!!!!