Richie on C2C
Early June, French band C2C released a video clip starring the one and only… Richie Jackson, nonetheless! A casting faux pas for a band composed of four DJ’s with deep roots in hip-hop, or pure coincidence for those four that all have been skaters themselves?
None of the above, at it turns out, but let’s hear them tell the story… After all, it is theirs, one of four adolescents teaming up around music, and well, skateboarding… In different times.
Interview: Benjamin Deberdt
Did you first met more around music, or skateboarding?
Pfel: We all met at school, but skateboarding got us together. We would be skating on Wednesday’s and weekends around all the Nantes spots, then. La Med’ was the main one.
20syl: We first shared tapes. I, myself, was already skating a lot and that is something we did start to share soon after.
Atom: We were rocking our Airwalks, baggy pants and small wheels from 1995 to 1998, if I recall well.
Greem: We skated together, and in between sessions, we would go listen to the new records at that store Black And Noir, so it was all connected.
For many of us, our first musical culture is shaped up around skateboard videos, which they are quite an important component of. Was it the same thing for you?
Pfel: Yep, it was a bit the same for us. We discovered a few gems through skate videos, like the Zoo York ones, for instance. Then, we were listening to a lot of mix tapes from hip-hop DJ’s, like P.F. Cuttin, Vinroc, Beat Junkies, ISP and all that… That was even more informative!
Greem: There was always a gem on someone’s part in a good ol’411, or anything else. I clearly remember that Zoo York video where Roc Raida destroys Rasco’s “The Unassisted”. We ruined the VHS tape, that’s how much it was turning on our player! [Laughter]
Atom: Personally, it was and wasn’t. I do remember that Zoo York video, though, with the freestyles from Method Man, Fat Joe and that Roc Raida routine (RIP)! Then, I have some earlier memories of Bad Religion and No FX, which we played with recently, actually, that’d be what you would hear in those videos. But, on the other end, the moment where I got heavily in turntables was when I slowed down on skateboarding. Shame on me, I know…
20syl: A big part of what I was listening to, then, came from the 411’s, and then what the local skaters were listening to. It always has been quite a prescribing milieu, so you were always more or less updated on what was going on in the States. Quickly, I started shoeing in some of my tracks in videos done by friends, like the Puzzle video magazines [The European video magazine, then, Ed.], and Supernova [The Nantes video that came out in 2000, Ed]
This was a time where skateboarding was under some heavy hip-hop influence, do you think this was a factor in the musical path you chose?
Pfel: It’s true that, at the end of the 90’s, both were going hand in hand, and were feeding from each other. It was a part of it, for us.
20syl: Off course, because that’s what we were listening to, early Wu-Tang, A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb Deep… Those were on heavy rotation, so my own productions were reeking of all those influences.
Atom: As both things were what got us together, and also were so connected to our life, for sure!
Greem: You could even say that it shaped our style, because we were deep in that whole “street” universe, in a milieu where all the latest US hip-hop releases were circulating, where you could meet the skaters at some hip record store, where the mix tapes from the most influential DJ’s were shared…
For better or worse, there is a “skate rock”, should there be a “skate rap”, also?
Pfel: Why not? But it seems that, just like their whole generation, skaters now have very varied musical tastes, so skate rap, skate step, deep skate, sketch and so on!
20syl: I don’t think so, because end of the day, skate rock is done by skaters, and when it comes to rap, not that many skaters have crossed the line. DJing, or beatmaking, maybe, but there are very few MC’s, end of the day.
Atom: Why not… I don’t know, actually: I’m not really for all those barriers and definitions, in general…
Greem: I think someone should invent Skatecktonik, then you would get some crazy tricks!
A recurrent debate amongst 30 something is “Skateboarding used to be better”, or “hip-hop used to be better”. Where do you stand on those two?
Pfel: I’m not really the nostalgic kind, so no…
20syl: Just like you, I think this is a stupid debate, but I can tell you that in both areas, the level never ceases to get higher and also to diversify.
Atom: As 20syl said in an interview the other day: “Nothing has really changed: you still have the same amount of great stuff, and the same amount of crap!”
Greem: Skateboarding or rap, it would be better after! [Laughter]
The last skateboard video that shook you?
20syl: Overground Broadcasting by Takahiro Morita, they are just crazy!
Atom: Quite a bunch of Richie Jackson stuff found on YouTube, for all of us. And an older thing that did shake me up was Fully Flared by Lakai, with the exploding walls and blocks in the intro. So beautiful!
Pfel: A bit like Atom, my last big hit was Fully Flared, even if it’s a bit old, now. And some of those Battles of the Berrics are crazy. Mike Mo is killing it in some of those!
Greem: I did enjoy the "Peter Brings the Shadow to Life" video, where you only see the shadows of the skaters.
So the idea of having a skater in the video was yours, or it just happened?
Together: We had received a bunch of synopsis or pre-scripts, but nothing was tickling our fancy. While listening to the track, 20syl, which has directed a few video clips already, got this vision of some cruising, and first saw it shot on Super 8, with the four of us, in some “meeting after all those years” type of session, with us struggling to ollie up curbs, then the idea kept evolving until the one of that mysterious board on which you can see an image that keeps changing while the skater cruises around and interacts with his environment. We shot the idea to Thomas Tyman, and he treated it his own way.
So you guys did cast Richie Jackson?
Together: We had spotted him before, and when we could make it happen, we were super stoked! We had seen some of his parts, and appearances on the Berrics, also. His style is so atypical that you will not forget it! It happened that the director knew him, actually, so it all clicked!
One track from your personal record collection that would suit the very psychedelic Richie?
Pfel: Beastie Boys "Son of Neckbone"!
20syl: Jimi Hendrix "Burning of the Midnight Lamp".
Atom: Jimi Hendrix "Axis : Bold As Love".
Greem: Queen "Don't Stop Me Now".
A good tune to listen to just before going skating?
All together: C2C, "Down The Road", off course! [Laughter]
20syl: And "Kick Push" from Lupe Fiasco, even if in his video you can tell he doesn’t skate… [Laughter]
Find more of C2C’s music here.