Get On The Fast Train
Eniz Fazliov Interview from Kingpin issue 71, Nov '09 Words and photography by Deeli
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact time when Eniz arrived on the scene. It already seems like he was always there. Perhaps the reason is because he didn’t get famous over night, there was no groundbreaking video part or a major run of comp wins. He’s kept up a steady flow of coverage and picked up a trophy here and there, but more importantly, he’s been out on the street, constantly, for the past few years without stopping for breath. For the same reason he’s not about to disappear from the public consciousness as soon as the lights turn on and the curtain is drawn. He’s not out to impress or one-up anyone, yet he’s set an impressive number of benchmarks by simply going about his daily business of jumping down and sliding across.
Autumn’s just about to begin. How do you feel about that? Good. In the spring I’m usually just stoked to have made it through the winter, so I’m shredding as hard as I can. Then in the summer I tend to chill out a bit, have some fun and travel a little. And when the autumn comes, I sort of wake up to the fact that I’m going to have to get indoors again soon, so I’m always trying to make the most of the last days outside. That’s when I usually get the most done.
Did you have a good summer? I guess it’s been good if I think about it. Around this time of the year, when the weather starts getting worse, I always feel like summer’s just flown by and I haven’t done anything. But that’s not true really. This summer was as good as any. I’ve tried to get as many photos as I could, but I’ve had some bad luck with injuries. I hurt my ribs about a month ago in Amsterdam and now I hurt my hip a few days ago.
What happened to your hip? Just messing around, trying to do these ridiculously long fifties with Tuukka on this little curb that goes downhill. We were a bit drunk and it was dark so I didn’t realize that it had only been waxed half way. So when the wax ran out, it just stuck like I’d hit a wall and I landed on my hip, full speed. This lady ran from across the street to check if I was OK and she rolled her ankle on the curb.
What were the highlights of the summer for you? Berlin was good. It was the first time I’ve really been there and I loved the place.
You’re not the only one, it seems! Yeah I can see why. There were so many spots that I’d seen in videos, and even more that I’d never even seen. It’s so big I bet you can keep finding more stuff to skate there for a long time still. You don’t necessarily have to go to the Kulturforum. Berlin reminds me of Finland a bit, only better, bigger and with more spots. We went around with Adam Cello, the photographer. He has a car and he knows all the spots, so he would just take us around and show us stuff. And a lot of the spots are almost open, only a couple of tricks have been done on them.
You were just in Malmö with Pontus for the release of his colour way. How was that? Are those spots really as hard as they look in photos? Probably depends on what you’re used to I guess. The spots in Finland are pretty rough, so I felt OK there. We went to that alley, TBS, where they’ve built all those banks and trannies. They’re not the easiest for sure, so maybe if you’re used to Barcelona or something, you might hate on them a bit.
Are you going to have a part in his video? Maybe, I don’t know. Pontus asked the two filmers I’ve been working with to send him some footage, so we looked through it and he picked what he wanted for the video, I think based on what fits the style of the video more than how difficult the tricks are or something. I had some stuff from China for example and he didn’t want that, cause it would just look too weird in there. It’s cool that he sticks to his own style, it’s sick to be part of the thing. He showed me the footage he’s got for it so far and it’s pretty crazy stuff, especially after having been to those spots they skate. The wallrides they do on the alley are like what the fuck…
Isn’t that wall made out of like wire mesh? Pretty much and it’s really flimsy, plus it’s an alley, so you have to carve into it like 90 degrees going full speed.
Who do you usually travel with? Mostly Emerica and Volcom. Emerica most of all, I’d say. I haven’t been on any Alien trips yet, but I’m looking forward to doing something with them. I was thinking if I get a chance to go to the US this winter again, it would be cool to meet those guys. I know Arto a bit of course, but I haven’t met any of the other dudes at all.
You quit your first board sponsor, Happy Hour, about a year ago to ride for Almost. Was that a tough decision then? Yeah not even a year, it was around January I think. And yeah it was really hard to leave Happy Hour because they’re all my good friends and I rode for them for years.
Your stint on Almost was pretty short lived. I rode for them maybe five months. It was weird because I had to leave a really cool thing we had with Happy Hour and when I was on Almost I just felt like so then what? Now I’m on this big company, and is this how it’s supposed to feel? Don’t get me wrong, everything was good with Almost, and having Sami, another Finnish dude, looking after me at Dwindle was great cause my English is so bad. Their boards were great and I always got plenty of them, so I want to thank them for that. But then when I was visiting the local Sole Tech warehouse in Finland to pick up some shoes the owner, Markus Aarni, asked me how I was hooked up for boards. I told him I get boards from Almost, but I don’t know what their plans are for me really. He told me he knew Arto and the dudes at Burton [the owners of Alien Workshop –ed.] really well, so he would ask if they can do something for me. Then a couple of weeks later Arto phoned me and asked if I was interested in Alien. He told me they could send me boards for now and then take me on some trips after a while to see how everyone got along together and so on. I spoke to Sami and told him what Arto had told me. Sami said he’d speak to Almost in the US and see what they could do for me, but it was just the time when everyone was broke and doing shitty, so they said they couldn’t really do anything more right now. So I sort of felt like well, if I’m going to play this game then I might as well go all out and try another route with Alien. It seemed like waiting for a year and a half – two years was such a long time, just to see if anything would come of it with Almost. Now I really want to stick with Alien and see what I can do for them and what they can do for me, because switching sponsors really sucks and the last thing I want to do is to hop around from one company to the next. I suppose I’ll give it some years and if it’s going nowhere I’ll go back to buying my boards and painting houses or something. But yeah, it was really Aarni who helped me get on Alien initially, so thanks a lot for that.
What’s the most important thing in your mind that makes you like a company? The graphics, the previous videos, the skaters they have. But I’ve always liked the dna brands ever since I was a kid. I’ve looked up to skaters like Anthony Van Engelen all my life. Some companies just have all the right ingredients. I’m definitely stoked to be able to ride their boards. I know it’s just wood like any other at the end of the day, but it makes a big difference to me personally.
Do people still get so into one guy or one scene that they copy it the world over, do you think? Well I mean, of course there’s been a few more rails up since Romero’s, so it does have an effect. But although I was really stoked on the new Alien video for example, it’s not like I’m going to now only jump on rails straight on. At the same time, if a rail like that comes along, where I think I could do that, I’m not going to not try it, just to be different, you know? You can’t be the guy stuck in ’92 when everyone else is moving on. I guess what I’m saying is that for me it takes more than just one video or one video part. I find it annoying when people start doing a certain trick just because their favourite skater does it. But of course you get inspired by what other skaters are doing.
Do a lot of your friends have jobs or school or something, are you ever stuck without people to skate with during the day? A lot of my friends I skate with work in the shop that I also ride for, Lamina. Well, I say a lot, but I guess it’s like two people…
You only have two friends? Yeah I only have two friends. Nah, but I usually skate with those guys, and there’s a couple of other guys that don’t have to work or anything, so they’re pretty much always up for skating. Like Dino (Simo Mäkelä) for example, he’s always skating.
So you don’t have to fiddle your thumbs til the afternoon? No, but I’m not really a morning person either. In the summer, when I don’t work, I don’t often get up before twelve anyway, so by the time I’m getting ready to go skate around three, I can already start calling people then to meet up when they get out of work.
Speaking of work, you finished a trade school in painting a couple of years back. Did you ever think about getting a job doing that? I did a few painting jobs here and there afterwards, but I never got like an actual job in a company or anything.
What sort of painting is that you studied? In my school they had like an arts department and a renovation department. I can’t draw a stickman myself, so I was in the renovation department. You learn to paint houses, interiors, all kinds of things.
What’s it like in your area, Tikkurila? It’s just a train stop when you head north from Helsinki. I’ve lived there for six years and I probably know like one person there. The whole time I’ve lived there I’ve just been skating so much and hanging out with my skater friends, so I never really spend time in Tikkurila. I was never that into hanging out at the youth centre, getting wasted at the station, get a moped, the sort of stuff that people do here.
You never had a moped? No. I’m sure I would’ve loved one as a kid and it would be a cool thing to brag about now, but no, never had one.
You ever get into any situations there yourself? No, nothing like that…I’ve heard a gun shot on the station once, I think that’s probably the closest thing to a “situation" I’ve been to maybe?
You live right by the station, don’t you? Yeah and it takes 12 minutes to get to town on the fast train and it’s close to the airport as well.
Can you like look out your window, see the train coming and head out? No not quite. It takes me about five minutes to get the to station.
You know the timetables by heart? Yeah. There are three fast trains, R, Z and H and then the others stop on every station so I never take those.
You ever think about how much time you’ve spent on those trains altogether? Fucking loads.
What goes on in them? Another reason to take the fast train is to avoid the rough stops in between where live and the centre. On the other trains there’s always going to be a Roma or Gypsy who’s asking if you’ve got a phone or money or something. It’s not like I’m scared of getting into something, I’m just not interested in explaining ollies to some tramp while I’m having my morning coffee. Then again sometimes I actually feel like taking the slow train for the same reason I usually don’t take it…
To keep it street level? Sometimes I just feel like getting into conversations with random people from the suburbs. There’s nothing wrong with the people just because they’re having a rough time.
Who else lives in the flat with you? I live with my mom and my younger brother. One of my older brothers also lives just around the corner with his family. And the other older brother lives a couple stops away on the train.
Is it like a close-knit family? Yeah, I’d say we’re pretty close. Maybe I spend the least time with everyone, because of all the travelling and stuff, but I’m still part of all the family stuff anyway. My mom was just asking the other day like what’s the deal, we never eat together any more and that. But I mean it would be really difficult for me to be home at dinner for like 5 pm every day, I can’t wait that long before going out or come back for it when I’ve just gotten started. So I end up just getting something quick from the shop instead.
How does you mom feel about your choice of career in general? She never says anything much about it, except for when I’m hurt and she tells me to be careful. When I was 16-17, she used to tell me to take it easy a bit on the skating, do something else. I asked her if she preferred me to hang out at the station getting high and being rude. And now she’s sort of accepted that this is like my job in a way, to go out and jump, and that I can get a bit of money doing that. I guess it’s hard to grasp that unless you’re into it yourself. In the winter I work at the skatepark, but in the summer when my mom and my brother wake up for work every morning and I sleep til noon, I can understand how that feels to them like I’m doing nothing.
Eniz rides for Alien Workshop, Emerica Shoes, Volcom Clothing, Perus Wheels and Lamina Skatehop.