LEV TANJU — Free Skateboard Mag Interview

Palace is a bit of an anomaly. Through bold graphics and hilarious web edits, it simultaneously infiltrated fashion and skateboarding all while repping London to the fullest. And the company has been able to accomplish a level of success that few brands achieve without comprising a shred of authenticity. lf you’ve seen anything from Palace, then you’re familiar with the work of Lev Tanju. He is the founder, and the guy that is orchestrating the madness. From Fergus Purcell’s designs to VHS footage, Lev’s high fashion meets low-tech aesthetic is nothing short of genius.

Free Skateboard Mag just published a new interview with Tanju that gives a peek behind the curtain. And Palace dropped a new edit from its MWADLANDS skatepark that features everyone from Lucien Clarke to Geoff Rowley. Check the edit above and a few choice quotes from the interview below.


Basically I had a VX and it kept breaking and I couldn’t afford another one. It kept glitching all the time and I was like ‘fuck this shit man’. It was like 600 pound and I was like ‘I can’t afford to do this. I can’t buy another camera, what am I gonna do?’ So I just bought a shit one online. I was like I’ll try and film with that. So I went out and filmed Jensen to test it out and when I got home I watched it and Joey or whoever was in the room was like: ‘What?! Where’d you find this old footage of Jensen?’

‘I literally filmed it like two hours ago!’

And instantly in my head I thought ‘man, I love how it looks’. And the way you can’t see… It gets rid of all the fucking things you just concentrate too much on when you watch skate videos. Like what shirt someone’s wearing or like what shoes they’ve got on. It just gets rid of all that and it makes it solely about people’s shapes. You know what I mean? And that’s why I love it. So that was it really, just from that.

From then I started filming long lens loads and then I got my first filming job. It was a Carhartt trip yeah, and like they just linked me up with 1,000 pounds to film. I was like ‘fuck, are you mad? 1000 pounds? Yes!’ Like that’s a lot of money, you know what I mean? So I went there, and I was filming VHS long lens, then filming close up VX. And then two days into the trip, fucking Hjalte (Halberg) busted my lens off the camera. The camera broke in two and skidded off down the floor. And he was like: (pronounced in a Hjalte voice) ‘haw haw, I can’t believe it broke so easily!’ And I was like ‘yeah man…. sick’. Like, not stoked on it at all, ha ha. I was like ‘fuck man, I’m getting paid £1000; I need to make this video work.’ It was a two day old fisheye… Anyway so I was like ‘fuck it’ and I just sellotaped it on, pretending like ‘yeah its cool man’ ha ha. So all the footage has scratches on it and shit. But I was like, straight away, ‘this looks banging!’. The lens just fitted perfectly onto the camera.

On future video projects:

Nah I’m changing. Ideally I’m changing everything but I’m just looking into it now… ‘Cause it just gets rinsed man, everyone does it. It’s just like it’s the ‘cool’ thing to do now. But I’m done with it. We did Palasonic, that’s everything we filmed on VHS so it feels good; now it’s time to do something else.

On Palace’s popularity outside of skateboarding:

Different types of people were into it from the start really… When we ripped off Versace tees and stuff like that, people that didn’t skate also liked it. Which is cool because I’ve never been that guy who’s like ‘you can’t wear it because you don’t skate’, you know?’ It’s made for whoever wants to wear it. I’m not making Chanel t-shirts to just sell to fucking skaters you know what I mean? I just made Chanel t-shirts because we wanted to make Chanel t-shirts. Everything we put out is just stuff we want to do, that’s it. If other people buy it, then they buy it. If a skater likes it, they like it. I don’t care like what you like, innit. If you don’t like it, lump it. That’s what my mum used to say. It doesn’t matter. Buy some other shit. Or don’t! All I care about is that the guys that skate for Palace, my friends like it.

On the MWADLANDS park:

Now that’s the shit I wanna talk about! I want to hype people up about the skatepark. We wanted to do it last year but couldn’t find a space. December, January, February, no one on the team has anywhere to skate in London. And I want them to get better at skating. So originally it was a little shitty space we were gonna do. With like a block and stuff. Then we found a bigger space and then we just thought to ourselves ‘why has there not been a skatepark in London since like for ever?’ Since London Bridge, (editor’s note: Ewer Street, it was only open for about 10 months, and that was in 1991) you know what I mean?! Gareth and me are fucking skaters; so we were just like ‘fuck it let’s make a skatepark’. It fucking cost an arm and a leg to make but like everyone has somewhere to skate. It’s good for kids that are skating. It’s like the dream innit? Like why wouldn’t you?

Like anyone that has a skate company, I don’t understand why they wouldn’t do that, if they could. It’s my dream from when I was a kid.

Head over to the Free site to read the full interview with Lev.

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