AN INTERVIEW WITH SKATEVIDEOSITE.COM'S FOUNDER
WORDS: Stu Gomez
Let's say that you're feeling a song in a skate video. You would check the credits for the artist info, right? But what if the video editor didn't add a track list? And what if you could've sworn that you heard this one song in another video, but you can't quite put your finger on it? Thankfully, there was a resource you could use to connect all these sonic dots: SkateVideoSite.com.
We spoke with the site's founder, known as the moderator "Hubba," about his inspiration for starting the world's foremost skate video database. As of today, SkateVideoSite lists 2,926 videos, ranging from the forgotten promos of yesteryear (remember this?) to the epic big-budget productions. The site's small team manages to update its catalog frequently as videos are released every day—no small feat when there are easily a half-dozen daily drops vying for skaters' attentions worldwide.
What were some resources that were valuable for building Skate Video Site?
SkimTheFat.com, which sadly no longer exists, was a great inspiration when I started with the site. Also, message boards (like SLAP) where someone asked for a song and got an answer helped, but overall the info was really spread out.
Did you have any help or special training?
During the first years it was pretty much me alone, later when the community grew and the staff team got bigger it’s been more of a team effort. Motivation I got from skateboarding itself, and skills I needed were years of coding with PHP and databases.
Did you have a goal in mind for the site?
I was used to finding almost everything from Google, but at least nine out of ten times when searching for a song in a skate video there were no results. I felt like I couldn’t be the only one who wanted the info, so I started gathering soundtracks and other details. We get a lot of thanks for being the only source for the rare info, so we feel we’ve accomplished a lot.
But it’s always a work in progress because new videos keep coming and many older, rarer videos are not yet added.
What you've done is incredibly impressive. How is your team able to aggregate so many complete video details?
Sometimes you can Google the info, but often you have to check the credits. And more often… you have to listen to the lyrics and find out what song is used. Our staff team is pretty small but with enough time and effort we’ve managed to gather a lot of info.
What's your everyday admin maintenance look like? Do you have regular tasks?
Adding and searching new content. Checking the server status and updating it regularly. Also answering emails takes a lot of time.
What is an example of an out of the ordinary situation that you've had to handle?
At the time when our forums were most active we often had to support companies on removing links and doing other anti-piracy tasks. A few years ago, we decided to remove the forums and it has helped a lot.
We’ve also done many giveaways for new popular skate videos. Companies have provided the videos in exchange for anti-piracy tasks, we’ve always given these videos away for free.
What are your personal favorite video soundtracks?
I think what makes a good soundtrack is how the songs match the skaters and the styles, even if you have to pick the songs from different genres. If the songs are too similar it makes the video feel too bland. It’s also, of course, a matter of personal taste; everyone has their own favorites.
Some picks from our team worth mentioning are The 917 Video, Jacob Harris's "Atlantic Drift" episodes, Alien Workshop's Photosynthesis and Mind Field, Cherry. [Supreme], The Dimestore Video, and the Bronze soundtracks.
Some picks from our team for best song/skater combos:
Have you ever discovered a favorite band by watching skate videos?
Absolutely, I became exposed to most of my favorite musicians from skateboarding videos.
In your opinion, what makes a good pairing of part and song? Are there any particularly poor part/song pairings that stand out to you?
I think a good pairing is when there is some sort of connection between the skater and the song (whether that be in the editing, the lyrics, or that crew's personal attachment to said song).
I think a poor pairing is when the skating doesn't complement or take full advantage of the song used. For example, I think Santo and Johnny's "Sleepwalk" and Nick Trapasso's skating in Toy Machine's "Suffer The Joy" were destined to be put together, much like how John Coltrane brings out the best in the Gonz's skating. On the other hand, P-Rod's part in "Nothing But The Truth" doesn't match the energy of Sonic Youth's "Teenage Riot."