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The tales of “Tom’s Tales“

A talk with the filmers Paul Labadie & Max Pack

We’re pretty sure you’ve seen it. And if you haven’t, you should watch Tom’s Tales right now. We’re not kidding. The Vans Euro guys got some heavy bread for this video. It has insane tricks, plus you can feel how much fun the crew had filming it. Or lets say the family, like Max Pack puts it in the interview. He is one of the two filmers behind the project. The other one is Paul Labadie who also edited the video. We talked to them to find out a bit more about the stories behind Tom’s Tales.

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How did everything start?

Max: The first trip was to Malaga in March 2019. Greece was two weeks later.

Paul: At the end of the first day of the Greece trip we had half the video already. That one day was insane.

That trip was crazy. We made a whole magazine out of it.

Paul: It’s rare that it happens like that. And the rest of the trip was the same.

I’ve never been on a trip like this. How did it happen, that the crew was so hungry?

Max: Thanos [Panou]!

Paul: Yeah, General Thanos. Drill Seargent Thanos! He had too many spots and a tight schedule. You had to go with it.

And you kept this spirit on the other trips?

Paul: Pretty much. Even the trips with a lot of rain ended up really productive. I wasn’t in Moscow but I heard it rained a lot there. But it ended up being a video on it’s own. So one of the most productive trips didn’t even go into the video and also not one trick from the Morocco trip.

But Greece was really insane. Things like the backtail ender from Doobie. That was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen on a skateboard.

Max: It was right after dinner and everyone had some drinks already and we just crossed by and Doobie wanted to check it. No one skated it before and it was super crusty.

And he didn’t skate the whole day because he was puking in the morning and didn’t feel to well, after tooking some gnarly slams on the blue hubba the day before.

Paul: But he got fired up. The thing is, on video you can’t see how rough that thing is. It’s really, really crusty. Another thing is, Doobie is a big guy and it always makes the spot look a bit smaller.

"Craziest session ever. There were so little chances that we are able to skate this. It was in the hallway of the university with tons of students having lectures."

None of the other guys were even thinking to skate this thing.

Paul: Dan Lu was there and he is known for skating big stuff. He asked Doobie what he has in mind and when he told him he’ll do backtail, Daniel said: “No, you’re not gonna do that. No way.” He didn’t believe it.

Was it always a sure thing that Doobie will have the ender?

Paul: It was not so sure from the start. When we started gathering Martino’s footy and saw how crazy it was I thought maybe he could get last part. But I talked to Pfanner and then we thought it makes more sense to give him first part because he’s the new guy. We knew how crazy the footage was and that people would freak out when they see it.

Max Pack Beddy s RGB 6868 BW

Max Pack & Beddy

A lot of people are so hyped on the first part.

Max: Yeah, and nobody knew him.

Paul: On the 9 Club they called him Martino Cattino.

He even joined the trips later on.

Max: And he wasn’t on every trip then as well.

Paul: But he’s the only one that has footage that was brought in from outside.

Do you have a favorite trick or scene in the video?

Max: The kickflip from Doobie in Thesaloniki.

Paul: Craziest session ever. There were so little chances that we are able to skate this. It was in the hallway of the university with tons of students having lectures. It was busy and skating in there was so noisy.

Max: One woman said we can’t skate here. Pfanner told her to call the cops. Then she said, that the cops in Greece are not allowed to come into the university. So Pfanner said: “That’s it then” and we just started the session. There was a kiosk in the university and we bought pretty much all the beer. We were 25 people, locals as well, big party. The students came out and were looking and screaming. They were super hyped. Doobie did the kickflip, Dan Lu did the boardslide and then Pfanner did the fakie ollie.

"In the end you’re not going on a skatetrip, you’re meeting the family."

Talking about Pfanner. He organizes the trips, drives the van, takes care of everything and then still has the power to skate.

Max: He’s the man. The video is his work pretty much.

Paul: He brings the vibe. He’s such a cool guy and so easy going. He’s always down and never complains. Everything is so easy with him so everybody is happy all the time. And he has this persona, he’s Chris Pfanner. Everybody knows what he’s done, where he’s been. The guys look up to him.

Max: It’s also that he’s like a big brother and the best friend you can have. He’s the hype man.

Whenever I met you guys, everybody was working their ass of to get tricks and not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Is that because of Pfanner?

Max: They wanted to get bread.

[everybody laughs]

Paul: When it starts like that with a good chemistry and it sparks something, everybody is hyped on it. And when the guys know that it’s more than a small project, it gives them motivation.

I find it interesting that there are all kinds of different characters in the team, from Albert Nyberg to Doobie, but they all get along super well.

Max: In the end you’re not going on a skatetrip, you’re meeting the family.

Paul: It’s the magic of Tom. Tom brings people together.

Paul Labadie s RGB 6216 BW

Paul Labadie

Besides Tom, what are the magic ingredients for a trip?

Max: A speaker, brewskis and Pfanner always cares about good dinners.

Paul: That is really important, you have this quality time. There’s tours where you’re out in the streets the whole day and go back to the hotel and everybody is doing their own thing. But we’re always all together. These dinners every night are like party and everybody enjoys good food.

Talking about partying. You have some stories?

Max: We’re not really going to partys. We’re bringing our own party. But in Vienna there was this guy who came and was so hyped on Dustin that he instantly bought Jägermeister for everyone and a lot of beers and all of a sudden he was gone and Dustin’s board, too. He left his board in exchange. Dustin took it, it was a brand new Bam Margera one. After dinner we went to an Australian bar that Dustin knew. He gave the board to the guy at the bar and we got free Jäger again.

What is Dustin’s role in the crew?

Paul: He brings the vibe, he’s funny as hell and has stories for days. And he got the best playlists.

Oh yeah, the DakhaBrakha song. He was playing that one in Athens. Did he pick that song?

Max: He claimed he played it first but me and Davy [van Laere] had it in our playlists as well.

"It had been a good day and then the dude with the brownies came out of nowhere"

I remember how everybody was hyped when he arrived to Athens. We went all together to pick him up. Waiting in front of the airport, drinking beers, smoking, listening to loud music. And then when we woke up the next day, he had cleaned the whole apartment.

Max: That’s what he told me once. You can be a drunk, but be a clean drunk.

[laughing]

Paul: He’s a grown up and you don’t have to tell him to clean up his shit. He’s responsible.

It’s a surprise when you just know him from videos and then meet him.

Max: He can be so emotional. Outside he’s the screaming Dustin but if somebody got an issue, he’s the first guy talking to you and taking care. And if he has an issue, everybody is coming too.

It was so lovely to see when Doobie was talking to him that he should be a bit careful and not get too wasted on the trip. You could see that he was worried about his friend. But back to skating. Who filmed the downhill line with Martino.

Max: I did. Martino told me about the spot while we were skating a plaza. Pfanner and me came to have a look and I was little bit drunk, so I said: “I think I can film it longlense”. Pfanner looked at me and said: “Nah, you got this, you can film it fisheye”. So I did but if I would’ve kept on going straight, I would be under the bus now.

It was super close.

Max: Really close. Really scary. I went up the hill, not saying anything, just showing the footage and the guys were just looking shocked. For Martino it was even closer than for me. He saw the Smart and just ollied.

You have some more moments like this?

Max: In Moscow we had a session at 7:30 in the morning at a big rail at the central station. It’s not in the video but Axel did a long boardslide and it was also a really long night before that… But it was the only time to do it.

Talking about early mornings. In Fazana I met you at a café having breakfast, still going from last night.

Paul: For me that trip was the highlight of 2019. It was more like a holiday cause we premiered the Moscow video at the festival, partied, had some beachtime. You know how good the event is. But Martino, he had plans.

Max: We did our holiday and Martino deliverd and took the bread.

Who came up with the bread?

Paul: In Greece Dan Lu and Axel kept talking about how they needed to get the bread.

They’re really funny together. The whole crew is and they’re all hungry for the bread. It felt a bit like that you just had to throw them at a spot and press record and then the magic happened.

Max: It really is like that. Every day we’re going out and there’s never really a warm up spot. We just go there, one of them decides to skate the gnarliest thing there and then everyone is so fired up.

Paul: There is never a bad day. Sometimes I’m really surprised. There can be a really good day ending with some celebration and you’d think the next day is more mellow…

Max: But I’ve never seen somebody with a full hangover day. Never.

"We got two tricks, 250 chicken wings and a lava cake for dessert, handed out by the chef himself, a former heroin addict who smoked a joint with us"

Even Albert skated in Greece for two days with wisdome teeth problems. It’s a gnarly crew.

Max: It’s intense. If you’d bring a “normal” person on a trip for one day, they’d be done for two weeks. Everyone is acting crazy cause they’re all fired up and they’re really skating.

And I felt, if they guys didn’t get all the tricks they wanted, they were a bit more hectic during dinner, while when they got all the bread they wanted, they were more chill.

Paul: I guess there’s different kind of breads. The daily bread and the nightly bread.

Some night bread storys?

Max: There was one guy of us in Sicilly who got a match on tinder. The next morning we picked him up and he told us that he was with a woman who is the producer of DakhaBrakha or at least is friends with them and that we can have the song now. But I don’t know if that’s actually true.

Paul: I don’t think it had much influence that we were allowed to use the song but yeah, she knew the band.

Max: In Lubljana the locals gave us some brownies. Doobie took care of that and then handed them to us but he didn’t tell me for example that those brownies had some extra fun. Then we went to the spot where Doobie did the lipslide to front smith and the landing is in a bar so we all sat there and drank Aperol but I don’t even remember filming the trick. Then we went right across the street for dinner and everybody looked at the menu for half an hour then Pfanner ordered 100 chicken wings for starters. Then we looked at the menu again for ten more minutes to find main courses. The waitress came back and we were like: “150 chicken wing”.

[laughing]

Paul: It had been a good day and then the dude with the brownies came out of nowhere. I had the smallest bite but Doobie took two or three and half an hour later we’re at this spot and it started to kick in but Pfanner and Doobie skated the spot.

Max: Davy was next to me when it kicked in and he looked at me being like: “They’re not gonna skating it right now, do they?” I couldn’t really talk and just shrugged my shoulders and then Doobie nearly did it first try before the cams were set up. I didn’t do white balance and didn’t zoom in, I just pointed at it.

Paul: We got two tricks, 250 chicken wings and a lava cake for dessert, handed out by the chef himself, a former heroin addict who smoked a joint with us.

It feels like you’re making friends everywhere. It’s always good times when you’re in town.

Paul: Everybody is happy so there’s a good vibe. You can see it in the reviews in the Thrasher article. Even when the airbnb people are pissed off because of some damage, they’re still happy that they hosted us.

So those are real reviews?

Paul: Yeah, except the last one. This one is just inspired by others.

How is all of that that for you Paul? You’re a dad, live family life and then you go on tour.

Paul: For some reason I always get those early flights so I pack the day before when I put the kids to sleep and that’s mega stress. Every tour feels like I’ve never been on tour before and I’m always stressed to forget my equipment and I can hardly sleep. But once it takes off… To be honest, a skatetrip for me nowadays is more like a holiday. It’s really intense and long days, by ten o’clock everybody is up, at 12 we’re out the house, getting bread all day till late, then dinner, get back to the house past midnight, log the footage, relax a bit… but still it’s less intense than being a parent.

[laughing]

But with all the stress, it seems like the workflow between you two is really good.

Paul: It is really natural. Max is the perfect partner. He’s young, I’m old. He has the energy. He’s the German beast. All day, all night, always down for whatever. I could never keep up with the rhythm he has. We don’t need to discuss too much about the filming. He takes more fisheye because he’s younger and my back is fucked. It happens very naturally we trust each other and we’re not trying to make the most produced fancy angle whatever. I think that’s also really nice for the guys that we don’t interrupt their skating.

And the editing?

Paul: I edited Toms Tales and Max is editing the Beer Roll which people don’t know about yet. We got so much footage, the video is really condensed. The initial version was ten minutes longer.

Max: I started to edit the Beer Rolls and the timeline is 50 minutes long. In the end it should be another 25 minutes video with more focus on hijinx but still really good tricks.

Paul: It’s not just leftovers. There will be something to see. There’s someone who didn’t have too much footage in the video and you might wonder where it went…

Any last words?

Max: Shoutouts to Chris Pfanner, to Alex Forbes for making it happen. Shoutout to Davy and Fabien Ponsero. Romain Batard, George Yannakopoulos.

Paul: There are so many people we met on the road that helped making that video like Thanos or Mauro [Caruso] and Christian Vankelst.

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