the new sg lewis music video is an ode to atlanta's skate scene

Pick a team name, call your date, meet us by the soda fountain, don't be late!

by Francesca Dunn
05 July 2016, 11:41pm

The latest release from his forthcoming Yours EP, SG Lewis' Holding Back is a feel-good funky fresh number guaranteed to stick around in your head long after listening. Featuring golden-voiced US singer Gallant, it was a cross-continental collaboration that sprung from mutual admiration. Similarly, when looking for visuals, UK producer SG turned to director John Merizalde, who had in turn been a big fan of both he and Gallant for some time.

"I'm really excited to share the video with you all," SG Lewis says. "It was filmed at the Cascade roller rink in Atlanta, documenting one early summer night at the rink." Like something from a teen movie, Cascade is all arcade games and neon; a place that brings the kids, the doctors, the lawyers, and the drug dealers together under the warm lights. Differences aside, they're there to have a good time and lose themselves to skate. "A massive thanks to all who lent their energy and moves to the video and helped convey the natural vibe of this amazing place..." continues the producer. "If I had a skate team, I'd call them the J.K.Rollings."

Sit back, relax and let the good times roll as you take an exclusive look at the video and delve into the mind of director John Merizalde…

Tell us a bit about the video...
I wanted to try a different approach for this track. I've done both narrative and performance videos in the past, but the idea of a documentary music video is something that has always intrigued me. The energy in this track immediately transported me back to a place I remember in Atlanta - Cascade, an unassuming roller-skating rink on the westside. To me, this film serves not only as a fun companion piece to the song, but also as a tribute to the Atlanta skate scene. 

How did you first hear about the skate scene in Atlanta?
Most people probably had their first introduction to the skate scene from the movie ATL that came out 10 years ago. At least that was the case for me. After that film came out, it seemed like there was a huge surge in people revisiting skating rinks. As a teenager, we'd occasionally go skating, with Cascade being an especially memorable venue.

What interested you about the scene there?
What stuck out to me was the energy - the Cascade crowd was diverse, the music was electric, and the movement was contagious. I realised this wasn't just a place to skate; it was a subculture, a community. Over the years I brought a few different friends there, and pretty much everybody immediately noticed it was a special place.

Why do you think the skating rink is so important to the community who use it?
It's a lot like church. It's all about the skating, but it's also not. The venue serves as a sanctuary for people to gather and let out their energy, socialise, and relax. It's a great big equaliser that allows all kinds of people to set aside their differences and have fun. Like Paul mentions in the video, it's also a nice distraction from many of the dangers young people face.

Who was the most interesting character you met during filming?
It's gotta be the dude in the cowboy hat. I envy his confidence.

Who is the narrator?
We interviewed two prominent skate crews - S.O.S and The Ones (featured in the video with black shirts and white shirts, respectively), but most of our story is led by Paul, a member of The Ones. He's the one with glasses.

How do you think the video reflects the track?
When I first heard the track I realised this was the perfect opportunity to create a memorably groovy video. The track has a palpable sexiness that perfectly compliments the palate of our visuals. Beyond the surface level coolness, we also wanted to layer some moodier undertones to match the lyrics. And come on, this is just a great track to roller skate to.

Cascade seems like such a happy, positive space for the community. Which place or space was the Cascade of your youth?
I'm half-Colombian, so I'm obligated to say the futbol field.

What is your favourite example of documentary-style music video?
While there are a few great ones, I distinctly remember the first time I saw a documentary-style music video a few years back and it really blew my mind. The Massive Attack Paradise Circus video is a fantastic NSFW short about an ex-porn actress, and it uses the track in incredible ways to drive the story forward. Don't watch it around your mom though.

If you could film anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
Anywhere that's not LA would be nice.

What else is up next for you?
I'm just going to keep filming stuff until someone tells me to stop.

SG Lewis will play Lovebox Festival on Saturday 16 July. Head here for tickets and info.


Text Francesca Dunn

sg lewis