Between Static III and Static IV seven years went by. It’s not often that it takes 7 years to make a skate video so we thought it would be interesting to talk to Josh Stewart and Vivien Feil about the long process. Also we have the pleasure of getting to see an alternate edit of Vivien’s part, which was actually his original part that got changed last minute just before Static IV came out. The following text is taken from a 3-way Skype between Josh, Vivien and myself on March 3rd, 2015. – Will Harmon
Kingpin: Josh, when did you decide you wanted to do a part with Vivien? Vivien Feil: I decided! (Laughs) Josh Stewart: When I went to stay with Soy (Panday) to work on his Static III part. After I met Vivien… It was maybe two minutes later he was showing me his sponsor-me footage. (Laughs) So I got to see how good he was right off the bat. So basically going to Paris to work on Soy’s part Vivien would always come skating with us as he just started living with Soy. I think this was 2006ish. I feel like it’s been almost a tradition or a pattern of guys being guests in other skater’s parts in Static. You know just because I end up skating with them a bunch and getting to like those dudes then I end up trying to do a part with them.
Yeah that does seem to happen…
Josh: Yeah like John Igei was a main feature in the Washington DC section of Static I and after that I knew I had to do a section with John for Static II.
Vivien: Yeah I was roommates with Soy back then and he got me in the package when he came to film with Soy. I was there on the couch showing my footage around. (Laughs)
Josh, what was your first impression of Vivien when you first met him? Josh: Well at that point I didn’t really know too many people from France. So Soy was my first impression of what a French skater was like.
So you were shocked he wasn’t wearing a beret and skating around with a baguette?
Josh: (Laughs) No, I dunno…
Vivien: I was always wearing outrageous stuff like orange pants and…
Josh: Baby shirts!
Vivien: Baby shirts, huge shirts, anything… Josh:
Yeah it went from like shirts he left in the dryer for a week too long to like Wu-Tang shirts. He was really back and forth. (Laughs)
So Vivien, was there stuff in your Static IV part from that first time Josh came to Paris to film Soy?
Vivien: No that went into Static III. That was the most productive week of Soy Panday ever. (Everyone laughs) He filmed his entire part during that week. When Josh came Soy was like: “Ah, I’m not having a part. I haven’t filmed shit and I’m not doing shit.”
Josh: Yeah because Soy came to Miami for the first Static III trip and he filmed like one thing because he couldn’t stand Miami or being in a car, that whole lifestyle. So he thought he wasn’t ever going to have a part.
Vivien: Yeah so when Josh came to Paris Soy got really excited and he filmed a bunch of shit, as did I.
Josh: None of that stuff ended up in Vivien’s part though. It was all used in Static III. But I was going to say a little bit more about how he got in the video: it’s more like there are skaters who you’ll see from afar and realise there is something really unique or special about that skater. And then there are people whose personalities I just really like and I want to work with them. Like with Soy, I met him before I saw his skating and I just really liked him and I knew I wanted to work with him. And then when I went to Paris to work with Soy then I met Vivien and I really liked their sense of humour and hanging out with them was very much like hanging with my friends from Florida or something. It started from that perspective and then going out to film Soy for Static III and Vivien was getting stuff that same week…. It felt like Vivien was really a different skater because Soy has a whole different vibe to his style and then Vivien’s style was far more technically advanced than I had seen in the UK and French skate scene at that time. So I thought that was a rad element and it really added a lot to Soy’s part.
So what you are saying is Soy wasn’t tech enough… (Everyone laughs)
Josh: Yes… No. Haha.
Ok so after Static III came out with Soy’s part, which had Vivien’s guest tricks in it, did immediately after you think: ‘Ok, I wanna do a part with Viven in Static IV.” ?
Josh: The problem was that Static III was supposed to be the last video, but there were a lot of people who I’d gotten involved filming with like some British skaters and Quim (Cardona) who got involved late in the game and there was no way I could finish parts with them for Static III. So I started a fourth Static video almost because I had to as I was committed to these guys and I had worked with them. It would have been a shame to get a minute of footage with Quim and not put it to good use. So the same with Vivien, I had some footage from him from that trip and I liked the idea of having skaters that represent different scenes around the world. So at the beginning of the idea of Static IV Vivien, Snowy, Quim and Steve Brandi were the first few guys I knew were going to have parts. Steve has been working on his part since like 2001 now so it was finally his time. (Laughs)
That’s another thing… Vivien so in about 2007 you know you are filming this video part with Josh for the next Static. So around 2012 or so and it still wasn’t out were you getting frustrated? Did you wonder what the hell was going on?
Vivien: No it was an honour, I felt like it was an incredible opportunity to be involved with Josh and Static. I mean I always knew he was working on something, but he was my friend and I knew he could come through at some point. I was always stoked because it gave me a reason to get my sponsors to help fly me places and shit. (Laughs) It was good that it dragged on for a while!
So Vivien, when you started filming your part I believe you were on Krooked flow and then in the end when your Static part came out you own a company (Magenta). What was that transition like?
Vivien: (Laughs) Yeah it was just so completely different. I was getting stuff from Krooked but stuff wasn’t really happening so in 2009 we decided to start Magenta. We launched the brand in 2010 and we kept filming for a while, but we were always filming for different stuff, for Magenta and whatnot, but we kept going. But from the beginning to the end it was just a complete life rollercoaster, I had kids, the company went from gypsy to somewhat together… Also my vision of skateboarding completely changed. When I look at the old footage of myself it’s sick, but it’s just so completely different.
Yeah that’s another thing I was going to ask you, you see the Paris Vivien and the Bordeaux Vivien in your part and what do you think about that? How do you like it?
Vivien: I think most skaters tend to try to market themselves in a certain way, which is smart. You try to present yourself a certain way consciously and sometimes unconsciously. Yeah my skating is obviously different from one bit to the other, but it’s okay as it brings back so many memories for me. When I watch the part it’s just a big ball of memories for me; it’s pretty intense.
So Josh and Vivien, is there a big gap in the footage from 2007-2014 or is there footage from all those years?
Vivien: No I always kept filming. I always passed the footage to Josh first.
Josh: Well the benefit was Vivien’s brother Jean films and shoots photos and then Vivien also works with Yoan Taillandier so it was good having those guys. Two of the biggest obstacles filming for Static III were a. It hit right when the Internet piracy age took over and it was a heavy investment in funds to travel abroad and it was basically investing a lot of money on a gamble that didn’t work out. So I went from only filming skate videos to working in a restaurant and working contract jobs for anybody that would hire me. I would be on a month-long trip for Vice so I couldn’t film for a month so that was a big problem. And also b. I agreed to do the MIA (Skate shop in Miami) video in the middle of it. (Laughs) I thought I could do it too…
Yeah just throw a whole video in in the middle of it…
Josh: (Laughing) Yeah, I don’t know why I agreed to that because it really slowed things down. But in that time Vivien’s brother and Yoan helped film and keep it consistent. But like you guys were saying, it’s crazy that Vivien’s vision of skating changed from when we first started filming for the part to where it ended. I feel like that was a blessing and a curse because at the end of the day when it came to the final edits Vivien sees skating differently and he wants his part to reflect his current taste. But with his part, we have this footage that shows a very broad range of ability and style and I think he trusted me a lot to say: “Ok if that’s what you want to do. Put it together the way you think.” And he was really cool with me using some stuff that was really old because I thought it was important to show the span of time and his abilities. I mean at least he doesn’t grow 3-foot long dreadlocks throughout his part like Quim, but I think it’s rad because it shows the spectrum of Vivien’s abilities to people who are big fans of Magenta and might not have ever known that side to his skating. I think it’s rad for somebody who was already a fan to see something you don’t expect. You know like watching a Kenny Anderson part you know those specific tricks you are gonna see like switch backtails and nollie frontside flips, but if he has a part and it adds these new elements in I think it adds a new dimension.
Vivien: True, true… Kenny Anderson and I have a lot in common (Everyone laughs). You know I trusted Josh.
And so what part did you see first Vivien? This original part we are releasing through Kingpin or the actual one that was in Static IV?
Vivien: Right before the video came out I saw a test edit and I was able to give my impression and everything and just say: ‘change this and that’ and Josh listened to that and magically fixed it. It was perfect; he made it the way I wanted it to be without me having to ask for too much.
Josh: But he (Vivien) did see that first part with the remix song and that was a tough one because that one had a song that I was married to and Vivien liked it, but he thought there was something better out there and then like a year ago there was some other edit online in Europe that featured that song so that basically made the decision for us. We knew we couldn’t use a song that had already been used.
Vivien: I like both songs, but you know one is about drugs: heavy. One’s about depression: heavy. (Laughs) There is no escaping! You put me in that box Josh.
Josh: The first song for me, it matched my American vision of a French vibe. From an outsider’s perspective with the organ and what not… It just fit that feel. But I’m really happy with the song we ended up settling on last minute for Static.
Vivien: Yeah I’m super-stoked on how it came out.
Josh: It’s different nowadays. There is a whole underground scene of kids making full-length videos, which I think are usually the best videos. But most mainstream full-length videos are big company videos where the dudes on the team are being flown around. Flown to this city with the local tour guide or distributor showing them around so I feel like an independent video like this, which spans such a long period of time… I feel like the memories and the journey involved in making it happen is, I won’t say more meaningful, but it’s deeper. It’s a different story when someone is flying themselves out and putting everything on the line to start his own brand while we are working on this thing. To me what’s so crazy about the Static IV video is 80% of the people in it are involved with brands that we distribute now with Theories of Atlantis, but none of them existed before we started the video. And this wasn’t done on purpose; this is just how it came to be.
Vivien: And one thing that is really important is that Magenta was heavily, heavily influenced by the experience of Soy and I filming for Static. Also getting to know people in the East Coast scene through Josh’s eyes and his contacts… That did a lot for us. In France, skateboarding was never something you could take seriously without being looked upon as completely stupid. But then you go to New York and you meet people who are just insane, bat-shit crazy about skateboarding like Josh…
Josh: You mean Bobby (Puleo)!
Vivien: Yeah people like that or even you (Josh), there are not that many people in France you could have a 5-hour conversation about skating with you know. This was huge for us starting the brand… Being able to get in touch and skate with Ricky Oyola, the Traffic dudes and realising these guys are just super into their shit and skating, and they are not shy about it. Just to learn that there were all these other weirdoes about skating in other places of the world… It was so sick to have this Static experience and learn from it.
And so Vivien when you went to New York to film with Josh did you and Soy always roll together?
Vivien: Sometimes we did, but then I started coming with myself and with my brother too. A bunch of times I went with Jean and I ended up filming with Josh and my brother would take photos and sometimes film too. I’d skate with Josh, Bobby and Steve Brandi. I was staying at Steve’s; it was so amazing to meet Steve… He’s the man!
So how did it go skating with Bobby (Puleo) in New York?
Vivien: It was great you know… I’m stoked he exists! I’m stoked that there is someone that is so into this shit that he’s willing to self-destruct. I mean he acted like a dick, but he is who he is. I mean he could talk about skating for like 15 hours out of the day. I just took it in. I was down to listen and I learned so much. If you skate for one month in New York with Bobby Puleo you’ll learn so much, so I can’t say shit really. I’d be in the streets with him and see him looking at stuff and just knowing his brain was flickering about and then his rules and shit… Even if I don’t abide to them I was like: ‘Wow!’
Did he get angry with you for skating any particular spots or anything?
Vivien: Oh he made clear I was in no position to skate anything there. (Laughs) There would be these suspicious phones calls… He’d ring you and be like: “Where you at? Where are you?”
Josh: There were a couple years when Steve, Bobby and I were a pretty tight crew and then so when Soy and Vivien would come out we’d all be together pretty frequently. At one point Vivien’s brother had filmed some footage with Bobby and they were working on the first Magenta video and they wanted to use something of Bobby in the friends bit.
Vivien: I was like: “No! Don’t do it.” Because I had stayed in New York for a month and I knew we’d be in trouble if we used that shit. But Soy was like: “Fuck it! You skated with the dude and it’s like what it is you know.”
Josh: So Bobby of course would have said “No”. But Vivien and them knew better than to ask so they used it anyways.
So this was in Magenta’s Microcosme?
Vivien: Yeah. To explain it completely, it was footage that my brother filmed… We would come to New York, film his ass, shoot photos, have shit come out in European magazines, you know whole articles about Bobby, and then he would talk shit on the internet. He’d be like: “Why the fuck are you coming over?” To film your fucking ass dude! Ha! So we were like fuck it, let’s use the footy.
Josh: So I saw Bobby on the street once and he tells me: “The next time I see Vivien… The next time I see those fucking French dudes Vivien is dead! Tell him to never come back to the city because I’ll kill him!” He said this with a dead serious face. And this was for what, one clip or two you used of him Vivien?
Vivien: It was two clips.
Ok so Vivien you used two clips of Bobby in a Magenta edit and now he’s threatening to kill you?
Vivien: Yeah, pretty much.
Josh: I warned Vivien. Vivien came to town with his girlfriend and I went to lunch with them at this nice restaurant. And we are eating there and then I look out the window and I see Bobby walking our way. (Laughs) And then I said: “I don’t know, just be prepared. Maybe he’ll be nice since you’re with your girl.” So Bobby walked up, and I can’t remember what his exact words were…
Vivien: It was just a shower of insults! It was insane! My girlfriend was like: “Who is this crazy guy? No shower or nothing holding on to plastic bags?” It was like some full-on street bum freaking out on you. And my girlfriend is like: “Who the fuck is this?” Well this is Bobby Puleo. (Everyone laughs)
So you guys were eating in a restaurant and he just happened to walk by and look in and see you?
Josh: We were sitting in our seats, dining in a tiny little restaurant filled with people and Bob came to our table and was pointing in Vivien’s face. Pointing the way you would as if you were about to punch somebody. He was like: “You fucking piece of shit. You should have known… You knew what the fuck you were doing!” And Vivien was trying to be polite to him and it was so fucking uncomfortable… Especially because Vivien’s girlfriend, who’s pregnant at the time, is sitting next to Vivien throughout the whole scene and then he just stormed out. It was amazing.
Vivien: Yeah so I was in New York filming for Static when Bobby and Josh had their fallout, which means Bobby was pretty much freaking the fuck out. It was pretty crazy to watch the demise of public Puleo life.
So Josh do you see Bobby anymore?
Josh: I was talking to him today actually…
Vivien: You remember the last time we saw him together Josh?
Vivien: We were at Five Leaves (restaurant) and he rolled past on his bike… Like he was delivering food and he just looked at us and yelled like an animal. (Everyone laughs) He just looked at us yelled really loud, it was like a beast’s noise, and he just kept rolling along. Do you remember that Josh? That’s the last time I saw him.
Josh: That’s what he does.
Josh you said you talked to him today?
Josh: Yeah I’ve been talking to him today actually.
What’s he saying?
Josh: Well I was trying to do a Theories ad and I was trying to get some ‘out of the box’ ideas so I hit him up. I’ve talked to him off an on… You know he’s trying to start his own brand Victim.
Vivien: Josh something that must be done is a Bobby Puleo quote book. You know the last time he saw Soy he asked him: “What are you up to, drawing leafs?” (Laughs)
Ok enough Bobby talk, back to Static. What was it like for you guys after Static IV was finally finished?
Josh: Well it was such a crazy experience to go through that all those years and now have it done.
Are you having withdrawals now or are you fine with it?
Josh: Um, I was at first… I was totally cool with it. It was a relief and then my girlfriend moved to New York so that kind of helped pacify those feelings of panic or whatever, but I get depressed after I finish videos… Especially when it’s like that overwhelming.
Vivien: It was the same for me after we finished Soleil Levant. I mean I know it’s a much smaller project, but it was the first time I really looked and like whoa… ‘Life is so empty right now.’ You just use so much energy for so long and it’s a strain, a tension and when it’s released…
Josh: It’s like carrying around a bag of bricks on your back for six years and when it first gets pulled of you’re like: ‘Oh thank god!’ But it’s strange because after a month or so you end up missing it – like a child that died or something. You had a purpose in life everyday you woke up and then all of sudden it’s like nope…
Well thanks boys. So what’s next for you Josh and Vivien? Future plans?
Vivien: I plan to film a new part this year. See what I come up with in a shorter time span. Other than that I’ll stay busy doing Magenta stuff.
Josh: Well, a lot of stuff had to get put on the back burner while we focused on finishing Static. So I’ve been trying to catch back up and focus on Theories of Atlantis stuff over the winter. And although I may be bringing the Static series to an end there are still a couple of video projects planned for the near future. I don’t think I could ever stop making videos.
Nice one guys. Thank you both for all of this and good luck!