Interview / Alexandre "Cotinz" Neaime

We have introduced you to Sir "Cotinz" during our brazilian Week, making sure you would know about the creative skater but also the inventive video maker… Tomorrow, on the exact date they found Laura's body in the Twin Peaks series (Cotinz is quite serious when it comes to dates!), he will introduce us all to Doppelganger, his latest production behind the lens, and quite the ode to the lesser known underground skateboarding his country can breed… UNtil then, how about learning a thing or two about quite the character?

 Benjamin Deberdt


LiveSkateboardMedia: OK Cotinz, when did you start skating and how long have you been based in São Paulo? In a former article, it was brought up that you were on an endless couch surfing trip of sorts, what does this mean exactly? How long have you been documenting skating for, and making videos - when did you get your first VX? And how long did making the Doppelgänger video take?

Cotinz: I've lived in São Paulo my whole life, started skating in 1998 and was immediately the most interested in videos, I started taking my dad's camera out with me until it broke. Around 2000 I annoyed him so much he got me an hi-8 camera and suddenly I was the one responsible for hooking together two VCRs and editing everything we filmed. We made two videos called Nóis (which means "us" in Portuguese, we called them that because it's us skating in them) and made like four VHS copies total.

After a while, I went to college for broadcasting and graphic design, bought a mini-DV cam and a babydeath with my internship money, and started filming a bunch of good skaters, thanks to my bestie, Renato Custodio, who's a great skater/photographer/artist and was already working for magazines. One day, during a break between classes, I went to the cafeteria and Luan Oliveira was there, doing nothing, just waiting for me to go filming. The first thing that came to my mind was along the lines of, "so there are thirty people in my class, yet no one to film a guy like Luan?". So I left class earlier that day, never to come back.

After that I made three full lengths, one using that 1CCD mini-DV from my internship and 2 using proper cameras. I actually started with a Panasonic DVX-100b but my partner broke it (thanks, Zokreta) then it got stolen at the store, so I went and got a VX, that was 2007.

Around that time, Renato and I and some other friends set up a production company called Antihorario ("Conterclockwise"), and made a bunch of freelance stuff for skate brands but I was always more focused on "real" videos.

By the end of 2008, I released Vol. 1 Lado B and after that the company got kinda torn apart by a mean magazine editor who was originally helping us then got afraid of us going too big and overshadowing him. After that awful experience, I went solo and worked on what I consider my masterpiece, Beats which was released in 2011.

Then after all the headache from making full lengths, I only skated and made mostly non-skate freelance video till my sponsors lost their minds and turned me pro in 2015. By the end of the year I broke up with my wife and got hooked up by a shoe sponsor, which it seemed like the perfect scenario to just get out of São Paulo and spend my rent money on weed, a road I've been on for over a year now - sleeping on couches, getting footy for my parts in different places, loving new women and enjoying the hell out of it.

This new video is just the result of sometimes being the only dude around with a camera while I was still in São Paulo - then after I threw it all together on the timeline I decided to film a little more throughout 2016, just to fill the songs. In no way would I compare it to my other videos, towards which I put all my energy, but it was for sure hella fun to do it.


LSM: Why give such a big place to Felipe in the project? What makes him special?

Cotinz: I mean, haven't you seen the part? [laughs] I don't know, he's just too good, one of these kids who can do anything. He could film a full part of only tech ledge skating and it would stand out. All the filming for the project was super organic, I never felt like we were "on a mission" for this one, and when I picked up my new VX I was skating with Felipe and Luis a bunch, just because we are good friends.

I think the most special thing about him is that he genuinely just wants to have a laugh all the time. Life is about having fun and these guys really incorporate that into their life and I think it shows through their skating. To me that's the most special thing someone can have in skateboarding: sincerity. I learn a lot hanging out with these kids, I love them so much.

LSM: How did you pick the skaters to film for this, actually?

Cotinz: Like I said, it never felt like a mission, so I never really got to pick. Whoever is in the video is my friend. I was helping some dudes with a few projects but whenever there was someone else skating with us I'd film them as well. Some of those dudes are from Peru and Argentina and when they came to visit São Paulo I was showing them around and I just happened to bring the camera.Denti, the guy who closes the video, had this one tape he needed digitalized and I did it as a favor but as soon as I saw the footy I knew I had to steal it from him (laughs). We filmed another day or two and that was it. It's just the people I hang out with, really.


LSM: So out of them, who's from São Paulo exactly? Just trying to get a better picture of your scene.

Cotinz: Denti lives there but is from a smaller city down south and really just got in to the project at the end. Calado is from São Paulo but we filmed at other places. I really got kind of tired of carrying the camera bag all over, to be honest, so I really just went filming specifically with the video in mind when Felipe and Luis came to Florianópolis, as well as that one night with Denti. The guys actually had a hard time convincing me to take the camera out! [laughs]

I'm helping my friend Victor Sussekind - from Florianópolis - on his VX part (keep an eye out for that one amazing piece to come) over there, so I spent a couple of months there and filmed whoever else was skating with us. I also went to Goiânia and skated with a bunch of the guys over there, but most of the footy there is filmed by my other homie who was also filming me. Some more of the footage was submitted by the friends I made on those trips, since I knew a bunch of people would watch the video for Felipe and the other more famous skaters in it, I wanted to use that opportunity to show some of the cooler young dudes from those areas. Valeu Kahlany! Valeu Bagata!

That was really just a personal choice, if I were to take the camera out it would be footy all day, and you could make a 20-minute video every 2 or 3 months, just like Murilo does with the Flanantes Series in São Paulo which for sure is the epicenter of the industry and being as big as it is, it is really easy to meet new people and find new spots there, but everyone just goes to Roosevelt which is the meet-up plaza and basically all the crews mix up.

There's really A LOT going on in São Paulo and Brazil overall. Good stuff coming up from all over the place, from the Amazon, from Goiânia which is right in the middle, from Rio, dudes from São Paulo making videos about Bahia, all over really, too many good sources to mention. 


LSM: How did the idea of the Twin Peaks theme come up? Which spot of the video would you say is the Black Lodge - that one mall with all the night lines maybe? Is Fernando Denti a doppelgänger possessed by Killer Bob or was that one joint just some really potent weed?

Cotinz: I was watching the show for the third or fourth time and just noticed how fucking genius the music is, so I downloaded the album and was listening to it all the time.

I can't even begin to say how touched I was by that soundtrack, mainly "Falling", the opening theme for the show which also became the one for Doppelgänger. Man, Angelo really hit the spot, I was obsessed with those songs for quite some time... Which all went away as soon as I started editing with them - videomakers know the feeling.

When I first captured some of the footy, it was the first music I tried to lay over it and it worked out better then I expected. I asked some of the guys to push backwards a couple of times and that was it, just worked on the Twin Peaks theme while editing. I think Lynch's work is very much based on mood, and the musical score works well on skate videos.

Those slowed-down songs are really, really cheesy romantic popular music from the 90's. It's an sort of evolution of samba, although not nearly as good as the roots stuff. It's something people even joke about using in skate videos, but I thought the popular approach would be cool, I just slowed it down for the vaporwavey sake of it. I tried not to be too attached to the original show - just enough to add some character to the video, through some stuff like the day-versus-night aspect as well as the release date (February 24th).

And nah, Denti is too nice to be Bob, and the weed doesn't really change much, Denti is a genius! He's the kind of dude who plays the song, copies the cassette tapes, makes the cover art, makes the flyers for the show, edits the video and skates in it. Such a cool dude to hang out with, although sometimes his mind goes so fast no weed is powerfull enough to make it slow down - if anything it just makes things worse [laughs].

I guess no one is Bob and no exact location is the Black Lodge but the part with Nicolas Cespedes and the other Latin guys is pretty representative. I love the dudes but when they came through I was having a hard time with personal stuff and one night we got into a fight with a taxi driver and ended up in the drunk tank, which - being Brazil - was a "no sleeping situation". Dark times for sure, but it's all good now.

LSM: Alexandre Calado also has some outstanding footage. Is he a local? He looks OG. And does that song actually just keep screaming "TONY HAWK" at me? I can't seem to un-hear this.

Cotinz: Fuck yeah, that dude is so underrated, I dunno why. He has a full-on three-years-in-the-making part coming out soon, so I hope he gets into the spotlight a little bit more, or whatever's better from him. He's from São Paulo but we bumped into each other in Goiânia and skated there one afternoon, then went to Brasilia for a couple of days, so basically we filmed all that in 3 days. He's the coolest! Salve Testa!

Now I never going to be able to listen to that song without hearing "Tony Hawk", you ruined it for me [laughs]. Yeah, I was obsessed with that album as well and wanted something different for Alexandre because he skates kind of different from the rest of the guys in the video. It is a good break of mood though - it doesn't distract that much from the general feeling.


LSM: What's next in line for you Cotinz? Working on more projects? Trips? Cashing in on the upcoming 25th anniversary 3rd season of the show - any shares with David Lynch?

Cotinz: David won't stop calling me to direct a couple of episodes but they aren't able to pay my fees [laughs], nah, but really excited to see what happens to Detective Cooper after the Bob situation, really excited.

But for me personally, no big projects, just skating and enjoying life. I'm always on "filming a part" mode, but by now that's just standard procedure, it doesn't feel like a big project, just life, thankfully. I have a couple of parts ready to be dropped by my sponsors, De.Part hats and Crail trucks. Really looking forward to those videos, everyone in it is sick. 

I'm in Buenos Aires right now and Denti and our friend Dodo are heading over on a 24+hour bus trip. Really happy about that. Hoping to be able to finally make it on the euro tour this year, skate some french non-spots and powerslide till the wheels fall off (figuratively - I have to pay for wheels, so I hope my set lasts the whole trip). And I have some sweet potatoes in the oven right now, should be good. Whoops... looks like they burned.


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