Marcel Veldman – FluffSB interview

Photos: Veldman (sauf indique)
Portrait: Visser

Marcel Veldman is the brains behind Holland’s deliciously subversive Fluff skate magazine. Whether making an issue where all the photos are sealed within perforated pages of text, or making one issue into 3 copies of a women’s supermarket tabloid, it has always taken what not to do as its starting point.

Two years ago he agreed to produce an issue of the magazine for Nike, which would cover every single Am rider on their European programme- well in excess of a hundred riders. So after 18 months and 17 tours, the magazine was complete- except it was now a 600 page hardback book. Crossfire caught him washing his socks and asked him about the wisdom of saying yes when you should say no.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

The idea of the format just happened, like all Fluff issues are made. It got changed a million times along the way, until the deadline’s there. As for the project, at the time we just finished issue 16, a square format, 460 page little book. And during one of the Nike SB shoe launches in Amsterdam, I was talking with somebody from WHQ (Nike headquarters) who really liked that issue, enjoying a beer and contemplating what we could possibly do together maybe in the future. One thing led to another, and voila, here it is.

Fluff isn’t like other magazines- can you explain what the Big Idea is with Fluff?

We didn’t want to make just another magazine. I grew up reading Big Brother, and that was definitely a big inspiration. Same for the whole early World period and Girl etc. Skateboarders are breaking boundaries, always pushing the envelope. So why make something that’s already there? Plus I think skateboarding as a whole is interesting to document, not only the biggest tricks, but everything around it as well. No big master plan, it’s all skateboarding.

Decribe your life during the making of the book.

Every week a different country, come home, do laundry, hug the girlfriend who’s crying cause she’s happy I’m home and hug her some more cause the happy crying turns into sad crying cause I have to leave the next day again. Shooting lots of photos, drink lots of beer, and eat even more salad and fries. It’s not always easy to be a vegetarian on the road. Freezing my ass off in the north, sweating like a pig in the south, you know- typical skateboard tour stuff. Apart from the fact that it took me a year and a half.

Which skaters generally are the biggest nightmare to shoot with?

Probably the most talented riders. When it comes real easy, they tend to get lazy.

How close did you come to dying in the dinghy?!

Really, really close, we cut the clip short on the moment everyone starts panicking. But I almost drowned. It was a pretty big lake and a pretty big boat, not the one you can easily turn around. It took them 15 minutes to get back at me, and not a second too late. I seriously didn’t think I would make it. I remember thinking, I go to all these places, I get into all these crazy situations, and then I drown in Holland, my own country, in a freaking lake? It all seemed so unreal.

Where was the best and worst place you visited?

That’s a hard one, cause even the worst places have something great, same as the best places have something terrible. I’ve been to most of those countries before, but never in such a short time, one after the other. You really get to experience the differences in Europe. Can’t say one was better or worse, they’re all different and all beautiful in their own way.

Knowing what you know now about just what was involved, would you do another one?

Haha, who knows…

What was the best launch party?

I haven’t been to all of them but I was the most nervous about the Barca launch, since it was the first one and the first time the public would see it. They flew in a bunch of people as well, so the pressure was on. But it turned out great, and Barcelona remains my home away from home. I love it there. London was great, the beach houses they built in the gallery looked awesome, If I may say that. Our hometown Rotterdam was a good one, but we’re from there so I wouldn’t expect anything else. And we just finished the one in Paris, a lot of people showed up there, venue packed, the street in front packed. That was great. But all the launches are pretty much over before you realize it. You just spend the evening talking and I’m really not too comfortable talking about my photos and getting compliments. It’s nice but I don’t know what to say to that so I try to sneak out whenever possible.

Whats next?

More European Fluffs?

Find a few video clips and more at www.fluff-sb.com

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