Interview: JP Walker

p: T. Bird

By my calculation's this is JP Walker's 19th video part. Whether filling a timeline with nothing but a stack of switch tricks, instigating the double cork craze, flossing his fronts in a Brabus, zipline afterbanging, Ninety-degree concrete corner redirecting, or doing a frontisde 270 to backlip way back in 1999, JP Walker has thrown a few checks in, but never actually slowed down. JP is widely credited as "The Don" of the modern jib movement and this distinction is definitely due. As a part of the late 90s new-school vanguard, JP's natural jumping talents made people pay attention. Since Walker was a superior rider, everything he did was taken seriously, including the jibbing. Video parts became the medium to document this urban uprising and in no time, brim beanies, green bindings, and pants pulled over the highbacks became a ubiquitous part of the on-hill uniform for kids from SLC to Stowe to Squamish and at all the down bars in between. Now with his 2013 "Jibberish" full part spiking feeds, the Don has done it once again.

-Pat Bridges


What led you and Simon to start "Jibberish?"

It was done mostly out of necessity. Simon and I obviously both filmed with People for a few years. People seemed to be going through a bit of a struggle putting together a crew so we joked about it. "Well hey, we might have to do our own online thing." Then we mentioned that to our sponsors, and they were like, "Yeah, you guys should do that." A lot of people were pushing us to do our own thing so that's how it went down. We were hyped to do it, but it was pretty much out of necessity.

p: Pasi Salminen

As somebody who has filmed for independent movies, team videos, and now handling your own webisode series, what are the pros and cons of each?

There are a lot. Some people would say it's a pro that you have complete control over the webisode thing, but in other ways that's a full con because at the end of the day everything is on you. I started off with Mack Dawg. They knew what they were doing so it was relatively easy for me to jump into their template. When we started doing the team stuff with Forum, I definitely had more of a role in those videos. I edited my "True Life" part myself, which was like the first time I ever did that from start to finish. That's sick because you get more control. Now with "Jibberish", it's just everything. It's the whole production. The look of every single photo and every Instagram that goes out has to come from us or be cleared by us. It eats into your shredding time. We're basically doing the same thing we always have, just filming a video part, but now we're producing a series of webisodes, too.

Do you now plan out your season based on what trips will be interesting for the series or base it on what places will be better to stack shots for your full part?

I try not to sacrifice the standards that I've always had for video parts just because I'm doing this web series. We always said that with "Jibberish," the main focus is still the full part. I think that I stayed pretty true to my standards. I just go where I am going to get shots and get the best stuff for my full part. If it so happens that we get some other stuff for cool webisodes, then so be it. And that's kind of what happened. Obviously, I never planned to do that rap video one but it just happened that the guys we hooked up [with] to film in Finland were Finnish rappers. They had all the stuff dialed and I got super hurt on that trip so I was just like, "Fuck it, I'm gonna do a rap thing." But in the back of my head, I did have a rough template laid out. Like hey, we're going to do an episode at The Spot, because that's easy. We are always there filming, so we should be able to knock that one out for sure. And then I wanted to do the handplant contest, so I knew that would be another episode. We always talked about doing a backyard setup at some kid's house. It just so happened that we were in the right neck of the woods to make that happen when it did and so that's kind of how it went.

p: E-Stone

The Spot always seems to draw controversy and obviously the rap video had its share of haters. How do you deal with the fact that we are in an era where your outlet for creativity is the same outlet for your critics, whether they are qualified to critique or not? 

I've always had stuff that people tripped out on. Even before the internet you'd hear about it. "Why is JP standing there with his shirt off at the end of that shot in 'Simple Pleasures?'" Since day one it seems like I have had controversial shit and I don't do it on purpose. Even in this part I know there are a couple of things that people are just going to dig right into because they are easy targets. That is what it is. That's the type of stuff I put out and it gets people's attention and that's good, you know? I don't know why people trip out on The Spot so hard. I think a lot of it is 'cause we lock it down and we don't let people come out there. I don't know why that gets people so fired up. Then the rap thing was just funny; like, whatever. I'm not so worried about my image or what people are going to say that I'm gonna stop myself from having a good time or blow an opportunity to do something fun.

What was your favorite episode of the year this season?

Hmmm. I like our full parts, obviously. I would say either the rap video or the handplant one are probably my favorites for sure. The rap one was fun to make. The handplant one was just sick because it has such a variety of people in it. That was a huge undertaking to even make that contest happen and get everything together. It's kind of a tie between those two.

p: Jibberish

Who do you target your riding to now?

I always try to bring it back to how I felt filming my first video parts. I still want to get the best stuff that I can, like industry best or above, you know? I go to a spot and ask myself, "What is the sickest thing I can do on this thing?" Not be like, "Oh, I would 180 out of this but so-and-so might think that's lame because that's like not the hottest thing right now." I'm not deep in it like that, but there are people that are. In some ways that can be good, but I just try to put something out that my fans are going to be hyped on. I just go to spots with a creative, open mind and do the best things I can on them. I try not to overthink it.

Who do you think is setting the pace right now online?

Eero Ettala has always done a good job with his stuff and he has kind of been running that template the longest. He was the first guy to dive in and do it good. He does his a little different than ours. He puts everything in every episode and then has his full part. We hold our stuff, so our best stuff is a surprise at the end.

p: T. Bird

Do you see yourself ever moving back towards the more traditional film route? Can we expect another "Jibberish" series next season?

I don't know. We haven't even talked about it. I'm open to whatever. I know StepChild has been talking about doing a team video for a while, but I don't know if that's gonna happen next year. I know ThirtyTwo has mentioned it at times. A project like that would be cool. In a way, it would be a relief to not have so much responsibility on a day-to-day basis. The landscape has changed a lot with all this video stuff. I have just adapted to continue doing what I like to do. If that means doing Volume 3, then I'm down to do that. More and more people are moving into this online thing. It's hard to get out of it now that it has all kinda gone this way.