LEADING KANSAI SCENE SINCE THE '90S, VIDEO PART AT AGE 40
──VENICE NOGAMI (ENGLISH)
Interview by VHSMAG
VHSMAG (V)：Introduction please?
Venice Nogami（N）：I’m an old skater that run a brand called Dorcus Top Breeding System and also a distribution company called Greenlight Department in Osaka.
V：What made you want to make a part after turning 40?
N：I was diagnosed alopecia areata! It came suddenly in the winter of 2013. One of my Expression teammates Kaz 2 (Kazuaki Yakushijin) said, “Venice, you have bald spot in your beard.” I was like, “For real?” I didn’t care so much about it then. We were just laughing. Then about two months passed and we were at a yakitori joint called Ca/she/wa. This cute girl found a bald spot in the left side of my head! I was drunk so I just didn’t think so much about it. I was wearing a hat and my hair was super short in the first place. But you can see the bald spot clearly when you’re hair is short… I was shooting the bald spot with my iPhone and sent it to Shinpei Ueno at TBPR and we were just playing around. Then I went to the doctors and found out that there were two more brand new bald spots. So I had total of four! So my doctor named it alopecia areata multilocularis. I couldn’t the fact that I have three bald spots so I shaved my head. Back then, I was wrapping up my part for Expression’s RIDE PRIDE and had been filming in the weekends, but I broke my arm. I broke mu bone two months in a row; left elbow and right index finger. I had to be hospitalized and get a surgery and the doctors saw my bald spot as well. For some reason, my bald spot had increased to six and each one started to fuse together, which is like a combo trick. I’d rather make frontside kickflip crooks… I thought about telling people through SNS, but I felt I’ll make them feel bad so I decided to make a part instead. That’s how this part came about. I had regrets for my part in RIDE PRIDE due to injury, so I guess it became a good opportunity. Thanks to my bald spots.
V：So the part came pretty much right after RIDE PRIDE. Is there any them or concept?
N：RIDE PRIDE was supposed to be my last part… But I just get lazy without any goal so I made one. The theme was like, I skate a handrail, throw my hat, and then my baldhead shines. It was tough skating handrail at the age of 40 but I really wanted the shining footage. I had always shaved my head so you can’t really notice the bald spots though…
V：I can imagine you need to really commit yourself to make a part at the age of 40. What would you say was the reason for committing to make this part?
N：After RIDE PRIDE finished and as I started filming for this part, I realized that I can put 100% in running my brand, Dorcus Top Breeding System. Right now I’m a rider but I’m also a company owner and I support young skaters and scene. I needed to make some action for my company. My close friends were making videos professionally so I was hesitant to do it but when I thought about what my riders are expecting, I realized it was not just product and financial support but giving them opportunities. And video is essential making it happen. It took a while to realized it but I had seen my friends make videos and I realized that I have the right eyes to make one. I need to show my riders how serious I am to influence them. I didn’t have much time but I gave my best for this part.
V：How long did the whole filming process took?
N：I filmed once a week for three months, so about two weeks. It wasn’t a compilation part using footage from the past. I wanted to show my current skating. So I’m wearing the same AREth shoes in this part. Leaving aside the level of skating, I convinced myself that the enemy was myself; the important thing was to skate, film and get it out there. This is not about skate skill. You might only see the weight of the 40s. I mean, there are so many skilled skaters out there. If you want to se skilled skating, you should watch overseas’ latest online clips. This part is like an extension of RIDE PRIDE part. If you haven’t seen the video yet, please watch RIDE PRIDE first.
V：What was the process of filming like?
N：I don’t have the skill to just show up at a spot and film, so I had to plan everything out and make a list of tricks I want to do. Then I had to find the right spot, go check it out, think it out and practice, so that I can film as efficiently as possible. My buddy Fuku (Takayuki Fukunaga) mostly filmed my part. I have so many filmers around me but they all have their production and brand, so I couldn’t ask them. But Fuku and I hang out skating and insect hunting so he kindly told me that he wanted to film. He had no experience in filming and this was his first time. I can’t film a part all by myself so I’m really grateful. I re-realized the importance of a team. You can’t do anything all on your own.
V：You had injuries and other incidents as well. What was the biggest challenge for you?
N：I tried to do the things I can do so I didn’t have any injuries at first. But on the night before filming the last trick, I hurt my knee. It’s in the teaser but I tweaked my knee trying a tailslide. I was out for a month.
V：What was the most rewarding thing about making this part?
N：When I land tricks for sure! Also the fact that friends helped out to make this happen is a big reward for me.
V：There are a few footage of your friends in your part. How did you choose them?
N：They’re all my friends that I spent a lot of time together. Okkun is a teammate from Expression. Hideking is a good friend in Kobe where Shelter Skateshop, which I skate for is at. Kaz 2 rides for Strush, VIVO and Expression. And Shinpei Ueno from TBPR is one of young skaters that I respect. So I have great skaters of Kansai region supporting my back. It was a fusion of Expression, Strush, TBPR and VIVO. I think this is something only I can do.
V：You want to talk about music used in your part?
N：The beat was provided by Yakkle. Shing02, Master A-1 and a mysterious rapper name V-1 is on board. I asked Shing02 to rap for my part but he insisted that I rap and record it. He makes me challenge on things every time. So Shing02 and I got on the mic and Nao the Laiza did the mastering. He’s known as the beat maker for Norikiyo and Emi Maria. I think bringing together these talents is also something that only I can do. I had made collab tee and board with Shing02 in the past but I was also think it would be awesome if we could collaborate on rap to convey my thoughts and feelings. The collab is called “Hold on to your Dreams” and the song is called “Veni(sic).” Shing02 came up with the title. It’s an honor.
V：So I guess making a part at the age 40 has become kind of like a closure of some sort in your skate career. Looking back, what was most memorable?
N：I had been skating for 27 years and I guess skating overseas was most memorable. Visiting NY when I was skating for Zoo York Japan was one of my greatest memories of my life and I still have connection with the original Zoo guys. Eli Gesner made all the tags in my part. He said he’ll never do that style but he told me, “I only do this because you’re my old friend.” I was stoked. I recently connected with an old friend I met in San Diego decades ago through Facebook. No matter where you are, I felt that the world could connect through skateboarding. Thanks skateboarding! It’s the best feeling.
V：Is there anything you came to understand as you got older?
N：I realized that I really love skating. I’m not trying to get a sponsor and I don’t even have good skate skill and yet I’m giving my best to make a part. I guess I just like myself. You, know, like “Look at me!” I’m going to keep kicking and pushing. I can’t get hurt anymore though. I don’t want to make my family worry.
N：Check out the dullness, heaviness, sloppiness and ego! Two of my friends are fighting a big disease right now. Chu fighting leukemia and Kacky fighting lymphatic malignancy. This part is dedicated to you, with the hope for you guys getting better soon!