In 2017, a decade after the much hyped, delayed, and rewarding Lakai video Fully Flared, the brand is set to release The Flare, a video that’s been in the works for only two years. Not only has Lakai survived after a mass exodus of riders post-Fully Flared, but departures continue even as they revamp their roster. As Mike Carroll recently told me over the phone, “Whatever, it’s business, we didn’t even think Girl would last 10 years, let alone Lakai.”
Despite all odds, The Flare is nearing arrival, and as much as we all want to know if Rick and Mike will be featured, if there’s going to be some drones filming with RED cams while Manchild grinds a triple kink, or if this thing will even be available as a hardcopy, the reality is that the hopes and assumptions of the audience really don’t matter.
The Lakai you’ll be seeing is a new animal — younger, leaner, more diverse, and existing in a new world where it might just be best for them to worry less about legacy than on moving forward.
We hit up some of the new voices of Lakai to hear about what it’s like to make a video that they know we’re all itching to dissect and to hear about the pressure of following up Fully Flared.
Why did it take 10 years to put out another video?
Dan Wheatley: The Crailtap family has always worked on videos in a cyclical sequence. If there’s a Girl video, next is Chocolate, next is Lakai, and so on. Each time a big video has dropped, I think they know what the team has been put through, and they give them some time off. Then they slowly get into the next video organically. It’s never like, “Alright guys, the next full-length video comes out in 2 years!”
Pretty Sweet was a five-year, enormous project which finally premiered at the end of 2012. So after some time off for the team, I had started working as the Lakai TM/Filmer around 2013 and was out filming Stevie Perez, and new additions to the team Ronnie Sandoval and Jon Sciano. In about six months or so Stevie, Ronnie, and Jon had pretty much full parts (for these days standards, couple minutes each) so I brought it to Aaron Meza [Former Crailtap video lead] and said, “It would be cool to do a quick video with these three guys, maybe film for a few more months and put it out as something watchable featuring some guys people seem psyched on.”
Meza didn’t like the fact that it was similar to the Chronicles thing Nike was doing, and that if we made that, we would have to do one with the rest of the team. So Meza said we should just film for a year and put something cool out on the web. February 2014 we had a meeting at Spike Jonze’s house and set out to film for a year. Of course, now it’s 3 years later, and we decided to release it on iTunes as opposed to a web video, but the video is wrapping up.
Riley Hawk: I think the first time we all met at Spike’s house, I remember Biebel was still on and some of the younger dudes that aren’t on anymore were on then, and I think that must have been the first time when they were like, “Yeah, we’re doing an actual video.” Then we met again like 2 years later and it was like, “Alright, this is now, we have to start really hitting it.” Then within these last 6 months, they kind of said, “Hey, it’s this year,” so then everybody started getting motivated. Then they actually started sending us on some trips, which is cool because you get motivated in your own zone and skate stuff you don’t always skate.
No Ty Evans = No Problem?
Dan Wheatley: I would say now that Ty isn’t here, logistically I don’t think much is different other than we don’t have Ty’s direction and motivational techniques. Some people weren’t a fan, some people miss Ty a lot. Spike is still around, but he has always let Mike, Rick, and the main director handle the majority of putting the video together, then he will help finish the production, give advice, help with skits, etc.
As far as Crailtap’s video program, right now we have Federico Vitetta, John Marello, Rye Beres, and myself. Feds and I have been mainly working on the Lakai video, and Marello and Rye have been brought on recently after Aaron Meza left—something that was definitely a blow to everyone because we all love Meza and his style is a lot of people’s favorites. Marello, Rye, and I have definitely paid a lot of attention to Meza’s style, which is pretty synonymic of Crailtap’s “style”, so we just try to keep things in line with past edits of his, just with our own twist on things. Feds definitely has his own style, which I think takes a page out of Ty’s book. “Weakdays” gets handled by Rye and Marello, I will help out here and there. Marello and Rye have been a big part of Crailtap’s increase in content these days though. They both kill it.
Sebo Walker: Yeah, I mean, Federico, he’s behind all of it, as far as a big filmer, editor and director. He has the vision, which has always gotten me and the other guys stoked to be a part of it. It will have the same feel as some of the older videos, like Yeah Right and Fully Flared, with fun intros and some skits, but it’ll be a little bit different because this is first video Federico is behind fully. This is his baby. I think it’ll be kind of cool that a lot of people don’t know a ton about it. It’ll be somewhat of a refreshing video to come out.
Dan Wheatley: Personally, I am sick of hour long videos. I think I can vouch for the team in saying that they’re kinda over it as well. Everyone is pushing for a video that’s quick and you can put on before you go skate. There will be some parts I know. But I would love it if it was 20 minutes.
Sebo Walker: I feel like there’s a lot of older guys that are in their late 20s and 30s and 40s that grew up watching a VHS of whatever video it was at the time, like watching all of Sight Unseen before you go out and skate or something. There are pros and cons of the big videos, but it’ll be cool to look back on when I’m older, like this was the biggest full video I was in. Because as a kid you’re like, Whoa, imagine having a full part in this full video with your whole team?! Something to look back on and celebrate for sure.
Riley Hawk: I think they wanted to go with a not-so-serious approach, not saying that skating wise, but just like the way it’s put together. Not just the epic throw down shot to roll-away-high-five shot. More skating and then in between there’s some funny stuff. Obviously, all the other skaters have their idea of how they want their stuff to look, so just depends I guess.
Sebo Walker: We’re sort of the next generation of it so we sort of make it our own. But skateboarding has gone through so many changes in so many different ways in the last five to 10 years or so, that we’re just hyped that we still have our crew and our vibe that has been together for the past few years. And we love Rick and Mike. They’re just really positive and stoking us out to finish this video, and I think they’re pretty stoked to see the somewhat refreshed team working for it.
I think people will really be stoked to see Riley, he is such a pro about everything. He’s really going so hard for this video, and he’s really one of the best dudes, super humble and nice and always looking for spots for us. He’s a total skate rat. People will definitely trip out on his part. And then also Simon Bannerot, just cause he’s one of the newer kids, just seeming invincible, savage, good at everything.
Rick and Mike?
Dan Wheatley: Yeah, they’re in there. I was pretty bummed to have no Rick Howard in Pretty Sweet as a fan. Since I got the job, it has been a major goal of mine to film tricks of those guys.
Riley Hawk: Those dudes are my heroes when I was watching all those older videos. Now I get to go on trips with them, and getting to really know them has been awesome because they’re just like me and everyone else. They’re just like big kids that just want to skate and have fun and it’s cool that they don’t let the serious side get to them too much. They still like to go and have fun and skate.
Following Up Fully Flared ?
Dan Wheatley: It would be an impossible task to try and follow something like that up. To me, this isn’t a follow-up as much as the team wanting to be a part of a full video they can be proud of.
A lot has changed since Fully Flared as well. Between the internet video and the enormous growth of the ‘big brands’ in skating, the full-length video has become a challenge. It’s pretty obvious it’s not going to bring in as much as you spend, and it makes you think about the logistics of making the video more. People will always do it, but for skate brands, I don’t think it’s the smartest move in terms of marketing. But that is why I will always admire Mike and Rick because they stand up for the things they believe in, and they do what they want to do. It’s worked pretty well for them so far I’d say.
Sebo Walker: Maybe someone will never get Fully Flared out of their mind when watching The Flare, and then be like, “It’s not the same without a Marc Johnson part.” And there are definitely a lot of people that want to see those original guys, but everything changes. That’s just what is it. If you want the original then you watch the original. You can never really recreate anything.
Riley Hawk: When Fully Flared came out I went to the skate shop like 3 days in a row waiting for it to get in, it was a whole different thing back then. You had to go and ask, “Is it here yet?” And they were like, “No, not yet.” I remember we got it and went back to somebody’s house and watched it over and over and over. It turned me onto listening to new music, the style of how the video was made, so much…
I think about Lucas’ part the most because I didn’t know who he was before that video and just with that Bowie song and straight into that rap song, I was just like ‘This is so sick!’ And then especially Mike’s part with the Judas Priest then into Three 6 Mafia. I think that might have been my other favorite because I’ve never seen anything like that. That was badass.
Giving the People What They Want?
Yonnie Cruz: It’s all opinions and preference, all of us have been influenced throughout multiple different eras in skating. I think people respect and feel relatable to Crailtap and GX videos because of the bond that those crews have. It makes you feel that they are family, having fun skating together, and that’s what it’s really all about.
Dan Wheatley: I don’t go on SLAP, but I pay close attention to video reviews from friends of all ages. I don’t want to make a video that is some super polished, overly produced debacle. At the end of the day though, Federico has been chosen to put the video together, and we trust his judgment. Feds isn’t worried about what the internet kids want. He wants to make a good video that will make Lakai and the riders look good.
Our guys are the most concerned with just enjoying skating, and we’re lucky to have guys like that on the team. Those guys want to go skate, they want to film, not on some “let’s train at the park, take it to the streets, get clips, and flex on people” tip, but an organic one.