Interview: Haitian Reincarnated

With a remodeled cast and a radical change of scenery, the Haitian‘s second full-length video production writes a whole new chapter in the crew’s history. However, the same spirit still lives on through these new faces and places, perfectly illustrating the concept philosophers and religious people have coined as “reincarnation”.

As the visual depiction of last year’s Haitian tribulations through Europe dropped on VOD just a few weeks ago, we caught up with Jona, Seba & Bina for the second time this year, and discussed the making of yet another masterpiece through travels, friendly encounters and near death experiences. Read on, and enter the flesh again!

First and foremost, download the Reincarnation Tour right here:


Words: Freddy White
Photography: Haitian

Hey there muchachos, where in the world are you right now?
We are in the hills of Torre Baro, Barcelona. We just got back from a 2 weeks tour through the northwest of Spain and are crashing at Marc’s house for a bit.

Last time we talked, you were on the other side of the Ocean, and the Lost Tapes had just dropped. Now, 6 months later you’re back in Europe, and just released the Reincarnation Tour video. How was this whole new project born?
The whole project was born from the dissipation of the Death Gime Manor. The Shredweiser tour had ended and the 3 of us were back in Chicago. We had lost our house in Kansas City and the rest of the Haitian crew had been displaced across the States in order to survive. Dylan was in New York, Darst in Kansas City, Malcolm in Chicago, Xathan and Bolino in LA and Buck was back in Alabama. Distance and lack of communication created a space for a strange silence between the group. We’ve wanted to explore Europe for a long time and everything was falling into place perfectly for it to become a reality. Jojo got us tickets for Summerclash and Roskilde and we booked our one way tickets. A few weeks before departure, TZ and Dylan hopped on board, but unfortunately, no one else from the crew could make the trip.

Where did the filming take place? Which countries did you visit, and who helped you along the way? How long was the tour?
Tour was a total of two and a half months. We flew into London, where Leon and the boys, Umberto, Vasco, and Oli all hooked us up with things to skate, and places to crash. Then we headed to Berlin, where Jojo organized Summerclash, and afterwards we stayed in Dom Wagner and Felix’s apartment with a bunch of other bladers for a bit. We then moved to Copenhagen where we crashed between Christian Berg’s and Kåre’s for a few days, and then went off to Roskilde Festival. An intense trip. We came back to Copenhagen and stayed at Kåre’s parents with a bunch of dudes for a week, which was incredible. Then off to Amsterdam where we stayed in Ivo’s school house squat, a super cool place. Afterwards, off to the suburbs of Paris, to be greeted by Louis Vilar and his girlfriend Elodie. Then the homie Etienne Camus, former Salomon team rider, lent us his flat for a week in Bastille. We then bussed down to Lyon, where Clément and Raphaëlle let us crash for a few days, then the accident happened. A few of us lived in Clément’s flat, while Seba was living at the hospital. Then Etienne, the homie from Paris, hooked us up with his aunt that lives near the hospital in Lyon, where Jona and his mother lived while taking care of Seba at the hospital.
European homies were on a different level of hospitality. We love and thank anyone who helped us on the way.


The cast is slightly different this time. Who’s featured in the video, and how did this new group form?
Like we said before, we were pretty much the only ones left with the means to continue. Matthias and Dylan were last minute additions from the States that wanted to hop on board. Dom Bruce was going to nomad Europe for the summer, so we just teamed up with him, because he ran on the same vibes as we did. We had met Martim at Summerclash, where we convinced him to come along and help document the travels. I remember he was following us around with a little digital camera, and we thought it was sick, we got along with him really well, so naturally, he was invited to join and pester us with his farts. Lactose intolerance is gnar.

Dominic Bruce seemed like an obvious addition to the crew. For real though, have you guys ever seen Dom not smiling?
Hahaha. Yeah, when Seba got ran over by the bus… Dom is a super positive kid. It’s quite rare to meet someone that constantly expresses positive vibes.

How was riding in the Parisian metro? There’s almost a full section filmed in there, how did you guys start filming there, and did anything crazy happen there?
Some of us would leave the house without shoes, so we found ourselves wearing skates on the train. We never paid a single train or bus fair throughout the whole tour, so it was easier to hop the train with skates and that made us want to fuck around with the movement of the train. Some of it got documented, a lot of it didn’t. It was all pure fun. There was a point where Seba was filming Matthias doing a line while the metro was at a station, and they both got stopped by two cops. They tried to hop back on the metro before the doors closed, but the cops grabbed them and held them. Luckily, Simon’s girlfriend hopped out of the train on time and helped them deal with the French policemen. The cops were screaming in French but she managed to calm them down and avoided getting a fine. That situation went from an intense anger from the cops towards us to everyone sharing a good laugh at the end. Seba wrote on their cop journal and we were off the hook.


Dylan Davis had a rather short appearance in the video, and people have been wondering what he’s been up to since the tour. Are you guys in touch with him? What’s Dylan doing these days, and is there a chance we see him on a pair of blades again?
We don’t want to get into Dylan’s personal life, as it’s really none of anyone’s business but his own. But he just wanted to step away for a bit. We all still keep in contact with him, and from what we know, he’s doing really well. Is there a chance to see him on skates again? We sure hope so. Pure talent that kid.

How many people got injured during the trip? How many near-death-experiences? And how much time was spent in hospitals in total?
I think everyone got hurt on the trip. Dom had some anal action with the concrete in Amsterdam, and was limping around for a few days with a bruised tailbone. You see that one in the trailer. Bina bruised the hell out of his heel dropping from that bridge in Amsterdam. The SSM bolts are super long when you put Creates on, and the bolt went straight into the bone and had him hurting for weeks. Martim got ran over by the car, but walked away without a scratch. Matthias bruised his heel pretty bad towards the end of the trip. Jona broke his leg at La Défense, and we had to take a bus to Lyon that night. Tough day for sure. And a few days later Seba got ran over by the bus. So I’d say that we had two near death experiences, Martim and Seba. As for the hospital time, in Paris, we spent one night for Jona, and then two months afterwards in Lyon for Seba.

You have probably told the story 100 times, but how the hell did Seba survive getting ran over by a bus? What the hell happened, and why did you chose to end the video with that clip?
Seba barely managed to evade getting hit by the front of the bus, but he fell to the ground and saw the doubled back tires of the bus coming unto him. He moved his torso away from the bus, got his skates close together and kicked under the wheels as hard as he could. This suspended the bus in the air long enough to hover over his legs, but short enough to land on his hips and not his stomach. The same skates that got him in that situation saved his legs and his life. As for the ending of the video it only made sense to portray the whole trip as closely as it occurred. It is impossible to portray the real vibes of the trip, but at least the high energies that were present since the start of the trip are there, and the dramatic accident vibes that ended the skating trip are there as well.


The video has a slightly different look and feel this time, and quite obviously, a different style of editing. Whereas Bina was all alone on the Lost Tapes, this one was a collaborative process with Seba, right? How did it all work out? Was it easy finding a workflow? Who was in charge of what, how did you split the tasks?
It was a collaborative process. Seba had most of the parts structured by the time Bina got to Argentina. Then we would arrange things to flow in a certain way and make any changes needed. Then Bina came up with the intro and the video was basically done. The no workflow was the flow. Editing didn’t feel like “working”. Seba would only sit down and edit when he really wanted to sit down and edit, and Bina did the same in a similar way. It took almost 6 months to get it done, and came down to the wire the night of the premiere. But we allowed it to come together in a very relaxed and natural way.

How did you guys choose the music and picked up the songs? Are there specific stories behind certain tunes?
We try to let songs come as naturally as they can. Bina wanted to use “My sweet Lord” by George Harrison as the intro because it has incredible vibes when listened to, and the trip was simply that, incredible vibes. All the tunes have stories behind them. Fela Kuti was chosen and merged with the French homies because it represented them and their skating very well. A very united scene, fast, and grooving to Ginger’s drumming. Very unique people. Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers was heard first on the airplane radio when Seba was flying back to Argentina after the accident, and was instantly matched with Dom. Very rhythmic and creative, and regardless of his young age, the maturity in his skating was shown and aided by this tune. Bina wanted to use gypsy music as he felt most of his footage was him just playing around. Some hoodrat rap was the initial idea for Matthias’ part, but we felt that the instrumental reggae suited his relaxed and cruising skating style more appropriately. Seba’s song appeared on his computer magically. He was looking for a tribal piece to go with his skating, and Mickey Hart suited him well. It took some time for Martim’s tune to show up. Negrete had shown Seba the Brazilian band Os Mutantes when we lived in LA, and one night he remembered and found a piece that accommodated Martim’s footage into place.


Tour videos can be kind of tricky to put together, and the format itself is sometimes hard to pick. Why did you guys decide to go for individual sections?
After looking though all the footage, it seemed natural to do individual sections. It’s an easier way to organize everything. Everyone’s footage was charged with expression and by going with individual sections, you can create a space where that individual’s expression is easily expressed to the viewer.

Being on the road so long is always quite an intense and exhilarating experience. What were the funniest things that happened during the tour? What are your favorite memories, what was your worst moment?
There where ups and downs during the tour. But these are needed. The whole trip was golden as a whole. It is hard to choose a specific case. Read this instead: “Flying in an airplane waiting to be greeted by many unmet homies on the otherside of the pond. The beautiful brick spots of London, its colors and terrains, hitting da lick; Summerclash weekend in Berlin, countless friends, bonfires in the park, hitting da lick and incredible falafels; The biking girls of Copenhagen, bonfires on the street, hitting da lick, music circles, painting days; Roskilde, getting lost in time and space, unique vibes, skating, The Rolling Stones, old friends new friends, love; The streets of Amsterdam, bonfires in a schoolyard, boating, cleaning toilets, hitting da lick, Dom getting arrested, laughs; Paris, homies, train skating, almost getting stabbed, hitting da lick, broken leg, late night car skitching through the city; Lyon, medieval vibes, hitting da lick, baguettes, accident, VIP room with female nurses and a lot of time.


The premiere took place in Copenhagen, during the Blade Days. Why did you choose that place and time, and how did it all go?
We were in Chile, filming for another project, and being quite lazy about editing the video, bouncing release ideas back and forth. When we decided to go to Europe again for the summer, we knew we needed to wrap it all up. Blade Days coincided as a perfect deadline for release, so we got in contact with R-A-D and Christian Berg, and he confirmed our request. So we devoted our last few months in South America to really crack down on the project. Seeing the video in the deep end of a bowl with a bunch of amazing homies from all over the world was pretty incredible. It couldn’t have gone any better (other that a few audio skips). We also set up a little donation box and made some quick cash to eat for a few days. Thank you everyone for that.

Are you happy with the reception the video has gotten so far? If you care to disclose a number, how many times did the video get downloaded at this point?
We are very happy and incredibly blessed with the way it has been received. We haven’t heard anything negative about it so far, but negative comments tend to stay with negative groups of people. Ones that we don’t pay mind to… I don’t like to get into numbers, as it’s quite personal, but unfortunately it’s not as much as you would hope, but it is absolutely incredible to make something off of your passion. LOVE. It’s all relative when it comes down to it. Do you measure our richness by money or by inspiration and imagination? A few bucks to somebody is gold, while to someone else it’s change in the pocket. You know?


What was your reaction when you first saw Louis back UFO Foch’s long ledge?
When Seba got hit, we were forced to live in Lyon due to the extreme circumstances. He was bed ridden for two and a half months. Bina would go skating at Foch all the time with the local dudes, and Louis is one of the modern masters of Foch. Bina saw him backside it one day, and knew he needed to film it for the movie. Louis has filmed it before, but as he says, “never with a proper fisheye” hahaha.

Did you guys try that 4 sets fakie stair ride in La Défense where that dude took a nasty fall?
Hahaha no no. We came out of the train and were looking around skating the station rails, and that dude was trying the fakie bash and ate so much shit. We busted the camera out just in time to catch his next attempt, and again, he got destroyed. We talked to him afterwards, and he was like a funny little anime character from Spain, just rolling around on RB Downtowns. Quite a strange person indeed, but he was very stoked and had some good vibes.


Do you think getting pulled by Farmer on a bike gives some kind of super powers, considering how fucking sick Bina’s makio to fishbrain on the wall rail is?
The run-up for that trick is uphill, and on the beach, fighting oncoming ocean winds. So getting speed is pretty shit. Bina had asked Chris to tow him, kind of as a joke. He had a split shin at the time, but had enough power to send Bina flying at it, and he laced it first try before any cameras were out. We pulled out the cameras, and he sent him into lacing it again, back to back. So in short, yes. If you ever want to land a trick twice in a row, call Farmer, and tell him to bring his bicycle.

Now that this is all said and done, what can we expect from the Haitian in the future? Any new project you guys are working on?
No expectation is better, but if you want to expect then expect something different. We filmed an entire project while living in Chile, and are going to start working on that soon. Unfortunately, two of the most important tapes from the trip got destroyed. But hopefully we can salvage what we have and create something nice to watch.

Any last words of wisdom you’d want to share with the world, shout outs and thank you’s?
To anyone who has not been backpacking though Europe, go, now. Don’t wait on that shit. We all hope to never miss another European summer. This list is of no particular order, and if you’re not on it and feel you should be, don’t kill us, we love all of you. One million thanks to our new European homies that are now family, little Dom Bruce, Dylan Davis, TZ, Martim, Leon and the boys in Mordor, Umberto, Vasco and the French ravers, Oli Short, Dom Wagner and Felix, Jojo and anyone who helped with Summerclash and Roskilde, Kåre and his parents, Christian and Marie, Anna and Kimmie, and everyone in CPH, Ivo and Fin, Louis, Elodie, and Jaqueline. Simon and his girl, Etienne Camus and his aunt Isabelle, Nomades Skate Shop, Clément and Raphaëlle, JP, Thibault, Tony the tiger, Victor and Mathilde, all of the Lyon homies, and everyone else that we cross paths with. DO WHAT YOU LIKE.

Keep the guys on the road, and download the Reincarnation Tour here:

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