La Armonía / Kyle Cielencki / PREMIERE

Eric Nguyen is the epitome of the modern skate youth: passionate about the art (enough to look up all the latest full-length videos and nerd out on the most local web clips, that is), smart and wise in his social media use, and really quite frantic in terms of productivity as far as VX-1000 output is concerned. He's most definitely commented on your Instagram feed before, or you might have unknowningly seen clips that he's filmed... Anyway, Eric just finalized his third full-length video for the Houston-based skateshop: Select, won't stop hyping us up through DM's and stories about his daily missions, and just recently sent us the clip above, extracted from the aforementioned recent piece entitled "La Armonía" and consisting in no less than the closing segment: Kyle "Slinky" Cielencki's part. And a very good one it is! LIVE SKATEBOARD MEDIA IS NOW PRESENTING IT TO YOU, and we thought that would make for quite the perfect occasion to catch up with Eric, chit chat a bit and most importantly, introduce you to what he's been doing...
LIVE Skateboard Media: Can you introduce yourself and your background in skateboarding and skate film making?
Eric Nguyen: My name is Eric Nguyen. I'm twenty-seven. I was introduced to skateboarding when I was about five, and actually started skating when I was thirteen.
I wasn't the best at skating out of the group of friends I was with at the time, and was under the impression that you had to skate really big stairs and rails to be good, or sponsored. Knowing that would never happen for me, I one day borrowed my dad's Handycam and started documenting and filming my friends for fun, jumping down huge sets and racking on handrails [laughs].
A couple of years later at a local skatepark, I met my friend Roddie Frederik who was filming and skating with Houston's finest filmer, Nick Lavigne, and was introduced to the VX for the first time. I took more interest into it and eventually got my first VX in 2007. Been in love with it ever since.

"I would always see footage of Anthony Correa, Brad Hiser, Nate Broussard, Trace Saylor, Ivan Lavigne, Guru Khalsa and others, killing it"

LSM: Where are you from and what was it like growing up skating as part of your local scene? Who do you skate with nowadays?
Eric: I was born in Carona, California but raised in Houston, Texas.
The skate scene here is as widespread as the city of Houston. It drives forty-five minutes north, south, east, or west of downtown, there’s a huge scene with a shop, park, and footy coming from all sides but the inner loop including downtown is the epicenter. Downtown is where all sides meet.
Growing up in the scene, there used to be this forum called 4duos which was ran by Chris Goulet and a few other people. It was a skateboarding forum that covered all of Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and all over Texas. Filmers from all over would contribute together clips for monthly montages and video parts. It was a good way for everyone to interact, connect with each other and see what was popping in the scene. I would always see footage of Anthony Correa, Brad Hiser, Nate Broussard, Trace Saylor, Ivan Lavigne, Guru Khalsa and others, killing it. Houston is big yet small. There’s a lot of diversity here and everyone knew each other and skated or partied together.
From that, I’ve met some of the best OG filmers of Houston such as John Danielson, Nick Lavigne, Ryan Schorman from Wooden Camera, Phil Leach and Robby Brown. Props to these guys for the inspiration.

"I recently got Nate Broussard out of the house!"

Usually I'm out skating with my friends, Mikey Brown, Roddie Frederik, Marcus G, Ben Havran, Jeet Modashia, Milo Rubio, Trung Nguyen, Andy Nguyen, Slinky, Xavie Zubia, and Josh Ramon who I've met throughout the years growing up skating in Houston. Oh and I recently got Nate Broussard out of the house!
As of lately, a lot of them moved out to Austin and Dallas or is busy with work and Trung is in NYC now. It's hard to maintain and work around other people's schedules sometimes so lately I'm with one person one day skating or out with two to six and a bunch of other cats the next. But a lot of the times we plan big trips together, so we're always in touch.
LSM: This is a section from a Select Skateshop video; can you tell us a little about the shop, its history and the process behind the making of "La Armonía" as a full-length? Have you worked on other pieces for them before?
Eric: Select Skateshop, created by Houston's favorite OG's, Ramzi Mantoura and Jerry Menchaca. We're coming up on our eighth anniversary, and going strong.
The shop allows us to have a home base through which we can unify together and cultivate all our talents. Our crew is filled with individuals who each play an important role in keeping the whole thing going, whether it's through filming, photography, art and skating. We all work super well with each other and just get to enjoy making tight shit together.

"I stress myself out for two-and-a-half weeks hand-making every single DVD and cover"

The first project I made was "Personage & Birds" back in 2015, then I made "Fortune Cookie" in 2016. "La Armonía" is the third project I made for Select which came out last December.  A lot of influence came from 1960's Italian, Spanish and French scores from crime, romance and thriller movies and came up with the title "La Armonía" for the video which means "The Harmony" focusing a lot on that genre of music.
I usually give myself about a year to film a full-length video. I think that's a good amount of time with maybe two or three trips in between. Once I think I've collected a good amount of footage from everybody, I stress myself out for two-and-a-half weeks hand-making every single DVD and cover before the premiere date in December.
LSM: What is your personal relationship with Slinky, do you guys go way back? Would you be able to describe his approach to skateboarding in words? Have you worked on other projects together before?
Eric: Kyle is one of my closest friends. I've known him for about eight years now. I met him when he was probably around eighteen and grew up skating with him at this local prefab park out west in Katy, Texas. He was a little shit head back then [laughs]. I used to not know how to pronounce his last name so I would call him Slinky. The nickname just stuck and fitted him like a tailored suit. Skating sleek and sinuous in a flowing manner.

Slinky backside smith grind shove-it out . Ph.: Andy Nguyen
A couple years ago he moved to NYC for a job. When he came back to Texas, his approach on skating had a little bit of East Coast influence. There are times when finding different ways to skate a spot here can be challenging since a lot of our spots are just your typical gap, stairs, ledges and rails, but Slinky tends to overcome obstacles in obscure ways.
We share the same vision and work well together, inspiring one another.

"Mike Gigante hit us up, asking us if we wanted to make a little Northern Co. Texas connection edit"

Also the best guy to have trips on! He's like an alarm clock. He'll wake you up mad early in the morning trying to convince you to work out with him at the gym to warm you up before skating...
LSM: You’ve mentioned to me before that you were working on helping out our friends over at Northern Co. in SF with a Texas connection thing. Care to elaborate? What other projects do you have in the works and how often are you on missions for them?
Eric: Yeah! Mike Gigante hit my homie Mikey Brown and I up, asking us if we wanted to make a little Northern Co. Texas connection edit. Told him we were down for it and super stoked for the idea. Mike and Ryan Flores were the first people we met when we visited SF and hooked us up with some boards and showed us around. Raddest dudes ever and the rest of the team as well. Bryan Botelho and Chris Athans are from Texas too! Should be close to being finished.

Pop shove-it hippy jump. Ph.: Andy Nguyen
Asides from that, just trying to skate and film as much as I can for another full-length video I suppose. Trying to plan more trips here and there. 
LSM: What are your inspiration skate video-wise? Any influences beyond the scope of just skate films?
Eric: Very influenced by a lot of the FESN, Magenta, Colin Read ("Tengu"), Rasa Libre, local Houston videos and all the "Static" videos. The list could go on.
I also enjoy a lot of foreign films. My Mom is a French teacher so she's always showing me all these movies. They always seem to have an interesting tuneful soundtrack to them.
LSM: What do you like and wish you could see more of, in modern skate videos in general?
Eric: Fred Gall and his grandma's station wagon!
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