All photos by Gama
Brett Weinstein is one of my favourite skaters to watch. He pieces lines together with seeming ease and has a great eye and take on spots that leaves the feet twitching to jump out the door. Hailing from the Midwest city of Chicago and rolling with the Deep Dish crew, Brett is a great representative of their scene. With the latest Deep Dish offering about to drop, we hit Brett up to talk about the latest project and what’s in store for the future.
You’re from Chicago, America’s 3rd largest city, whereabouts in the city did you grow up and are you still there now?
I grew up about 20 miles outside the city in the burbs, and moved to Chicago when I was 18. Still live here now in Logan Square
Have you been to College or done higher education? Are you working, or are sponsors paying so you can focus on skating?
I went to UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) for a year and a half before realizing I hated it. I was dog walking for a little over a year, and just recently started working at a bank doing processing work in the mortgage department. Typical 9-5. But nah, I don’t make any money off skating haha.
Do you have any outlets aside from skating, like any sports, musical or artistic outlets?
I’ll mess around drawing a bit, but nothing too serious. If I’m not skating, I’m most likely working or kicking it.
Chicago is surprisingly very overlooked skate wise, despite having a load of good spots and marble downtown, is there any reason you could put this down to?
Definitely a lack of people covering the skate scene. It’s always funny seeing peoples reactions when they skate around downtown for the first time. They’re always blown away at the spots. But yeah, there’s no digital photographers here and few filmers. It’s easy to overlook a place that doesn’t have tons of content coming out from it. A lot of the skaters here are pretty uncreative too, and don’t use the city to its full potential.
Could maybe talk a little bit more about there being no digital photographers in the city and Mr Dunning using VX (film) to document skating? Are a lot of the skaters in Chicago against digital and HD, or is more your crew that have that approach?
As far as there not being photographers here, I think it hinders the skate scene in Chicago. To me, it seems like photos were really important in the 90’s/ early 00’s, then the internet boom sorta took the spotlight away from them in a sense. Nowadays, it seems like a lot of the popular crews in their respective areas push good photos out along with footage and that’s really sick. Dude’s like Brent O’donnell, Colin Sussingham, Allen Ying, Jacob Messex, Etc… I think those guys, along with others, are shining a light in the right direction as far as skate photography goes (at least their shit sticks out to me, among others). In the sense of filming VX in Chicago, it isn’t like we’re the only crew doing it. There are a few others, but definitely see more HD. I see some crews filming with GoPros too lol. I know Mark has debated switching to HD, but VX is just second nature to him. We skate a lot at night here, and the city just looks so good VX. It isn’t easy to make a full video in Chicago. A lot of the good spots are quick busts, especially in the past couple years. So that definitely plays a part in people not pushing new videos out of Chicago often.
The first I heard of you was from Mark Dunning’s films Deep Dish, could you explain a bit about your relationship/friendship with him and how you’ve been working on projects over the last few years?
I met Mark just growing up skating the suburbs and seeing him around. We started going out skating together a bunch when I was in high school, and Deep Dish just sort of evolved from him making the first video and my friend Matt Gamalinda shooting film of everyone in the crew. I think it’s gotten a bit more serious since those days, as with anything you work on for years. Every video gets better in my opinion, and this next one is definitely gonna be the same in every aspect of it. Mark and Jon Schmoldt (the other dude that films for Deep Dish) are working hard on this one.
The Deep Dish videos always have a really great aesthetic and soundtrack, do guys have much involvement with how Mark works on the video or any input on things like song choice?
I try to haha, but you know how filmmakers can be. Mark usually doesn’t like the suggestions I give, so I try to not push him on them too hard. The videos always come out looking good, so I’m never too worried about it. Mark went to NYU for film, so he usually has a pretty good idea of what he’s doing before he starts editing everything.
The last Deep Dish project that dropped ‘Some Bullshit’ featured a lot of travelling through Europe, if I’m not mistaken you were riding for Polar at the time, did you meet Pontus and the crew?
Yeah we stayed with Pontus a bit during the trip, and I had went on a Polar NYC trip a while before that. Pontus and everyone on the team are awesome, hope to run into them soon.
So Pontus just sorta left it open ended whether he wanted me to be on the team or not. I backed Polar, but wanted to be actually a part of something. I had met the Studio dudes the summer before when they came to Chicago, and was really hyped on them. They didn’t stress, came and had a good time, and all killed it. I kept in touch with the owner Jai, and one day hit him up just saying how I didn’t know what, if anything, was happening with Polar. He called me up saying he’d be down for me to ride for Studio if I was and I took him up on it. Jai is the man, the teams sick, and there’s about to be a couple other dudes added that are gonna make it even doper. I was out in Montreal a couple times in the past few months to film for the video we’re working on. It’s gonna be good, keep an eye out for it.
The new Deep Dish video is just about to drop, how hard/long did you work on it and what can we expect from it? Has Steffen Watts got last part again?
We’ve worked on it for maybe 9 months or so now. Everyone’s been killing it, including a handful of people that have been visiting Chicago to film for it, so I think this ones gonna be really good. No speculation on last part, but expect some great Steffen footage as always.
Are you working on anything in the future with any of your sponsors, like Adidas or Theories? Any trips planned for the not too distant future?
Josh has been talking about doing a big Theories Chicago trip, so hopefully he gets on that (wink wink Josh ;)) But other than that, nothing planned. We always do a Deep Dish trip in winter, so maybe LA or somewhere else to escape the snow.
Thanks to Brett for taking the time and to Gama for the photos
Words & Interview: Joe Coward