Josh Roberts Domingo II interview
On the heels of Domingo II’s release we spoke to Western Australian VX wielder Josh Roberts about his latest film. Josh talked to us about how he started filming, his European travels, worldwide connections, why he hates Limestone, and what he has planned next among other things. Josh was also kind enough to share with us the Domingo II intro and Alex Campbell’s part. Nice one Josh!
Interview by Will Harmon
Will: Can you tell us how you came up with the title Domingo?
Josh: So when I was working on the first one, a few years ago, the homie Liu Puli was around and he suggested it. I thought it sounds sick and we worked out the meaning, Domingo means Sunday in Spanish, and I sat on that for a minute and then I just decided I liked the sound of it and it fit.
Yeah and when I was there in Perth we all met up and went skating the city on a Sunday… Is that something you guys have been doing for a long time?
Well most of us work jobs and shit and we work most of the week… We skate a bit during weeknights for sure, but Sunday is the day that everyone can meet up and skate. That’s the day everyone can make it.
Intro and Alex Campbell’s part from Domingo II by Josh Roberts
So tell us about Domingo II, how is it set up? Is it similar to the first one?
Yeah there are some parts in this one. It ended up being a way bigger project than I originally envisioned. There are parts, but I tried to make it so it flows on really well and it doesn’t really stop. Certain dudes have a bunch of footage so I kind of gotta show that. I’ve tried to do it differently though. It’s like an extension of the first one, but it’s been a few years since that and I’ve obviously… Well my style I think it’s changing slowly as I’m always trying to do new shit or whatever. So it’s the same as the first one, but very different if that makes sense. This one’s twice as long. I tried to make it flow and incorporate in a lot of Super-8 film because I want to show that. I wanted to set it apart a bit if I can from a normal skate video if possible.
Going back a little, when did you start filming people riding skateboards?
I got into skating at age 13, so not as early as other people. My friends were skating and I thought it looked sick so I decided to get a board and then I went skating with them. Since then I’ve never looked back. And so my parents had this old video camera, I can’t remember the kind, but it took an entire VHS tape in the camera. And then there was a small tape inside the VHS tape you know what I mean?
I think I might remember those…
So were editing old school style like filming a trick and if they didn’t make it, we’d rewind it and keep filming and editing as we went on until someone made the trick. It’s insane doing it that way thinking back on it, but my brother and I and a friend from around the corner would film like this. I just kept doing this and then I got more into filming.
So did you make a full video? Or is there a first video you made?
I made a bunch of them, but I’m not psyched on them you know! (Laughs) But yeah, I filmed one on our first DV camera and made some edits or whatever and just filmed with friends. A bunch of them, like Nick Boserio and Harry Clark they were in out original crew. It’s sick to see Nick make it so far; he’s a big pro now. But yeah we just filmed whatever and then I got a VX1000, as I had looked it up researching on Skate Perception and whatnot. And then I tried to figure out what was good in filming. I watched all the Transworld videos. I think the first VHS skate video I ever owned was Cliché’s Europa. Or wait, maybe it was Blueprint’s Waiting for the World, and then I got Europa second. But anyways, I’d always watch those two videos. So what was the question again?
I dunno we’ve gone off on a tangent. I guess how you got into filming…
Yeah so things just evolved slowly. So I got the VX and started messing with it. There were a few local dudes that were older than me and they helped me out every now and then. I was just some stupid kid, but I had an idea of what I liked. I really liked Josh Stewart’s Static videos. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I just really liked the style of those videos. So I didn’t wanna bite what he was doing, but I wanted my style of videos to feel like how those vids were.
Ok so we’ve heard about the Magenta connection forming from the intro of Crossing the Perth Dimension. But since then, have you made more worldwide connections?
Yeah so I filmed Crossing the Perth Dimension after the first Domingo. After Crossing I wanted to start working on a follow up for Domingo 1, and then Leo (Valls) was back living in SF so he said I should come out there. So eventually I got a ticket and went out there to skate. So I kicked it with Leo and all the crew out there and it was sick and then that ended up being the first footage I got for Domingo II.
And then after getting that SF footage, did you feel you had to expand and film for Domingo II in more places than Perth?
Yeah kinda. I mean I never really had the vision sorted out before I started, I just knew I wanted to do a new vid. So it developed organically. I went to SF so it just worked out that that was going to be in the video. But saying that, I knew it was going to be hard to incorporate footage from SF into a video with mainly Perth footage so I had to work things out. I wanted to film a part with Morgan (Campbell) who lives in Melbourne. I told him I wanted him to be in the video and since we are good mates he was of course down. So I went over there and filmed with him and a bunch of the homies I knew over there so I had a little zone going on with the Perth dudes and the Melbourne dudes. So I just put all that in together and that’s how the video came to be.
They are certain people who visibly outperform others when filming with the VX1000. I would put you in this category. Who are some fellow VX wielders you admire?
The two main ones that I think are way above everybody are Zach Chamberlain and Yoan Taillandier. Those two are the best in the world in my opinion. I always get psyched seeing their stuff. I’m really good friends with Zach and I got to see him recently in SF and we got to kick it. And I broke his camera kind of… I feel bad. (Laughs) I’m psyched on what Quentin (Guthrie) was doing in Perth too; he was holding the scene down. And Ryan Garshell, he’s doing the GX thing, which is sick. I like seeing his stuff. And of course I’ve always liked Josh’s (Stewart) stuff. He had the weird crazy filming style, but it was cool because it was really original. No one else films like that. He didn’t frame stuff all the way and he chopped stuff off, but it was his style and he pretty much created this whole thing I think.
Yeah I would agree…
I mean there was Dan Wolfe, but for VX1000 Josh was the guy I was into from the beginning. So I would say from a history point of view, Josh then Yoan and Zach are my favourites.
Didn’t all your camera stuff get robbed last year? What happened?
So my girlfriend was in Iran for a month visiting her family and the day she was coming back I went to the airport to pick her up. My housemate was home asleep in his bed and I was gone for like an hour and in that time someone had come in the back door. I didn’t lock the back door because I knew my mate was at home, but I didn’t know he was asleep. Anyways, I knew he had to go to work real soon so I thought I didn’t need to do anything, he’d handle it. So after I got back from the airport I walked into my room and something didn’t seem right. I looked around and could tell shit was missing. So I finally figured out what was gone and it was all stuff from my bedroom and nothing else. I felt like someone had been watching the house because the timing was way too perfect. Steve, my housemate, said that his alarm went off so he could get ready for work and when it did he heard some noise – but he just thought it was us as he was half asleep.
So what they did was put all the gear in our rubbish bin and wheeled it off. They stole all my filming stuff, my computer – it sucked.
And then James (Whineray) hit me up to go skating and I was like: “Dude… My setup is gone; my house has been robbed.” He was like ‘fuck!’ and bummed. So probably a day or two later I see this kickstarter thing pop up for people to help me out.
Who started that?
James Whineray. I was just blown away. I was like ‘ah I don’t wanna take people’s money…’ but there was a lot of support there and people handled it for me and I got a camera and my shit back together again so it was awesome. It was so amazing to see people show love on that level. It made me feel good and maybe that shows that people appreciate what I do I guess. To see people give me their own money to get back up and running again is incredible. I didn’t expect anything, so it was nice to receive the support.
Can you tell us if you have any special rules about filming? Things you will not film, etc.?
What do you got against Limestone?
Ok in Perth there is tons of limestone. There’s big ass bricks of limestone that are huge or whatever…
I don’t even really know what limestone is… I might need to Google it.
Yeah look it up, it’s a certain mineral. It’s yellowy-white and it just looks fucking ugly dude. And it’s usually on buildings in the outer suburbs…
So not really in the city?
Yeah. In general I think it looks like shit, in footage I don’t want to see that, and I don’t know man, it’s just no good. It makes me think of everything super far out and I never wanna skate out there.
So do you shut down people who want to film a trick at a spot where there’s limestone?
A bit. Yeah I do. It gets blown out of proportion a bit, but I have.
Anything else you don’t want to film?
Ah just the Perth suburbs. I don’t like filming out there, so many houses and too much grass. I want to film stuff that looks exciting and it’s definitely not exciting out there. Aesthetically it looks like nothing. There’s no point in filming out there.
Ok. Would you ever film HD?
I don’t really want to; I don’t have the desire to right now. I don’t think it looks good for skateboarding really. I like VX and everything about it. Everyone’s said it all before… You can film it properly, you can be close, and you’re like in the trick when the person is skating you know?
Whereas HD you’re further away, the fisheye sucks, the rig is heavy as shit… It’s definitely not as good in my opinion. I would only use it if I were filming a documentary. I would consider it for that. Chris Mulhern does it sick and Josh (Stewart) has done it, but generally with non-skating stuff. But I just don’t want to use it for skating at all.
So can you fill us in on what you’ve been up to in the past month since your first Domingo II premiere in Perth?
Yeah a month ago I flew over to Bordeaux and met Leo (Valls). And then the idea was to work on a Domingo France type thing with the crew out there. And we did exactly that pretty much.
And then I know you guys were supposed to make it to the Vladimir Skate Film Festival in Croatia, what happened there? How come you didn’t make it?
Oh man that’s a long story I’d rather not get into. Made it as far as the Italian border driving from France, but to keep a long story short: we had car trouble.
Well you missed a good time in Croatia!
Yeah I know, I was super bummed, but what are you gonna do? I guess it just wasn’t meant to happen for me.
So you went back to Marseille and filmed there?
Yeah Marseille is amazing for skating. The city is awesome.
And then after that I saw on Instagram that you were in Milan with the Chef Family…
Yeah Leo and I discussed going there to do a project for Benjamin at Live Skateboard Media. So we talked Benjamin and Adidas helped out and we got it all rolling and went to Milan. So we hooked up with the Chef Family guys, super nice dudes by the way, and we skated all around the Milano Centrale plaza. That spot is huge – it’s like a Love Park spot or something. There’s all types of people there: ghetto hood bums, tourists, skaters, everything. So Leo and I were trying to show the plaza in a different way and skate more of it than just the popular bits. A lot of it doesn’t get skated, it’s a huge plaza and people mainly skate the main ledge and the grate gap across the road. So we tried to skate a lot more of the plaza and show what it really has.
Cool I’m looking forward to seeing that.
Yeah so I filmed Leo, the Chef crew, because they really hold it down there, and Seb Daurel came to meet us too.
So you’re back in Aus now what are you up to?
I need to do a lot of editing and logging footy. I had a mean jetlag.
So is this what you are going to do next make some smaller edits?
Yeah, I need to make the edit for Live and then a separate French edit that I think I’m calling ‘Dimanche’, the French word for Sunday. That’s for the Bordeaux and Marseille footage. It’s gonna be online like a web thing. I’m gonna keep it rolling with a few web things or a web series for a little while. I haven’t quite figured it out, but that’s the idea.
I have a few ideas; I want to keep the Domingo stuff moving. I need to change it up a bit… I want to try and help people go places with me and film. If I can contribute or pay some that would be ideal. If I could get a random crew of people I know, and someone always from Perth, or homies from Europe or America or whoever is available at the time to get together and film an edit for a couple weeks in a different city. That’s what I need to do to make it interesting for myself and keep things rolling. It’s hard now in Perth, we’ve rinsed it.
How do you make ends meet? Does filming skateboarding pay the bills?
No man, that shit never pays the bills. (Laughs) I already accepted the fact a long time ago that I wasn’t going to make a living doing this… Because when you are a kid you have these grand ideas and then you go ‘oh, this is the reality of what’s really happening.’ I have friends that are older and we all still do it for the same reasons. They’re still skating; I’m skating and filming; they’re all doing their jobs and I’m doing my job and then we all meet up and skate. I just manage the local skate shop (Beyond). I keep things running smoothly there and I film when I can.
Well you are in all this for the right reasons then…
Yeah your tastes change and stuff, but I really need that stuff to be around me to keep me stoked or else I kinda get bummed on skating. I work in the shop and it can really get you in a weird place with skating being around it so much and watching every shit thing that comes out. But there was nothing but good vibes and good feelings out there in Bordeaux and on my Europe trip so it got me stoked on skating. I don’t care if I’m not making money, because I’ve gone on this long without making money and I don’t care. I just do it because I’m into it and I love doing it. It’s just the best shit; nothing’s quite like it right?