The Uppercut crew headed out for their first video project this past winter. No expectations, variable snow conditions paired with a lot of drive and passion for the street snowboarding. With Kyle Murray behind the lens and a heavy roster of riders, they got the job done. Featuring Demetri Bales, Drayden Gardner, Jed Sky, CJ Culligan, Benny Milam, Mikey Tuck, River Richer and Mees Oostdijk.
How did the idea for “Uppercut” come together?
I had a vision to put together a project with a handpicked group of riders. We were all friends to some extent - and also fans each other’s snowboarding. Kyle Murray got involved as the filmer/editor - and we started planning out where we could take the project.
Was there anything different about the project that you guys were trying to accomplish - compared to years past?
Yes. We wanted to do an independent project instead of something brand-based - where we got to make our own decisions - where we're going, who we’re with, the music & how everything is going to look. There was more creative control on our end.
Where did you guys end up traveling? Was it based on the snow conditions - or did you have certain spots in mind?
Our first trip was early December to Spokane, Washington. We did a few weeks there and it started off really well, ran into a few other crews as well. Max De Vries and Mees Oostdijk also helped us along the way. They were good energy and brought something cool to the table.
We went to Minnesota for our second trip and stayed with Benny Milam. He he showed us around the whole time - it was super cold, like -30. We got after it with the crew and everything went pretty well.
After that, we went to Helsinki, Finland for 3 weeks. We didn’t really have any plan going into anything - no expectations. It was just like - “OK, there's snow, hopefully we get lucky.” Everything just lined up perfectly somehow for Finland - there was a solid base and we got to ride the DIYX event two weeks into the trip.
Our last trip was to Quebec City - no snow on the ground. We were there for 11 days and had to figure it out. We went to a spot outside the city grounds, that was actually where I ended up knocking myself out. We ended up heading north to another town and ran into no snow again, literally dry cement. There was a lot of shoveling snow into the back of a truck, building the spot, repeat. It was a rough end to the season, but we made it work.
As for the soundtrack, it’s super diverse. Were you all involved with choosing music for the video - how did that go down?
Mid-September we all got together in Salt Lake City for a week and pretty much edited the entire video - going over things as a crew. I think that's really important. Making a crew video gave us the opportunity to all have a say in what's going on.
Our goal going into doing the music was to break the mold, Our crew vibe is more rap-influenced & good-time having music. We didn't want to portray our our video to be like something that it's not. We didn't want people to feel sad watching our snowboard movie.
Tell me a little bit more about Kyle Murray (filmer/editor) -
I had a relationship with Kyle Murray before this project - it wasn't super developed yet, but I knew that he was a really talented filmer. We wanted someone who would work well with everyone. With the crew we had, and just the overall look we were going for, it all fell into place pretty easily.
Were there any memorable spots throughout filming?
One for me personally, was the gap back 270. I hadn’t boarded for five days going into that spot - and I woke up really sick and lethargic on the day of. It's pretty fucking big - and I think I'm just going to go half cab tail press through the whole thing. So I started setting it up, and Kyle kept putting in my head to do the back 270. Eventually I just was like, “All right, I’m going to try it.” I was just feeling so sick & weak, but I ended up giving it a few goes and was feeling confident.
I probably hit that thing like 25 to 30 times. Trying to get yourself to go slower on the back 270 when you're gapping onto something can be super hard and scary because you don't want to hit the floor.
It was a busy road that I had to land into and that definitely made it more stressful. We had a lady who was kicking us out and calling the cops on my last few tries. Everything going on added to the pressure of the spot - and I ended up riding away. The crew lost it. It was pretty fucking electric on that road for a bit.
Is there anybody you’d like to thank during the filming of “Uppercut”?
Jake Rose - that dude is a legend and helped us in Spokane, not only with spots and shoveling, but always keeping us laughing and the vibe up.
Alex De Santos. He's been our back end guy. He helps with us with sponsors and the fine print side of things. He’s a rad dad who loves boarding, the culture and doesn't expect really anything from us. He just wants to help us, and knows we’re a crew that's all coming together. He was super hyped on the project just wanted to help us out. I want to give a big thank you to Alex for helping out so much and making the whole process easier - there’s a lot of moving parts.
Max Kennis and Joe Leon helped us out while we were in Quebec. They gave us the best hospitality and are such good dudes. That that was a big help along the way.
Colby Fream did the graphics for the movie and did it as a “Yo, here you guys go. We're all dogs. I got you.” It was really sick because graphics are expensive and we were just first year - figuring everything out.
What's the plan for this coming winter? Are you going to continue on as a crew? What are you most excited about?
Uppercut is definitely here to stay, everything is going really well. We’ve got some pretty big travel plans in the works right now, and we're looking to add another member to the crew. I'm not going to say who that is right now, but I think everyone’s going to be stoked on the addition.
This was our first year together and there are growing pains with doing that. Going into our second year, we definitely know where we need to be and how we need to be doing things - whether that's with the brands or how we operate day to day. We're not just making a movie, we’re making memories with each other, having fun, getting after it and pushing each other.