Mark Frolich’s Hungry Daze Part 2
Watch part 1 HERE.
Mark Frölich has always been a bit of an enigma. For almost ten years now he’s been battering his body on a daily basis. At the moment his only sponsors are Jart Skateboards and Forvert clothing, he barely makes enough money from skating to survive and the chances of him scoring one of those golden shoe deals at this point are pretty slim. Where does he find the drive to kill himself for his next 8-minute self-edited video part? How is he so motivated that he would buy himself a flight to Geneva for one trick? I’m not sure this interview actually answers all those questions but what it does do is underline the fact skateboarding needs guys like Mark that try way too hard. Skateboarding needs those guys that skip the partying on skate trips just so they can wake up early and try to get ‘hammers’; because if not trying becomes any cooler, things are going to become boring real quick. Here’s to one of the most dedicated weirdoes in the game!
Interview by Arthur Derrien
All right mate how’s it going? You just got back from Switzerland right? How was that?
It was good only that back noseblunt took a lot out of me.
Man it’s the ground that really fucked me. I could have done it in five tries if it wasn’t for that. I must have put it down like thirty times or something… Plus I really wanted to do it in a certain way so I ended up doing it three times: twice on my board and once on my friend’s because I’d snapped mine. Plus it was the first spot. Flew over there Thursday morning and went straight there.
Well I flew out there for that trick so it made sense to start off with it. Plus I was only there for two days. I still managed to do a bit of skating after that tough. We went to some kinked rail on the outskirts… That place is good for skating isn’t it?
Yeah it is. Although I don’t think that would justify wanting to chuck yourself down a kinked rail right after the session you just described. Aside from skating what did you think of the place? It’s quite strange right?
It’s Switzerland man. A kebab cost 12 euros, what do you expect? Of course it’s a weird place! We needed to tie up this tree for a spot so I bought two pairs of shoelaces and some candles and it came to 12 euros! Then again we saw recruitment ads to work at a Lidl and salary offers started at 4K, besides that it’s a pretty nice place though… I guess if you have that kind of payday you don’t mind paying 12 bucks for a kebab…
You’d definitely have a hard time surviving just from skateboarding out there that’s for sure. For how long have you been ‘living the dream’ now?
I don’t know if I’d call it living the dream man! Call it living the misery… Just kidding, I’d say I’ve been living the misery for about ten years now. I’m 29 now. I don’t want to complain though, I’m really grateful to be able to be doing what I love for a living.
You’ve always had quite an old school approach to working on video projects, saving all your footage for two-song video parts rather than having your footage scattered in various edits and on social media. What’s up with that?
I don’t know man… All the social media stuff doesn’t really mean that much to me. That being said I understand that it’s part of the game nowadays and I respect that brands want you to use it until a certain level and I use it as well… It’s just for sure not my main focus…. I like it when people put some time and effort into parts. I like to see that they’ve thought a little bit about what they want to do. Because at the end of the day why do we bring out videos? Why do we bring out parts? Because we are trying to communicate something right? It’s an atmosphere created by your skating mixed with music and editing. What message can you really communicate with Instagram vid?
It certainly is a lot harder to communicate something as powerful in 15 seconds.
I’ve actually recently been asked to get an Instagram by my sponsors. I’m going to start one soon. As it is I just send them clips to post every now and then.
What would you do if they suddenly told you they wanted you to become some Christian ‘The Boss’ style Instagram sensation and didn’t want you wasting your time on full parts anymore?
I don’t think I could do it man… I’m stoked to be able to pay rent from skating; it really means a lot to me but I have to see sense in what I’m doing. It does exist though right? There are professional skaters out there that make a living from going on a few tours, putting up Instagram clips from their day at the skatepark and showing their face at comps without working on proper projects. I wouldn`t find that so fulfilling… I guess I would try to fulfil my duty with the social media stuff but still keep doing other things as well.
So you’d just get a job and chuck yourself down massive rails for your next part in your own time…
Yeah I guess… But having a real job takes up so much time. It would be tough. I definitely prefer getting paid for skating!
But at least you get something you are really proud of.
It’s not even about pride man. Feeling good about all the effort you’ve put into something is important but it’s more about wanting to stay motivated and keep progressing. Working on a long-term project helps you push yourself.
It must be getting harder and harder for you to get the funding for these solo mega-projects you put so much time and effort into.
I wouldn’t say it’s getting harder because it was never easy but as it is my sponsors are still happy to support me on those projects. It’s not that much budget really and at the end of the day they know it’s good advertising for very little work on their behalf. I mean most of the time I take care of pretty much everything myself.
So they just give you some money for the filmers once the project is finished?
At least this time that`s pretty much the case.
How much do they get each? Like let’s say this Dennis Ludvig guy that filmed most of the new part?
I don’t know man. I try and get as much as I can out of my sponsors for them and if that’s not enough then I’ll just give him some stuff of mine or sort something out…
‘Sort something out’ as in give him some of your own money?
Yeah I guess. That would kind of suck because of how much work I put in myself for free but if I have to I’ll do it. If someone’s job is filming and they aren’t getting the money they need to live then something has to be done. I want everybody to be happy with it in the end.
Do you get any money? Like a bonus or something?
Me? I don’t get shit my friend. I’m happy when I’m able to pay the filmers. Well let’s see, maybe I’ll get some incentives or something… But for the actual work: nope.
What about the editing? Do you always have to do that yourself then?
Lately yeah… If there’s barely enough for the filmers I’m not going to hire someone to do that.
How do you find that?
I like editing but it’s hard to watch your clips over and over again and still like them. It’s just harder to be objective about yourself… That last part I filmed for Kingpin, I haven’t watched it since I sent over the final version.
Are there any weird requirements for the release of this one?
Like for the previous one I’d like it to be dark outside when it drops. Don’t ask me why… I’d also like for it to be downloadable.
Working on projects like these must be so time consuming… When you aren’t out skating or editing what do you enjoy?
Tons of stuff! Hanging out with my lady, music, boxing, hanging out with animals, nature…
Boxing?! Sick tell me about that.
Well I think I watch by far more boxing videos than skate videos.
Do you watch them to get hyped to skate sometimes?
Yeah a lot! There’s one thing in boxing I really admire, it’s the way they approach their career. Skaters often think it’s cool to be constantly fucked up, go to all the parties and live the rock star lifestyle whilst trying to skate super gnarly stuff really well. It’s all good if it works for them because of course partying is fun, but I personally have to stay a bit focused. A can go out, drink and skate the next day but in the long term, it’s better if I stay focused. I like taking care of myself to really try my best at stuff.
So you draw inspiration from their attitude.
Yeah I find it really inspiring. The boxers that I look up to all have this same gnarly, inner wild side (probably one of the reasons why they are doing it) but at the same time they are super disciplined. Because boxing is different: if you party for a month it’s going to show up in your next fight. Take Mike Tyson for instance, he was the fucking gnarliest but that one time he went to China to fight that Buster Douglas guy who wasn’t suppose to stand a chance, he took it too easy. He went out the night before, drinks, girls, coke etc. and the guy knocked him out! Anyway that’s what motivates me. I also love how much they actually go for it, because that’s what I like in skateboarding. I love seeing guys really push themselves. Like with Flo Marfaing’s nollie crook down that kinked hubba in Paris (at Le Dome). Do you know the story behind that one? He tried it, couldn’t get it so had to fly home. When he was home he dreamt he was doing it so he booked a flight straight back when he woke up and got it! That’s the shit I find inspiring: really believing in a trick like that and getting it no matter what it takes.
That’s probably why you’re so dedicated to the cause. What would it take for you to decide to move on to something else?
I don’t know man, I still feel good! As I said I’m healthy, I live a boxer’s life, not a skater’s life…haha… Then again I don’t know, you tell me. If after this part you think my shit’s not good enough then maybe I’ll have to face it and accept that I’m not on the level anymore.
Haha, don’t be silly that’s not what I meant at all. And who are we to judge if your shit’s ‘good enough’ anyway?
Well, it would really suck if something stopped me from doing this for as long as I can. I feel like I still have a lot left to do in skating. I also don`t have too many responsibilities at the moment. If you get a kid or two or someone in your family gets really ill then that changes everything. Suddenly you might need to start making real money to take care of shit, but it’s not the case for me right now. And even if so, I believe I would always find my way.
Coming back to what you were saying earlier about one day not skating at the right ‘level’. Do you not think it takes a lot more than just skating on a highest level to be marketable these days?
I don’t know man; I think I’m marketable. I know kids like me. In fact I’m going to take this opportunity to thank all the locals from all the places where I’ve filmed for this video. They’ve all been really supportive by showing me all their spots, welcoming me to their houses, being super kind… I’ve been getting a lot of love and respect from the streets so I’d like to give a shout out to those people. I’m sure they know who they are.
Okay I wasn’t trying to say you weren’t marketable. Hmm… What do you think of Magenta? Do you understand that some of those guys are pro for instance?
Yeah, I think it’s good that there are brands and riders out there reminding us of the original purpose of skating: being in the streets and having fun. Sometimes we forget that that’s what it’s about. I like that their videos aren’t about putting down the heaviest bangers.
I feel like there are two big trends in skating at the moment: one is super focused on high level skating, where people actually go to the skatepark and train. They’ll practice a trick on the park rail then go and do it down the ‘street’ rail right next to the park. They really approach it like a sport – like the whole Nyjah/Street League movement. That I do respect because you can say what you want but the kid takes a lot of shit from everyone and still manages to get up from heavy slams to push the limits of what can be done. Then again that side of skating doesn’t seem quite as free to me.
I guess you don’t really fit into that category do you? You don’t skate skateparks.
Not very often, no. Don’t get me wrong it’s fine to practice tricks; it’s just that I love the feeling of being in the streets and showing up at a spot I’ve never seen before. Coming up with an idea for it and trying it is the best feeling. I like the intuitive part of it. I think if you are too concentrated on training certain tricks for certain spots that gets lost a bit.
So what you are saying is that out of the two you feel closer to the intuitive Magenta trend than the rehearsed Street League trend of skating? Interesting.
I don’t know yeah maybe. I do think it’s good that people portray skateboarding in this way. Although I don’t know if you’ve ever seen me do a no comply but I suck at that shit. I’m not really into that stuff.
I do love pushing myself, skating hard. I’m not trying to break records or something, it has nothing to do with that. People that don’t know me may think that but that’s really what I enjoy. I like doing a front nose down a fourteen stair, I really do. I’m not trying to impress anyone with this shit I just like it. I need that stuff. Maybe I’m addicted to adrenaline or whatever but that’s just the way it is. It goes well with me.