PREMIERE / Kraków Kids / GREY AREA "Neverwhere" / INTERVIEW

Just a few weeks ago, we were presenting you a brand new Danny Fuenzalida video part; an excerpt from Poland-based filmer Kuba Kaczmarczyk's latest full-length, underground hit: "Neverwhere", the continuation of its prequel from 2013: "The Grey Area Video". Well, let's hope you're ready for more: today, we are sharing with you another segment of said video, no less than the opening one at that, shared by three young rippers from Kraków: Kuba Brniak, Michal Zarzycki and Franek Kramarczyk. In order to know more about them, we figured we'd get the group interview below going, too!

LIVE Skateboard Media: Hey Kuba, good to talk again! Kuba Brniak, Michal Zarzycki then Franek Kramarczyk share the same chapter in « Neverwhere », just after the introduction and Danijel Stankovic’s opening part; I take it putting them near the beginning of the video was your way of introducing them to the world? How did you first meet them and how did you start filming with them? How does it feel working on projects with people from a much younger generation, are there ever any funny moments?

Kuba Kaczmarczyk: Actually no, that wasn't the idea behind the editing choice. When one edits a whole video, they always must remember about its pace; especially nowadays, it's hard to keep people in front of a screen for nearly thirty minutes. I’ve heard that Alfred Hitchcock once said that "a film should start with an earthquake, and then the stress should continuously increase"; therefore, you play with the different music and content, in order to create moments of high tension and heat.

You can't play the same type of music all the time; same goes for the skating in a video. So the whole time, my main focus was on ensuring that the energy the vid radiated would remain balanced.

Filming them was super fun but like most people, sometimes they did drive me really crazy. There was one trip to Malmo that I went on with them only; I usually have at least one older person around, but on that trip that wasn't the case and as such, for five, six days straight I couldn't catch even a one-minute break from being their dad. I was over it after twenty-four hours [laughs].

It's mostly never-ending, pure fun though; making me feel like a kid at times, it’s nice.

LSM: Yo Kuba, Michal, Franek! May you please introduce yourself? Where are you from originally, and what was your first exposure to skateboarding? In which conditions did you first start - did you have a strong local scene, what spots would you skate?

Kuba Brniak: My name is Kuba Brniak and I'm from Kraków. It's not a big city but it's mellow, and so beautiful.

Kuba Brniak, ollie up to frontside tailslide. Ph.: Kuba Baczkowski

I started skating because of my cousin, who gave me an old school board with plastic wheels and trucks; from that day on, I skated as much as I could. Later on, my father bought me a skateboard from the market. I first skated on the street by my house; I was too shy to go to the skatepark. After some time I did, though, and it started going on and on.

The local scene was pretty good. I've been skating with guys way older than me.

Michal Zarzycki: Hi my name is Michal, my friends call me Dida. I’m twenty-one and I’m from Kraków, Poland.

I got my first skateboard from my parents when I was ten but at first, I didn’t want to ride it. I started again after my thirteenth birthday; it was winter so I'd go to Kraków's lovely wooden indoor bowl: Pool Forum, which is still my favourite indoor place to skate here. There were a lot of guys who showed me how many things you can do with a skateboard, and that it’s not just for kids.

Franek Kramarczyk: Hi, I'm Franek from Kraków; that's southern Poland, city of rough skate spots and drunk tourists [laughs]...

"My first skate videos were the Polish ones"

Well I started skating because of my grandfather, who had bought me a skateboard from a Decathlon store on some kids' holiday. Kraków's got one of the biggest skate scenes in Poland, many old homies, many skate infants trying to do it...

When I started skateboarding, there wasn’t much to skate: some wooden skateparks, plus street spots. Now it’s different: we have two concrete skate plazas, a vert ramp and even more wooden shit. And our local skateshop: Skate Or Die - big love.

LSM: Which were some of your first skate videos? I take it you grew up with the Internet already a popular resource, so you probably had access to everything (which is good, but can be bad) - what were some of your first inspirations and what did you like seeing, or feeling, the most in those videos?

KB: My first skate videos were the Polish ones. It all started when I found on Vimeo a video called "Easy Livin'"; it was made by skaters from Bielsko-Biała. Then I saw videos by Kuba Kaczmarczyk and the classic U.S. ones. I was a big fan of Omar Salazar's part in "Mind Field".

"I have “Grey Area” on DVD too"

I was always really open to see everything, to then create an image in my head.

I watch a lot of videos on YouTube, but I have a couple of DVD's too. I used to watch Plan B "Questionable" twice a day. I have "Grey Area" on DVD too.

MZ: One of the first [sv]'s I watched was "Easy Livin'" by my friend Aram Socha, with the Youth team. I liked the idea of traveling around the world with friends and skateboards, just like they had been doing. That was, and still is, my biggest purpose in life and now I’m part of the Youth team with those people. One of my dreams came true.

Michal Zarzycki, ollie to backside nosepick. Ph.: Kuba Baczkowski

FK: First [sv] I can remember was that Plan B "Superfuture" promo from 2008 I guess? I got it on DVD.

I think "Stay Gold" had a huge influence on me. Back in the days I was super hyped on Brandon Westgate’s part, with that sick Earthless track.

LSM: Would you watch a lot of local videos, older stuff maybe? How quickly did you get to meet Kuba? How much of an influence did he have over you, if any? In our previous interview, he was saying he liked to film in settings (trick and spot) that matched his vision. Did being around him help you develop yours or did you always just do your thing and skate fucked up spots?

KB: Yeah, I really like watching local productions, I think it's more interesting when you watch someone you know as a friend. And of course, I like going back to the old videos; I even watched "Hokus Pokus" a couple of days ago.

Kuba Brniak, wallie. Ph.: Kuba Baczkowski

Honestly I met Kuba very quickly. I was eleven years old and he came to Kraków with Michał [Juraś], Krzysiek [Poskrobko] and Simo [Makela]. They stopped by the local indoor bowl, where we all had a session; then we went to that famous ledge spot. I didn't really know who they were at the time; I was just stoked to see filming action going down, when he filmed Krzysiek doing that line that I later saw in the "Grey Area" video.

Then over the years, we got to know each other better and start filming a little bit. Kuba is a very good motivator at the spot. He always says something that makes you really want to land the trick.

Yeah, I think being around Kuba helped me a lot; he always has ideas for you of stuff and spots to try, which is good. Anyway I'm big fan of very rough spots, it always looks so good.

"I prefer to do old tricks at new spots than new tricks in skateparks"

MZ: I think I watched all skate videos from Kraków. I hope so. I really like watching how others were skating years ago at same spots I skate today, or at spots that no longer exist.

I met Kuba around 2016, when I came to Warsaw to shoot photos with the other Kuba from Barrier skate mag.

As soon as I met him, I knew I would like Kuba very much - unlike him. He was (and is probably still) thinking that I’m your typical stupid kid. Anyway he was right; he is always right.

I’ve always liked to skate street. I prefer to do old tricks at new spots than new tricks in skateparks.

Maybe that’s the reason why we cooperate with Kuba very well. He is so patient when he films, and really can motivate you to do a trick so yes - being around him helped me develop for sure.

Franek Kramarczyk, backside smith grind. Ph.: Kuba Baczkowski

FK: Kuba’s previous video "Grey Area" is great. We met in Warsaw a couple of years ago. It was a cold November day. We went street skating together with other dudes, and that was the time we filmed our first clip. It wasn’t even used in "Neverwhere", though.

Kuba is the demanding kind of filmmaker. He won’t let you film your line at Macba for sure (unless it's unique). On the other hand in Kraków, it's me choosing the spots [laughs] or Kuba and Michal.

"I had been wanting to use this Gang Green song for twenty years"

The other Polish video called "Easy Livin'" is the one for me, I watched it hundreds of times as a kid, starring Skate Or Die skateshop owners: Andrzej Kwiatek and Pierre Dziedzic, cheers guys!

LSM: Going back to the editing choices; Kuba and Michal share the same punk song to which the footage is cut rapidly, which is classic and works very well with their styles of skating and the type of spots they skated. Then on the other hand Franek has a romantic song and completely different vibe. May you please explain if this was a conscious departure; did you want to emphasize on something different you saw in Franek’s skating? More generally, how easy was it to pack those three styles together into just one segment on the timeline?

Kuba Kaczmarczyk: From day one, I knew I was going to make a shared part for them. I wanted to introduce them in one section as they usually skate together.

I had been wanting to use this Gang Green song for twenty years, and felt that was the right moment. Kuba, Franek and Michal skate super fast and powerful, so their skating fits to the track.

However it was too short to fit them all in, so we needed to find a new one for Franek. We took that risk and let Franek skate to Cocteau Twins as to keep the high energy going.

So that was again for pacing purposes but you are right, Franek is a special person on and off the board. Do you remember Franek in Fažana at the Vladimir Film Festival, jumping off the ship into the freezing ocean whilst on the trip back from the Brijuni islands in the middle of the night? That anecdote describes him really well.

Franek Kramarczyk, ollie into bank. Ph.: Kuba Baczkowski

LSM: Alright guys, what’s in the cards for you next? Have you been filming again since the completion of "Neverwhere"? Any trips or projects, recent or cooking? 

KB: My plan right now is just keep going and let it all work out naturally.

Of course we have plans to film with Kuba, but I don't really know the details yet. I know the idea is to film something shorter and make it faster.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any clip since "Neverwhere" because of injuries; I tore my ACL and had surgery for that, as well as a couple of rolled ankles and then the last one was disc in my lower spine. But now I can skate, I feel good on a skateboard again. I learn new tricks and the weather is getting better, so my plan is to skate and travel as much as I can. Thank you for the short interview!

"I have the plan to become a millionaire this year,
but it probably won't work out"

MZ: I have the plan to become a millionaire this year but it probably won't work out. So I just want to film a lot of clips with Kuba for his new project, and with Aram for the new Youth video.

FK: I just want to skate. Going to Berlin next week with my friends, including Michal. Thanks Aymeric! See you in Fažana!

Michal Zarzycki, ollie one foot. Ph.: Kuba Baczkowski
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