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Alexey Krasniy Interview

ALEXEY AKA THE WOLF / EVERY SUPERHERO OR BOSS HAS A NUMBER ONE / ALEXEY IS EXACTLY THAT PERSON YOU WANT BY YOUR SIDE WHEN STUFF GOES PEAR-SHAPED / HIS QUIET AND SOPHISTICATED DEMEANOR MAKES HIM THE PERFECT SIDE-LINE FIRST-IN-COMMAND / IN EVERY HIJINX SITUATION, I’VE ALWAYS SEEN ALEXEY OBSERVING CLOSELY FROM THE SIDE LINE / IT’S NOT LIKE HE’S SOME SORT OF COWARD / IT’S JUST I FEEL THAT THE WAY HE SEES STUFF IS DIFFERENT THAN THE REST OF US / MAYBE HE IS SMARTER, MAYBE HE JUST DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHY A BUNCH OF DRUNKS FIND EVERYTHING SO DIFFICULT / FOR ALEXEY, I FEEL EVERYTHING IS PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD, LIKE A ROLLING STONES SONG / COMPARED TO A CAPTAIN BEEFHEART SONG / ALEXY IS ONE OF THOSE GREAT SKATERS THAT DOESN’T WASTE PEOPLE’S TIME BY PLAYING WITH SPOTS / HE KNOWS WHAT HE WANTS AND HAS THE PATIENCE TO WAIT HIS TURN AND SPECIFY THAT HE WANTS TO BAKE HIMSELF SOME BREAD / THE FANTASTIC MISTER FOX WITHOUT THE EGO / THE RUSSIAN NUMBER ONE / THE WOLF, ALSO A CHARACTER IN PULP FICTION PLAYED BY HARVEY KEITEL / THIS IS WHAT I FEEL COULD BE CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH MISTER ALEXEY / THEREFORE, THE WOLF IT IS

- Dustin Dollin

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How did you start skating and where did you get your first board?

I asked my mom for a skateboard and she bought me one for the first day of school.

Why did you ask for a skateboard?

In my area, there was this old guy and he was skating. At that time, I thought he was in his forties. He was living in a minivan – an orange Mercedes. I saw him skate and even do handstand rides and I was amazed. Then I started skating with him, and later on, it turned out that he was a pedophile.

Backside 5-0 | Photo: Alexey Lapin

Backside 5-0 | Photo: Alexey Lapin

For how long did you skate together with that guy?

Until I found out that he was a pedophile. [laughs] It was about one summer.

How did you find that out?

Some rumor began to spread around and he disappeared for a while.

Did he try to harass you?

No. I once was in his minivan, but nothing like that happened.

"When I first saw Dustin, I comprehended that he is actually real and he exists"

How long did it take until you got your first sponsors?

At the age 16 or 17, Vans began supporting me. Thanks to Pavel Kovalenko.

Yeah, Kubik – our legend. Then you got in contact with Vans Europe. Do you understand that it’s huge progress for Russian skateboarding since not that many guys ever get on European teams in our scene? Do you understand what responsibility is laying on you?

Damn, I actually don’t want it to be like that.

You can’t escape that.

Yeah, I guess, but I’d rather not have anybody expecting something from me or looking at me differently, because I’m just like everybody else.

Like one of our football players said, “Your expectations – your problems.” Are you planning to represent Russia in any international contests like Tampa Pro?

Actually, I once skated Tampa Pro. Since all this Olympic movement started, it all began in Russia as well. State funding was established, they gathered a team and began sending many Russian riders on trips. We went to Europe and I spent a whole month in the US thanks to those guys. It’s a weird thing – imagine you come to Tampa Pro and you are such a nobody, everyone is seeing you for the first time. What pro are you then?

Frontside Nosebluntslide | Photo: Fabien Ponsero

Frontside Nosebluntslide | Photo: Fabien Ponsero

How’s traveling with the Euro dudes? Did you feel any anxiety on your first trip?

Yes! Intense! After all, we were all sharing one flat, so we all got closer. When I first saw Dustin, I comprehended that he is actually real and he exists [laughs], and then we had a great time in Morocco. Dustin is awesome, very awesome!

Tell me your funniest story from your skate trips.

First thing that comes to my mind is how we had a six-hour drive to Agadir. Being on the road, drinking beers, music playing – it was really fun. We were driving quite fast, everyone yelling to the music. Doobie was taking a piss out of the open door. Gnarly! Next morning, we reminisced about it and realized how dangerous that was.

Is your section in Oktyabr’s Promo your first serious part?

Yeah! A lot of effort was put into that part, as well as into the whole video.

How long did it take you to film in general?

About a year and a half, although we started filming with Pavel Kryukov before that.

"I showed it to my grandma when the video premiered on Thrasher. She said, “Cool video, but you guys are hooligans.”"

Do you have any other interests besides skateboarding? What’s up with your studies?

I already graduated from university, at the age of 21. After that, I was just skating to the maximum. I was studying logistics, but it’s so boring, especially if you know that you can live off of riding a skateboard and where it can lead you. Life happens on its own.

I think that everything I have in life comes from skateboarding. Alright, now you can ask me something.

I want you to explain a moment in the video, where you are talking to this random guy.

In any Russian city outside Moscow, people are pretty far from this skateboarding thing. Therefore, all the passers-by think that skateboarders are only destroying things and they see it as their duty to come and direct us. They still live in the distant past and don’t realize that now skateboarding can give you way more than just hanging outside with friends. People consider you unemployed, a junkie, an irresponsible fag – and so one of those people approached us and stated that we are damaging the monument and we could break it. It was all marble construction the size of a one story building, a truck can crash into that and it would be alright. Since I love that type of thing, I came through to quickly solve the situation. It’s obvious that there won’t be any physical contact, but you have to deliver that he is not right in general. I was calm in the beginning but then simply started yelling at him like, “I don’t understand why you are staying here!? You have to perceive that I’m a human just like you and I’m physically unable to cause damage to a monument that weighs more than 80 tons. I’m offering you money to leave, I can fix this monument at my own cost.” After that, he left and realized that he is powerless, and there are a lot of situations like this in Moscow that you have to settle. For instance, we were at a schoolyard once. You were also there doing a trick and a security guard came out. It was not about him kicking us out, but about the fact how he just stated that he went to jail three times, without even pondering over the fact that he works as a security in a secondary school. He went to Ignat [Mazurin], a kid who couldn’t do anything against him, and then I interfered like, “Hey, maybe you want to come at me since you’re so brave?” Obviously, I had to raise my voice again and he returned to his hut.

It’s crazy that he is proud of his jail time.

Roll on 50-50 | Photo: Fabien Ponsero

Roll on 50-50 | Photo: Fabien Ponsero

In the ‘90s in Moscow, a prison story was considered as something decent in a particular range of society. Most of our population is living in the past and don’t realize that times change, everything is different now and skateboarding can also be a career, you can make a living off of that, travel the world, enjoy life, and not worry about anything. Some people understand that and some don’t. During my early years of skating, a lot of my friends were skating just because they couldn’t find themselves. Once they found themselves, they quit. Even if, at some point, I won’t be able to do any tricks, I’d rather get around on a skateboard than take the metro. What are your next tour plans?

I don’t really know. There were some trips planned and they still are, but the borders are closing. Coronavirus is crazy.

That’s crazy, yeah… Listen, you recently had a Solo cover. Was that your first one?

No, the second. First one was on the cover of Asphalt – a Russian skate mag.

How did you find out that your photo is on the cover?

It was at the premiere of the Oktyabr video in Moscow. Lyonya [Leonid Lukin] invited me to come over for a drink. When I arrived, there was a bottle of cognac, shot glasses, and a chocolate bar. We started drinking, discussing, thinking back, calling somebody and so we were already drunk by finishing that bottle. Yura Renov and Misha Timaev came and we all went to the premiere. I had a blackout during the premiere. Then I opened my eyes at 7 a.m. over at Misha’s home. I picked up my phone, Roman Batard from Paris had sent me a message with a photo of a mag and me on the cover. I didn’t understand what the fuck that was since I had just opened my eyes and still didn’t know where I was. [laughs]

"I was just offered to train the Chinese national team for three thousand dollars a month, but I declined that shit"

Tell me, how did you get into Vladimir film festival in Fažana?

I was thinking of going on tour or just vacation since the off-season was about to hit Moscow. Pavel Kryukov told me about this festival and I took a flight there with my lady. In short, those were an unforgettable two weeks. That journey gave me lots of new connections and I want to go this year as well.

I think I’ll go too. To conclude our interview, tell me about your plans for the future. How do you see yourself on and off the board?

Just skating, keeping on living, and enjoying life. That is highly interesting. So many things are happening all over the place and all the time. You always see something new and you develop. If you stop, then you petrify.

What are your parents’ thoughts on this? Are they aware that you are already part of the European scene?

I’m not even sure actually.

Did they see your part?

I showed it to my grandma when the video premiered on Thrasher. She said, “Cool video, but you guys are hooligans.” I streamed it on a TV and we both sat, watching it, and she had some funny comments. At the end, she said, “Really cool. Like a family.” It seemed like a good video to her, she liked it, but we are hooligans anyways.

Yeah, we are like that.

She is cool, but our relationship is kinda strange. I still have a feeling that my parents think that I am irresponsible. In their eyes, I ain’t doing shit, but for me, I’m spending so much time skating.

Frontside 50-50 | Photo: Davy van Laere

Frontside 50-50 | Photo: Davy van Laere

I also have this workshop, I’m into bikes, I make my own living off of that, I’m already 31, and my parents still consider me an unreliable person. I think our parents would respect us if we skated in a suit and with a briefcase.

They would respect you if you didn’t skate, but see, my father started to understand this whole subject. I approached him one day and said, “I was just offered to train the Chinese national team for three thousand dollars a month, but I declined that shit.” And now he is looking at me in a different way. That is how many thoughts about money and success are sitting in their brains.

Same thing with bikes. I have clients coming with money and I decline because I know that this bike is going to be stored in a garage. Then I have students coming like, “Dude, I barely have any budget, but I want this bike.” I’d rather struggle and build a bike for a guy like him because a bike has a soul as well and you must be riding it. Same thing in skateboarding. You must enjoy your life and understand that skateboarding is a family and a party in the first place.

I feel like the best and most interesting people that I have ever met, they are riding a skateboard or are into some uncommon activity. On the other hand, not everyone is born to be interesting. I don’t know how it goes.

In my head, it’s like this: why live a life that a billion others have already lived? Birth, school, university, work, and then, when you are on pension, spend all your savings on your own health and you haven’t even lived your life.

You just flushed it down a toilet. That’s it and that is absurd.

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