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Glenn Michelfelder – Untergrund Interview


David Luther once called Glenn the kid, whose list of sponsors is larger than himself. By now he is the guy from Stuttgart, who outgrew his sponsors by length and set himself the best possible priority that one can have as a skateboarder – going out with the homies and just having fun. Glenn kept quite for the last couple of years. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t spend every free minute on his board and expanded his undeniable talent that he had from the beginning on. It is important for him to be involved. He achieves that through the Magan Family and Own Skateboards. Basically it is wrong to call them his sponsors, since he is a part of the bigger picture and feels more comfortable than he ever did before.

Hey Glenn, were you skating today?

Nah, but I’m hurt anyway. I skated this rail and rolled my ankle. I landed and somehow twisted it on my board. Since then I have had some problems with my chords.

You slammed pretty hard on your face recently didn’t you?

Yea, that happens from time to time. Actually it wasn’t all too bad. I was warming up on an upwards 50-50 on this new ledge, slipped and just slammed on the ground with my face. It was just because I wasn’t focused, how it always is when stuff like that happens. Probably fractured my nose and have bruises everywhere.

Didn’t go to the doctors?

No, I just waited till my dad came by after he had dinner. He just glued it real quick and that was it.

Not bad, what I realized immediately when I did the research was, that you already came out with so many different parts over the year. Can you still remember all of them?

Oh man, I have to think for a second. At the beginning I filmed the Movie Mag Part, then the Being Popular part came. After that came By The Way. I was 14 by that time I think. The Place Part was the fourth and after that there came the second Hall Eleven video, This is for real. Then there was nothing for quite some time but a few welcome clips, up till now to the Untergrund part.

Glenn Michelfelder – Lipslide

What’s the reason for you not putting out any more parts for some time and also not getting coverage in mags?

Back in the days I thought it was pretty amazing to open up a Limited or a Monster and to see a photo of yourself in there, but I think it’s just not that important to me anymore.

Do you have one certain part in mind, that stuck to you in good memory, that was a lot of fun to do?

Tough question. Actually I like how it is going with the part I’m filming for right now. That will also be the latest one and will drop sometime close after Untergrund. A pure VX-part, like every clip from Own. It’s just their world. Especially with Hein and his edits.

So you are dropping two parts almost at once – any overlapping?

I was done with Untergrund pretty quickly and still filmed some new stuff, because I didn’t like some of the old footage anymore. But there was no real overlapping. I have filmed for three months for the Own part and I just had the thought, that I don’t want the same tricks in both parts. But my god, I’m skating every day, in the worst case I do the same trick twice.

If you don‘t land your Nollie Heelflip, you have to take out the trash this week

With the Own clips you have the feeling that you just go out and get it like you did back in the days when there wasn’t that much stress and business involved.

Exactly that’s the thing. It’s just so chill with the boys. The situation at the moment is just like: we go out every day and check out random spots. Not the standard spots that everybody goes to, but rather we go out of our way to look for stuff in different cities. If you are skating with Robin [Wulf] and the other guys, and they skate every single spot, you just want to skate every single spot, as well. It just happens and that’s why I was able to get so much footage in this short period of time, because the conditions were perfect.

You have been on Emillion for a pretty long time, how did the change to Own come about?

Emillion was always amazing. The guys were the coolest and it was a great thing, but we never really skated together. I switched from Habitat to Emillion, because I wanted to be able to relate to a company and to be part of something. That’s the ultimate thing with Own, because I’m in the workshop pressing the boards with Philip [Günther]. I was pretty much incorporated right away; gluing the sheets together, cutting them out, paint them. Actually, Own is more a manufactory rather than a board company.

Andi Welther has been on Popular with you, than on Emillion and now on Own – was he somewhat like a mentor for you back in the days?

Back in the days for sure. Andi had a big influence on my skating, especially because he is an amazing skateboarder [laughs]. Actually it’s even more tricky. When I was twelve Andi got me from Own [editors note: own was founded in 2003], onto Popular and now from Emillion back to Own. Thats why I knew from the beginning that it would be a perfect fit.

Glenn Michelfelder – Frontside Boardslide Pop Out
Frontside Boardslide Pop Out

Due to skateboarding you were traveling pretty early. Which trip did you like the most?

My first trip to Athens with Popular was so sick. Right away on tour to Greek with the big guys Holger von Krosigk, Lennie Burmeister, Andi [Welther]. They were all ripping so hard and kind of were my heroes back then.

How did you get so good in that short timespan anyways?

I just went skating a lot and especially through my brother I learned a lot. He was a role model and already skating all steezy and stuff. He had fliptricks, even nollie and switch and he tried to watch out right away to teach me as much as possible. He said: „Dude, just try a switchflip. Try a nollieflip and if you don‘t land your nollie heelflip, you have to take out the trash this week.”

You had a bunch of sponsors really quick. What do you think is the reason for you not sleeping deeper and deeper into the business world of skateboarding?

I have thought about that before. Being able to live off of skating and maybe putting more effort in it was really attractive to me. But I crashed into Tim Zom at this contest in Amsterdam once and pissed blood in the hotel afterwards, because I was born with one kidney only that was bruised pretty badly. I just had my O-level and told my mom I would want to skate for one year and just go for it. She was supportive for sure. Then the bail came around and somehow that day I realized, how unpredictable skateboarding is. There just has to be one little thing, one rolled ankle, one wrong deal, one stupid statement and you’re gone. I just realized that it might be more realistic to look at what I’m doing in school and go to a commercial high school after secondary school and to add my economic studies afterwards. I finished my bachelor in February 2014.

Back then I was five feet tall, now it’s six feet and than most people don’t have the balls to speak up like that anymore

Does your past as the sponsor-kid ever haunt you again?

No, thank god not anymore. I grew a lot. Back then I was five feet tall, now it’s six feet and than most people don’t have the balls to speak up like that anymore.

Do you have any plans for the future?

Not too much. The focus is pretty much on skating, friends and a bit on Magan as well.

What does Magan mean anyway?

That is another term for the Oman-region. That’s where Michi [Layer], me and Denis [Nitsche] met.

And that’s the continuation of the Fruits Family?

Exactly. With the Fruits Family it would have been kind of tough to put it on the market, because fruits has a somewhat homosexual connotation in english. We didn’t want to be the fruits army either. Now I share the apartment with Michi and Denis and it’s like a family again. We just thought: „Let’s start something like Fruits, but just with Magan.” It’s not like a brand that is out for big profits, but there is a family-thought behind it.

Sounds like you are on the right path. Final question: Do you have any trick, that you would really like to do on the watergap in Stuttgart?

At the watergap? Naaah… I don’t really think about that topic. But, actually yes! Ollie up, but I’ll fuck up my shins on that one. It’s rather utopian.