Giorgi Balkhamishvili belongs to this young breed of skateboarders that no longer need skate mags or full length videos to express their skating – they gain popularity by themselves just by utilizing their smartphone in the right way (which might be old news to you because you already saw it on Insta). Well, it still is an exception that it actually works as good as it did for @giorgi_armani, who right now has remarkable 12.8k followers on Instagram. Because of his quality output, he caught the attention of Brad Staba, who eventually put him on Skate Mental. Without a doubt, things are going pretty well for Giorgi. Nevertheless, we were able to convince him to do an old-school print interview – and he committed to the old-school way to the fullest. With his best mate Paul Röhrs, he shot the entire thing on film. For all you kids out there that don’t know what we’re talking about: That’s like using filters on Instagram – just handmade. And now get ready to throw the dice together with Civilist’s finest Alex Flach.
The reason for that is probably that my parents didn’t use condoms.
In Tiflis, the capital of Georgia. I came to Germany when I was six. It was Christmas ’94 and I came here illegal. My parents hid me in like a basket and when we arrived at the border control, they threw a blanket over me and I had to shut up.
I wasn’t registered. I guess I didn’t have a passport. We came to Potsdam first and then kept on moving a lot. Probably like 15 times. But we mostly stayed in Friedrichshain – Samariterstraße.
I can’t really say. But I think I got it from my father. He always did everything his way, but I can’t really explain it. My upbringing was rather informal and I was never forced to do anything. You could say that I want to shock people by being stupid or doing weird things that other people wouldn’t want to see published.
"My parents hid me in like a basket when we arrived at the border control."
That has its limits, I guess. If I did even crazier stuff, people would think I’m mad. I only show what I think is bearable for people.
When I started skating, I never thought I’d make it this far. There’s some pressure, I guess, because you really have to get things done. But really, it’s chill, you don’t have to worry about it all the time or anything. But the thing with Skate Mental… When Brad Staba was here, he gave me a package with some boards and said that he wants me to be on Skate Mental. That was big news for sure. If I was just flow on Skate Mental for the rest of my life, I’d be the happiest skater ever. At the end of the year, they plan to release a video and I’m really hyped to have some clips in there.
Yeah, it was pretty much half of the Skate Mental crew. Wieger [Van Wageningen], Youness [Amrani]… It was a really great experience to see how the “superstars” act. I couldn’t imagine how it will be at all. When you look at their parts, you don’t know anything about their personality. I thought I’d go there as some kind of amateur and only watch how they kill one spot after another. But really, it was a pretty family-like atmosphere. Everyone was cool and down-to-earth.
No I can’t put them up.
You’d need a drill for that… I don’t know… I never got to do it. Maybe someday when I have a family, I’ll put them up.
Who knows? I have a tinder date after this and forgot to bring a condom. [laughs] Just kidding.
Right now, I work at Puro. That’s a high-society nightclub in Berlin. 20th floor, with a view of all of Berlin. And I’m the idiot that brings the people up and down in the elevator. I have to push two buttons for eight hours and my ears ache from the pressure because it’s going so fast. I get out of there with a brain tumor and walk home thinking I’m on another planet.
I think about that every day of my life, but after all, it doesn’t make any sense, because I have new ideas every day and there’s way too much going on in my head to sort things out. I can imagine a lot though. My parents are artists and I used to make some art as well, but I don’t feel like doing that right now. Maybe that will come back though, but for the next ten years, I see myself skating if nothing bad happens. Normally, life is leading to the right places anyways. Five or six years ago, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and somehow I ended up here. So nothing to worry about.
No, but I’d still like to have a nice Panamera. But I probably wouldn’t pay it with blood sweat and tears but rather win it in a small bet. Invest two in a betting slip, seven games… The easy way. Nah, I don’t really need a lot. The most important things are to have a place to sleep, happiness, and good food. So food means a lot to you? * Yeah, food is really important. There are days where I eat things that not even bums would take, and there are the ones where I garnish my steak with gold. Just kidding, I just want to try to stick to skating for the next ten years because I would be fucking mad when I look back and think: “Wow man, you should have never stopped,” or anything like that. If it works: great. If it doesn’t: fuck it.
"Six years ago, I didn't know what I wanted to do and somehow I ended up here."
I’d like to win one someday, but I’m just too stupid.
Because I think every trick needs to be in “The Nine Club” and not even Nyjah gets that done. But actually, I won one contest in my life. But other than that, I usually completely fail or… completely fail.
Actually, I don’t care at all. But when I’m at the skatepark or at the Polendenkmal and people you don’t know stare at you, it can be strange. My body just starts making moves that it never did before and autonomously tries out tricks that I have never tried. No, I just feel a bit pressured. Same thing with skating new spots. On tour, I always hope to at least get one trick. It’s just weird.
There’s always a couple of those, but I don’t know if I’ll make it in time. There’s a couple of risky things and I don’t want to get hurt. I fly to Sicily tomorrow with Skate Mental and we’ll see what will happen there. But they’re not making a full length, just like a ten minute clip.
Well, I really wanted to get to know these guys. So I didn’t want to be a crybaby and go to bed alone after the skate sessions and that’s why I always went out with them and drank as much in this month as I never drank before.
I drank for the first time when I was thirteen and had a mad blackout. I just hoped that my parents wouldn’t call. The second time was not much later and the exact same thing went down, except that my parents really called and I answered and had to come home. Six out of ten times, it was a total catastrophe when I drank. I basically had to learn how to drink properly. Also, I just didn’t like beer. Now, after drinking like 100 beers, there’s no nerve in my forehead going crazy anymore just from taking one sip.
Since I’m working at a night club, I’m busy over the weekends. But for events like Bright, I’m down for sure. I go to local clubs from time to time though… Since I’ve been single for 22 years…
"Six out of ten times, it was a total catastrophe when I drank. I basically had to learn how to drink properly."
I could imagine doing that. But I just don’t have the contacts right now, but you guys should hit me up when you have something going on. I don’t know. Besides, I don’t think about that stuff too much and try to apply to some agencies or anything.
Actually, you only have to do the things that come to your mind first, no matter how crazy the idea is. Just do it! You can’t be everybody’s darling.
Pfffff… I don’t know about interviews in general. If you just say what you think, something stupid comes out.
Two meters. You mean my dick, right?
Carrying it on the right side.
300-400 grams. No, we were talking about my last words… Foley, I love you. And all the other guys who support me. Brad Staba and Nike SB.
No, I stopped working. Maybe… Well I’m thinking about quitting. Just don’t feel like it anymore. I want to live skating to the fullest. Bug you at the shop every day, always asking for grip. That’s the life.
Nah, not yet.
From time to time.
Pretty much everything. I really like to play the things that are risky. For example, when does the next tram come? I say six minutes, you say four. Alright, ten Euros!
I mean the world is based only on probabilities. Same with skating, it’s all probability as well. You practice a trick and it becomes more probable.
"You only have to do the things that come to your mind first, no matter how crazy the idea is."
I checked out some strategies on the internet and I read 17 books and from 70 out of 100, turns I can call the numbers.
I probably would put 50 on red, when it doesn’t come I’d put another 350 on red. When it doesn’t come again, I’d get mad, go out, take the train home without getting a ticket, get busted, and pay another 60 Euros on top.
Most of the time, I postpone. The thing is: When I postpone, I have the chance to go back to the casino the next day and maybe win the 60 bucks.
Same for me. When I look inside and there’s nothing… I can’t really explain the feeling. But then I usually realize that it’s Sunday and the mailman doesn’t come anyways. But there always comes the time you have to face it.
[laughs] A month ago, I came home from Paris, where I went to with Paul, and when I tried to switch on the light, it didn’t work. When I checked the mailbox, I found a letter saying I didn’t pay my bills and they had to cut me off. I went back upstairs really fast because I only had 1% of battery left on my phone and had to use the flashlight to gather all the candles I had. After all, it turned out that they were mistaken.
It was the warm-up for jail. [laughs] It sucked for sure and it wasn’t late enough for me yet to just go to bed and sleep. But then I thought: “Since the bill is already here, I should go to the casino.” I won a couple of bucks and paid it.
Yes, really. Exactly like this.
Five days. When I took a shower in the morning, I got heart attacks. So, lesson learned – open your mailbox, actually read the letters, and always pay your bills.
It’s almost the same. [laughs]
More than doubling. I’m expecting to buy a mansion one day, so it’s all or nothing most of the time.
Nah, way too heavy. Coins make my pants sag.
Can you borrow me some money?
And if not, you can just write me a letter. I usually answer really fast.