Posts Tagged ‘Miles Silvas’

Primitive Skateboarding Proudly Presents: Achievers

June 12, 2022

Time was, in that loose fit coming-of-age movie set knowed to some as the mid-90s, it was ‘cool’ not to skate. Long before the ‘no days off,’ on-my-grind 24-hour hustle culture, before pros were contractually obligated to help sponsoring companies stake their claims to the eye-glazing forever scroll, there were times when a year or two might pass between photos or video footage of skaters such as Guy Mariano, Rudy Johnson, Joey Suriel, Fabian Alomar, Gino Iannucci. Part of it was a slower media cycle, and the physical limitations of the day’s rickety imaging technology, but for some holding down pro boards on the era’s top companies, it seemed also something of a ‘flex’ — sitting in the back of the pro skater classroom, blowing rolling blunts and chopping it up about cars and girls, while the try-hards busted their asses to catch up. Menace, one of the 1990s’ most celebrated and influential board companies, never put out a video.

That harshest of mistresses, reality, eventually caught up with that approach — and, in a different way, with Menace, which went through several copyright-forced name changes and a team revamp that resulted in the eventual City Stars video opening with onetime Prime pro Caine Gayle and leaning heavily on newly signed kids Mikey Taylor, Ryan Denman, Justin Case, Devine Calloway and most of all Paul Rodriguez, who ended the thing with a two-song section. Since that time, the influx of ‘real money,’ competition and the bottomless thirst of social media has brought skateboard companies to a point where they can’t go a few months without putting out a video before being called out for low productivity. Pros can expect the big sportswear and beverage checks to come with what-have-you-done-for-me-lately strings attached or to turn serious injuries into their own their own media cycles. Meanwhile the divide deepens between the pro skating careerists and back-of-the-classroom types, the top 40 single-crafters and the indie artists.

When P-Rod expanded Primitive into a board and clothing concern around eight years ago, he’d already cemented himself as a senior member of the former camp. He was rumored to be the first skater to land a seven-figure shoe deal with Nike, a gamble that paid off for both parties, Nike taking a decisive step away from the ‘90s vets who gave the company’s third shot the credibility it needed to hit, and a step toward the Olympian platform it was always destined to become. Paul Rodriguez backed up his jumping ship from Es, which had given his early career a ‘Menikmati’ sheen, by reliably turning in top-shelf video parts that were undeniable in their gnarliness, if not always inspired.

Primitive has maintained this approach as it has come to rival team-wise any of the Girl or Es or Plan B lineups in ‘stackedness.’ ‘Define,’ the full-length released last week that carries a statement of purpose via its 68 minute runtime alone, is heavily shock-and-awe in its execution, with zero filler from a team built squarely upon capital-P professionals. No sketch and special meter always flashing, ridiculous lines are the norm — Wade Desarmo, early on in the vid, shows the commitment to quality in real time after doing a picture-perfect nollie flip backside nosegrind revert on one of the Muni benches, less than a second later calling to the filmer — “yes or no?” (Response: “Go.”) In an age where ‘everybody’s good’ and the explore page on IG coughs up middle America skatepark clips to rival one’s favorite pros, this is how you stand apart: Miles Silvas and Carlos Ribiero doing line-ender ledge tricks before hucking switchstance down the 14-stair Muirlands handrail, Spencer Hamilton alleyooping flip tricks over rail after rail, the general absurdity of the things that Tiago Lemos does, and the proprietor, Paul Rodriguez, tapping in from injury and business-handling to switch backside smith grind lengthily curving ledges, flipping out.

The steadily expanding team’s commitment to high productivity is more remarkable still when considering they aren’t even expected to do this stuff. “Don’t hold your breath,” commented Primitive EVP Heath Brinkley during his 2018 ‘9 Club’ podcast appearance, regarding the prospect of full team vids. Whereas video was generally regarded by Heath Brinkley as “the most important platform,” the timescale involved with the longform skate video made them a bad bet versus three or four smaller projects spaced out over the course of a year: “Do I want the guys to go out for two years and kind of go dark and really hammer down on a full length, or do I showcase them multiple times throughout the year?” Since then Primitive’s put out the smaller projects and cranked out four full-length vids in five years. 

Primitive could be called a factory, pumping out its highly rated ‘Testing’ clips and full-lengths at a more regular pace than any other board maker recently, but it may be better regarded as a startup, staffed by intensely driven cream-of-the-croppers with a stake in the outcome — part of P-Rod’s plan when starting Primitive was to give its pros a bigger stake in their board sales than the company received, a potential motivator, not that they seem to need it. The result has been a team that easily appears to be the multinational athletic sportswear manufacturer’s vision of what skateboarding can be, but maybe really is a product of it — training in gyms, eating right, group dinners and drinks at the bar, sure, but probably not greeting dawn by getting kicked out of the bordello, and heavy helpings of drive and focus.

How might Primitive’s top-of-its-class achievers fare faced with a list of fearsome and grotesque King of the Road challenges? Are the company’s Trapper Keeper style graphics on the low some of the best out right now? Is the ‘Primitive Fade’ destined to become the chosen hairstyle of summer ‘22, and is this the most Canadian Spencer Hamilton ever has looked? Do Primitive’s various and sundry collab partners, recently including Kikkoman and Megadeth, aim for Palace and Supreme but land closer to Ralph’s? Would a collab with Trapper Keeper maker Mead Schoolgoods Inc. complete the circle?

After Tyshawn Jones And Tom Snape, Who Will Pen The Switch Inward Heelflip’s Next Chapter In 2020?

January 1, 2020

Ten more
Dom Henry, ‘Cottonopolis’ — an artist working mainly in the medium of switch nosegrinds and fakie frontside noseslides
Tiago Lemos, ‘Encore’ — nollie over the back, as the fella says, hits different
Tyler Bledsoe, ‘Huf 003’ — backside tailslide drop down to backside noseblunt, what is the world coming to
Brian Peacock, ‘Fellas’ — like a swishies-dripped Gustav Tonnesen, frontside flip switch manual to switch frontside flip back
Kauwe Cossa, ‘Chrystie Chapter 1’ — sterling command of the switch backside heelflip
Nick Matthews, ‘Pavement’ — young in the city with Pupecki grind fakie flips out on lock
Yaje Popson, ‘Untitled 004’ — a top 10 Muni line contender
Wilton Souza, ‘Your World Don’t Stop’ — beating on the Brazilian blocks
Miles Silvas, ‘PLA x Thrasher’ — a mirror line with shock value
Nick Michel, ‘Lotties Must Be Stopped’ — the year’s most fearless frontside half-cab

Bathe in the Glory and Horror of Post-Everything Skating

January 29, 2018

Last week was notable in the sense that Miles Silvas ended lines for all professional skateboarders forevermore. For a meandering five minutes, he pushes, flips and slides his way through several Los Angelean blocks, swerving past security, adjusting his chain and switch heelflipping an artfully knocked-over trash bin on the way to a truly gnarly ender and a history-book entry for probably the craziest run ever. But has Miles Silvas’ ‘One Stop’ line pushed things not only forward, but over some maddening brink?

We now enter a realm where seemingly everything been done, in which all eras exist simultaneously, where nothing and everything is cool and wack all at once everywhere. Observe, on any given day. Switch tailslide something-out champ Luan Oliveira nonchalantly rips wearing a visor. A Florida flow kid lands on Thrasher’s cover, just a few months after a similarly situated young buck frontside crooked grinded the fearsome El Toro first try. Not long before that, Gabriel Summers nosegrinds a larger 21-stair handrail first try whilst wearing a dogs-playing-poker shirt. All over, the established ways dissolve before your eyes: Varial flips are commonplace, people are sponsored by weed mobile phone apps, neon camouflage is freely worn, and CCS proudly advertises its mail-order catalogues in the pages of Thrasher while marketing jeans with macaroni and cheese print interiors.

It’s easier to exhale and surrender to feeling permanently unmoored, eyes glazing over as irony and confusion blunt shock’s few remaining edges, and one brow-furrowing surprise after another leaves you punch drunk. For Youtube browsers in this state, caution is the watchword as skate videos, once content to function as a compendium of individual skaters’ tricks set against a driving tune of their own choosing, now throw loose whatever bonds of convention remain, seemingly pursuing their own brand of ‘What, Me Worry?’ lawlessness.

Drone buff Ty Evans has long shouldered criticisms that his brand of Filmmaking prizes high-end camera rigs and general spectacle over actual tricks, and more than two decades into his skate Film career, no stripes-changing can be detected in ‘The Flat Earth.’ The Film’s heavy incorporation of 360-degree video, digitally rolled onto two dimensions for consumption on high-resolution flattened TV screens, suggests a project that perhaps once aspired to some virtual reality gambit — but settled for a version of Ty Evans’ prior outing, ‘We Are Blood,’ with the storyline switched out for intense bouts of psychedelia, where mountain peaks and highways contort and spasm to dubstep blurts for minutes on end with no identifiable skateboards in sight.

There’s of course blistering footage, in particular from the unsinkable Carlos Iqui and aforementioned one-time Floridian flow rider Jamie Foy. But whereas the Brain Farm budget permitted Ty Evans to indulge in peak Ty Evansness (see: slow-motioned puddle splashing, skating the world’s tallest building, fire) the comparatively bootstrapped ‘Flat Earth’ production may be the first time in 15 or so years where his level of resources significantly declined for a new full-length skate Film, and the result suggests something like Ty Evans’ version of ‘Memory Screen.’

As Ty Evans casts about for purchase in this sloppy, undulating stew that is skating in 2018, simmering a few sub-basements below Bronze and Beez, nearby to Ssquirted, thrives the Instagram video clips of @dogceo. Here is a euphoric and jarring dimension in which park and street footage are hurled with abandon into some video toaster, sauced liberally with vintage video games from other countries and blurred text offering repeated and nonsensical exhortations — where it’s not enough for a grab-bag of logos to bleed through background (or foreground) of a clip, they must flash, and ripple. Skating is happening here, to an extent, at times, but the giddy, disorienting thrill is squeezed from not really knowing whether the steadily immolating visual salad bar is a vehicle for the tricks, or the other way around.

In a time of pink swishy pants and backside smith grind body varials, where’s the lane for a comparatively level-headed dude such as Walker Ryan? Is the steady erosion of conventional wisdoms and tribal law behind the continued appeal of high-handed authorities such as Jake Phelps and @FeedbackTS? If everything officially is over what happens next?

2. Miles Silvas – ‘Numbers Edition 3’

December 30, 2017


Realistically, which is to say in the realm of reality, track pants movement-pusher Miles Silvas made this list, inconsequential as it is, with just the knee drop after the switch frontside bluntslide in this part. The depth of his talent and taste though means he delivers another fulsome video part of his uncommonly singular style and near-peerless choice in tricks — in just the first minute here he’s got a backside bigspin the hard way over a handrail, a backside noseblunt at a tough-to-recommend speed, and Cam’ron. Nobody really is landing tricks like this dude (see: the hubba kickflip backside tailside roll-away, or after the switch backside heelflip over the bar) and there’s not so many who measure up when it comes to mind-bending backside tailslides in general, variations on which this part is sort of built around. Quibbling is restricted to how Miles Silvas seems to have toned down his outfits from the LRG pattern wars.

That’s a Three!

December 14, 2016

guyko

“I’m a gamesman, you know?” said Eric Koston, introducing his and Guy Mariano’s new skateboard company last week via a Thrasher website interview. “I just love to game.” Webster’s dictionary defines gamesman as one who practices gamesmanship, that is, ‘the art or practice of winning games by questionable expedients without actually violating the rules.’ Has 2016 been the year of the gamesman? It’s a question more safely handled by mystical baked goods and psychic rodents, but like all great ponderables, it can be annoyingly answered with another question. What ‘rules’ govern the skate biz? Don’t shit where you eat? No snitching? Render unto Dyrdek what is Dyrdek’s?

To many, the skate industry is a wily mink, lovely to behold and yet lucrative to trap, skin and sew into a coat for attending carpeted movie premieres and smoke-smuggered steakhouses. Between the expanding galaxy of digital media platforms, a professional roster that expands at the bottom via freshly anointed hot shoes and at the top via veterans dusted off for a few more go-rounds, and a general force of entropy at work among skate companies, Guy Mariano and Eric Koston may believe there to be more than one way to skin this proverbial mink mentioned in the proverb at the beginning of this paragraph. To wit, it’s not even that much of a thing what the company is called:

Guy: Just Numbers.
Eric: Edition. You’ll see as the brand rolls out, but it is Numbers Edition.

The Numbers debut video similarly pursues a deconstruction of the skate video as we knows it today. Mainly from a bystander’s point of view, it takes in everything from bails to chitchats about freeway driving conditions to Miles Silvas’ impeccable fits and switch kickflips, generally from a detached distance. Timeworn trappings such as lighting rigs, generators and fisheye lenses make no appearances, leaving our Sun and streetlights to provide a sometimes dim view on the happenings as drone-y, piano-y music softly builds a sense of dread, despite indications that Guy Mariano’s ‘Tactical Manual’ ledge fixation may be cooling. You may begin to wonder: What is about to happen to these folks? Will Consolidated’s nightmarish OD clown suddenly accost the teamriders? Will a plane crash in the background, or will a monstrous creature from beyond lumber into the frame and a ‘Cloverfield’-stye found footage escapade ensue?

With a new clip for the de rigueur Numbers/Nike collabo sneaker set, has the long Antonio Durao footage drought finally come to an end? What do all those double-digit numbers at the bottom of the Numbers ad refer to anyways? Is ambient techno the natural next step after Palace and Bronze had skaters worldwide turning up to house music? Could Rick Howard and Mike Carroll conjure the ghost of World past and recruit Greg Carroll to head up a new skateboard company called ‘Letters’ with graphics designed to poke fun at the Numbers slash/box logo, gradient color graphic themes and the personalities of each teamrider?

2. Miles Silvas – ‘1947’

December 30, 2015

It is an interesting and engaging investment of time to consider Miles Silvas’ skating as a cipher for the youth of today, in all of their seeming contradictions and thirst for rapid gratification: Here is a young man, alternately clad in slimly tailored, above-the-knee shorts and a Guwop-for-Prez tee, not bothering to sweet talk or buy the hubba flowers first with a switch crooked grind or backside 5-0 before unleashing the switch backside smith grind. Miles Silvas is a budding beast capable of switch backside heelflipping off a damn house but psyched to twirl a vanilla 360 flip down a smallish stair set for kicks and free-of-charge LRG shirts and apparel, slathering plenty of mustard onto his roll-aways but never writing uncashable tickets. The boy right now seems to embody Jason Dill and AVE’s “in the window” theory and his daring and measured matching of tricks to spots, as well as potential free-world leaders, is as sharp as his judgment in pattern combos is awesomely lacking, and one assumes he’s got more heaviness on offer in the Adidas vid to come.

Odd Couple Therapy

November 14, 2015

tango-and-cash-grenade

Sun Tzu, the famous tactician for whom our shiny star and exotic animal exhibits now are named, defined total victory not as the end of any battle or campaign or war but rather when one’s opponent is paying hefty and recurring fees to operate a pancake franchise in his former territory, and comping the victor all premium toppings. This battleground truism rings as accurately now as it ever did in the comparatively topping-poor days of Mr Tzu, and in particular regarding the security guard, that grimacing, oft-charred coyote to skateboarding’s trim and turnt up roadrunner.

As skating’s profile has expanded and been deemed more lucrative by television channels, beverage conglomerates and concerned parents, the by-definition fraught and frosty security guard/skater dynamic has mutated its way through several forms and appendage assortments. Once squarely classified as paid haters indulging jock-minded power trips, the security guard has been alternately corrupted, co-opted and caricatured as the relationship’s balance of power has skidded and slid toward skateboarders, who today wield an an increasingly outsized cultural cudgel and cheap video recording equipments.

Travel back, if you would, to 2003, when skaterboarders in the employ of Emerica shoes took some of the early, halting steps toward sidelining security guards’ stature and dignity by filming the bribery of one in pursuit of jubble-set glory, the stairs’ blurry-faced would-be defender capitulating with the dangling of a $100 bill and a warbly ‘okay.’ That same year Rob Dyrdek did the concept one better, hiring his own security guard and cementing the dollar’s supremacy over the once hallowed security guard code. For a generation of stretch denim-purchasing yungsters the precedent was set; in subsequent Baker productions, Jim Greco would go on to good naturedly tussle with security guards and play at parlor-trick hypnosis for laughs, while elsewhere security went cheerfully ignored, or worse, reduced to asking politely.

Where does all this leave the rent-a-cop as 2015 staggers out? No longer threats and by now passe to debate, they seem to have been relegated to moving obstacles for those confident and daring enough to put a trick in their face, such as LRG nollie inward heelflip blaster Miles Silvas, or several, as the GX1000 consortium recently demonstrated in Japan. Ty Evans’ slo-mo drone ballet ‘We Are Blood’ positioned security as worthy if ineffectual water-fight opponents, while the prospect of fleeting Vine fame inspires some in the profession to abandon their fraternal code and defect.

Yet as security guards’ total defeat appears close at hand, one may ponder a certain pocket of emptiness in skating’s collective soul*, upon which a phantom finger may be hard to place. Bart Simpson, that 1990s skate standard-bearer and this decade a regular feature upon Justin Figuoera’s Ebay vintage apparel purchases, once complained of a similarly eerie malaise upon triumphing over his own authority dispenser, Principle Skinner:

BS: It’s weird, Lise. I miss having Skinner as a friend, but I miss him even more as an enemy.

LS: I think you need Skinner, Bart. Everybody needs a nemesis. Sherlock Holmes had his Dr. Moriarty, Mountain Dew has its Mellow Yellow, even Maggie has that baby with the one eyebrow.

Has skating, imbued with greater cultural clout and youthful impunity, at this point effectively shaved the one eyebrow of the world’s rent-a-cops? If Mello Yello were pulled from the marketplace, would Paul Rodriguez’s tricks bubble with the same sweet zest? Will skating and security guarding only truly set aside their differences and come to understand and respect one another after they are both framed in a drug deal gone bad and jailed among the many bloodthirsty criminals they helped put away, forced to rely upon their wits, brawn and one other to break free, clear their names and reclaim their badges?

*could also refer to gaps in peoples’ Collective Soul album collections

10. Miles Silvas – Lakai Commercial

December 21, 2013


One of the risks in assembling an uber-team and producing an uber-video is that once these projects run their course, the group tends to splinter (see Plan B/’Questionable’-‘Virtual Reality,’ Es/’Menikmati’, Flip/’Sorry’-‘Really Sorry’)*. You could argue that some test of staying power lies in trading off the strength of the great project for the next set of dudes, so it’s been interesting watching Lakai make new acquisitions as they’ve ceded several Fully Flarees to international shoe purveyours. This Miles Silvas reminds me of the five-panel era Mark Suciu and his slate of moves is solid: arms on the backside noseblunt transfer, the rarely-seen backside ‘over-crook’ to backside 180 out, a pleasantly weird-looking flatground hardflip. Even saddled with an ass shot his switch heelflip is burly and the ride-away from the kickflip backside tailslide at the end (still a rail trick with mustard in 2013) rivals Jake Donnelly’s from the Real vid a couple years ago.

*Among the possible rationales for Plan B declining to release a video since its reformation.