Flat Spot Skateboards 222 King Street West

Kristin and I first had the chance to check out Canadian Winter at the Snow Bowl back in February and were blown away by this hip hop crew. There was something about them that drew you in and allowed you to engage with the beats and the rhymes and dance along. We were looking forward to seeing them again soon, but we didn’t have to wait too long… just until March! Kobi got in touch with us, inviting us to be extras in Canadian Winter’s upcoming music video! Kristin and I were so glad and honoured to have been asked to be a part of a music video shoot and theirs, at that. Imagine our excitement then when we found out that the music video was for “Get The Show on the Road”! Definitely a full circle moment. Kristin had included this song on her February Playlist, describing how well the song fit with the Tour since each time we check out a tour stop, we’re essentially getting the show on the road. Kristin and I both knew it was a hit from first listen and were excited to be a part of the music video. After all, we’ve been trying to try new things around the city.

While the Tour initially started out with checking out places we’d never been before in Hamilton, such as shops and restaurants around the city, it has definitely expanded into trying new things, things we’ve either just never tried before, or in some cases, we haven’t had the guts to. Here I present the I Heart Hamilton Tour Checklist, our version of a bucket list which includes things that we’ve wanted to do before we die. Think along the lines of The Buried Life (a show Kristin and I both love, by the way) and you’ve got our Checklist. We were curious to see the song brought to life and especially curious as to what role we would be playing as extras! We’d deliberated about what to wear, especially since we’d be on camera (and what does one wear to a video shoot anyway??) and in the end, decided on denim jackets and hats. Hats were a must.

The two of us arrived a bit early so in typical Tour espionage/spy mode, we found ourselves at a Tim Horton’s across the street, on the lookout for anything of the music video shoot variety, including the guys from Canadian Winter, of course. It wasn’t long before people began to show up and we headed over to Flatspot, quickly chatting with Johnny as the equipment and gear was unloaded and heading inside to check out the space and get in on the action.

When we first stepped into Flatspot, I felt like I was in high school again. This skateboard shop certainly brought back memories from when my brother Deven used to skateboard, going all out and getting the sweetest kicks (Vans, if I remember correctly) and the coolest decks, fitting him for his skateboarding adventures with his friends around the neighbourhood. The walls in the front of the store are adorned with rows of skate shoes, ranging from DCs to Vans. As you walk towards the back, the walls on either side are lined with colourful skateboard decks, ranging in design, surrounding a stage where the video shoot took place. For anyone who’s into skateboarding, I suggest you check this place out for all your skater needs, from hats to shoes to wheels and skateboard decks.

As we waited for the crew to set up the shoot, Kristin and I took in our surroundings, curious about the concept of the video. We spent some time thinking back to MTV’s show “Making the Video,” where people had the opportunity recreate music videos by their favourite artists, from getting makeovers from head to toe to learning how to lipsync.

There were about ten or so of us extras who were in the “audience”. The concept of this portion of the video was simple: a Canadian Winter performance in Flatspot. Wearing limited edition Flatspot tees and some cool kicks, the guys of Canadian Winter hit the stage. Cue the “roll playback” and we were ready to go! Kobi rocked his scarf-adorned mic, singing quietly along to the playback (though at one point miming, British slang for lipsyncing – I giggled at that) while Kojo drummed away on his bongo and DJ Johnny was on decks, spinning away.

There’s a lot of detail that goes into filming a music video. Time was spent time by director Lee Skinner (of local artists group People Who Make Things) and the crew discussing where the audience should be situated in relation to the stage and directing the extras to get close, filling in any extra gaps. At one point, we were right up to the stage, merely a few inches from Kobi. It was neat to watch the process of deciding frame by frame how and what to shoot. The camera was fitted into a wicked cool handmade contraption, allowing for easy maneouvering around the space. Our role was to act like we were actually at a Canadian Winter show. Having been to one before, it wasn’t hard for Kristin and I to get into it, especially with our hip hop personas, Homie K and A.V.I. The first few takes were a great warmup and we were encouraged to bring more energy. Soon enough, the group of us were swaying, bobbing our heads and grooving along to the song, even singing along to the chorus “get the show on the road” and raising our hands in the air. After snagging a few shots of the group, it was our turn to be on camera. Kristin and I looked at each other nervously as the playback rolled. As the camera swept over the audience, I think we both pretended that it wasn’t there and paid attention to the song, putting as much feeling behind our moves as we could.

After an hour of filming, our part was done. As we stepped back and watched the closeup shots of Johnny and Kojo being set up, we chatted with Kobi and Sara London and learned that she would be making a cameo! Kristin and I can’t wait to see her in the video. Be sure to keep an eye out for her when the video is released.

We later learned that this was just one portion of the music video. I don’t want to give anything away, but parts of the video were also shot at places like This Ain’t Hollywood and Baltimore House, which, if you’ve been inside, you’ll understand why it is the perfect location for a video shoot. And of course, there will be shots of CW driving on the road, literally getting the show on the road.

So marks another ‘to-do’ on our checklist that we can happily check off! We’ve always thought of ourselves as rockstars and now we’re music video stars. Canadian Winter and their amazing vid crew are putting the finishing touches on this video which should be out very soon. It’s so great to see a group like Canadian Winter incorporating as much of Hamilton as they can into their video. I am certain that the finished project will do justice to the song, not only showcasing some Hamiltonian talent, but also what Hamilton as a city has to offer. And here I will end by imploring YOU to get the show on the road.

xoxo Avi

Update: June 28, 2012 – The video is released! Can you spot us?

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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