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Marcel is gone bro – the Loco Papi interview & part

You may not be familar with the name Marcel Rieger, but you probably have heard of Loco Papi. He is a dazzling figure. So colorful, loud and always hyped, he could also be a rapper on a stage. Wether you like that or not, he definitely leaves an impression – but what exactly makes him tick? When he sends a dm asking if we want to release his new video part, we want to know more and reach out to him via videocall. As he picks up Loco is sitting on the balcony of his mothers appartment in 22nd district of Vienna. The sun is shining, he took some time off from showing the Nozbone team around for the last days and lights up a spliff. He has the vibe of someone who’s enjoying life to the fullest. The way he is you can’t even imagine that he doesn’t. He almost seems a bit unreal, like a cartoon figure or a mix between Snoop Dogg and Falco. Definitely one of a kind that you have to witness in person. A writen interview doesn’t do his way of talking justice, but maybe it helps if you imagine his words in Viennese dialect.

Casually smoking a spliff on your mothers balcony – but you have a good relationship with her, don’t you?

Yes, I started smoking pot when I was 14 and told her straight up. I never hid other drugs from her either. That only made us closer. Even later, when there were problems with the police, because of such nonsense, she knew about it. And I know that my mother is always backing me and she knows that I don’t just fuck up. I get shit done, too.

She also baked you a cake with a skateboard on it for your 12th birthday.

My mom used to bake special cakes for every kid. For my 30th, she made me an icing halfpipe with all my sponsors on it.

Do you have any brothers or sisters?

I have an older brother, we have the same father and then an older sister and two younger sisters with whom I share the same mother.

"When you smoke the hash, you’re getting loco!"

How did you get into skating?

When I was 10-11 years old, a mini-ramp was built in the park nearby and all the kids in the block watched what was happening. There was one kid with a fresh board and then all the other kids in the hood wanted boards. We always skated the ramp, it became our meeting point.

That means you started as a transition skater?

Yes, I came to streetskating quite late. From 16 to 24 I stopped skating and when I got back I started with street. I met a colleague who I had taught how to skate and suddenly he could do switchflips and stuff and was skating with Andi Luger, Axel Hallwirth and other Vienna legends. He then brought me back in and I also went skating with those OGs.

Then it really started for you when you were 24 and before that you just skated in your park without any connection to the scene?

The scene in Vienna used to be tough. You had to know the people. If you didn’t know anyone and came to the Danube Island, you were told to skate the flat and not where the better skaters were. In retrospect, that’s really sad. Everyone just wants to skate. But in the past, you also got screwed a lot. Fortunately, that has all improved now.

Who were your idols back then?

Chris Pfanner, because he’s the first black skateboarder from Austria that I knew and I have African roots as well. Andi Poberer, the king of pop. And internationally Bastien Salabanzi. In Vienna, Oliver Götz was a good dude too, a real styler.

What attracted you to skating, what do you like about it?

You go out, get on the board and you’re free. Nowadays I like the community aspect. I don’t even need to skate. I just go to the park and chat with the homies. In the past I didn’t experience it like that, because I never belonged to the scene. Nowadays I like to chill in the park. Skating just connects so massively.

How was it before, when you say you didn’t belong?

I just had the crew in our local park. But that disbanded at some point. Then I met Daniel Spiegel through a colleague and skated with his crew for a few months, but then some of them quit and I also got into the party mode...

Solo skateboard magazine Loco Papi

Photo: Joel Peck

Did you get swallowed up by the party for a few years?

Yes! [laughing]

Was that the time when there was some stress with the cops?

Yeah well, I was just at techno parties and we were a little drug ring. We sold ecstasy and made a lot of money with it. Back then I told my mother on Thursday that I was going to a party and then she called me three days later and asked me when I was coming home, but I was already on my way to the next party. Most of the time it went from Thursday to Monday. Then two days chilling and off again. I also went to Germany, Nature One, to clubs in Berlin. Real oldschool techno.

And you also really enjoyed the party or you were mainly there for “business”?

No, I celebrated it massively and I still like it today.

How is it nowadays, do you currently live completely from skating or do you do something on the side?

I don’t do anything. At the moment I’m unemployed, but I think I’ll look for something again. I used to do delivery service for a supermarket with an e-bike. That was very chill during summer but in the winter it fucks me up. Maybe I’ll start in a skate shop. I’ll have to talk to Pauli [from Stil Laden] about that.

Back to your skate break, which took place at a time when you usually start to get hooked by sponsors. How did you still manage to get sponsored when you came back relatively late?

The buddy I met again gave me a lot of motivation. He was the best newcomer and got better every day. So I absorbed everything and he always wanted to go to contests and I was like: “Okay bro, let’s go!” Then I won a few contests in Vienna and started to travel a bit internationally and that’s how it started. Unfortunately the homie now is a bit fucked up.

In what way?

Drugs. From time to time he still gets on the board, but he has also gained a lot of weight. Every now and then he writes that he wants to go skating and then I say, come to the spot, that’s all I can do.

Now you can motivate him to skate again.

It’s just very hard with people like that. I try, but some people are so trapped that there’s no more help, that’s over.

And for you it started after the contest wins?

Yes, I got my first skateshop sponsor, then a Serbian board sponsor through a homie. Then I went to more contests and it went on and on.

And now you got your pro board on Über.

I had no idea about it at all. The whole club knew, everybody knew, except me. It took me a few days to realize it.

And, have you realized it now?

Yes, but it’s a German brand, not an American brand. I’d have to go straight to Jambalamba then, but I’ll be 35 this year. I’m sure I want to do something, but I’m not going all in right now. Relaxed, every now and then chack chack, a few trips, collect footage, but not on compulsion so that I have a part ready in three months. Otherwise I’m too stressed. It’s also hard in Vienna with the filmers. Some here only film VX and with one homie it’s too tedious for me.

I found a few team edits or tour clips from you, otherwise only one part.

I had another part, but the filmer was a wanker and took the part down again. I’ve posted twice about the part on Insta to promote it and then he took it down, allegedly because of music rights. But he also did some snitch moves to homies. He has meanwhile pulled himself out of the skatebiz.

But two parts are also not much. That means filming parts was never your focus?

No, with Confus we were just a crew and it fit and then at some point the crew wasn’t like it used to be and I didn’t have anyone to film with anymore. Then it happened with Jon [Wolf]. He took me on a trip to Barcelona and said we could film a part. Unfortunately Corona came, he moved to Switzerland and then it was difficult to connect. Fortunately, Juli Lopez then came over as a filmer for Über and that was perfect.

When I first heard about Loco Papi I thought, who is that supposed to be? Then I saw you once at a contest, loud and colorful, and I asked myself if this is some kind of fictional character? How did that develop and are you now fully Loco Papi or for some still Marcel?

Marcel is gone bro. [laughing] My mother and Jon still call me that, otherwise everyone says either Loco or Papi or Loco Papi. When we filmed for Confus we flew to Malaga and went to the DIY. I wanted to get some hash and there was a plug with a speaker box and Spanish trap on. I thought that was cool so the next day I bought a fat boombox and pumped Spanish trap at the DIY. When the plug then came he said “Are you loco, you really bought a box because of that?”. Then he sent me all the songs and somehow loco stayed with me. He also used to say, “When you smoke the hash, you’re getting loco!”. A few days later, a homie said he’d show us the rancidest strip club in Malaga. They had balloons with laughing gas there… Then a few black people stood in front of it and said “Yo Papi, which girl do you want?”. We started chatting and having fun with them and they always said Papi. And I was like: Loco – Papi, I take that now as my insta handle.

Do you play with the Loco Papi image and in private you are actually different or are you like that?

No, I am like that.

What brings you on turn up mode and what are things that ruin your mood?

If the crew is cool, the hype is there and if a speaker box is there then ciao! What ruins my mood? I don’t know. I actually get along with everyone and I’m down for pretty much everything. Of course there are people who I shake hands with, but with whom I must have nothing further to do. Then I just distance myself from them.

"Meditating is awesome dude. I started it with an ex-girlfriend in the bathtub."

You have a certain presence. Have you experienced that people didn’t want to have anything to do with you?

In the beginning people who didn’t know me were like: “Boah, the name already...”. When skatedeluxe came to Vienna years ago Douwe Macaré said that he has a homie in Vienna and the team manager Eric Aussmann didn’t like me at first, but I was the tour guide. And at the end Eric said, what a pity it is that I ride for Titus Tornados, otherwise he would get me straight up on skatedeluxe. Instead he got me on his own brand Antix. Reservations are only when people do not know me personally. They think I’m a crazy guy who only parties and is loud… But you can talk to me quite normal. I have homies like Ludi, with whom I talk regularly on the phone and we talk about how we’re doing and about our problems. The people who know me know that you can count on me.

I feel like the Austrian skate scene or Austrians in general are down for more extravagance. Be it Mucki and the Yama Crew or Turtle, you find more characters there. Do you see any differences between the scenes?

The Austrians are just a bit different. You can’t just get on Yama, you have to drink beer. [laughing] There are different crews, zack-zack-zack. It’s all cool anyway and everyone is motivated, but there could be a bit more working together sometimes.

But in general the scene is cool with each other?

Yes, in the end everyone is cool with each other. When there are premieres, everyone comes. There are a few who step out of line, but we already know them and otherwise we all stick together.

Lets go from Austria to Kenya, where you father’s from. Have you ever been there?

I wanted to go seven years ago, but there was massive civil war and it was too crazy for me. Next month my father will come to Austria and then I will fly down with him next year.

Do you have a soft spot for those African shirts you’re wearing because of your roots?

Boah yeah, you know what I had to wear as a kid? Such fierce clothes and African hats. At the beginning I didn’t like it at all, but at some point I really liked it. [Pulls a traditional hat out of a closet and puts it on]. I had to wear that, together with an embroidered robe. It wasn’t until I was older that I liked it, and my father brings me stuff from Africa. In Vienna there is also an Africa festival, where I went and shopped.

You are also very particular about your style, aren’t you? You pay a lot of attention to color matching.

Yes, I was always very interested in fashion. My homie Lukas Gansterer used to get me modeling jobs. The outfit has to fit me, otherwise it doesn’t work.

What makes a dope outfit?

It has to match somehow. Some things are just hard... But honestly, if you’re black or half-black, you can wear anything.

Solo Skateboard Magazine Marcel Rieger Heelflip

Heelflip | Photo: Joel Peck

Which outfit doesn’t work at all?

Like I said, I can match anything, so it’s hard to figure out what can’t be matched. [laughing] I also wear skinny jeans with Tommy Hilfiger sneakers, all elegant, you know. But bro, I would never wear bell bottom pants in my life. Those raver pants from way back with the Buffalo shoes. Or high-water pants. That’s whack as fuck. You have to be a person where it fits right, but that’s hard. Boah no, that doesn’t work at all. Rolling them up a little bit works, but then some of them are wide pants. That doesn’t look cool.

You said you got model jobs, for whom was that?

For a Swiss fashion thing which also came through Lukas. The photo even went on Hypebeast. I also did something through him for the Sneeze x Reebok shoe. Those were always very good jobs.

Did you have a model agency or are you still active?

No, but my sister is massively in it. She was on Austrias Next Topmodel, she was Miss Vienna, she models and is really good. Every now and then she has a job for me.

So I guess your mom’s genes are the model genes.

Yes, it must be like that. Although my mother is not so much into fashion. But all my siblings are really into it. Meanwhile, my mother also gets it a bit. The other day she was expecting visitors and I look at her and then she’s wearing an old Just Cavalli shirt of mine.

I’m pretty much done with my questions, so you can go and join the Nozbone gang again.

[laughing] After ten days it’s already exhausting, I need some rest. I never get to sleep in, it starts at 9 o’clock.

When does your day usually start?

I wake up at seven, but then I chill out until nine. Then I go to the bathroom, have coffee, take a shower, meditate a bit, have lunch and then I go out at half past twelve.

I wouldn’t have associated meditation with you at all.

I look at iMusic what’s available and then meditate for 15-20 minutes. Lately, I’ve also been doing a lot of soul-searching and buying books about what makes you tick as a person and how to figure things out. I’ve been dealing with myself a lot. Meditating is awesome dude. I started it with an ex-girlfriend in the bathtub. She got me into it and since then I do it all the time, even without a bathtub. Woah, that relaxes so massively, just the breathing! I don’t know how to describe it. Everything negative is... Boah that’s really intense! I was never like this before and thought, meditation, oh boy... But now it’s really good for me and I can come clean with myself after a hard day and really switch off. It helps me and I see that I used to overreact in some situations. Now it’s better for me, so I have to keep doing it.

Solo skateboard magazine loco papi crooked grind

Crooked | Photo: Joel Peck