Opposing time zones are the worst.
I’d been meaning to reach out to Karina for several days leading up to the release of her latest Vans video.
And in an ideal world, this interview would’ve seamlessly coincided just as Haiku dropped online.
But alas, the nine hour time difference, coupled with pre-premiere pressures, post-premiere hangovers, conflicting schedules and a heavy dose of socialising on both parts, our call gave way to the art of rescheduling.
Hey Karina, how are you?
I’m super good. Super tired from these last few days. We’ve just been non-stop, it’s been super fun.
How was your premiere last week? I saw you guys had a live score right?
Yes! This band Monde UFO, they’re an LA based band. They had little time to practice because of Jimmy and my late delivery but somehow pulled it off. Everything was down to the last minute. And Brian (Bartus) did the whole original soundtrack and then played it live with a seven piece. It was incredible. Jimmy and I really wanted the band to live score from the beginning and Brian suggested that I do the spoken word live as well. He also had the idea to it live since there’s a little bit of narrative in the form of spoken word throughout the film. So he suggested I do the spoken word live which I initially was like, “Oh my gosh! That’s so nerve-wracking. But I’m down.” I mean I’m already surfing and dancing in this movie, now I’m speaking over it. But it actually turned out really cool and it was fun to be a part of it.
Sounds rad. I think that’s such a great way to premiere a video with a live score and spoken word. Feels very immersive.
Totally. I mean just the energy in the room with the live band. Everyone was…..in it. Y’know what I mean? And Daniella, Alex’s girlfriend had prepared all these roses for everyone in the front two rows of seats. And then as soon as the credits rolled they just started throwing the roses up on stage. It was so fun.
I wanted to ask, since you and Jimmy co-directed the piece. How was making a movie with someone you’re also dating?
There was definitely some times where Jimmy would be like, “you need to leave the house”. Because I’d just be looking over his shoulder. It definitely got hard at times. But it was good because I feel like I’d have no control if someone else was doing it. We really got to work together. And sometimes he’d be like, “you’ve really got to trust me on this”. And I’m glad I did because he ended making a beautiful edit. But to answer your question, it was definitely tough at some points for sure. But I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.
Where did you shoot the sequence in the room with red floors and red walls?
Oh yeah, that’s a bar right up the road from our house in Bali actually. It’s like, a record bar, and then you go behind the door and it’s a low key bar that these guys from Jakarta made. When we were shooting it we were like, “woah this is so Twin Peaks red room feeling.”
That’s exactly the vibe I got.
Yeah, that’s definitely an influence. We kinda put our spin on it with the reverse dancing, almost as a reference to the characters speaking backwards in Twin Peaks. It was fun.
How was it deciding who to feature in the film? It was sick to see Holly (Wawn) with some clips. And then Noah (Collins) in there, despite not riding for Vans.
Well Noah’s been spending a bunch of time with us because he’s been in Bali a lot the past two years. And every trip we went on, he was already there so it was like, perfect, let’s put him in. And then my brother’s in it because he’s been a huge inspiration for my surfing. That’s the whole reason I thought surfing was cool when I was younger because my big brother did it. So I took him on the trip to Mexico, hence why he’s in the first section. And Lola, I mean, that’s obvious. And then Al (Knost), because he’s been a big inspiration for me growing up. And with Holly, it was just a nice contrast with all the surfing featured to have Holly in there doing an air and her powerful surfing was much needed I felt like. She’s just fun to have around.
Oh for sure, I bumped into her in Sydney a few weeks back with Rowan and the Vans crew and we all went to see Drugdealer play live.
That’s rad! I feel like Drugdealer’s on a huge tour right now. We’re gonna see them next week in Joshua Tree.
Well enjoy! It was one of the best live performances I’ve seen in a long time! So what’s your plans from here on in? I guess we’ll being seeing you in Rio in May for the next Duct Tape?
Yeah I’m excited for that as I’ve never been! I’ve just finishing shaping two boards for the Duct Tape Festival too. It feels like the first one in a while. Be good to get the gang back together.
Yeah I’m stoked, I missed Cape Town and the US Open.
Oh, you didn’t miss anything at the US Open. They’re not even doing one there this year.I heard they can’t even hang the pride flag up at Huntington Beach now. It’s’ banned. How wild is that? I don’t even know how that can be a thing. It’s so crazy to me.
That’s so fucked. But then HB has always been a little fucked.
So what else is planned? You guys taking a breather after finishing this project or you going straight into the next one?
I mean even as we were finishing this one, we were getting so many new ideas. Like, we probably should’ve planned more shots. But I feel like, now moving forward, we kinda have a much better idea of how to do it. Because we didn’t necessarily storyboard any of the shots, a lot of it was improvised. Which was fun. But moving forward I feel like we’d plan a lot more next time. Looking back there’s a lot we’d probably have done differently but if we didn’t have a deadline, the movie probably wouldn’t have come out.
So where are you the majority of the time now? Are you living in Bali?
Well I’m not technically living there but I do have two dogs and a house there and it’s where I’ve been for the majority of the last three years. So kinda based there which does make it more expensive when traveling.
Well I guess you can travel to Australia a bit more often?
I can’t. I’m banned for three years. But it’s almost been two years already.
Whoa! I had no idea.
Yeah I overstayed my visa during covid. I got the waiver to get in during covid because Jimmy has family over there. And I asked for a six month visa and they sent it back saying approved. But I didn’t read that it was only for three months. And we’d been planning to leave after three months anyway. But with state lockdowns we couldn’t get back over from east coast to west coast. So we just decided to stay and then when I was leaving I got told I couldn’t return for three years.
Heavy. Well I hope the rest of your trip goes smooth,. How much longer you staying in the U.S. for?
We’ve got one more premiere in Laguna Beach at my local surf shop growing up and then heading back to Bali for another screening which will be rad.
I take it Monde UFO won’t be doing a live score for that one.
No! I would love that! Honestly just watching Brian playing, handling two instruments and doing vocals live, just made it.
Maybe more surf premieres need to incorporate a live score.
They really do, it just creates so much good energy.
Well all the best and catch you in Rio in a couple of months!
Thanks so much. See you in Rio!