2.04.2011

chrome ball interview #20: quim cardona

chrome ball sits down with quimtime for conversation.


So Quim, we’re just going to get this out of the way. That NSS commercial. I’m sure you’ve heard people talking about it. What was the story behind that thing? It seemed light-hearted enough; you were having fun and putting some positivity out there... even doing some ho-hos. But it did seem like the production crew maybe didn’t have the strongest grasp on skateboarding. What do you think?


That was a gig that took one day of shooting. It wasn’t really my cup of tea. It was a means of making some cash to help pay for some of my son’s school this summer. People know what shoes I’ve been rockin' the most.

I appreciate the honesty. Alright, back to the beginning. How’d you and your brother Mike first get introduced to skating? And what was your first real board?

New Jersey in the Seventies had just as many skateparks as California before they all shut down. Mike and I were introduced to the O.G.’s of skating through my two older brothers who skated and surfed. We had a Stacey Peralta board with Pure Juice Wheels that was passed on to us. We used it to catch on to the concept of skating, which caught on like a wildfire. By 11, we were building ramps in our driveway and going to parks with some of the older skaters that had their license. They’d always look out for us so my Mom trusted them.


Your name is another one of those synonymous with New York City and even furthermore, the Brooklyn Banks. How’d you first hear about the bricks?

My mom grew up in New York City, 123rd and Amsterdam in Harlem. We had met a skater from Staten Island named Darren Garcia and he told us about how everybody was skating the Banks. It became our stomping ground from that day on.

Was it pretty wild growing up down at the Banks? It was a pretty sketchy scene back in the day.

It was a dirty scene with all the homeless who lived under the bridge and all the trash cans on fire. A wire that would stretch over the banks into a light pole for electricity and someone would knock into and cut off the lights every so often.

Contests were always intense there, too.


Now I remember both you and Mike came out the gates swinging, really making names for yourselves pretty early on. I remember you were on that Trasher cover before many people actually knew who you were. How did a west coast company like Real enter the picture for you two Jersey kids?

We were all about spending most of our time in the good outdoors and hopping on trains to the city after school. We skated everyday. One summer when Mike and I were 14, we flew out to SF to visit our friend Matt Field who was having his first child. It was amazing trip, going up the coast from LA to SF. It really helped get our feet in the door.

We got put on Real after skating Wallenberg with Tommy G. and Jim T. I just remember skating my heart out. 5-0 grinds on the ledge to kickflip out in ‘93... sounds about right. Just having fun.


That Trasher cover is such an amazing shot. I remember in a guest post John Cardiel did for the site, he named that as one of his all-time favorite shots.

Cardiel is the man.

That’s Midtown New York City. How we forget so fast. Believe it or not, there was hardly any room to push up to it. It was a run-and-jump on your board type of thing. It was the shoes, the pants, the hat, and the belt I had on that night that helped make it all happen.

Not an easy spot to get loose at. So sick. Now that cover came out alongside your Ride On section as well as your Nonfiction part, which remains one of my all-time favorites. I always loved how you had equal amounts on both coasts.

Yeah, and it all happened the year after I graduated from High School.


That’s nuts. About this time you ran that classic “blood, sweat and lampshades” ad with that huge kickflip. Always loved that ad... truth be told, I almost named the blog after it. Any recollections about it? And what does “blood, sweat and lampshades” mean anyway?

That was one mean kickflip. Nothing nice about it. After days of non-stop driving, that was somewhere in Cali. It was at the end of a blazing hot day and everyone was getting in the van ready to go but I was determined. Not just for the photo and footage or whatever, I just didn't want to give up until I landed it. It's ridiculous when I look back and see it 14 years later.

We worked like slaves to lamp under the shade. That's what I meant by that.

Love it. Alright, DLX tours are always pretty crazy. I know there is legend involving a young Ethan Fowler targeting you in a drunken rampage, essentially involving him pounding through the bathroom door Shining-style, hellbent on getting you. Is that true? What actually happened that night?

Yeah, there were moments where things got out of control.

On that night, the cold hotel ground was my bed and I had a folded-up t-shirt for a pillow. I moved someone’s shoes and later when he came back from their party, Ethan thought somebody was pulling a prank. I told him that I moved them and when I went to the bathroom, he started punching through door.

Never move another man’s shoes.


How’d you end hooking up with Dan Wolfe for his Eastern Exposure project? Underachievers is probably THE classic East Coast video. Were you filming for that around the same time as Nonfiction ?

Yeah, it all fell into place around the same time. Watching it in black & white is classic. Skating back then, the camera was invisible. We didn’t pay much close attention to detail other than just having fun and enjoying the summertime.

We stayed on 17th and Bainbridge, ate at Ishkabibbles and skated Love Park. I appreciate everything that’s been done. I look forward to showing my son all of the videos of his father one day when he gets old enough to understand.

So I realize this one probably gets brought up all the time, but your line in EE3 is one of those classic joints that will live on forever. The switch kickflip over the barrier, the switch backside 50 on the flat rail and the half cab flip coming out... all steezied out to the Artifacts. Forget about it. Classic material.

Yeah, rockin the blowy, fish-hook pattern shirt. Skating with my peeps Pancho Moler, my brother Mike, and Tim O'Connor. Days like that always happened.

It's good to see skaters today who enjoy to be on their boards like that and carry the same flow.


Another one from this time period. I always loved this ollie.


That spot is right below Rob Pluhowski's woodshop

Dimitry drove us there, Elyasha and my brother. Two different angles of the same photo. It was used in a video game that came out without the permission of the photographer or the skater.

So I'm going straight to the source on this one: Give us a definition for or at least the overall philosophy behind “Quimtime”. And also “Quim-Fu”… because tip-toeing down that World Trade rail like you did in EE3 definitely brings to mind some ol’ Shaw Brothers-type steez.

Picture Quimtime as a broken clock in which time stands still. When you break the clock of time, it becomes timeless.

My dad would always tell me, “Time takes time.”

Time heals and what we do counts. I work for the benefit of my family and for myself. All of the moments and experiences of quality time with friends, skating and feeling good... that's what makes it all timeless.

Quimtime is a project that started as cultivating music, soundtracks, putting out video and films and integrating with multimedia. Interviews with photographers, music producers, filmers and artists.

"Quim-fu" is something Barker Barrett added on a caption for a photo Uyeda took of me in Portland. I wouldn’t call it a philosophy or a new way of living. Skating takes flexibility and strength. And with that, takes training and certain amount of discipline to achieve the highest results.


What is that hand gesture you’d always rock in ads back in the day? It would be just you or both you and Mike with your thumbs and index fingers together. My man Beats and I never knew what it really meant but we used to rock that one regardless.

That represents the union and peace with our father in Heaven. One spirit banded together by the truth.


Easy. So what ended up happening with you and Real? Was it basically just a matter of geography, hence the move to Zoo at that point? I know this was a very turbulent time for you…

Well, the weekend that my brother was nowhere to be found, I was away shooting an Adidas commercial in San Francisco for 411. That month, Mike and I were commissioned to paint a store in Long Island... I ended up finishing the painting myself. During that time while I was painting, Real called me with their condolences. In return, they let me design an ad that was put into the magazine in memory of Mike Cardona. I’ll always remember that and show my appreciation.

But when I found out that Zoo was interested, it was closer to home. It was an East Coast-based company with all of my friends on the team, like Danny Supa and Harold Hunter. We did what we could to bring it back to life and succeeded. Look at Zoo now!

If I could go back, I would change some of the decisions I made. I guess that’s what you get for being loyal... but you should never feel dispensable to a company after all of the hard work you put in. Protect your interests.


Yeah, I was just about to get to that. You got on Zoo post-Mixtape when so many of their riders had left them. It really seemed like you and a few others kept that company alive and it was strange you not being on there after all you did for them.

It all happened when I decided to go on a trip to Australia for 411 and Billabong. I sat down with the Zoo owners at that time and they told me that they would send me to Australia themselves if I dropped my clothing and wheel sponsors to skate for Zoo boards, wheels and clothing. They didn't want me go on that trip.

I wish I knew better and who was really out for my best interests but I didn't. In my mind, I didn't want to burn any bridges. I didn't really know who to trust.

C’est La Vie! That's life.

"Damn, Why they want to stick me for my paper," Biggie Smalls would say.


Now around this time you started skating with Paulo Diaz a lot. Another amazing skater with an unorthodox style as well as a multi-instrumental talent. Can’t help but wonder if he maybe had some influence on your musical direction… with the melodica, etc.?

Augustus Pablo is a source of my inspiration to play. I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world, and I always bring the melodica with me. Visiting all of these wonderful places remind me of the sounds that come from the Melodica. Natural mystic music.

Its been said that you can get the same feeling of a skate session with a game of flick football… it just comes down to the vibes. Is that the same way you feel about all your music and artwork, that its all interchangeable with your skating?

Skating and music goes hand and hand. It all comes from one source. In the ocean of compassion, art comes in waves.


Kind of off-topic, but since his name came up: do you ever hear from Paulo anymore? I know he went through some rough times. A lot of people hope he gets back on his board again.

Last I heard, he was doing alright. I always keep Paulo in my thoughts. His paintings, music, and skating is a legacy.

We have a 17-inch vinyl record out, promo-only. Came out in 2010.

17-inch? Damn. Well, like Paulo, your trick selection has always been distinctly your own. That ridiculously dope switch stalefish in Nonfiction being a perfect example, your trademark heelflip body varials as well. Where did these ideas come from?

It just comes from pushing to the next, doing what comes natural and feeling confident on my board. There’s nothing more secure than when you’re feeling good. You’ve got enough to pay your monthly bills, maintaining a healthy relationship with family and girlfriend. The amount of time it takes to run errands and take care of business, when it’s time to skate, it’s therapeutic.


Your freestyle at the end of Underachievers came off and in doing so, belong in the very small category of hip-hop by skaters done correctly. Far too many skaters have not fared as well. I was wondering if you’ve seen some of Jereme Rogers recent adventures in the rap game?

I haven’t until now! (laughs)

Crazy, right? I still think you should battle him (laughs). Alright, have to ask cause its interesting and definitely not the run-of-the-mill side project a pro skater usually gets involved with: what is Knotty Roots? Do you cut hair?

Knotty Roots is a hair studio that specializes in dreadlocs that I’m a proud partner in. We’re celebrating it's first anniversary in February. I haven't picked up any desire or interest to wash and style hair yet. I'll leave all that up to the professional team of Locticians, who have years of experience, confidence, and ability to make it work.

The studio has been a blessing for me. In the little amount of time, I've watched Knotty Roots grow from a thought to its own entity. It allows me to manage the marketing, sales, and the creative team behind it. I'm also concentrating on the new line of products that will be available in 2011.


One last thing... because anytime someone tries to maintain a positive vibe, especially in skateboarding it seems, there’s always people that want to take away from that. What do you have to say to the nonbelievers, to those that just don't understand or can't get on that same wavelength with what you're trying to do?

"Hate on me haters, now or later. I'm going to do me and fulfill my destiny. So go on and hate." That’s a quote from Jill Scott.

That’s really all you can do. Okay, anything else you’d like to add? What’s next for Quimtime?

Well, I’m finishing up a video part with Josh Stewart for Static 4. Also look out for some music being produced by Teddy Becks and myself. Beats and Lyrics.

Shout out to Steve and Dave at Cons for the shoes, Organika Skateboards, Everyone at Knotty Roots, my girlfriend and partner Mizan, NJ Skateshop, Domestics, AM clothing, Classics.

Any companies interested to get involved with any of our events. Contact: quimtime@gmail.com
http://www.quimtime.com/

18 comments:

chops said...

thanks Quim for taking the time.

chrome ball incident will return on Monday, February 14th.

thank you skateboarding.

flannelflannel said...

YES!!!! i love quim and this interview was absolutely great.

thank you very much for this one.

Royce said...

1UP CHOPS. THANK YOU.

Plank Eye Board Shop said...

That cover shot is in fact amazing! I remember it well.

Good call chops n' cardiel.

Anonymous said...

i fuckin love this dude. so original... and his skating is insane!

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview chops!! Your the man!!

OaklandPete said...

I remember growing up in CT and hearing rumors that some guy had nollie hardflipped the Banks wall. We all just thought that was totally not physically possible. Then it was 411 number 3 or 4 or something, and sure enough Quim had nollie hardflipped the wall.
Man, skating was the best back in the early-mid 90s. I really wish "the industry" would financially take care or the likes of Cardona, Oyola, and even Reason for what they did for all of us.

Keith said...

Well done E! Nice to hear the reason for the NSS thing lol

iSapien 1956672 said...

Rad Interview, The pics in the Mike Cordona "Check Out" are Chicago spot, the wallride is at the Sea Wall by the Planetarium, and the front nose is on Randolph at the Amoco Building (now the AON Building).

chops said...

Thanks for leaving the comments guys. Much appreciated. Glad you dug it.

rob e beats said...

Just when you think this project has come full circle...shit like this happens.

Half-life

Mirch said...

I swear this has to be the best skateboarding website, not just blog, there is.

Croupier said...

^ Word.

Seems like everyone in New York has a friend named Quim. Rad interview!

Paredes said...

maravilhoso.....yes!!!!

Anonymous said...

thanks to quim for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

is it me or doesn't that last ad look like a ballsack, butthole, and set of knockers all wrapped up in one? sick switch ollie pic tho. fuck... quim is a beast for sure.

fabo lyfe said...

FABO QUIMLYFE CARDONA.
thanks for the interview chops.
dude is a fucking legend and not much more needs to be said but it definitely can for an eternity.
quim is love.

Birdman said...

I used to go to high school with Quim. Him and his brother are classic! Quim do you remember the footage Marcus showed you @ the children's specialized hospital rail? I was hyped when I heard you saw my boardslide.


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