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The voice of Kevin Rodrigues sounds calm through the speakers, as he answers the questions via Skype, restrained but clearly. He chooses his words wisely. His day was exciting enough because the Cons team is on tour in his hometown Paris. The Polar rider doesn’t like too much turmoil, he prefers a familiar environment and being with his Bloby’s crew. Nevertheless, he takes time to talk patiently with the stranger on the other end of the line. He excuses himself multiple times for not being able to express his thoughts, even though he does it quite well. Both on and off the board you can see that he has a clear vision of where he wants to go. Even though too much thinking makes things complicated.
[Interview: Stefan Schwinghammer | Photos: Alex Pires / Nils Svensson]
Hi Kevin, how does your typical skate-day look like?
Most of the time I go to République at ten or elven and skate there for a few hours, go back to my place, cook something and go out again. But we always go to that same area around the train station called Austerlitz. I don’t know, it’s just like a bad habit. We are doing this for five years and complain about not much being over there.
Would you say having a perfect spot like République can be bad for a skate-scene?
I think it’s easy to go there and waste your whole entire day. I wouldn’t say it’s bad, but it changed a lot of things, in a good way, too.
You recently went to Malmö. Did you film some tricks for Polar?
I filmed a few tricks there, but that wasn’t really the plan. I just went there to see Pontus, because I haven’t seen him in a long time. Just be away from Paris for a few weeks, because that’s what I felt like. He was editing the video and I always thought that I should go and check what he is doing with my footage. I knew he had a lot of footage that I didn’t like and I didn’t want him to use. I wanted to be in his back and tell him what not to use.
Do you like your part?
I’m okay with it. I never had a project that I was really proud of, but I’m pretty stoked on how he edited this one. I think it’s the first time I’m stoked on something.
Did you have a rough idea of how your part should look like?
Yeah, I really had a vision since I started filming for the project. Pontus was showing me what he was doing with my part. We were working a few days on it and he would show me what he tried to do and I was stoked on some of the tries and not so stoked on other things. One day he called me and told me: „I did this and I think it’s the final thing. The music is perfect and that’s the way it should be.“ I went there and he showed it to me and we didn’t change anything. I was stoked to be in the project and didn’t want to complain, because I didn’t want to stress him out more than he was already. Maybe this get’s me even more motivated for the next project. I was thinking of doing something with Ben (Chadourne) or Hadrien (Buhannic), who are my friends and film. There I can really do what I want. I guess Pontus has his artistic view and it’s weird to tell him what to do. I tried, but I gave up.
What did you want your part to be like?
I tried to do something that you can watch more than one time. That’s why I was worrying about some of the clips that Pontus had on his computer, because I felt like it could break the part and people wouldn’t watch it so many times. I wanted something short and powerful. I don’t have a lot of lines. I tried to do only lines without pushing – like quick ones. I think the longest clip I have in the part is maybe five seconds. I really like watching parts with lines, but I feel like it doesn’t have the same power. Basically what I tried to do is something quick and not pretentious, with a few weird things in it, that I didn’t see before.
Will there be kickflips in it?
Ehhh, no. No kickflips. There is one heelflip, but it’s not in my part. It is in the New York part.
Do you do kickflips at all?
I don’t know, I could do some, but it’s really hard and I don’t think they will look good. I’m not doing it on purpose. I’m not one of the guys who are to underground to do kickflips. It’s just too hard.
But the heelflip in the Converse commercial is one of the raddest heeflips I ever saw!
Thanks, sometimes I think about if I should do a kickflip or a heelflip on a streetgap or whatever, but that will take hours. Then I just do an ollie to some weird thing.
Talking about crazy things – how do you come up with those ideas?
I don’t know, but I guess I try to think a lot before I film something because I think it’s more entertaining to watch a clip and see something that you maybe haven’t seen before.
“I’m not one of the guys who are to underground to do kickflips. It’s just too hard”
When you started skateboarding, it was more about bangers, until you developed your own style. How did it come to that?
I kind of always skated this way, even when I was younger. I know the Bloby’s for ten years now and they were making fun of me, because I was doing weird stuff instead of nollieflips. They were like: „Look you can do wallie to wallride to polejam there.“ I remember one day I cried and left the place we were at, because they were making fun of me. It got me really upset at one point. I even thought I invented straight no complys, because I only watched „This is Skateboarding“ from Emerica. I have never seen a straight no comply, before I did one. [laughs] I always tried to do different stuff. I’m not saying it’s a good thing. Now everyone skates like this and I wear baggy jeans and skate 7.8 boards. I’m trying to be a G. I don’t know why. I’m skating 7.8 with really tight trucks, but I used to skate 8.5 with loose trucks. I don’t know I just wanted to change something. I have been doing this for a month and it’s fun. I don’t get angry as much any more, because I got used to it.
What do you think about the development of the skateboard-scene over the past few years?
I think it’s good to see those kids do no complys everywhere, but when it comes to filming a part it becomes boring sometimes to just see wallrides, wallies and no complys. It is not so original anymore. I don’t think I like those tricks as much as I used to do. I got tired, because sometimes it’s a bit too much.
How has your skateboarding changed over the years?
I always skated kind of this way and I always liked the same skaters. I’m really into skaters that skate big rails.
I read that you like Nick Boserio a lot.
Yeah, I’m really stoked on that guy, just because he charges. It’s super entertaining to see him skate, but I feel like every skater that I like has one thing. I really like Brian Hansen too, but I don’t think that it would look good if other people would do his tricks. I like Rob Welsh a lot. A lot of different things, but it’s really just their approach. It’s not the tricks they do, but the way they do it. Boserio charges, Welsh is a G, but I don’t look at many weird skaters. I can’t get so much motivation from this.
Did Pontus have a big influence on you?
Always, for sure. I’m still stoked on his skating.
When you go out filming, do you prefer to be alone with the filmer, or rather with all the homies?
I’m really bad at filming a clip, if there are more people than just my crew. The best is if there is just the Bloby’s. I really need to feel comfortable before I try something. I don’t want to waste anyones time. I’m down to waste the Bloby’s time, but not anyone else’s. It feels weird. I’m scared about the Converse tour going on right now, because it’s so many people. I’m really bad at trips. Maybe I think too much and then I’m not even trying something, that makes it harder for me.
“Maybe I think too much and then I’m not even trying something, that makes it harder for me”
You don’t want to waste the time of the filmer or the photographer?
I mean if it’s Hadrien or Ben, my good friends that I did the converse clip with, it doesn’t feel the same. But I’m really bad at filming with other people.
Talking about the Converse clip, did you two plan it together?
Neil (Chester, Cons EMEA-Marketing-Manager, editors note) told me that they wanted to do a commercial for this shoe and he wanted to do it with me, because he knew that I liked the shoe. I said I wanted to do it in Paris with my good friend Ben, because that is the only way it would work. He said it was cool and he had no directions or anything. He really wanted me to do something that looks like me. Ben lives in Bordeaux and he came over and then we filmed for like 1 ½ months. We were editing together at night after the session. He asked me about everything and really wanted my opinion. It was easier that way. But it got me super stressed, because I knew that probably a lot of people are going to watch it and I didn’t have that much time and the weather was really shitty. But I think it’s okay.
Did you want more tricks in it?
Not really, but some things with a bit better quality, more good ideas. I didn’t have the time to think enough. There are some clips that I’m not so stoked on. I wanted it to look like I’m cruising and now it’s like something in between.
On our last interview, you told me that you got on Polar because you drank with Pontus. Now after you did the Cons clip and the Polar video do you think it would be time to drink again with him and talk about a pro board?
Maybe I did that with him in Malmö… He will give me a pro board. We had a lot of beers and I think it helped.
Did you already see your board?
Who did the graphic?
One graphic is from an artist that Pontus likes pretty much. He does pretty weird stuff and I’m really stoked on it as well. Jakke (Ovgren) did the other two and he asked me for some inspiration. I really like the boards!
When will your boards come out?
I think shortly before the video comes out.
The video premiere is planned on Pontus’s birthday. What is next for you after that?
I have a few ideas to do with Ben again which we wanted to do last winter, but than we had to do the Converse thing.
Will you be filming in Paris again?
I’d like to. I really feel better filming here. It looks more like what I want to do. I realized when I travel and film in other cities it’s just like I skate the spot because I’m stoked on it. It’s harder to get tricks that I really like, because here I have the time to think of spots and tricks. It’s just different when I’m in another city. I feel like it doesn’t look like me so much.
“Maybe I’m wrong and I have bad taste and then I’m stuck with really shitty clips”
A lot of people say that you get the best out of a skater, if they skate in an environment they know.
There is this example in my head of Josh Kalis. I’m really stoked on him skating Lovepark and not so stoked on some Barcelona clips. It’s weird, but I feel like this too. The two last years I was filming for the Polar video and when I was on trips I was always thinking, „Maybe I should film this, or maybe not“, because when it’s on Pontus’s computer it’s probably going to be in the video, then it will be to late. There are a lot of things that I asked the filmers not to send Pontus.
What’s missing in those tricks?
Sometimes nothing happens. There are things that I really wanted to do and I was really stoked on when I did it, but when I watched it, nothing happened. There was no magic. When the final result is nothing, I don’t want that. It’s weird, maybe it were things I thought I would be really stoked on, scary things, and in the end it’s not so special.
Do you feel it when you land the trick?
It’s more when I watch the clip, sometimes I’m stoked and sometimes it’s pretty much nothing. Sometimes it’s hard, because maybe I’m wrong and I have bad taste and then I’m stuck with really shitty clips, but from my eyes there is a lot of stuff that doesn’t deserve to be in this video and I try to keep them on my computer and not on Pontus’s. There is just a few things that I kept, because it took me a long time to realize, that if Pontus is having anything on his computer, he is going to use it and not going to ask me about it.