Asphalt Magazine Interview
I was pumped to see such a quality skateboarding magazine in Russia, what are your goals with Asphalt?
First of all, thank you very much for a compliment! Well, our goal is… I would say to make Russia a bit known in the world of international skateboarding. We want to put this country on the world’s skateboarding map to show that Russian skateboarding exists. That’s why we are working on the English translation for the upcoming issue now. As for the local skate scene we want to keep it growing and developing. We want to give local skateboarders some motivation, to share the beautiful feeling of skateboarding and give kids a greater sense of it. Help them navigate what is cool and what is not.
How strong is skateboarding in Russia? Is it growing?
It’s pretty big here actually. Not as big as in Spain or in Brazil, but it’s definitely way bigger than in neighboring China or in the rest ex-soviet republics combined all together. Moscow and Saint-Petersburg are two main Russian skateboard cities with amount of couple thousand of skateboarders in each town approximately. There are a few other regional power points like Tyumen and Krasnoyarsk with their tight local skateboard crews of a couple hundreds kids. So here we are with our own skate scene, some local brands, some local teams, some local filmers…. we have our own skateboard magazine now.
Jamie Thomas was with us in St. Petersburg and did an interview with you. He seemed to be moved by a bunch of Fallen graffiti we saw, has he influenced skateboarding in Russia as much as in America?
Sure. Jamie Thomas is a living legend everywhere, no doubt. The whole generation of Russian skateboarders were growing up watching him skating in Welcome to Hell, Misled Youth and Dying to Live. His style, his outfit: long hairs, a zero hoodie with scull logo, the music from his videos, everything was influential to many Russian skate kids all over the country. Fallen Shoes was so popular here, they even produced a special line for Russia with fur inside so people could wear them during harsh Russian winters. You could still find a pair of them in some small skate stores here.
The photography in the magazine is very artful, is that a goal?
Sure. We don’t wanna make a magazine just about the tricks. Pure tricks are too boring for us. Talking about tricks all the time makes you really-really mind limited. There are a lot of interesting things in the outside world. Life itself is a really interesting phenomenon and we wanna explore it wisely, but through the prism of skateboarding. We wanna make a magazine about skateboarding culture and how it transforms and performs in it’s own unique way. There are so many interesting people who came out of skateboarding and are still somehow connected to it. We’d like to tell people about them and expose their stories from the pages of the magazine.
It’s radical to see how much sports like skateboarding and surfing bond us globally – how much is Russian street culture influenced by the rest of the world?
А lot. I think the whole world of youth nowadays is under the wing of a the US influence. The youth around the globe are looking up to what’s going on in America. Facebook, Youtube and Instagram help a lot with that. These social medias create a wish for young people to live their life in an American way. All these latest trends for rap music, street fashion, action sports coming from your country world-wide. Russian kids want to look American, Japanese kids wanna look American, Finnish kids wanna look American. The world is unifying nowadays, and you are holding the flag.
We hung out at a bunch of great bars from Moscow to Murmansk in the Arctic Circle, but enjoyed the Entuziast Bar the most. Have you seen a show or crushed any beers there?
Yes. This bar is very popular to all Moscovia bohemia. It’s situated primary in the center but at the same time it’s kind of hidden from of the main street, so it’s kind of privy. People who hang out there mostly know each other. Most are artists, musicians, designers, photographers, corporate marketing managers, copywriters, promoters etc. and other creative dudes. You can definitely make some important connections going there.
Who’s the most respected Russian skateboarder today?
It’s easy to say who are the most known skateboarders from Russia. Gosha Konyshev who is a great all around skateboarder in general. He skates for Absurd Skateboards and DC Russia. He had a video part on the Thrasher website in the past. Tolya Titaev is also a great skater and is close to the fashion world through Gosha Rubchinsky (world famous Russian fashion designer.) He has his own brand named Рассвет which is also quite well known in the street fashion world. And of course Maxim Kruglov who is famous for his competitive skill. He does very well at different international competitions outside the US. I would say this trio represents Russia on international skateboarding scene nowadays. There are so many good and underrated skateboarders from Russia that we have to show to the rest of the world through the pages of Asphalt magazine.