Interview by Daryl Mersom
After hearing about the release of Jenkem Vol.1, their first foray into hard back print, we were keen to find out more. Where do you draw the line between website and print? Is print really a remedy to the content hungry internet? Here is Ian Michna’s take on releasing hard back print in a world where online content proliferates.
Why did you choose to reprint certain pieces? The Marc Johnson interview for example.
Over the years, we’ve done some stuff I’m really proud of (and other things I can’t look at because they are so bad), and when we decided to do the book, I wanted to highlight some pieces that I still felt good about. To take them off of the black hole of the internet and put them on paper… make them a physical reality. Web is also confining sometimes with formatting, and there were some interviews that I wanted to make shine a bit more than they were able to online, so we got some new illustrations and photos for them, and got to lay it in a much more complete way than we were able to do online.
In terms of MJ, we started working on the book over a year ago, and when we decided to include the MJ interview in the book we didn’t know that the adidas switch was going to happen. I wanted to include it because it’s MJ, and I think it’s one of the most honest and in depth interviews we’ve had the opportunity to do so far. Regardless of whether or not the interview is dated or whatever now that MJ went to adidas doesn’t really matter I think, it’s a nice time capsule and what he’s saying as a whole still really holds weight. I’m psyched we put it in there, and maybe one day we’ll put a follow-up MJ interview in a future volume… you never know!
A lot of what you do seems to be in the spirit of Big Brother. How much of an influence has this magazine had on Jenkem?
Probably too much [laughs]. That attitude is what got me into skating, that kind of fun, mischievous, goofy (and often backwards) approach is what made skating special to me. It was never really just about the tricks, it was how these people lived. I’m a huge fan of Rocco, Cliver, Mckee, Earl Parker aka “The Master Journalist”, Carnie, Nieratko, etc… I suggest to anyone that doesn’t know much about that era of skating to pick up a copy of their book, Shit, or at least check out the documentary “The Man Who Souled The World,” which kind of shows how modern day skating came to be and where our roots are. If you are a cheap ass like me, just watch the bootleg version on Youtube. In terms of other stuff that influenced me, I’m also a big Howard Stern fan, which is probably pretty clear from our interviews, as well as Mad Magazine for the satire, Playboy for the interviews and, believe it or not, early Magic The Gathering card artwork (Alpha – Tempest) which got me turned onto trying to do illustrations for the mag from the start.