UK skaters and filmers put in the hours outside their day jobs to make Albion – a grimy British skate video with no branded restrictions.

UK skaters and filmers put in the hours outside their day jobs to make Albion – a grimy British skate video with no branded restrictions.

New skate video Albion – an old Celtic word which means ‘Britain’ – brings together a bunch of likeminded skaters in the UK for a no-holds-barred exploration of local and unlocal spots, tricks and camera skills on this fish-and-chips island and beyond (there’s a little excursion to Bilbao).

A collaboration between three prolific filmers – Kevin Parrott, Dane ‘Morph’ Crook and Ryan Gray – Albion came to life to give the lensmen, and skaters, some freedom beyond the branded side of things and away from the HD standard. Including skaters from a range of independent British brands like The Harmony, Palace and Death Skateboards, Albion – which also found its way to print in the form of a limited-edition zine with a cover shot by Joe Buddle – is a celebration of UK skateboarding at a grassroots level and the people who push it to the next level. Oh and Tom Penny has a part too.

You can catch Albion at a screening in Slam City East, London, tonight. We caught up with Kevin Parrott to find out more.

What is Albion and why did you decide to put it out?
It’s a skate video. A British, independent skate video. I guess it came about at a time where we thought we might have some space to do something of our own. Everyone involved had pretty much just finished working on various larger projects. We were also all doing a lot of stuff for other companies – which is great fun but to a certain extent you always have to get ideas and edits cleared, use certain music, branding, etc. Not that it’s a bad thing – quite the opposite. It’s just that sometimes it’s nice to have the freedom to work with whoever you want to and then reflect your “version” of skateboarding, if that makes sense. We just wanted to play around with something a bit looser.

Who’s involved in it altogether and when did you start shooting it?
Behind the lens, Ryan Gray, Morph and I. We had a couple of people pitch in with some clips of people we were missing footage of who we wanted in there – but that part was pretty minimal compared to anything like this I’ve worked on previously. The main parts are from Denis Lynn, Jak Pietryga and then Horsey and Ben Raemers have a shared part. Karim Bakhtaoui, Charlie Birch, Nick Remon, Kris Vile, Daryl Dominguez and Tom Penny all have parts, too.

We started shooting this two years ago, pretty much. It’s kind of impossible to put an exact start date on there as it began as two different projects and some of the people who we wanted to have parts couldn’t commit or got injured. On the flip side, some people ended up joining our crew for missions here and there and ultimately ended up with a solid presence in the video.

Were any other videos an inspiration?
I could probably take up all the space there is left on the internet with lists of inspirations. For me, the first three Toy Machine videos always had the most inspiration. Then again, the fun that came across in Flip’s Sorry video has definitely left its mark. Sabotage 3 for a more recent one. Solid street, covering a scene and lots of night lines. That French Megamix video and the GX1000 stuff get repeat plays on the TV screen. Anti Hero and Alien Workshop videos. I guess that’s what the Toy Machine videos always felt like – something in between Anti Hero and Alien Workshop. So, I’ll go for Welcome to Hell and Jump Off A Building as the inspirations. Ha.

Where is it shot and what are your favourite spots in it?
England. Wherever we could drive or skate to easily if I am honest. A lot of London and Leeds just because those are the two cities we were based in. There’s a little bit of Spain as we did a mission out to Bilbao to get away from the the rain 13 months ago. Horsey has some footage from Kiev. But mainly like I say – England. Theres quite a lot of Walthamstow in there actually. Jak had an idea early on to try to get as much as he could on his spots where he grew up. Actually, that might have been an idea I put on him… I forget. Let’s just settle on it being his idea. How rad would that have been? A closing part in a non-local video using spots only local to the guy involved. The stuff that guy calls a spot is sometimes a bit of a surprise. Stuff you’ve skated past a thousand times. “You want to skate that? That’s not skateable.” Then he bangs out a four-trick line there.

What’s your overall favourite part in the video? Why?
I could probably tell you the answer in two years. Not right now as it’s all still so fresh. Denis has the right mix of flow and speed going on and I think his song works really well. Horsey and Raemers seem to bounce off of each other – same spots, skating together but using them in different ways. I like that. There was another edit of their part, but Leo Romero used the song in Made so we had to drop it. I was gutted about that. A Flaming Lips song which sat around for 15 years and as soon as we choose it, someone else shows up with it. I like the way the shorter parts came out. Karim was worried about his stuff as he has high expectations of himself – he wasn’t even sure about using it, but once he saw how we had planned on putting it together – with all of his PWBC crew – he totally backed what we were doing, which was amazing. Anyway, fuck it – I’ll say Jak as my favourite part. He skates street how I would want to skate street. Total control, fast as fuck and has a trick bag slightly different to most. Plus, he is always full of ideas of what to hit up and film. That’s probably the toughest bit.

Were there any challenges in bringing it to life?
Oh yes. Full time work for Rye and myself. Admittedly, we get to do a bit of this stuff in our everyday jobs – but for that we both have to film HD, so it was a case of bringing an extra bag every time we went out with the Vxs’ in. Mostly we tried to keep all of that shit separate in terms of missions, though. It kind of made it easier to figure but then things got so hectic towards the end of last year, Albion got sidelined for a while. It actually meant that we are putting the DVD out six months after we pretty much finished it.

Outside of us, the filmers – I know Karim wanted more, but the guy works until 8pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Raemers spent 50 per cent of the video unable to skate. The whole of 2013, pretty much. Plus, he lives in the US so it was more a matter of grabbing him whilst he was here. Denis and Jak also both needed operations towards the end on their knees and hip respectively. I don’t even mean to sound like it was some tough nightmare – it was actually an amazingly good laugh pretty much every time we went out… it’s just a little more of a challenge when day to day life has to come first sometimes, y’know?

How can people support it?
Show up to the premieres and shout for the tricks you think are worthwhile? That is a pretty cool thing for us to see. I don’t know. Maybe by not putting it on the internet! This is more Rye, Morph and I supporting the guys we think deserve the backing as well as the guys in the video all committing to support one project to give each other a platform to show what they are about. If that makes sense.

I like the get-together shit. An art show or party is fine, but if it is for a skate video then it’s a bit special. Revealing what you’ve all been up to for a while is pretty amazing, especially if it isn’t just a solo-viewing sat at home alone clicking a video link online. If you need to go down that route, then at least watch it with three mates and a cup of tea. I don’t know – it’s a skateboarding video. If someone tells me in five years that they rewatched the video and really enjoyed it, then that’s amazing. Shit sinks too easily these days on the internet. Touch and feel. That’s where it’s at.
That all sounds a bit bromancey…

Any plans – trips/projects/videos etc. – in the pipeline? A sequel maybe?
All three of us have pretty rad real-job projects going on. Rye already banged out that second Nick Remon part which technically came out before this older part. There’re a couple of bits we are doing together and I know Morph is about to leave for the US on a Palace trip. I’ve got a full part to finish up in the next couple of months with a Volcom head.

As for full-length videos or plans together – we’ve spoken about some stuff. I guess stuff will naturally come together when it’s ready. I am being slowly bullied into getting a part of my own together. I can’t see that happening, though. Right now I actually just want to go skating. It seems like I haven’t left the house in years without a big camera bag… and I’m losing tricks daily because of it. At least, that’s my excuse. Ha ha.

You can watch Albion at Slam City East in London tonight or check back to their website/shop for updates.