"This video is kinda like going to a thrift shop and searching for the things that you like."
You could say many people were waiting for Strobeck around the bend… From the A Love Supreme fans to the eternal nay-sayers, including the die-hard cult followers of the most famous skateshop in the world, everybody was wondering what the filmmaker formerly known as “Fat Bill” would do with “the Supreme Video”…
Well, as expected, he turned it into his very own masterpiece. Pure Strobeck: absolute skateboarding, in between moments of street life and tricks captured the way they should, in their raw simplicity… There is no point pontificating on the video, it is on heavy rotation at your home.
But, there were still a few questions to ask William…
When did shooting for short edits like "buddy" turn into "let's make a full video!"?
This is what happened: I was asked to make a little video for Supreme's site. That was because Dill was in town and there was this kid they were giving product to, who ended up being Tyshawn Jones. So I filmed that commercial in early june 2012, finished that up and it was well received… By the end of June, I had already started on what would come to be "cherry". The first trip was with Gonz and Dill in Paris.
A lot people seem really disturbed by the lack of "parts", which I find silly… Did you think the skateboard video was too formulaic, or just wanted to sing your own tune?
I didn't plan out anything, I improvised the video by the feel of the music and the clips I had visually, and put them in an order I liked. It's like parts but not parts, like Paulo and Dylan have parts and Dill has a part and the kids have sections. It's actually more normal that way, to me. More natural… People are just too lazy, they have to have things lined up and in order, like when going to a grocery store: here is the orange juice section, here is the pasta isle… It's set up conveniently for you. This video is kinda like going to a thrift shop and searching for the things that you like. Maybe you'll find something, maybe you won't. It wasn't set up for you to not have to think, you kinda have to engage with it to understand it. Just take it for what it is.
Speaking of tunes, you always have really powerful music selection, and "cherry" is no exception. I was wondering what came first for you, when editing: a moment or vibe you wanted to showcase, or the song to which you find images to fit?
It's a mix, for sure… I'd put a bunch of clips together and would be like: “this song is sick and this one clip fits the vibe of it, so I'll work around that…” or I would have the song and start putting clips to it… I dunno, I think it's a mix of both.
Internet being what it is, there are a lot of silly comments going on about "cherry", as about everything going on on Earth right now. Do you even bother looking at that kind of stuff?
I do actually look at what people write… I like how wacky kids are. Hmm, one that stuck out to me at the beginning, before the trailer even dropped, was when people found out about the name… Some kid wrote “it's named "cherry" because "cherry" is on top meaning Supreme on top”. I thought that analyzation was rad.
Actually, was there a meaning to the name?
Yes, the name comes from the footage of Sean Pablo holding his board, and it saying TAKE MY VIRGINITY AWAY. When it came down to it, this was my first full length video, Supreme's first skate video and a video that all the kids were going to be seen in together for the first time. So, it was like popping the "cherry" of it all.
Who has worked the hardest for "cherry", you think?
Seriously, I am not going to pinpoint out anyone… Everyone really put the effort in… As a whole, we all worked the hardest on it even all the way into the offices and the making of the dvd case. Everyone as a whole made the video.
It seems like the video has been filmed in LA and NYC for the most part. Was that a conscious decision, or use of the circumstances?
I wanted to film a lot in NYC of course and, during the winter, I had no reason to be here sitting around, so I went to LA… As you can see in the video, I picked up spots and places I thought were classic looking… The Courthouse in New York is always going to be the Courthouse… It's the same spot it was 15 years ago, and it's a classic NYC spot. You will always know, seeing that, that you're in New York… Also, picnic tables, school yards: you will always feel like your in LA… They are classic things visually and will always be for years to come.
With Jason Dill, in Paris, for the first "cherry" related trip…
How did you meet Paulo Diaz, and how did he get on board, filming for the project?
In the winter, I wanted to go to LA… Dill told me Paulo had been coming to the Supreme store out there, lately… So, I told him: “Imagine if we got Paulo footage in the video!” He called me like two days later and was like “I talked to Paulo and he's down…” I thought I'd get like one or two things of him… He ended up being so hyped on the project, and was just down to go out ever day I was in LA. He killed it. I'm proud of him and I love his skating… Always have.
What would be a little known fact about him?
He is super good at beat-boxing. It's insane… The guy is so fun and makes me laugh all day… Good energy.
And what about Scott Johnston, how did you trick him into filming?
I didn't have to trick him at all, he actually tried hard to be in it. He's very busy but he somehow made time for me, while I was in L.A. Siked he's in it, of course.
The only skate video project Supreme had done before was A Love Supreme… Did you ever have it in mind at some point, when you were thinking of what to do with "cherry"? Actually, had you even seen it, when it came out?
I think at first I did… I love Thomas's film from back then, it really captures that time… And I feel like, at first, I was like “I gotta do something like that…” I did film 16 and Super 8, while making the video… I ended up using that for the trailer and that's it. I wanted people to think that the video was gonna be like Thomas's film but then, when it came out, it wouldn't be like it at all. I have fun trying to trick people.
I remember interviewing you at a time you were feeling "too old" to film with the new generation, a few years ago. What changed your mind?
I met these kids, I liked their energy. They made me feel youthful again and not jaded. They fucking rule. I'm really proud of them and glad they were a part of this video. I mean everyone is talking about them, now. They did a great job.
What has been exciting to you, lately, when it comes to document skateboarding?
The thing that has been exciting for me, with skateboarding, is that it feels young again. For me, being around all the main pros mixed with the kids and everyone skating a schoolyard is just fun… Like everyone playing SKATE and hanging out. That vibe is so dope.
I gotta ask, so: what's up with Pops!?
Pappalardo is great. I haven't seen him in a bit but I know he's good… He's out skating, probably.
After spending so much time out in the streets with everybody, the VIP premiere tour must have been a shock of sorts?
It was a new feeling for me, for sure. Because most of it was focused on me and what I made… so I felt overwhelmed. But in a good way, I was siked about it and confident about the video, so I was ready to show it off.
Now that "cherry" is out, what do you have lined up?
I got some stuff in mind… You'll have to just wait and see.
What about the Strobeck Mixtape project, then?
Yeah, we'll see… Everything is logged onto a hard-drive… I'm not in a rush to go heavy into something, right at this second… Maybe, someday.
You can, and should, cop “cherry” and enjoy it in top quality, here.
And here is a little bonus, courtesy of William, proof of the many talents of Paulo Diaz: