Meeting… Mauro Caruso!

Photos: Davide Biondani

Interview: Charles Paratte

"To be honest, the more I grow up, the more I think I'm glad I grew up skating here with my friends, because the scene is small but at least it's all people that really love skateboarding and have fun…"

We had planned to use the Muòrica edit release to introduce you to Mauro, just because, well, we really dig his skating skills… Plus a skater born and raised in Sicily, and still living there, was obviously a good story. Turns out Mr Caruso is way more interesting than that, and all the drama surrounding Muòrica, and his handling of it says a lot about the kind of guy he is.
So, here is one of our new favorite skaters at the moment, and some one we hope to bump into in real life soon…
Benjamin Deberdt

So, Mauro, what happened with the video? It was up for a day, then disappeared for almost a week…
This video has been cursed since day one… If I write down all the weird, random, unbelievable things that happened, I could write a book! When you're out there skating, you know anything can happen, but this time it got to that point where I couldn't believe it anymore and thought someone was really cursing us! [Laughter] We had problems till we actually put the video out and we were joking about it: “Internet is going to stop working now!”, stuff like that… [Laughter]  The video goes online, and two hours later we receive an email of report for using the song without paying the label! [Laughter] What happened is that Giuliano Severini [the filmer], after several researches for a song, came across this CD some friends had with popular music on it and we found the song but didn't have any name… We tried to look for it but didn't find anything so we thought was this song was probably really old, made by some random guys… “Let's use it!”  Of course, that wasn't the case! Vincent Migliorisi, the author of the song, is actually a young guy who is really trying to make it in the music world and he is from this little village next to Modica! Insane… After two hours, the video got super popular in those areas and the author of course saw the video without his credits, got mad, and called the label! Thanks to this we got to know the name of the author, so I looked and found the guy on Facebook, added him straight away! First thing I saw on his page was at least ten different people posting the video on his page, all of them talking about why he didn't get any credit! I guess this guy is pretty famous in his area, so everybody knew the song! [Laughter] I got in touch with him, spoke to him on the phone and explained everything! He was actually super cool. He really liked the video and said it could totally be the video clip of his song! [Laughter] We made some deal and finally were be able to put the video out again!

Let's get back a bit, how did the Muòrica project happen?
Modica is a small town up in the hills, about two hours from where I live, and I always heard about it because the old part is really beautiful, the city is worldly famous for its chocolate and a lot of movie scenes were shot there. A few years ago, I finally went to visit this place, but as soon as I got there and walked through the village, the only thing I was looking at were possibilities of tricks! [Laughter] So many downhills and rough stuff, and since then, that city got stuck in my head! I knew I had to film something there! I went back other times with different skaters or friends, filmed or shot maybe one or two things and that's how everything started! When I got on Lakai, I thought I could make a full clip there for them, so I started planning things… At the same time, Davide Biondani [from a brief glance, Ed's Note] also wanted to shoot some stuff there, so we put things together! We went one week and shot all the photos, then I went back with Giuliano, the filmer, and, well, did all the tricks again plus other stuff and made this clip! Stressful but for sure, but a great and fun experience!

 Davide Biondani

Backside lipslide

The concept is unusual for a skateboard video, what was the hardest thing about filming there?
Maybe when watching the clip, everything looks easy and done quickly, but it wasn't at all! First of all, we just chose the worst time ever to film this clip, it was between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Not having a car, Giuliano and I were going back and forth by bus, carrying cameras, metal plates, tripods, boards, filmer board up and down the whole city trying to find spots or anything to skate, to catch the bus the same night go back home for Christmas night and be back there the next day… Sometimes, we would stay there two or three days in a row… A lot of spots were rough to skate; being out already at 8am, the sun wasn't high yet and it was freezing. But dealing with people and the light was the hardest part… Light because we would get to any spot and always had a bad light condition on us; since the village is located on this hill and it's made all of really small streets so there was always not enough light or the worst shadows so what we did was pretty much going around and skate what we could and those spots with bad light we would just see what time it was and try to calculate the best time to go back, hoping it would be better the next time! We also got lost a bunch of times… Maybe you can't really tell but those tiny streets are like being inside a labyrinth and none of us knew the city at all! The main problem about all this was that we didn't have enough time to do things as we wanted to… After New Year's Eve, I had a trip to Morocco planned, and the filmer was going to move to Milan for a new job… That's why we went all in and tried the best we could, missioning like soldiers… [Laughter] I don't think this clip would have been possible with another filmer… Giuliano really believed in this project and gave his 100%… A few times, he freaked out maybe even more than me and tried his best to make it happen, and I really want to thank him for that...

What jumps off to me was the fact there is nobody walking or driving in the streets. Did you film it during the siesta time?
It's weird because it was actually the complete opposite but when I watched the full edit for the first time that's what I saw too… I was like, wait where is everyone gone!? It was actually crazy to skate in those streets, I mean you don't see cars because most of the time the streets are too small for them or we were just waiting till nobody was in the way. Lot of times, we would just ring at random people's house asking who the owner of those cars were and have them to move all the cars away; we acted like it was for another important movie and lot of people were down for it! The hardest part was to deal with a few really old people… Because pretty much every spot was someone's house and we were either ruining the marble or skating their stairs or whatever was there so, yeah, it was nuts! Trying to explain them what we were doing was awful… A few times, it took more than 30 minutes to convince them! We also had to come back to many spots different times since we would get kicked out or another one was when we were trying to film in this one really small road and some old guy would just try to drive through and get stuck with the car in the middle! [Laughter] It would take them so long to make the right moves and pass by while we were just freaking out since time was flying by! [Laughter]

You are one of the few Sicilian skaters that appears in the media, what does the Sicilian scene look like, actually?
It has always been pretty small… The fact it is an island, far away from everything, never helped the situation to get better for sure… It's crazy thinking about it, but there are no skateshops right now down here! In the past ten years, there have been a few but they all shut down… Never had a skatepark till a few years ago, and it was better to not have it at all [Laughter], it's super small and badly made… There was another one in the in the middle of Sicily, but some guys thought it was funny to burn it down and now it's gone! [Laughter] But, yeah, I mean, it's hard to skate down here, you really need to have passion for it. To be honest, the more I grow up, the more I think I'm glad I grew up skating here with my friends, because the scene is small but at least it's all people that really love skateboarding and have fun… People here love skateboarding for what it actually is: being out with your friends and just skate! Over the years, we have organized some events, did some videos, always tried to help each other any way we could. Not having anyone that films or shoot photos made all of us learn that side of skateboarding and lot of us bought cameras, learnt how to film or stuff like that! Siracusa is a city 45 min from here and, in the last few years, a lot of new kids are coming up from there,.They also got a small park but the guys there are all hyped and you can tell they are having good times every day going on missions and skating all together! Sicily is a beautiful land, I love it but at the same time it's got lot of problems, political, economical or cultural, mentality here is still kind of closed minded and skateboarding is just a reflection of all of this, and that's why its development is a slow process but I feel things are getting better year by year… The fact that finally lot of skaters are coming down to skate for sure is giving help and motivation to everyone down here and I'm stoked about this!

 Davide Biondani

Crooked

If I’m not wrong, you used to be on flow for Cliché,  no?
Yeah, you're right, I was flow for them, actually for a few years… At the beginning, I was getting boards from the Italian distribution then straight from them. I think I skated Cliché boards for like five years… I always got my boards, even when I went to Barcelona, or the States or Berlin, I would get my boxes on time so I can't complain about that, at all… I just felt nothing more would happen with them and by that time I was already getting Royal trucks then Mathieu Tourneur asked me to ride for Lakai and all the Crailtap brands and, since I was going to change shoe sponsor, I thought it was a good time to start all new and fresh! I still can't really believe I skate for these brands actually. I feel super honored they are giving me this opportunity because these are core skate brands but, at the same time, it's scary if you know what I mean! Knowing that Mike Carroll or Rick Howard are the one watching your footage before it's coming out is a crazy one to think about [Laughter] and beside all this I am starting a wheel company with some friends! It's called Volcano wheels (vlcn), we already put some funny photos on Instagram and Facebook but the whole project comes out officially this summer with a site, its first video commercial and all of that! It's super fun!

You seem to take full advantage of the opportunities presented to you,  traveling and skating as much as you can as an amateur skateboarder, do you have any career plan apart from that?
Growing up in a place that has nothing to do with skateboarding, either you really want it and start to travel or you get stuck down there! I always loved skateboarding and especially what is around it, the people, getting to visit new places, the parties, I just love this life so, yeah, I always traveled, most of the times on my own. Actually, when I was a kid, my father did bring me to some contest around Italy and that was super cool! From there I would always save up money and go somewhere else! I like to do my own things and not stay here and wait till something happens or the sponsors tell me to go on a trip! I never cared about a skateboarding career… Never thought about it like I never thought about being sponsored… I just love skating and no matter what I will keep investing my money on it and do what I love to do! Right now, things are going good so I'm super stoked, I know there are some projects with Lakai so, yeah, looking forward to that and, of course, one day I would love to work in the skateboard industry!

If you were doubting the reality of Mauro's motivation, well, you had obviously missed this one:

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