How do you describe SMLTalk to people who don't skateboard? Do you interact with people who don't skate?
You mean there are people in this world who enjoy their lives without having to constantly be compared and compare themselves to children? Must be nice.
If they don't know what the blog is I tell them that it's the most popular skateboarding site on the internet.
When did SMLTalk start, and how was it conceived? Who is SMLTalk?
There's three of us, Evan Oppedisano, Rob (RoJo) Ridge, and me. SMLTalk started as Evan's idea to start a skate blog. Rob and I had toyed around with the idea, having had many nerd out sessions at Orchard, so when Evan brought it up we withdrew all of our savings, mustered up our courage, and paid the $20 Wordpress fee.
Was there something missing in skateboarding media that you wanted to bring to the table?
We are all about the same age, and all started skating in the early 2000's, so we have a love for anything that was happening during that period, and know way too much about it. I think besides random slap threads you don't get much talk on that era, and there's not really another site that focuses on it.
Do you have an office?
I use my work office...don't tell my boss.
RoJo is our mascot. #wheresrojo
SMLTalk gives off a vibe of strong localism, specific to Boston, is this something you have cultivated? Do you see SMLTALK as grounded in its surroundings or are you more interested in reaching the general skateboarding community? Can you do both?
I think we just want to do what feels right and let it grow organically. When we started SMLTalk we said that we'd never do something just to get likes or clicks, it's gotta be something that we find funny or interesting. Once the content loses it's genuine nature, the site's lost it's purpose.
With that said, there are two main things we keep in mind - nostalgia and the Boston community, or a mix if we're lucky. If something comes up that falls outside of that scope, it has to be really funny or interesting. Chris (our friend/editor) wrote about the new Plan B video, and it was great. We aren't against talking skate pop culture. Wow I hate myself for just saying skate pop culture.
I think that if we can someday grow to be the pitstop you make between facebook and porn, we’ve succeeded.
What is the Boston skateboarding community at large like? Do you see SMLTalk encouraging it to grow together, or did SMLTalk come from an already tight knit community?
The Boston skate scene is so sick. It’s crazy because there are a bunch of different smaller crews that will go skate together, but they all intertwine, and when big events happen everybody shows up, and at the end of the day are all friends. People love each other, and talk shit on each other too. If you’re not being called out on your shit, that’s when there’s a problem. It’s the best.
What is Dave Lewis' role at SMLTalk HQ?
Well, we all write articles, and we all talk all the time whether its on facebook or in group texts, so we’re always in the loop if anybody has an idea. We also have meetings once or twice a month to go over any events or anything that we’re trying to do. If I were to say one specific thing I do for SMLTalk it might be coordinating things. If there’s an idea that comes up, I try my best to bring it to life.
Noticing a focus of the periphery of skateboarding. You have some great interviews with some great skaters, but also lot of tongue in cheek observation of things like the phenomenon of khaki cargo shorts, the disappearance of certain tricks, the metamorphosis of Chad Muska, what's in Pat Duffy's pockets (seriously, did you find out?) etc. Where do these obsessions come from, what have you learned?
Hahaha. Aw man, yeah, that’s the stuff that we love. All the obscure shit that you notice growing up watching videos, lurking the internet, reading interviews, reading mags, etc. etc. It’s the stuff you talk about when a video is playing at a skateshop, trying to out-nerd one another. We’re the guys that say “who skated to this?” when a skate video song comes on. Even if it’s at a party where 99% of the people don’t skate. The best part of having the blog with these guys is that every day it’s constant talk about things we noticed while watching a video. Like Evan, “hey, what ever happened to pop shove its”. Then that’s an article, simple as that.
In the Kyle Berard interview I asked him if he knew what was in Pat’s pockets haha. Those guys are best friends, so I had to ask. Unfortunately all he could confirm was a smashed up pack of american spirits. Haha.
SMLTALK recently hosted a Skater of the Year award ceremony, with awards like "best monochromatic skater" and "skate nerd of the year". How did it go? Was it zany like a 90's MTV Video Music Awards?
Oh man it was incredible. Funny that you should ask that, though. I was starting to make the videos for the nominees, and I was like “what are these even supposed to look like?”. So I searched ‘Nickelodeon Awards”. I found this video of Will Smith being nominated, then winning, then giving a VIDEO ACCEPTANCE SPEECH. He was apparently too busy filming for Wild Wild West. I was like, “YES, this needs to happen”. So we actually gave the skated the least award to my buddy in Texas, and he did a video acceptance speech. It was great.
It couldn’t have gone better man. About 150 people showed up and my roommate premiered his full length video, Palomar II, along with some other friends premiering videos. There’s a recap on the site, I could talk about it forever haha.
Staff music picks lately?
Damn. Evan was on some Yo La Tengo and RoJo was on Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. I think we’ve all been stuck on Fleetwood Mac though. Stevie <3
Upcoming projects? Will there ever be a print version of SMLTalk?
Not sure about print yet...our budget pretty much limits us to stickers and BBQ.
We’re currently working on a skate trivia night, but that is a couple months out I think…
Other than that we have some articles and interviews...we just interviewed Brandon Westage! That was crazy. Other than that I’d say just check out the site, we’re always writing about some bullshit that only fully grown adult skateboarders would care about.
Can I give some shouts?
No, sorry Dave. Running out of space here ;)
Shout out to my mom and dad, to the burn book, Ryan, Nikki, Max, dales pale ale, secret awesome, and everybody else out there who doesn't take life too seriously.