It may seem outrageous, but can you believe in its nearly twenty year history skate brand Supreme has yet to release a skate video? This is until now. And as it always rings true with the temperate philosophy behind Supreme, there is no great reasoning behind the decision to do this, simply as Brand Director, Angelo Baque puts it: “The timing just felt right.” With the release of "cherry" last week, we talk to it's director William Strobeck.
The evolution of Supreme is well documented; British ex-pat James Jebbia opened the doors to his Lafayette store in May 1994, and invited the street kids, the skaters, the rebels, the hip hop nuts and the weirdoes to dwell in the space. Quickly establishing itself as a spot which naturally became a haunt for skaters (from Harold Hunter (RIP) to Jason Dill), who would often end up working in the store, or for the company; at this time Supreme also grew its reputation for releasing an unforgiving attitude upon customers (which wasn’t dissimilar to customer service in any skate store in the world in the 90s).
With a significant 20th anniversary on the horizon this summer, Supreme has come full circle back to further embed itself as a skate brand with their first full length skate DVD released globally on March 24th. Directed by William Strobeck, and entitled “cherry”; a cheeky reference to them finally bursting their cherry and releasing a video. The film features a skate team which has been organically developed primarily from the stores being a cultural hub to skaters in the area, with local talent being uncovered by the store teams working in LA and NY. Angelo affirms: “There are no scouts, there’s no pandering, or looking for kids to come and skate with us, it’s just the field of dreams, you build it up and they will come.”
“cherry” features Aidan Mackey, Sage Elsesser, Nakel Smith, Dylan Reider, Kevin Bradley, Sean Pablo, Paulo Diaz alongside veterans Alex Olson, Eric Koston, Mark Gonzales and Jason Dill. The youngest at 15, is Tyshawn Jones who was not even born when Supreme launched and was found skating in the Bronx and invited to the Soho store to get a new board set-up, with no prior knowledge of the brand, he was quickly welcomed into the family. The film has opened with a cinema tour taking in LA, SF, NY, London and Tokyo; each supplemented with party PAs from legends including Cam’Ron and Mobb Deep, with London being indulged with a 100% extra from JME, Skepta and Tempz, with the crowd featuring Jason Dill, Alex Olson, Dylan Reider alongside Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt and Lucas Vercetti.
William Strobeck has built a solid reputation shooting skate video sections for labels from Alien Workshop to Transworld; “cherry” continues his trajectory. Expect to see a rapid cut compilation of pressure flips, wallies and sufficient handrail abuse, stripped together with inter-city reportage, a nod to Supreme’s art connection (an-in-the making Dan Colen kiss painting is the backdrop for an exhausting session from Dill and Gonz) and plenty of goofing around, and not forgetting choice classic cuts (from Cypress Hill, Jane’s Addiction, Chief Keef, Wu Tang, Gang Gang Dance, The Cure and INXS). Opening with a slowed and fried cross-gen shot of Kevin Bradley and Gonz, this sets the bar as the youngers take up the challenge and push the vets to outer limits, marking the video out as a tight, hi-def snapshot of skating in 2014. William takes us through how he burst Supreme’s “cherry” here:
Some background, how did you get into skate video filming/cinematography?
I think I sorta fell into it, my grandmother had bought me a 8mm camcorder when I was younger and I just started documenting my friends. Basically it all started there.
What were the videos/skaters which caught your interest, and made you want to pursue this?
Probably at first, the H-Street videos, but I think down the line Plan B's Questionable and also my friend's hometown videos, there were good kids in Syracuse so it was fun trying to film them and get them sponsored.
Am I right in thinking you made a name shooting films around LOVE park in Philly?
Kinda, my name was seen a lil’ more when I started working on the Alien Workshop videos. I think when I started making my own online videos is when people started noticing my work.
What are some of your career highlights for you so far?
I first came across you when you were documenting Jen “J.R”. Reynolds (who makes an appearance in “cherry”), and the whole downtown NY moment. Your skate films are always great at capturing this very personal element alongside the athletic; with skate video directing, is it important for you to capture lifestyle and personality as much as the trick and a great run?
I think for me documenting a good personality is as good as documenting a good trick. I actually prefer the personality stuff. Like you said, JR Reynolds - she's a gem in front of the camera. She’s comfortable with me so she comes across as herself. Same with everyone in "cherry". Go see it.
How did the “cherry” project with Supreme come about? Quite an honour to shoot their first skate video. No pressure..
It came about because my boy Kyle Demers works there and he had seen my section in a Transworld video. He asked to do a commercial for them and I made "buddy". After that it was like, how about we make a full length video? We went in and talked to James Jebbia about it. The rest is history. I'm proud of it.
What’s the story behind the video? Where’s did you shoot it? How long did it take? Is it New York heavy?
We shot for about a year and a half, which is pretty fast, everything was done on time, no pushback at all. We were on our A game for sure. It was shot mostly in NY and LA, a lil’ of Paris too. I'd say the amount of footage is pretty even between NY and LA.
Everyone seems particularly excited about Tyshawn Jones. Was it great to work with him?
Tyshawn Jones was the best to work with. He’s so fun and has the best personality. He's in the video a lot. It was his first video and such a major one, he was with me through the whole thing, basically he was down for the project. The kid rules. I don't wanna say too much about the video other than just "check it out."
What’s next for Bill Strobeck?
Honestly, a London premiere, Japan premiere, maybe a massage... then after that I'll let you know.