Stefan Janoski – Remembering the Parts

This week we’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Nike SB’s Janoski and to start things off we got Stefan to watch and talk us through every single full part he’s ever put out. A weird exercise that brought back some even weirder memories…

Digital #3 (2000)

Stefan Janoski: Digital 3… This was the first compiled skate video part of me.

Were those the real intro titles or something that was slapped on when the person uploaded the part to YouTube?
Oh no they’re the original ones ha ha.

Who else was in it?
Chad Muska! He was on the cover on a blow up couch in a swimming pool with like a rabbit on his lap.

Did you get to go on missions with him or was it everyone filming separately?
No! I didn’t even meet him… But I stayed at Bill Weiss’ house – I didn’t even know the guy – and there I met Clyde Singleton, Rune Glifberg and all these guys. This was my first time going filming with people I didn’t know.
Then this guy Dirty Dave would stay at our house to film when I lived with Kyle Leeper and his wife in Sacramento. And Dave (aka BK Dave) never wore shoes or took showers and was generally just really dirty and smelly. He was PJ Ladd’s filmer. That’s how he met PJ and Ryan Gallant…

Expedition One: Alone (2001)

Oh, we aren’t just going to talk about Digital 3? This whole interview could be about Digital 3: the most classic skate video of all time.

Ha ha yeah what was I thinking? Nobody cares about Mosaic.
Ha ha. Then I guess next was Expedition?

Yep. This one was kind of your ‘breakthrough’ part… Or at least the first one everyone really remembers.
Yeah. Plus there was a lot more time to film, too. More years of compiling footage. And it was really cool as I got to skate to this song. It was before you really needed rights.

Oh yeah – its Nirvana right? You pick it?

It was kind of also your first few trips abroad for skating right?
Yeah. That front board was my first time in Japan…

Were you mates with Biebel and Kyle Leeper before skating for Expedition?
Yeah, yeah. So, I moved to Sacramento and became friends with Brandon and all those guys and Brandon knew all the people in Encinitas and that’s how I met Kyle because he lived down there. I got on Expedition, and right when I got on Expedition, Brandon got on Girl. So we were never actually on at the same time… But that is the reason I got on. Because of Brandon. And then Kyle got on after that.
One thing I remember was that just before I got on they had these really cool ads, like a double page with red sequences… But as soon as I got on the team and they changed it: I got a one page ad where they morphed the sequence together with one photo ha ha.

Boyment! ha ha…
Nike did that to me, too. They had these great ads with shoe boxes in people’s hands and then a cool skate photo but when I got on the team I got this crappy photo of a kickflip with my name down the side. And they forced me to wear these crappy orange shoes which no one wanted to wear ha ha.

I always thought if was weird that the switch flip down the big double set at Le Dome was just thrown in the middle of the part…
Oh! Yeah, that. So, you notice that you cant even see my head, right?

Yeah it’s filmed terribly…
So, that was the first time I came here to Paris. It was a Savier trip. It was the first time I went to Le Dome and I was super excited. I’m freaking out. Like, ‘Double set! Yay!’ Ollie Barton was there. That was the first time I met Ollie… I was just switch flipping the double set because I was excited and Ollie shot a sequence but there was no filmer. Elias Bingham happened to be there too so he filmed it. Just badly and with a really shitty digital camera…

That was the best thing to go down there for a very long time… 
And that was the only footage… The only proof. I was like, ‘you gotta throw it in there man’. It was the biggest switch flip I’d done at the time. I didn’t really care that there wasn’t a filmer there…

Well, thank God someone did film it.
Yeah. It was a “Howl’, too. Skateboarder Magazine used to do these sequences where you’d have a quote to go with it and it was called a ‘Howl’. It was a double page sequence. That was probably one of the first double page spreads I had.
I remember that that trip is when I met Tim O’Connor for the first time. We took trains to Germany, Scotland and Spain…We kept going back to Paris as the hub for the journeys. It was amazing.

I was actually going to ask you about Scotland because you went back for Mosaic right? It’s not a very common skate trip destination…
So, yeah we went to Scotland on a Savier trip. And Brad (Staba) and Brian (Anderson) and Tim… They weren’t skating. So I went out. We had a girl who was Team Manager that just filmed us.
There was just me, her and locals. They’d be like, ‘Oh, theres this really good triple set’ and they took us. And there was Percy Dean shooting photos and again no camera… I don’t know why there was no proper filmer on any of these trips.
So, I was just that guy again. I frontside flipped that triple set, second try, no filmer and I had a photo in Kingpin.

Habitat: Mosaic (2003)

So then, there was a trip for Mosaic and I’m like, ‘There’s this triple set in Scotland which I frontside flipped!’ and we went back but this time I did a line to the frontside flip. Ollie Barton shot that and used it as the cover of Skateboarder. So, I actually had doubled up on a frontside on the same spot!

Kinda dodgy.
Yep kinda dodgy! Ha ha. It wasn’t my fault, though. It was on Ollie. But I did not say no to a cover! Ha ha.

Fair enough… I remember thinking, ‘As if he just decided to try that one in a line?!’ But I guess you’d already done it so it makes more sense.
I’m still mad about that nollie flip. I don’t know why I kept going.

Nah, its good, it’s got flavour.
And I didn’t like my powerslide.

Yeah that powerslide did not slow you down one bit ha ha.
Yet I kept going…

At least it means you really went far on that frontside flip…
You see the kickflip at the beginning of the part? I couldn’t skate for months after that: I blew my heel.

On the kickflip?
No I tried to switch heel it. There may be some footage of that somewhere…

This is arguably Castrucci’s finest work… What was it like working on this with those guys?
Oh, it was huge for me at the time. I mean, I remember when I first saw the Habitat logo I just thought it was so cool. It’s hard to pick companies but you know, Habitat was just my favourite.

Where are those ledges you always skate (2:34)? Sacramento?
Yeah. Some of the best ledges in the world.

I guess what was really cool about your footage, especially here and the next couple of parts, is that there are all these Sacramento spots we expect to see you skate and associate with you… I love it when a skater has ‘his spots’ like Welsh and Pier 7 or Marfaing and ‘Le Dome’. UC Davis (2:59) is definitely one of those for… Is that one still there?
That’s my favourite place to skate. And yeah it is but they took out the rail.

Did you pick the song for this?
No, Joe (Castrucci) did. For my ender Brennan Conroy went out at three in the morning with a sledgehammer and knocked like 15 knobs off of that rail and then bondoed the holes so I could do that.

I remember Brad (Staba) was in the car reading a newspaper when I came back. I was like, ‘I landed it!’ and he was like, ‘Nah, you didn’t’. I was like ‘I did!’ Just Brad Staba being a dick…

Transworld: Subtleties (2004)

So, Subtleties. What’s the backstory? How come you got to work on a Transworld video with all your mates in it? Were you involved in the process of picking who would be in it?
No it was all Jon Holland and Jason Hernandez. But we were all just really good friends. It was their idea. They picked us all. Pat Duffy, Brandon, Kyle and Wenning and me. It was really fun… In fact so fun that we kept doing trips together even after we finished this video. We’d go to Spain every year, stuff like that.

The old classic Transworld intro with the voiceover… 
Yeah. Jason picked this song. At the time I was a bit unsure about it just because they were almost too popular to use.

It felt a bit bait?
Yeah… But I really like it now.

I love that flushing line… I feel it played a big part in that whole oversized jumper trend that was big in skating for a few years
Yeah, I’ve always been a really big fan of crew necks… Fat Bill filmed it and I remember we partied for a like week after we got it aha.

What was it like going on trips with Wenning?
Ah, man. He was great. He was like totally next… in every way. Especially back then. He was so good and so entertaining to be around…

[Interruption from someone saying ‘Stefan’s been doing interviews all day so he’s probably tired you should try to wrap this up’.]

Ah sorry, we can just stop whenever you are over it.
Play the video, I love watching myself. Ha ha ha.

Habitat: Inhabitants (2007)

I was a bit worried about trying this because sometimes sitting around watching your own footage with people can feel pretty weird.
No, I don’t know…I think its cool.  I don’t sit around watching my video parts very much so… it’s kinda fun. At least, that’s what I am going to say for an interview ha ha. No but seriously that’s why we made these videos. I think it would be worse if you were like, ‘What we aren’t going to acknowledge is all the videos you’ve made’. This is good. As long as you aren’t like ‘Hey, your videos suck. How did you even get a shoe?’

I was actually waiting for the shoe to pop onto that screen to hit you with that…
Ha ha! What video is this? Oh, its Inhabitants! I personally think that this is the best representation of me. When you are trying to film a video part they never feel complete but this one feels the most complete out of all of them. I love this song, too.

I feel like this video was the best representation of a lot of people… Molinar especially.
Yeah. I mean, this whole video was just really good. And I guess this is the first time I had the last part which is pretty big.

Are those Adidas on that tre flip to fakie (1:34)? What’s going on there?
Yeah. I didn’t have a shoe sponsor.

Were you flow or almost going to get on at one point?
I almost got on a lot of brands at that point…

But obviously this is when you went for Nike as they start popping up in this one…
Yeah. I got on at the end of filming for this video, when they were filming for Nothing But The Truth. So, my stuff in Nothing But the Truth is actually only filmed on four Nike trips. Whatever I got on those trips, Nike was keeping and then everything else was for this video.

So, you weren’t allowed to pick and chose to balance the parts out?
No. It was whoever was working for whichever company. So, if I was filming with Joe it was for the Habitat part. If I was with Joey Digital or Chris Middlesbrook it was for the Nike part.

This feels like the last video with all your classic Sacramento spots.
Yeah, very true.

Is that something you miss?
Yeah… It just got harder and harder to skate them. Also, these spots, they didn’t change. So if I already did a trick, well I don’t want to one up myself. Or rather I can’t ha ha.

Is that switch flip crook the hardest trick you’d say you’ve ever filmed?
Yeah, probably. It definitely took me the most amount of times going back.

How many times?
Well, actually Brandon and I were skating there. He was trying nollie flip crooks and I was trying switch flip crooks but on the 7-stair rail. Then he landed it one day and I didn’t. So I kept trying but it was kinda like my buddy was gone… Since I like the 8-stair rail better anyway, I switched over and then I actually landed it!

Nike SB: Nothing But The Truth (2007)

This intro!

This is one I am very curious about. The the first Nike project you did involved you getting thrown up on by your mate… What’s the story behind that? How did you take it?
It was just one of those things where every single person on the team kept telling everyone that this was a really bad idea… But they’d hired this company to do it and obviously it really backfired… It sucks because a lot of the skating is really good.

Yeah it’s banging! That Gino footage is gold.
Yeah, it’s so good… They were even saying that there was going to be a version without the skits. But after the premiere tour and we’d gone round the world with it they kind of just decided to never talk about it again.
To be honest my part felt really rushed anyway because as I said it was only filmed on four Nike trips…  But it’s the only part where I ever had homie tricks and I was super hyped to have Kyle and Biebel in there!

 So do you usually prefer filming at home? Are you the kind of guy that spends ages thinking about tricks, making lists etc.? 
I actually really like spontaneous stuff. Like all of this was really cool because it was pretty much the first time I had been to all of these places. It’s just that it didn’t feel like enough… Or maybe not the first time, but it felt fresh, all the spots were new. Some had never even been skated before… So, you’d think ‘Oh, I could do this trick!’ and there wasn’t a giant list of names and what had already been done.
I’ve never really liked planning because I never like knowing what I want to try in the car on the way there. That I find that super stressful…  I’d rather get there and see what’s working. If I say ‘I’m going to go to Davis and I’m going to tre flip the gap’ then in the car with the filmers, I’d be like ‘Oh, man. Am I? I hope am. I mean I’d like to…’ and then you get there and you don’t want to try. So, I think it’s just better if it’s like ‘let’s just go there and see what happens…see how you feel.’

Some people have it planned out for days.
It’s hard to like force a trick. You know? When you are like, ‘I want to get that trick on film.’, well for me its harder than being like, ‘This spot inspires me to want to do this trick.’ So, you want to do this trick because for you, the spot is calling for it, instead of ‘I need to get footage!’ It feels good and more fun that way. Also, sometimes I just wouldn’t tell anyone. I’d know what I wanted to try but I’d be like, ‘No! I just want to go look at it.’

It’s the safer option… You are kind of claiming it but just to yourself.

Habitat: Origin (2010)

I really like the animations they did for our intros in this video…

This one’s got the first appearance of the Janoski.
Oh yeah. And the first appearance of a wallie switch crook!

Yeah! Is there some kind of correlation? Ha ha…
No, no… I just think I’d figured that trick out so started doing them everywhere. I lived in New York at this time… In Brooklyn.

At this point, is the shoe already really popular?
I don’t think so… I mean, this is still when they were pretty new. Actually, there might even be the samples in this. So yeah, this is still very fresh.

Can you pinpoint when it gets popular from looking at the colourways?
Sometimes… Like actually I just saw the Tiffany colourway and I think people were excited about that one but I’m not really that interested… But they do tell me about that stuff.

Nike SB: Chronicles 1 (2011)

Alright: last part! I guess this was Jason Hernandez as well. What was it like working with him on this one?
So, with Jason… Well, even before Subtleties, we were always really good friends. I love filming with Jason, he’s like the best skateboard filmer, you know? It’s so fun to get tricks on film with him because he makes everything look so good… Plus he really gets extra credit because you can tell he really enjoys filming. So, this was just really fun with him, Clark (Hassler), Grant (Taylor) and Lewis (Marnell)… Chet (Childress)! The whole crew was just so fun to skate with.

Was this your first time meeting Youness? He looks so young in this one…
Oh yeah, this was Youness’ first proper video part and my first time meeting him. He was like the most mature, take-care-of-himself kid. Him and Grant are the same age, but they are totally different versions of the same age. But they’d just feed off each other… Youness at the premiere of this was just like the cutest thing in the world. He was all psyched to be here, like super hyped, calling his brother at home, making us all teary-eyed.
He made it cooler for us because we were all just a bit like ‘Uh, yeah. Cool.’ It wasn’t our first premiere… Whereas he was like, ‘I can’t believe I am in a video with all of these guys!’ and that made us feel real special too. I love him… And man, he is so good.

He just sits down for ages and then when he gets up it’s to do the gnarliest trick and then sits back down again right?
Yeah he has no warm up… ‘I don’t need anything except cigarettes, Doritos and a Coke!’ [in a Youness voice]… And he’s actually telling the truth. That’s all he needs! He’ll then skate huge gaps and huge rails and you’ll ask ‘Are you hungry Youness?’ and he’s all ‘NO! Give me some Doritos and I am good.’ Ha ha.
So, this song… I picked this song. I said to Jason I wanted this song and he’s like ‘I can’t edit to this song. I don’t know how to edit weird.’ So I was like ‘you don’t have to edit weird. Just edit normal and the song will be weird.’ But then he told me he ended up having to edit the song as it had these longer, even weirder sections.

‘I don’t know how to edit weird’, ha ha.
Oh, I’ve got another good story about this. Some people at Nike were like, ‘So, you don’t have any hammers to end your part’ and I was like, ‘Oh, well…there’s no such thing as Hammers. That’s just a slang word Jim Greco made up. So, what are you talking about?’
‘Oh, you need a banger and some after blacks’ and I’m like ‘Just use a line. I don’t want a last trick. Use a line.’ But, yeah… That was told to me.

That’s pretty funny. It’s sick that you managed to convince them.
I like it when people do things differently. People get too stuck in formulas.

Well we’ve watched all your parts.
That was fun! In ten years I’ll have a couple more!