Who the fuck is Manolo? This mysterious edit guru remixes sections with the elusiveness of Animal Chin, the El Toro backside flip and Jed Walters combined. A perplexing name and smokey intro is as much as anyone knew about him, until now. Choosing the best skaters or eras and making a perfect compilation - with fitting soundtrack and even adding skate sounds is what he's known for, but who is he? We delve deep into Manolo's personal mixtape.
I usually hate introductory questions, but you are quite an elusive chap, Manolo.
So do you want to tell everyone stuff about yourself - where you are from, age, background etc?
You can tell me to fuck off if you like.
Yo, I was born in Italy 37 years ago but grew up and live in France. My background is skateboarding.
Also studied painting, moviemaking, video editing, beat production, deejaying, basically mixing stuff..
Lot of super shitty jobs along the way too.
Manolo, is that a real name? You have pretty bloody cool parents if so.
It's like super common in latino countries, it's a short for Manuel which was casual for both my Italian and French families.
Alright, so you are obviously a massive skate nerd - something I bloody love by the way, but do you have any footage of yourself you could share with us, or do you prefer to be behind the lens/editing suite?
Not really actually, more of a massive space case actually, I know quite a bit and have my favourite vids and skaters like anyone else but I probably couldn't make a mixtape without archive websites like skate.ly or skatevideosite - HUGE THANKS goes to these guys.
No footage to share, I only have worthless park stuff, always been more of behind the lens dude too.
Ok, let's start with the original videos, you obviously have a huge collection of skate vids,
which is your all time favourite and what is your favourite era?
Too many to name but if i had to pick it would be Video days, Tim & Henry, Not the New H-Street, Questionable, Love Child, Virtual Reality, Trilogy, every single 101, Goldfish, Mouse, Welcome to Hell, FTC, Non Fiction, Zoo Mixtape, Timecode, Fulfill the Dream and Photosynthesis.
'89 to '95 was golden to me, even the small wheels and pressure shit was cool, fuck you.
With all these web clips coming out daily, do you think the magic of skateboard videos has been lost, or do you enjoy the constant updates?
It's not lost, just buried under 23 trillion useless web parts, corny commercials and the 12 million treflip tutorials, you just have to find it. There's still a lot of good stuff but people should just chill out on filming fucking everything for the sake of being present in the internet media craze.
It's just impossible to keep track nowadays. Just keeping the best stuff, less and shorter videos would be cool.
You have immaculate taste in the mixtapes you have chosen to do so far, do you just chose your favourite skaters or what?
Thanks man, looks like I chose from YOUR favourite skaters. I just pick up influential and stylish dudes. There's so many left to do..
Down to the nitty gritty, what's up with the skate sounds? Do you have a library of 'grind on concrete' 'slide on wood' etc and just cut them to fit? I've heard rumours of EA skate sound effects being used. Please fill me in as it all looks and sounds spot on.
Yes skate sound library: ledge tricks, rails, gaps, isolated pop sounds, landing, roll, fx, cheers... then I'm trying to name each sound by type of material, sound atmosphere and so on. Like "indoor smith grind, round rail, long". After that it's all about picking the right layers of sound to make it feel legit. It's not far from beatmaking, just super tedious.
Definitely no EA skate, sounds are terrible in there, but the actual dubbing idea started with this game. Couch!
Ok, so I know you have some stuff in the works, can you give us any details of upcoming Manolo tapes?
Nah man it sucks. I was supposed to finish two tapes this summer one being Kalis, but some paid work came out for a major brand, so it's gonna have to wait.
Nothing until fall... There's so many i just started working on and skipped for various reasons, not finding a song, not finding a good rip of this one video.
My list is something like: Sanchez, Penny, Gonz, Natas, Hensley, Arto, Wray, Stranger, Muska, Jamie, Lotti, Barley, Daewon, Lavar, Marcus, Marc Johnson, Puleo, Smolik, Reemo, Karl Watson, Jason Lee, Oyola, Heath, Cairo, Tim O, Enrique, Javier, Busenitz, Janoski, Cardiel, Carroll, Howard, Barbee, Dill, Rowley, Montoya, Flo, Sturbing, Stevie Williams, Gerwer, PJ, Pepper, SAD, TX, James Craig, Kevin taylor, Quim, BA, Paolo Diaz, Alf, Rudy Johnson, Maldonado and so on... there's tons of vert ones too, but I lack transition sounds.
I know you did a Lennie Kirk tape for Kalis (that was sick by the way), have you been approached by anyone else for specific parts?
Had some requests but the copyright issue and amount of work for this kind of project usually discourage anybody who wants to do it the legal way.
Does anyone offer to pay, or is it all for the love? Surely Ride Channel has hit you up? They have cash for days.
Just lost my job, so it's still for the love, but I don't know for how long!
Obviously i'd love to work in the skate industry if such thing is still possible, moving to the US or whatever if it can't happen here. I used to and still get product, couple years ago I got an enjoi box from Matt Evs, out of the blue just cause he was hyped on the mixtapes!
And never heard from Ride! I wish Tony would offer a chronicle, and getting paid for doing only mixtape would be the shit. But the amount of work in these edits is just out of control, mostly due to the dubbing process.
Now some people are throwing 500 Euros for an edit, and that's cool, but on the other hand in general editing it's like two days of work - Reynolds took me 6 weeks, Koston and Creager almost 2 month each..
At this rate i would probably make more money washing windshields in the motherfuking streets you know what i'm saying?
What are your thoughts on those Girl/Chocolate remixes that appeared after Pretty Sweet? I reckon they're sick. You feeling other remixers?
Yeah there's this super rad one called "dog", check it on vimeo, great stuff.
This guy Joey Sinko has been doing some great stuff too, the Heath Kirchart final cut is just awesome, and Templeton too, a bit moody but definitely great editing.
What's your process when starting a Manolo Tape? Like do you have a photographic memory of every trick that Koston ever had, including 411s and shit? Or is there some research involved? skately must be a pretty good reference point?
I usually pick a skater from the list, check if i can get most of his part in correct quality and then start scouting for parts and music. As for memory like I said I remember stuff but with the time, all the information you gather, between everyday infos, movies, music, books and skateboarding there's a point where everything get gets kind of blurry, add some drugs on top of that and... skately yeah.
In saying that, surely you don't have all 411s?! Is a lot of stuff sourced online?
No, I do have quite a lot on VHS, but not many originals since in Europe vids were super expensive back then.
But it's easier nowadays to find a good VHS rip already online anyway.
Have you had any issues with anyone complaining about their remix? "Oh you missed so and so trick" etc?
Nah not really, sometimes in the video comments, but the few skaters I got feedback from were pretty stoked.
What about from companies, I assume everyone would be cool with it, but any copyright issues?
Everybody seems to be cool with it, a couple problems trying to contact some filmers at one point, always wishing to get raw footage. I got help from Aaron Brown for the Creager mixtape, Jason Rogers for Casey Rigney and Jojo, and French Fred hooked it up for JB. Joey Brezinski gave me pretty much all his footage when I was in LA last year, that was cool. I could do way more tapes getting raw footage from filmers obviously, but most don't have time for that, or searching for all that old stuff, lost tapes, old cams.
How hard is choosing the perfect song for a part? Do you usually look at what they've used in the past? That Jovontae joint was amazing by the way. So good.
It's mostly a research nightmare and YouTube exploration 24/7... or more! And sometimes it just comes up like that. I definitely check what was used in the old vids, but i always know what I want to hear for each skater, just need to find it.
How long does it usually take you to finish a Manolo Tape? From finding all the footage to finished edit?
One/two weeks for skaters with little footage to 8 weeks for the really big ones. One day I'll have to do MJ and Daewon, that might set some new record for sure.
Anything you'd like to add?
I'd like to thank my family. Rob Brink, Josh Friedberg, Josh Kalis, Ronnie Creager, James Craig, Darin Howard at DLX, Mathieu and Aaron Mezza, Jojo, JB, Jeremie and Al Boglio at cliché for the support! Jason Rogers, Steve and Erica for the LA couch! All the Homies from estrées, everybody thanks for watching the mixtapes and thank you for the interview man!
Cheers man, amazing work so far and please please keep up the good work.
Check out more of Manolo's mixtapes here and here.