Interview with Chris Nieratko
For the final year of Propeller filming you opted to go without a board sponsor and ride whatever you liked. You ultimately helped launch Mother (RIP) and Quasi, two of the most beloved and visually distinctive brands on the market. What was it like for you for that year to be sponsorless? Any concerns or pressures to get on or start something??
There was definitely some pressure at first, I was like, "Ok everything is crazy." But eventually I realized that it wasn't going to get sorted out immediately. I had been keeping in touch with Chad Bowers a lot and when the time was right he started working on Mother.
Quasi has one of the most rabid followings in skateboarding. What’s the secret to its success?
Chad is obviously really talented. He has great taste and I think that shows through everywhere in the brand. He has great people working for him, the vibes in the office are immense; it's a beautiful thing.
If you could put any one of your former teammates on Quasi who would it be?
He's not a former teammate, but Dan Lu, I just want to see him more.
We mentioned Propeller. Having some time to process it what are your thoughts on making the film and how it turned out? What are some of your favorite memories of the making of Propeller?
I'm so happy with how it turned out. It's such a different feeling working on a video that big for that long. It definitely brings people together. I miss goofing off with Greg Hunt; I don't get to see him much anymore.
Just as Propeller filming was winding down Vans released the Gilbert Crockett Pro. Now 3 years later, as Venue Skateboards is set to release your Gospel part we’re dropping the Crockett 2. Let’s compare and contrast. What’s the same and different about making a big budget skate film vs. a smaller indie/homie project?
It's basically the same idea just on different scales. I enjoy both. On one end you have all this pressure and cameras and professionals surrounding you while you're skating, which can really bring the best out of you and on the other you have your crew, in your hometown, going out skating and filming, which can potentially bring out the most original clips.
What’s the same/different about the new Crockett 2 compared to the original?
Well, the 2 is a waffle cup again but we updated the sole. It's on a different last and a different tread. There's a suede toe cap on this one, different side panels, all sorts of shit's different but it has a similar look. It looks like its evolved from the first one.
What was your inspiration with this shoe? What were you trying to accomplish?
All sorts of stuff: WW2 era tennis shoes, modern tennis shoes, 90's Vans. I wanted to make something that looked a little bit sporty but a classic skate shoe at the same time. I'm so stoked on how they turned out.
It’s been a heavy couple years for the boys. First AVE wins SOTY forPropeller then the following year KWalks wins for his No Other Way part (amongst other numerous parts). They’re very different skaters. What were your thoughts when you first saw AVE’s Propeller Part?
AVE's part blew me away. I didn't know about a lot of the clips in there. The lines are so powerful and the god damn bank to fence at Lockwood.. he's a fucking role model, man.
And when you saw Kyle’s N.O.W. part?
His part fucked me up too. So badass to see him going in like that and having fun doing it. He definitely made me want to grind some rails.
You were missed in No Other Way. What happened?
I dislocated my elbow filming for Gospel/Crockett 2 commercial and was out for a few months. I wanted to try to get something for No Other Way but it was kind of bad timing.
If you had to put money on a Vans threepeat, who do you think could win it this year?
Chima [Ferguson] or Elijah [Berle].
Is that a goal you’ve set for yourself. Could we expect you chasing it?
Yeah, I got this shit!
What does the future hold for you, Gil? What’s next?
I'm planning on living in New York for a couple months this spring, I'm looking forward to that.