When Moynihan worked here a while back, he would always remind me that Steve King was a legend and was seriously under-rated. Today, a showreel of Steve’s talent has been unleashed onto the interweb. Get a large taste of Welsh goodness here.
The Kill City team were out in force last night in their home town of Cardiff to premiere their new DVD, Rookies at the Buffalo Bar.
It can be described in one post from Dan Joyce who wrote on Dainton’s wall this morning:
“Just when skating got boring and predictable, just what it needed, well done.”
Dainton sent us one sentence as the fresh hangover kicked in: “What an excellent night for an exorcism…”
As far as premiere’s go this one was the big one. Even the riders hadn’t seen the film so it was with big anticipation the audience was shouting for Dainton to press play on the DVD. I know Newport will be the punk rock premier but Cardiff was in high spirits too. The team was split between Cardiff and Barcelona on the night but every rider, present or not got the big reception as the parts flew by. Everyone has seen the regular Kill City edits that appear online but this whole video is fresh footage and put together seamlessly. Not wanting to spoil the surprises for the next week of premiere’s, this whole video has style; visually and through the skating too. Dainton’s filming is fast moving and Kill City have put the time, the miles and the energy into this film. The Cardiff premiere was the start of a big week for Rookies. It’s a great team performance and a sick video, make the effort and get to see this film quick! – Jono Atkinson.
Here’s some images shot for us thanks to Jono. If you are viewing this from Wales then don’t miss tonight’s screening in Newport at Le Pub and this Saturday after the Crossfire Xmas Jam with the full team at Mau Mau’s in Portobello road and expect 100% skateboarding as the film is obviously nothing like the trailers.
Nick Richards has put together a local edit from Welsh scene a year after the Cardiff Plaza was opened by Gravity featuring Jake Collins, Welsh Tommy, Caradog Emanuel, James Coyle, Barney Page, Sam Thompson, Dan Gambarini, Josh Underwood and many more.
Watch 4 minutes of goodness and if you want more then click here.
Having introduced themselves with the excellent Zero Years compilation last Spring, Cardiff based label Barely Regal have moved on to release the debut EP from Among Brothers. Featuring both of the label’s co-founders, Among Brothers are a six piece chamber pop outfit, combining jittery electronic rhythms with a colorful mixture of guitar, keys and violin. Although this might be a well trodden path, the band’s purposeful and emotive songwriting makes this EP a compelling listen.
Things start very brightly with ‘Montgolfier’, the record’s first and possibly best song. Serving as a welcoming opening statement, the use of choral vocals creates a terrific urgency and drives the song through it’s modest 2 minute length. Comparisons to Efterklang will inevitably be made here but this is no criticism, as few bands could pull this off with such conviction. Arguably the song stops a little short (it really could go on for a lot longer), but its short length whets your appetite nicely.
From here, the results are more mixed, but there are flashes of inspiration throughout. Particularly album closer ‘Great Famine Family’ which runs ‘Montgolfier’ close for the EP’s best track. Again choral vocals are used effectively here, creating a euphoric climax punctuated with intimate piano and subtle electronic glitches. In fact, the barely-there electronic bleeps and scuffles are particuarly effective, perhaps another nod to early Efterklang records.
While ‘Homes’ is a strong first release by any standard, there are also signs that there is something better to come from Among Brothers. For Barely Regal, too, this is another promising release from a growing indie label.
Cardiff quartet Islet spent a fair portion of their blossoming musical career being labelled by lazy journalists as ‘the band without a website’ or something similarly irrelevant. Ask anyone who had caught one of their thrilling live performances however and they would have been able to tell you something that those who favoured the Google research method couldn’t: that Islet are an exciting, fresh-sounding, creative musical force.
Not so long ago, Islet made a website complete with pictures of ‘The Isness’, an increasingly varied zine they had been making. With more creative outlets under their belt – not to mention two superb mini-albums – before some critics would even consider them a proper band, we are very excited to be living and experiencing this thing that Emma Daman, Johnny Thomas, Mark Thomas and Alex Williams have decided to call Islet. We caught up with Emma to talk about the band’s progress over the last year, live music and the ‘Do It Together’ philosophy.
Islet is a proper band now with songs, records and a website. How does it feel to be talked about in such terms?
Brilliant! We have even got t-shirts with our band name on, and we will very shortly have a mailing list that doesn’t involve Royal Mail. Welcome on in, 2010!
What do you make of journalism’s habit of focusing on small details (such as a lack of a website, in your case) while often ignoring the music itself?
It makes it a bit less fun for us, obvs, ‘cause we’re ARTISTS and our ART is really important and that. But at the same time, they’ve got to have something to write about. Writing about music is, as they say, like dancing about architecture.
Perhaps this is partly because Islet is quite a difficult band to describe. How would you describe your sound?
I skirt around the issue and avoid describing it myself. That’s for other people to decide.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Playing at Greenman was pretty good. It’s a good, Welsh festival and we’d definitely go every year anyway so it was a good feeling to get to play there ourselves.
Having all played in various bands before Islet, do you feel anything is different this time around?
Islet is different to most bands in that we all play various instruments, there is no lead singer, we all get involved in artwork, recording etc. And it makes a difference that Mark and JT are brothers, and that Mark is my boyfriend. So one night we might sweating on stage and the next time we could be discussing their brother’s wedding. There’s a lot of love.
Islet seems to be a live band first and foremost, would you agree?
No way! But if that’s what you think, then your opinion is as valid as mine. To us, our recorded output is as important as anything else. It is fascinating to do and you get a real sense of fulfillment when you have finished a record. I think it just so happened that we spent a while playing gigs before we released anything, so that’s what people came across.
What are your own favourite live bands?
Hmm… Chrome Hoof, Deerhoof, Connan Mockasin, Munch Munch are all up there.
What’s the best venue you have played at?
The Portland Arms in Cambridge is a pub with back room that always seems to have a jovial atmosphere.
Having put out a couple of EPs and toured around a bit, what are you planning next? An album? More EPs?
We’re writing a full length album at the moment. I think three mini-albums in a row might be too much! We’ve recorded all our previous output ourselves, so we might branch out into working with other people. We’ve got a couple of festivals on the horizon too.
The band is built on a DIY ethics and aesthetics (with lo-fi artwork etc), do you think this would change if funding wasn’t an issue?
We do a lot of things ourselves because we like to do so. We have our own philosophy, Do It Together, and the basis is that things are much more fun if you do them with your friends. If we were given a pot of gold by a leprechaun, we’d probably do even more things ourselves! In an ideal world, we’d do more full stop, because it’s what we love to do. As far as lo-fi artwork, we make it that way because that’s the way we like it. I know how to work Photoshop and I could make it all look swish if I wanted to, but that’s not what we’re about.
We started a band because love writing songs and recording and making pictures and putting on parties, and I can’t see that changing.
When is the next edition of the Isness coming, and what can we expect to see in it?
Not sure, and this blog http://theis.posterous.com/ is where we out things that we’re working on. Because the Isness is print based you can sometimes be constrained it terms of colours, and it’s very time consuming, so we started the blog to put up ideas quickly, without giving it too much thought.
Who – or better, what – influences you the most when expressing yourselves creatively?
Beats, the human voice, homemade zines, drawing, photography, going to gigs as much as possible. Probably being in rush too, makes you get stuff done!
2010 has seen a lot of productivity from you guys, what are your three favourite memories for the year and what lesson have you learnt that you will take on board for 2011?
Good moments for were jumping around in the barn where we recorded ‘Celebrate This Place’, giving out Isnesses at Los Campesinos gigs, seeing our artwork 12” square, 12 hour practices we call ‘training’. And a lesson we’ve learnt is how to successfully push start an extended wheel base van in the snow every day for 3 weeks. Hopefully we won’t have to use that one as much next year.
What emerging artists should Crossfire readers be tuning into next year?
Sweet Baboo has a new release in the pipeline, that I can’t wait to hear. Cate Le Bon and Perfume Genius should have some new tunes out too. Munch Munch’s debut album is out now, and it’s brilliant, loads of percussion, falsetto and layers of proggy keyboards.
Islet “Ringerz” from Ewan Jones Morris on Vimeo.
Here’s something a little different. A couple of months ago, Nye Vaughan teamed up with the most underground skater in Wales, Steven King, to produce the Time Stretched promo.
Steven King footage is notoriously hard to come by, but when it does then the champagne comes straight out. His style, approach and obscure trick selection have turned him into something of a reluctant legend in Wales. Have a look below to see why.
Big props to Nye for spending four grueling months meticulously editing this, it’s a compelling watch…
Video: Cardiff Barrage Plaza
Photography: Mike Ridout
Right: Gareth Leak – Front 5-0 Fakie
The story of Cardiff getting its first proper outdoor skatepark is a long, tiresome one that has its roots in the first days people would get kicked out of the Welsh Offices. The idea would be knocked around and years would pass and there would still be essentially no where for skateboarders living in capital city to skate. Of course, the skateboarders of Cardiff were lucky to exist in a growing city that blossomed into a notorious street skaters haven. In a way, this in fact brought the skateboarding community of Wales even closer together, eventually spawning the hugely tight and unsurprisingly seminal Cardiff Skateboard Club that’s gained unofficial ‘members’ from across the UK. But with more street spots come more security guards, more angry pedestrians and a plethora of students getting in everyone’s way. Sessions would too frequently be cut short and it wasn’t until 2009 that the unanimous decision was to go to the council with years worth of evidence and support and demand a skatepark be built in this city.
In July of 2009, Nick Richards (of Nick The Bastard fame) organised a protest outside county hall that attracted local and regional newspapers and more importantly, the attention of Cardiff Council. In a well-planned protest, the skateboarders of Cardiff demonstrated the need for a skatepark in the way that anyone in a skate scene living in a currently neglected town can do. Patience (Cardiff had enough of that…) and genuine desire goes a long way. The Cardiff Barrage Plaza was swiftly becoming a realistic idea and the typical poorly designed council parks will likely be skated for the last time in the months that followed.
Just six months later and the skatepark was confirmed, with £140,000 in the pot for the beginning round of development. The CSC then liased with various skatepark designers so that the plans for the park followed something that the skaters of Cardiff actually wanted. Marc Churchill’s Gravity team got the contract with a design that not only made everyone wet their pants a little (and launch the CSC blog into the stratosphere of comment section tomfoolery) but made full use of the budget and space available. From having to rely on an increasingly cracked area of flatland with a flatbank that only five people in Wales can actually skate properly, the CSC and extended CSC fam would have one of the UK’s most innovative parks in one of the sexiest locations imaginable. Apparently we do like to be beside the seaside.
Below: Caradog Emanuel – F/S Bigspin Heel
After 8-10 weeks of solid graft from Gravity, the park was made and fences were to be hopped! Ahead of schedule, when the Ipath crew turned up expecting somewhere to skate, the fences came down and everyone could officially skate the park. Needless to say – you’ve seen the plans, the pictures and by now some videos too – from this point on, the collective CSC facebook wall-to-wall read nothing more than “plaza?”, “skating the plaza?”, “when are you getting to the plaza?” and “plaza today?” I can’t imagine this will change any time soon. Well… not until it rains at least. And it will rain. It’s Wales.
But for when its dry, the Cardiff Barrage Plaza is genuinely the most fun thing I’ve skated since I can remember. The design is lightyears ahead of its competitors in regards to both how well it flows and the sheer amount of people you can shove into the place without it turning into a game of human pinball. Even on the opening jam, where at least 200 attended in another one of UK skateboarding’s most infamous sausage fests, I didn’t collide with anyone. Not even a kid. It’s almost magic. Though, judging by how universally friendly Porno Paul’s lexical choices were when MCing the event, there must have been something in the atmosphere to make everything so…nice?
Rather than read superfluous descriptions on how rad the park is – see for yourself. Nick Richards has worked his arse off putting the building of the park in motion, but filming an absolutely banging edit, exclusively for Crossfire, of all the sessions that went down in the first month. LSP local Harry Deane also jumped in with his VX and shot another edit for us focussing on the locals and younger crew, you can see his edit here. Let this story be part of the motivation for you to get something similar done in your town. It CAN be done. And just look at the results…
Big up to Gravity, CSC, Crayon Skateboards and City Surf for working hard to make this happen for the capital of Wales. Dai iawn! If you’re stoked on this park and the edit then share it on Facebook and get your mates and plan a trip to Wales because great parks should be skated and not just talked about.
The plaza is located next to The Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre, Harbour Drive, Cardiff, CF10 4PA – or you can check the map.
‘Join Us’ Premiere
A walk through Cardiff’s St Mary’s Street on a Friday night may land you into some pretty surreal situations. If you’re lucky you won’t be glassed outside one of the more unfriendly bars and perhaps you’ll find your way to Dempsey’s, the warm location for tonight’s premiere of Christian ‘Pirate Man’ Hart’s latest inexplicable audio/visual creation and the first ‘proper’ CSC video ‘Join Us‘.
No one throws a premiere quite like the Welsh. Tom Hobson put on his finest dog outfit for his role as DJ. That’s if you call putting on a track and then twenty seconds later changing it and then leaving an album on for a bit and then skipping through songs so the 150+ attending heard five second clips for a couple minutes DJing, I know I bloody do. Everyone was so out of their minds at this point anyway, getting increasingly paranoid as the boxman surrounded them. A couple had to double check themselves as the junior CSC were in attendance and the balloons that were scattered everywhere caused a few people to wonder if they’d accidentally entered a very illegal brothel.
Drunks and children aside, tonight was defined by one of the most out-there yet entirely compelling scene videos I’ve ever seen. Pirate Man has regularly shunned conventions in the past; the Hi-8 cut and paste bonanzas Labyrinth and First Blood mix skating with clips of films, adverts and other things even he isn’t too sure about. But ‘Join Us’ takes these ideas and compounds them into something that’s not only weird and funny, but very watchable. The skating summons both the weird and the gnarly too, resulting for a must see for not just those interested in the constantly growing and forever friendly Welsh skate scene, but those interested into how far the boundaries of a skate video can be pushed…into the gutter. Expect a proper review when a DVD arrives and I can remember what happened because I don’t think anyone there could accurately recall what happened, if it even did happen. The pictures taken say the dream was real…
The skate video pre-drinkathon at Chateau Ridout
Boxman’s house was raided! By Wham?
CSC heads bringing the hype
Tom Hobson moonlighting as DJ iDog
A packed Dempsey’s was blown away by Christian’s collection of weird shit
Gibbsy congratulates the director while Rhys Whaley and Chris Jones get better acquainted.
Nick and Stanley descend into a media circlejerk.
My totem kept spinning as I saw Gibbsy show off his dream sponsor…
The lost boys had no intention of being found tonight.
Show me your dirty face.
Christian ‘Pirate Man’ Hart has been slaving away the past few months for Cardiff Skateboard Club’s first ‘proper proper’ video ‘Join Us‘.
The video follows the groundbreaking (in the vandalism sense) path of the infamous lo-fi masterpiece ‘First Blood‘ and will be certainly filled with bangers from the CSC massive and other Cardiff locals.
So Welsh heads, make sure you have no other plans for Friday July 30th as Dempsey’s Bar is the place to be for the premiere – featuring appearances from a REAL pirate! See you there!