Hello and welcome to our very first presentation of our newest three-part project “UNSIGNED HYPE” which is a title some of you might have heard before? It came from the famous THE SOURCE Hip Hop magazine and it was an item in which the focus was turned away from what was happening in the limelight of the culture and towards the up and coming talent, the future of hip hop. It featured rappers like DMX, Common & Biggie early sometimes before or sometimes when they had just signed to a major label. Anyway, long story short we wanted to do the same, keep our ears to the streets and show that we can spot some people that possess the skills to pay their bills (in the future). After we saw Oscars footage we had to reach out to Quartersnacks dot com because the vibes of the part seemed just right. So here it is our first co-promoted part of this new series that we hope will create some future mainstays. First to bat, Oscar Säfström.
All photos by Jacob Hansson.
Film & Edit by Jacob Hansson.
Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Recording now, so, don’t say anything that can incriminate you guys.So what’s up? How is Malmö, Sweden?
O: Working mayne, got a job in a restaurant making that Pasta. After I finished Bryggeriet (Malmö’s famous skate school), I didn’t want to go back home to Uppsala, Sweden.
All the homies me and Jacob grew up with skating moved out here to go to Bryggeriet. So there isn’t much left besides some of those spots you see in the video.
Which spots are those?
J: The spot where Oscar did the Tre Flip and the 50-50, the line with the Switch Crook to regs and the Frontside Blunt pop out…Basically, all the stuff where you can tell it is summer.
You are both from Uppsala so when did you meet?
J: 2012 I think, when Oscar was 12 years old. I was 15 and we met at the local skate ramp.
O: Actually, I am from a little country town called Almunge outside of the city…But yeah, we met in Uppsala at the skatepark. Günes Özdogan is our hometown hero.
So Jacob you are a bit older than Oscar but you started skating around the same time right?
J: 2008 I got my first setup.
O: 2007 for me, I was 8 years old. But I started going into the city at 11. Me and Axel Berggren are from the same town and we grew up together and ended up both skating. We started skating a little quarterpipe in our schoolyard and ended up trying to build more shit.
Started at 8, how did you get into skating at that age?
O: I started fingerboarding first (laughs), I got gifted some tech decks for Christmas. So when I got some money for my birthday, I went to the skate shop to buy a new set plus some obstacles. I bought that stuff, stood in front of the shop for a minute… went back in, and traded it for a skateboard instead. It was a Pirate skateboard (local Swedish brand), with some black film trucks. My brother got jealous so he got one as well. He got a Bam board with some Destructo trucks with a dope blood-splatter pattern on it. I was jealous of those back in the day.
I guess back then Bam could sell anything to kids. How soon until you did your first kickflip? Were you flipping the first week?
O: Not at all, it took like 2 years (laughs), and then I learned heelflips first but I thought I had learned kickflips. So, I was all stoked trying to show it to Axel and I did a heelflip and he just looked away. When I finally did get kickflips down I just put 1 square meter of wood down on our gravel driveway so I practiced my kickflips there and on one of the tries, I popped a kickflip right in my face and bled all over the place (laughs). A week after that I finally landed my first kickflip.
You grew up skating with Axel, was that competitive? Who did the kickflip first?
O: We did, we met in daycare, and started hanging out then. We go way back. He currently lives in Malmö too and it is nice to have someone like so close to you. But coming back to the kickflip, I did it first, in 2009-2010. Axel didn’t start flipping his board until 2013 (laughs).
J: There are like 5-6 skaters from Uppsala in Malmö right now so making friends was easy (laughs).
And how did you end up skating Jacob?
J: My best friend introduced me to it when I was 12. He showed me an ollie and I was like DAMN! I have to try this. It probably wasn’t even that good of an ollie looking back on it but just getting the board in the air was magical.
O: I remember something similar, someone was ollieing this gap at my school, now looking back on it, it was such a stanky ollie but back then it was special. I also remember Jacob was in this crew called the pineapple crew and I always wanted to be a member of that. Instead, we started our own crew called the tomato crew. We had to stay with food (laughs).
So at what age did you pick up a camera?
J: I have always had a camera with me but in the beginning, I just pointed it at the skaters but around 2015-2016 Oscar, Axel & Josef Norgren all became so good at skating that I felt I had to document what was going down. I bought a VX and made Nolletåtta my first full-length in which Oscar had a part.
Uppsala looks pretty different from other Swedish cities can you describe the vibe there?
J: from a filmers perspective some of the spots in the city look cool but they are rougher compared to Malmö or Stockholm.
O: in 2014 the city built this little plaza and that place was fun they built some ledges in front of one of the hotels and we waxed up the ledges and fucked that place up. People got annoyed but they couldn’t do anything because my auntie was working at the hotel being a boss (laughs).
Besides that Günes helped the city build skateparks and obviously, he knew what we needed so he helped the scene a lot.
Did Günes Özdogan influence you guys?
O: He held it down. 2012 we saw him skating some spots so we skated together for a moment and he liked my skating so he started giving me some old adidas shoes and some old boards from an early age.
J: Günes motivates you a lot, he is always getting stuff done and that was a good role model for us. Just to see him doing his thing.
Oscar, was that the first moment you felt like skating could be a thing?
O: Nah…That came later when I moved to Malmö to go to school. I met so many real skaters, and people in skating. So, when I started at Bryggeriet that was when I felt skating started to treat me well.
You didn’t feel intimidated? Everyone can skate at that school.
O: That actually motivated me a lot and helped me get better. To meet all those skaters you saw on IG. Axel was there too, we always did a lot of things together.
J: He is a session skater. The more the session gets going the more stoked he will get to land tricks.
O: That suited me because I could do my work in the shadows because he would stand in the spotlight. I don’t even look at other skaters that much anymore my crew gives me energy.
How was it seeing Axel get on Nike SB and feature in the last Fri.day video:
It was weird when I saw him in Tokyo with Koston and all those guys. Unreal.
The first time we saw you was in Malmoe Tape how did that project happen?
J: That was our first summer in Malmö, we were always 10 deep at a spot. That was good for me because I managed to film tricks at every spot. Maybe some of the skaters needed a little more alone time but we tried to do that too.
O: We mostly rolled with a really big crew though.
On to this part, how was it filming for this project?
O: I had a really bad period with filming for this one, it goes up and down a lot. Sometimes I get a lot in a short time but I go through droughts. But it is what it is.
J: We did get some really good tricks at the end of some of those battles. Like the switch crooks down the rail. We spent a whole weekend at that rail (laughs)
O: That is like the favorite thing I got for this part. The rail kept bending when I jumped on, I couldn’t land it. So a homie saw that and figured out a way to stabilize the rail using another board and that helped me make it. That spot sucks though, people screaming at you from the windows and I am just there going crazy trying this trick.
There was a moment there when you felt that things weren’t happening in Malmö and the trip to Gothenburg and Uppsala seemed to give you some fresh energy.
J: That was also because we started to feel the deadline closing in and that pressure really helped us getting stuff done.
O: It worked! Plus the spots aren’t as well known to others but to us, they were our local spots.
True! What about the vibe of the part? Did you have a plan going in?
O: Yeah, I had this vision of just cruising doing flat ground trick and then a ledge or curb would appear and I would skate that. But we just don’t have those kinda plaza’s, we still tried to make it work though.
I still think the part has that feel, a little eastern exposure-ish.
O: That is what we tried but the flip tricks weren’t always there (laughs). I still hope people like the part.
What about the song? 50 Cent is not an obvious choice (anymore).
O: I really like to edit, so, to find the right song I tried so many songs I even went into my country bag to find a track but in the end, this song just felt right.
What about the others in this project? I heard you have been talking to Pascal Moelaert a bit.
O: I really like his part, he has everything I want for my part. One of those ledge tech lines in Madrid. But it is also nice look wise to have it all in Sweden.
Another thing that happened is that you got on Vans (flow).
O: Yeah, Tom (Botwid) who does Poetic Collective and works for Vans just asked me one day at Swampen Plaza and I was down to try some. After I found the Rowan’s I was down that is like the perfect skate shoe. Later on I went to his office and we talked a lot about some projects for 2020 but COVID 19 happened. So I am stuck here but I have shoes so I’m good (laughs).
Jacob, you also started shooting photos more and more. Are you trying to take Nils Svensson’s job?
J: It has been fun, you have to really look at spots in a different way. It is fun to try something new. You are not as confident on a spot. With filming you can get away with pointing the camera but when it comes to photography you have to get the angle and the timing right. It has changed my long lens filming as well. I focus more on the composition now when documenting tricks.
O:The only thing is that I have to do the trick twice now (laughs). “Yo, can you do it again? I wanna shoot it.”
Hopefully, this project didn’t ruin your friendship and you will be working together again.
J: I think we will be all good, we have been doing this for a while now so keep an eye out for us in 2021.
O: I have been filming with Sean C and Tao as well a bit but me and Jacob will be doing stuff in the future for sure.
Let’s see it then, thanks for you time guys.