With the digital release of their latest team video this past weekend, we’ve got an in depth interview lined up for our Be-mag supporters with the Black Hearted Collaboration owner Mark Trebble. We discuss some of his thoughts about the team, the industry, their latest products and the the making of ‘End of the Line’.

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Introduction and interview by Kevin Chow
Photography provided by Mark Trebble

Mark, thanks for catching up with Be-mag. Tell us who are your current team riders? Tell our readers about how the team was selected and how it has evolved over the years.
I think the first thing to say here is that BHC is more of a family than a team, everyone who rides for us I have either known for many years or came with the highest recommendation from another member of the team. I decided from the very beginning that I didn’t ever want to get in to a situation where I was working with people simply because they are good at skating, personality is really important and something I believe skating lost a lot of when legends like Petty, Champion and Rachard to name a few, took a step back from the game. I believe we have a lot of positive personalities within our group and some of the steeziest skaters out there.

That said our current family include Albert Hooi, Dominic Sagona, Dre Powell, Mathias Silhan, Leon Humphries, Nils Jansons, Alex Burston, Worapoj Boonim ,Evgeny Leonov, Tim Adams and Jon Matter. All of these guys have worked really hard on the new team video and you will certainly be seeing some pro product for Nils and Burston this year. Both are an undeniable force in our industry right now.
We also have a few people that we send product and try to support with Dano Gorman and Tyron Ballantine would be two obvious ones.

What products are you offering to skaters at the moment?
Right now we are offering 4 different wheels (58mm/57mm/56mm/47mm) and a small range of soft goods (T’s, Sweatshirts, caps etc). We have a new line of wheels in the works for some of the team who have more than earned their first pro wheels and there will be a whole new line of soft goods to support it. I am always excited about working on a new line as we get to test a bunch of new urethane compounds and have such a talented group of people that we work with for the designs and artwork. Big shout out to Rob L and Chris Hallam for always coming through and having passion for what we are doing.

Where’s the best place for people to find your products?
The quickest and easiest way to find them is head to www.bhcwheels.com. We have a bit of a sale on right now so it’s a perfect time to try our urethane and I promise you won’t regret it! Other than that head to your favourite skate shop and ask them for our product, if they don’t stock perhaps it’s about time they did.

With competition so fierce these days and with so many wheel companies out on the market, why should someone who hasn’t tried BHC give them a go?
I think the first place to look is the team, do you honestly think these guys would be riding our wheels if they didn’t trust them? Some of the stuff they are doing puts a massive demand on their wheels. They have to be solid enough and durable enough to withstand those pressures. We are constantly testing compounds from our factory and it is safe to say we are not just putting out the same urethane as a lot of wheel companies in different colours/graphics. I think sometimes we get some bad press for the OEM BHC wheels people get on some of the pro skates out there. Our industry is small and I am sure most people understand this isn’t actually our urethane, it is poured by the skate manufacturer and features just the BHC graphic. We do this purely as it helps us to support our riders and for me that is extremely important.

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Alex Burston testimonial:
I’ve been skating BHC wheels for almost 10 years now, and I couldn’t think of better wheels for me to skate. The wheels are extremely durable and strong. I’ll skate street all the time, from going to the shop, to just straight sessioning dirty English street spots, and they always do me well. They last longer than any other wheels I’ve skated. I have skated one set of BHC wheels for three months and they have done me well right till the end. They are long lasting, hard wearing and straight hardcore wheels. For me, BHC are a street skating wheel, as they are strong wheels, but that just means they will last EVEN longer for park skating. For me, BHC are the best wheels on the market. I’ve been offered to get paid from other wheels companies and I have refused the offer, mainly because the black hearted heads are my family, but mostly because I can’t see any other wheel suiting my skating. As I said, they are long lasting, heavy wearing, and straight hardcore wheels! GET YOUR LOVELY SELF’S SOME BHC WHEELS NOW! BIG UP THE BLACK HEARTED FAMILY!

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Nil’s Testimonial:
BHC wheels have never let me down. They are a long lasting, fast rolling wheel. Since I blade both street and park, they are just perfect for both terrains. After many street sessions the wheels still are super fast in the park. They are a blader owned company with legit team of sick people who believe in the good wheel and blading. But in the end it’s just a legit wheel. I have tried many different brands before and since BHC noticed me and gave me the first set, I have never doubted anything about the wheel or team. So if you dig good wheels and want to support people who do things with love and believe in what they do – get BHC’s. Peace

leon
Leon’s Testimonial:
BHC is family; our relationships are guided by love, respect and brotherhood. We feel that this base is helpful in creating an amazing brand and an amazing team, which has been the case over the years. I ride a 56mm flat setup and it happens to be my own pro wheel. It is a perfect setup for street. I have traction and power. I have durability. I ride many sketchy surfaces and I have heavy feet so I put a lot of pressure on in the wheels. The 56mm allows grinds without any issues – I do not notice any issues grinding ledges rails or other obstacles. I am tempted to try the 57mm for additional power and stability – it’s an option for me as I am completely comfortable on a flat setup. I would not skate these wheels if they were not appropriate for my needs, which is mostly street skating.

Skater owned seems to be huge in our industry at the moment. Do you feel it is necessary or should we be looking outside of blading for more funding/exposure?
Personally I think it’s really important that we have a core of companies that are skater owned. Why? Because only skaters truly care about keeping our industry alive and helping it grow. When you look around right now, other than a couple of the boot / frame companies, almost everything left is skater owned or run. Imagine if you removed all of those skater owned companies from our tiny industry right now, there would be next to nothing left. There would be no choice for the consumer and pretty much no industry for us left to even speak of. I’m not saying corporate companies don’t make good product. You would only have to look at Salomon to prove that statement wrong, I’m also not saying any company in our industry that is not skater owned shouldn’t be supported (let’s face it if there are still here pushing blading at this stage they clearly love it). What I am saying is that if we have a sudden insurgence of companies from outside of blading and the industry begins to boom that’s great short term, however if we ever hit a bad period these companies will be the first to jump ship. A strong foundation of skater owned companies who will be here rain or shine are imperative to the longevity of blading. As for more funding/exposure, large corporate companies could certainly help bring blading back in to the mainstream, as they can often help open some of the doors to get blading back on TV on a regular basis and back into events like the X Games. If we ever want to reach the dizzy heights of 1996 in our industry again, I believe these are things we will certainly need. That is not to say we can’t do it on our own and I have a huge respect for what Julio is doing with The Blading Cup and what Jojo is doing with Winterclash. The TV coverage of the Blading Cup will surely help us and the live stream of Winterclash was a huge positive for blading. These are massive steps in the right direction so hats off to both of them and anyone else pushing with similar events around the world.

The latest team project titled ‘End of the Line’ is finally available for download. This is a video that was a work in progress for quite a while, please tell us a little more about the process in getting it completed.
Well it is safe to say this project has been ongoing for some time now, it has certainly taken longer than I would have liked but we didn’t want to rush it. I think its important to say right from the start that this isn’t an arty production with lots of time lapses and skylines. This is a team video from a family enjoying life and featuring raw skating. I grew up skating when the likes of Medium, Senate, Mindgame and 4×4 were putting out team videos and they will always be the benchmarks that I aspire to. I have been working really closely with Albert on this video. He has helped me film and edit a large percentage of it, as well as supplying me with continuous support and guidance during the editing process. He is a really talented filmmaker so I am sure his input has had a positive effect on the project and me. I am lucky to have good friends that have been willing to help me out. Ed Inglis will be taking care of the intro graphics and 3D I love working with him. He is one of the old homies and his input will no doubt enrich the production value greatly. The video itself features sections on all of the riders listed above and I must say there are some real stand out sections in there. Everyone pushed themselves for this video and I believe they can all be really proud of what they have produced. Nils and Sagona were both suffering from long term injuries but still managed to come through with a part which is amazing and the rest of the team have far exceeded my expectations. It’s going to be great to see such a diverse team from all over the world in one video, under the BHC banner. It makes me very proud. For me this project has been an amazing journey, as working on all the BHC videos has been. I have had the chance to travel the world with people I love, skate a lot and capture some of the best skating there is. Not sure life gets much better than that? Right now I feel like this could be the last full skate video I will produce and that makes the whole thing that bit more special for me personally, however I have said that before so who knows where life will take me.

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When is the new video due out and will there be any premieres?
We are launching the video today, which is a little ahead of schedule as we planned for it to be availabe May 1st. There was a premiere last weekend in Bristol (UK) which was amazing, it was nice to get a chance to celebrate with some of the team and people who made it all possible. I felt truly blessed that some many of my close friends had traveled to celebrate with us. Alex Burston has put together a sweet little edit of the night which you can see here. Dre is also having a premiere next weekend at the razors warehouse (Check his Facebook for details) which is bound to be amazing.. I wish I could be there. I also believe there will be one at the backyard and few other places around the globe.

With a title called ‘End of the Line’, this could suggest this is the end of BHC. Is there any truth in that?
No there is no truth in that, BHC will always be a part of me and I’m not sure how I would survive without it, after all it has been a major part of my life for over 11 years and I’m not planning on throwing in the towel just yet. The title ‘End Of The Line’ really relates to the natural changes taking place within our family structure. As one generation begin to gradually shift their focus to other aspects of their lives and careers, the next generation are waiting in the wings to carry the torch. We are lucky enough to have some of the brightest upcoming skaters out there who are already more than capable of doing just that.

Going back to the family and supporters, travelling and skating with these guys is bound to be a bit chaotic. In your opinion who are the biggest troublemakers on the team?
It’s got to be either Albert or Dominic. Everyone thinks Albert is really quiet and chilled. Let me tell you, he loves fire, he loves catching jokes and he loves getting away with it. Can bet your bottom dollar that no matter what he has done, what prank he has played he will 99% of the time not be the first one to get blamed for it. Albert has got that calm face that couldn’t possibly be to blame down to a T. As for Dominic, he is a complete joker…. and once drunk he is a whole new animal… Would I change them? Not a chance… I love trouble as much, if not more than they do. Blading is all about fun.

sagona

Now with company just surpassing ten years, can you tell us some of your favourite fun and funny moments from the past decade?
There are far too many to even begin to go in depth in any one, highlights that spring to mind from tours and trips would be:

– Ally McMullin unknowingly eating a giant house spider in his burger because Sagona decided it would be a nice topping (BHC tour 2005).
– Getting lined up on the freeway on the Arizona boarder by the cops and dogs for unusual vegetative smells in our car alongside Eric Schrijn, Ski, Frazer and Al Jones. The cop then opening with the line (in a Chief Wiggum style voice) “If we find anything your going home.” Safe to say they didn’t haha.
– Albert sunburned his legs so badly he peeled like a snake for a week on the “Arizona BHC tour”.
– The infamous Poway hotel and our meeting with a certain ‘Michelle’ … what followed was featured in the UK vid EF2.
– Dominic giving Mike French the raunchy ronchino on the BHC Arizona tour. I think Mike was sick for nearly 30 minutes after that.
– Frazer doing disaster true top porn in San Dieguito.
– Any trick Eric “Ski” Perkett ever did. He was without a doubt the most under rated skater of our time.
– Buying a van between a group of us for $1000 in Cali at the age of 20. Proceeding to cruise around with 7 people, 90 cans of beer and a bunch of illegal fireworks and crash parties on the 4th July….with some very near misses with the cops.
– Blowing up said van 2-3 hours away from our hotel at 9pm. Abandoning it on the side of the freeway and calling some girls we had met once before to come pick us up.
– Any time we got drunk and Al Jones was around.
– Halloween in Vegas
– Dre dressed as a giant banana.
– Spring Break in Lake Havasu
– Albert making the front page of the local paper.

To be honest I could go on all day. Bottom line is this group of lads are like brothers to me. We have been through so much together and have so many amazing memories together it’s unreal. I owe pretty much everything I have to Rollerblading and the people I have met along the way.

Lastly, in your opinion Mark, what does blading need?
Blading needs strong personalities to help portray it in the right way to the mainstream…. undeniable idols. We miss the personalities like Fienberg, Latimer and Petty. Blading needs to grow up and realise that we are all in this together, we all have views and opinions but lets at least try to be constructive.

Blading needs bladers and its companies need their support more than ever.

– Mark Trebble

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