Interview: Joey McGarry

Someone once said I was like “A bad Dustin Latimer”… It was the best compliment I’ve ever received.

The SOL crew first entered my consciousness when they released Cirque Duh SOL Eh? in the early 2000s. I didn’t even see the film until years later, but something about the name, the artwork, and the way the reviewer spoke about it stuck in my head. Now it’s 2010 and Joey McGarry is on the verge of releasing his latest collection of memories, Mushroom Blading Volume 2. I spoke to Joey about the project and got some background on the inspiration and feeling behind what he does best.


Hey Joey how goes it?

Very well thank you for asking.

Let’s start at the beginning with some background info. Name, Age, Location, Occupation etc

– Joseph Jesse McGarry
– 27 going on 28 (30 is the new 20)
– Kamloops, British Columbia, CANADA
– Professional memory recorder/editor.

When did you start making videos?

The early 90’s, when big Joe (my dad) bought a video camera. I got hooked on video recording long before I discovered wheeled shoes. My first rollerblading video (VCR to VCR footage dubbed with punk and rap music) would have been 1994. It’s a VHS tape that says “rollerblade” in my chicken scratch writing with a badly drawn rollerblade logo beside it.

Were you inspired especially by one of the old videos like VG, Hoax etc?

Inspired is an understatement. Hoax 2 was like the bible for me… and to this day it still inspires me as a piece of filmmaking. VGs on the other hand haven’t aged as well… Hoax 2 shows rollerbladers as confident kooks whereas VGs have this feeling of “rollerblading can be cool too… right?”

How inspired were you guys by everything that DL and Mindgame did?

Not so much Mindgame the company but definitely Dustin Latimer and in the earlier days with Jon Elliot and SHIMA. It took me two years to actually understand what the hell DL was doing in WORDS. He took things so far that you couldn’t help but finally say “hey I can be weird on skates too?” Someone once said I was “like a bad Dustin Latimer” and it was the best compliment I’ve ever received about my skating.

What inspires you in your film making?

When you get the right combo of visuals and sound that give you the tingly feeling up your spine.

Favorite videos?

Hoax 2, The Apple videos, USD Tour video and WORDS were probably the videos that resonated with me the deepest. Harvesting the Crust and the Bottom Line are pretty memorable as well.

Favorite skaters?

Dion Antony, Dustin Latimer, Arlo and myself when I’m 35.

Is it a conscious decision for you to go against the grain, or does it just occur naturally?

It starts as going with the grain for a while… Then you kind of get pulled back and forth. Then you go further against it and realize you’re just as close minded as you were when you were going with it. Then you go as far away from the grain as possible to a new place where there is no grain.

You often draw attention in your videos to how rollerblading is perceived by outsiders and those in other sports. Do you think skaters tend to have chips on their shoulders because of the negative attention we can get?

Firstly, you have to look at rollerblading objectively and realize:

1.) It’s a funny word/name that just sounds and looks silly. ROLLERBLADING.
2.) It’s a weird and bizarre activity/sport/art that really has no identity.
3.) It’s still young and undefined so it’s an easy target for negative attention.

Secondly, it’s good to have a chip on your shoulder to build character and get in touch with anger and aggression… But it’s even more important to have a sense of humor, to not take yourself or rollerblading too seriously… and to remember it’s just an empty vehicle to do whatever you want.

Mushroom Blading was a much darker, grimier affair than previous videos. It was like the bad acid trip to Cirque’s nice mellow high. How does MB vol.2 compare?

MB vol.2 “indicates a shift in place, time, and consciousness” that’s what my sister wrote. She also wrote “too many girl’s bums”.

What’s the story with MB vol.2?

I always wanted to do a one-week-park-tour-video of interior British Columbia… Something with a very distinct mood and tone. With good souls like Todd and Dayna in the mix, nice weather and a bunch of weird locations… it worked out better than I had hoped (and nobody broke their leg or face which is always a bonus.)

I had to watch the trailer a few times cos it strongly reminded me of something else. Finally I realized what it was. Have you ever seen the Candide Kamera ski video? It has a very similar vibe.

Haven’t seen it. Skiing videos are usually way too sensational and superhuman for me to enjoy although I do like Greg Stump’s ski films. I feel he was a big influence on Hoax 2.

From the trailer it looks like everything we’ve come to expect from the earlier SOL videos but filmed in ‘glorious HD’. Does this signal a move away from the homemade ‘collection of memories’ style from previous years?

I really like the idea of growing out of the videos through the videos.

What do you shoot with?

Canon XH-A1. I still love shooting on tapes.

How long did it take to film?

8 days

Is it anything like Shred Til You’re Dead but in the SOL style?

If someone decided to take the pros, the huge parks, the hammers and the van out of Shred Til You’re Dead. Replaced it with three aging friends that could never be pros, some weirdly designed parks, some weird skating and a Subaru… Then it’s kind of like Shred Til You’re Dead because both videos have driving on roads and people using rollerblades… Camping too! Although we didn’t have a campfire like Shred Til You’re Dead because there was a campfire ban.

Is there always a purpose in mind with the SOL videos?

Yes… but it would be fun to eventually make one with no purpose. It would probably turn out better than the ones that have a purpose.

How much are you influenced by Canada?

Our videos are VERY Canadian. But most Canadians can’t even define what makes something ‘Canadian’… That in itself is Canadian.

Looking at comments online, it seems that 90% is positive and supportive, but the rest just don’t understand what you’re doing. Do you pay much attention to how your videos are received?

I love reading all comments and feedback especially the negative stuff. Sometimes I’ll take something that someone didn’t enjoy and I’ll remember to amplify it next time.

Your videos are very densely edited. How long does it take you to get something you’re happy with, and are you ever truly happy with the finished product?

It depends on the style of video and where I’m at in life. Six months would be the average while I’m working and doing practical things (practical for me isn’t that practical)… and three months is if I’m living in la la land (what I just did.) I’m never happy with the finished product… but I’m getting much better at finishing things and setting them free. On that note I used to romanticize over the idea of ‘artists’ focusing all their time and energy into their work and not thinking about anything else… But recently I had an epiphany where I discovered the opposite is true.

One of my favorite SOL sections is Mason’s ninja section from Cirque. Will there be more ninja action in future videos?

Another Ninja section would be like when your favorite band gets back together… and they try to pretend they still have soul but it’s for the wrong reasons and it feels kinda lame. You never know?

What’s next after MB vol. 2?

Going to Mexico, starting a business, MB vol.3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and life.

When is it out and where can we buy it?

Late April (rollerblading time… so maybe May or June) and you can buy it wherever you could buy MB Vol.1

Last words, shouts, comments, rants?

I think the future relies on people being many different things instead of over identifying with one thing.

Find out where you can buy Mushroom Blading Vol.2 here. You can check out the trailer below, but chances are you’ll already love it, or hate it.

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