Skateboarding was my life when I was younger. I was one of just a very small handful of skateboarders in a farm community in the 1990s. You get the picture. And I sucked! I was a rubbish skater, to be certain. But I still spent endless nights skating all over town until all hours of the night, alone or with friends - I didn't care.
Like almost everything else, skateboarding ebbs and flows. The well-documented history of skateboarding as told by the likes of Tony Hawk and other figureheads paints a world where skateboard is king, and then you can't make a dime, then skateboarding returns, bigger than ever.
In the 90s, we had all kinds of insane things happening in skateboarding and videos were essentially at their peak. The production, editing, music, skaters, spots, tricks - videos were top notch. 1999s "Misled Youth" video from Zero Skateboards was the perfect culmination of everything I loved and obsessed over in skateboarding. It had aesthetic, edge, and plenty of great tunes, all crammed over some very 90s video footage.
There were others, too. "Mullen vs. Song" - Round 1 and Round 2 - were videos I watched more often than Britney Spears music videos or anything that had Sarah Michelle Gellar in it. It's still incredible to watch Daewon Song. He's untouched, the supreme master of technical riding. Toy Machine and Turtle Boy were also prime. "Jump Off A Building" was classic, both in name and style. I can still remember Toy Machine ads, scribbled together by Ed Templeton that featured slogans I didn't fully understand as much then as I do nearly 20 years later, things like, "I am a consumer whore." (And I am!)
Raw, ugly, gnarly skating. Mostly great tunes, great transitions in parts, skating that feels heavy and aggressive so much more than it feels "perfect." It's safe to say that is exactly the vibe Lev Tanju was trying to create with "Palasonic."
The Palace founder and still video editor smacks together all kinds of clips that you want to watch over and over. The vibe he goes for, the soundtrack he chooses, it's spot on. He's part of a new wave of editors and owners that are eschewing modern technology in favor of something that feels so much better. It's the raw grit that makes "Palasonic" such a true throwback. Bronze Hardware does the same thing with their genius videos that are equal part channel surfing and grime skating, smacked together and dubbed with heavy-beat rap and 90s pop-dance classics. When I was first introduced to Bronze by local skate shop owner Chris Johnson, it blew my mind. We sat in his shop for hours talking the new wave of throwbacks. I went home and watched the Bronze video again. Then again. And so on for weeks. "Palasonic" is going to be the same kind of experience for me, an instant classic.
There may be a mutual vibe in creating a raw, gritty, addicting renaissance piece as an homage to the golden era of skate videos, but there's also enough of their own to make Tanju and Palace stand apart. It's thanks to their own raw, gritty London backdrop.
In the latest issue of Thrasher Magazine, there's an article on the "Palasonic" video that sheds a bit of light on the process. Tanju pieced together literally years of skate parts, all captured in good old-fashioned analog, that span the rise of Palace from ranks of Euro shredders to world fashion elite. The footage is also entirely from the streets, parks, rooftops, and architecture of the rough, dirty sidewalks and stairs of their city. The video is raw, the skating is raw, the terrain is raw. And it's all perfectly blended.
Tanju also throws a bit of the very #onbrand dance music into the mix, along with some Section Boyz, a rap group that has featured on a Palace video in the past. It's all coming up aces for the Palace Skateboards crew, the PWBC.
The video clocks in at a massive 40 minutes and was released online for free by Palace, a brilliant choice in my opinion.
The final reason that videos like this stick the landing for me is the kind of skating in the video. I can't pull anything I saw in this video, but everything seems very real. I guess it's a lot like your approach to the Tony Hawk video games. Some people want the cheat codes and to run endless combos on the top railing of a cruise ship. I always preferred a good ledge. My friends hated watching me play because I treated the game the same way I would have approached spots in real life. "Palasonic" is real life skateboarding. And Blondey McCoy gets hit by a car.
by Daniel Coughlin