CCS Exclusive | Jamie Thomas Interview
Sep 24, 2013 12:33 PM CDT

Jamie Thomas has made an entire career of taking roads less traveled—both metaphorically for living a life far from ordinary and literally—having traveled to some of the most exotic locations on earth in search of the next epic skate spot. CCS caught up with The Chief this week to get his thoughts on Fallen’s latest video production, Road Less Traveled. Here some of what he had to say.

Photos: Chad Foreman and Joey Shigeo

How does the notion of taking the road less traveled speak to your experiences in life? How does it speak to the ethic of skaters in general?

I feel that in lots of ways I have always taken the Road Less Traveled. I grew up in Alabama and there were very few skateboarders in my town, so it always felt like we had to pave our own path. Then I made the journey to California and the odds of success were definitely against me. It seems that the way I choose to do things is usually not the path of least resistance.

It seems like the Fallen team took a lot of less traveled roads for the making of the video. How did you decide on where to go?

We definitely set out for adventure with this project. We tried to go to places that would offere a distinct aesthetic, but would be good for skating and that none of us had ever been to. We also tried to visit places that had drastically different cultural traditions from one another, so they would all be completely different experiences. In the end, we visited Turkey, Croatia, South Africa, Portugal, the American West and Thailand.

What was your favorite location personally? What was the favorite location for the team overall?

Strangely, I really enjoyed the American West trip because it was a part of the US that I’ve always wanted to see yet somehow never had. I think the fact that we were on motorcycles made it that much more epic. I think the final trip to Thailand was probably the most epic for the team; partly because it was the last trip and because most of the team was there.

Everyone is talking about China right now when it comes to the next frontier of amazing, never-before-seen skate spots. Do you agree with that? Where is the next frontier for spots in your opinion after having traveled so heavily for the making of this video?

China probably has the most spots and almost everything is skatable 7 days a week, but for the most part the spots in China are all grey and not that aesthetically pleasing. There are also never blue skies in China; it’s always grey or smog orange. I bet some people there have never seen a blue sky before.

How important is it visually to showcase new spots? Do you ever get bored of seeing skaters do tricks on the same old spots? Even if it's an NBD is a trick somehow less awesome if it's on a spot everyone has seen a million times?

Yeah, I think some spots are benchmarks, so they don’t get old, but for the most part I think everyone enjoys seeing new spots. New spots make everything more interesting cause there’s no comparison to who did what, so it feels more inspiring.

Having produced as many skateboard videos as you have over the years, how do you go about pushing the format of the skate video? How important is it to you that the company continues to one-up itself with the videos it puts out?

Well, I think the tried and true format of skate videos will always be relevant, but I feel that there needs to be more videos that tell a different story and that’s what we tried to do with Road Less Traveled. Tell the story of what each guy goes through fighting the elements or what it’s like to visit such a drastically different part of the world. I feel like some people want to be taken on a journey.

How do you think this video stacks up to videos you've produced in the past?

I think the production quality is higher for this video than anything we’ve ever made. I also think the video does a good job documenting our travels and the emotions that we were feeling at the time, so we’ll be able to look back on it in 15 years and remember these times. It’s like the ‘Wonder Years’ for the Fallen team.

The entire team is heavy and I'm sure everyone will come through with amazing parts, but was there a particular rider or riders that you felt really shined in this video?

I think everyone has their time to shine in the video. It’s broken down by destination rather than individual parts for each rider, which I think helps keep you engaged.

How has your approach to filming changed over the years? What was your favorite moment, spot or trick from the video?

For conventional videos, I use a lot of the same techniques as I’ve always used, which is constantly work on new tricks and find spots that suit those tricks then go and try to do em. For this project, we just skated everything we came across and tried to make the most out of it. It was refreshing to be so spontaneous. I couldn’t pick any one spot or trick to be my favorite, there were too many situations where it felt like things couldn’t get any better.


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