Marshall is the person that made me start thinking about doing interviews in the first place. So many people have heard about AWHOU! in some way or another but nobody really knows anything about it except for the media we put out and the stickers we slap on every board we see. Marshall has been a driving force behind AWHOU! since day one. Apart from his usually rowdy persona he doesn’t share much of himself though and he is the last person to give himself credit or seek validation for anything he does. I honestly believe he deserves a lot more attention than he is getting and with this interview I am trying to give a voice to someone who is usually perfectly fine with being behind the scenes playing with his camera or busting some kickflips. Marshall is tough as nails. He is being called indestructible and a punk among his friends but he also has a heart of gold and a deep understanding of things in his own crooked but absolutely loveable way. We appreciate you, Marshall. Thank you for everything.
– Jeff Ellis (June 2016)
Introduce yourself, Marshall! Where are you from? Why are you so small and why is your hair so curly?
(laughs) I’m Marshall, 26 years old. Originally from outside of Berlin in Königs Wusterhausen just like Wolf, Bauchi, Tobi, Stephan and others.
Do you know each other from school?
Some of them. I have been to the same school with Bauchi. Stephan also which is kind of a funny story. We have been to the same junior school but we can’t remember each other at all.
What the hell is a ‘Brettschneider’ supposed to be?
I suppose it’s another terminology for carpenter. In Germany it’s very common to have the family name taken from a profession, like Müller for Miller or Schneider for Tailor. ‘Brettschneider’ might just be another word for carpenter or lumberjack or anything along those lines.
Why did your parents name you after an amplifier?
Maybe because my dad is an Iron Maiden fan.
How did you discover the wonderful world of skateboarding?
I have found my very first skateboard on a train when I was 14 or 15. I took the train and every time it stopped I would hear something like a ‘Klonk!’ above me. As I looked there to check I would find a skateboard
in the luggage rack. When I wanted to get off the train I asked around if it belonged to anyone and then I just took it. It was an incredibly shitty board. Probably from a discounter or something like that. But that’s what I started skating on. A friend of mine, Michi Krüger, would then teach me how to Ollie. I was really ambitious for about two or three years but in the end it sort of died down for just as long until I came to Berlin when I was 19. I would go to Tempelhof airfield on my skateboard where Bauchi and his friends would hang with their longboards. For the first three months I would swap my skateboard with one of their longboards. I quickly realised that I would longboard a lot more than I skateboarded so I decided to get my very own longboard.
Do you remember which deck you got?
Not entirely sure. It was called something like ‘Drop’ or ‘Carve’ but it was definitely by Gravity. Shaped like a pintail with a huge kicktail. I loved the board but I wouldn’t ride it anymore. I stuck to Gravity for a long time and I still find them to be a great company because they make fantastic boards.
You’re the type of rider who eats shit a lot. Why do you still keep longboarding?
Because I love it. What really inspires me is what happens after I ate shit. When you finally land the trick and you’re in that happy place. I also really enjoy skating on my own. To just zone out and be with yourself and your board only.
Is there someone you look up to? Somewhat like a role model?
Tons. Among my friends it was first and foremost Philipp Mitbach. I love how he dances. Even when he messes up it looks absolutely calculated. He has heaps of style.
Other than that I looked up to the established Gravity team riders like Brett Edwards. Also Adam & Adam from Loaded Boards, who would teach me my first dancing steps, and Luutse Brouwer from Simple Longboards. Of course later on I would meet you and learn a lot from you as well. Wolf Naumann is also still killer and always has been.
Who do you like skating with the most?
My favourite person to skate with is Mor Wax. I love to just skate the city and discover spots with him. Or to just try silly stuff. He’s the person I have the most fun with.
You guys are somewhat like siblings, aren’t you?
My brother from another mother. (laughs) I don’t even know him for that long but I still have the feeling that I know him the longest. He has the biggest heart and he keeps on giving. He is not only an incredible skater but an even stronger character. You can learn from him as a human being and I wouldn’t want to miss him for the world. If you have the possibility to have a Mor in your life, I strongly advise you to take it!
Is there someone you really want to skate with in the future?
Curiously, the first name that comes to mind is Laurent Perigault. I’m a fan of his videos, the ‘Skate Everything’ mentality and all the travelling. I also really enjoy watching him. You could say I somewhat admire him but I don’t know him at all. I’m under the impression you can learn a lot from him as a person, though.
Other than that I feel like I have met most of the people I really wanted to skate with at some point in time already. They sort of grew into my life organically. People like Jongbin Jo from Korea, of course our AWHOU! guys or the Spaniards like Blin or Pablo from Famara come to mind. I wanted to skate with all of these people and over time it just happened.
If you had to name just one aspect of your life that longboarding has enriched, which one would that be?
I can’t. There’s the travelling, meeting people, the connecting. It’s like the richest type of soil you can metaphorically grow from as a person, if you will. As if the world has become much smaller, but also so much bigger at the same time regarding all the new possibilities I am presented with.
Where has your longboard taken you already and where do you really want it to take you in the future?
There are the annual Eindhoven trips with the AWHOU! gang. I have been to Nice, Italy once when I was just starting out. Also London two years ago comes to mind, which was an absolute blast. Just recently I have been to South Korea. Next on the list is definitely Israel. Hopefully I can realise that later this year or next year at the latest. I want to see what the scene and the spots look like, but I’m also looking to reunite with friends I have there. Shoutout to Long John, Yaniv and the Dasilva guys. I can’t wait for this!
Do you have any sponsors?
Yup, I am a team rider for Cosmo Longboards from South Korea for a about one and a half or even two years now. It feels like an eternity, yet still fresh. It came about when I was playing an online Game of SKATE with then-team rider for Cosmo Longboards, Simon Stiewe from Hamburg. Cosmo even shared the game on their Facebook page. I just so happened to win the game and so Cosmo approached me. The rest is history and I am a happy team rider for Cosmo Longboards ever since.
Tell us about the Berlin scene. Did it change in recent years?
I am deeply rooted in AWHOU!. It’s like my habitat. Other than that I feel like the scene has been bigger originally. You can see that in winter at Velodrom for instance. You never used to be alone there but now I find myself skating there by myself more and more often. Still, the scene is quite strong and has a lot to offer. There are great skaters, awesome spots and I do think it has developed quite nicely.
What makes the Berlin scene special in your eyes?
The familiarity. We are a sworn community. We all know each other privately and we spend a lot of time with each other outside of skating as well, which moulds us together even more. I also find the Berlin scene to be very progressive. Everyone tries new stuff and there is a lot of outside influence when people come to visit. And there’s always someone visiting just to skate with us. I feel like there’s always a lively exchange going on. The Berlin scene is just awesome. (laughs)
How about contests? Do you participate in any of them? Did you ever win anything?
I participate, yeah…(laughs) I’ve never really won anything. I got 4th place once in Osnabrück. I don’t consider myself a strong contest skater at all. I never seem to be able to show what I want to show, I am having lots of fun participating however and I do like the events. I prefer the get-together of the people itself. To reunite, to exchange or getting to know each other all a-new. Connecting, socialising and of course the After-Show-Parties…. I LOVE THE AFTER-SHOW-PARTIES! (laughs) This is what I usually look forward to the most rather than my contest runs, which are generally secondary. I do have a healthy sense of ambition, though, and I can be quite disappointed if it’s not going the way I want it to go. But I always enjoy myself.
Are you getting cold feet right before your runs?
Yes, every time. Even now that it’s my seventh or even eighth contest, my knees still get shaky like it’s my first one.
Back to AWHOU!. What does AWHOU! mean to you?
It’s just a cool gang.(laughs) AWHOU! in itself is basically just a name for us as a skate crew. To me however it is synonymous with family. When I’m down, it’s the people in AWHOU! who pick me right up. When I want to skate, it’s the people in AWHOU! who I’m going for a skate with. There’s a deep sense of togetherness. It’s not just a name anymore.
What does AWHOU! mean? Where does the name come from?
I don’t think AWHOU! has any meaning. I once tried to make something happen with the respective letters but it didn’t work at all in the end. How the term really came about is somewhat of an enigma, even to me. There are several possibilities. For instance the movie ‘300’. There was this one scene where someone asked ‘What’s your profession?’ and everyone would yell ‘AWHOU!’.
Another theory is that two of our friends, Oli and Matze, would always yell ‘AWHOU!’ when something dope happened or a nice trick was successfully landed. I remember when I was filming ‘Transitions’ with you and you landed a Varial Kickflip, I yelled ‘AWHOU!’ at the end of it. It kept appearing on several recordings and I just liked the sound and the feeling it had to it. Later on it would mutate into the wolf’s howling we’re now using it as. But still, the uncertainty prevails. It was suddenly there and it was awesome.
Unofficially, or maybe even officially, you’re the founder of AWHOU! Is that the way you see it as well?
Nah. I don’t think there’s a true founder in that sense. There are just too many influences that came together. For our first big skate movie ‘Seasons’ we used AWHOU! to have a name at all. I didn’t like the idea of using ‘Marshall Brettschneider Film’ as a name. I actually prefer giving meaning to something meaningless.
In the beginning, we also had a little group called ‘Kollektiv Rolln’ which disbanded in that time because we newly formed a much bigger crew, which was nameless then. It all sort of melted together and suddenly there was AWHOU!.
How would you define your role in AWHOU!?
I’m the punk! (laughs) But I don’t remember where that came from.
AWHOU! isn’t just a skate crew anymore for a long time now. There are a lot of movies and even contests are being organised. Where do you want to see AWHOU! in the future?
Tough question. I do like the contests, I like the movies and everything that comes with it. What’s important to me, though, is that AWHOU! never loses its family spirit. Regarding everything else I am absolutely open to everything that might happen. Bigger contests, better movies, maybe even clothes – of course under the condition that we stay true to ourselves and don’t become just a business.
Family sort of implies a somewhat closed group of individuals or community. Would you say AWHOU! defines itself through a fixed composition of people or-
(interrupts immediately) No! We are definitely open to everything. In this case, family doesn’t quite mean that you’re born into it and you die there as well. Everyone who chooses to be AWHOU! is AWHOU!. If you are sharing the same enthusiasm and passion as we do, if I can laugh and cry with you, you are AWHOU! to me. I don’t exclude. I don’t even think the person has to necessarily skate. We have exceptional skaters in our midst and at the same time there are people that are always with us who just skate and don’t care about busting out a banger. Stefano comes to mind here who is a great friend to me. Someone who I love to surround myself with because he is an extraordinary human being, who manages to make me laugh every time. He has a beautiful aura and I love to be with him just because he has a character that I truly love. And like that he is just as much AWHOU! as everyone else.
So, what do you do when you aren’t skating?
Cutting movies, working, music and I love spending time with my wonderful girlfriend.
How did you start making movies?
I always had a passion for film and photography. Although mostly film. Because of skating I finally had a reason to film. I was able to tell a story if you will. The two things just go hand in hand so well. It offers me the possibility to be in contact with people and to express myself creatively. To create something. Especially in skateboarding I like the creative process between skater and filmmaker. When the skater is trying to land a tough trick and the filmmaker is trying to capture it perfectly. When both happens it makes me at least as happy as the skater who finally got his trick. I truly love and appreciate these moments.
What do you prefer? Filming or being filming?
Filming! I definitely prefer being behind the camera rather than in front of it. There’s just too much pressure to land a certain trick or a get a line done right that instant. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I hate those moments.
Are you currently working on a movie?
On the biggest ever. (laughs) I am currently working on the sequel to ‘Seasons’, which is supposed to be much bigger and better than its predecessor. I have to admit there is some pressure building up. As of now I am already working on this movie for about two years with all the filming, sighting of material and editing. Plus, there have been crashed computers and loss of data. The process proved to be much more time consuming than I thought and I am happy to say that I have arrived at the final stages.
What can we look forward to in ‘Seasons 2’?
If you will, the first full-length motion picture in longboarding. I have planned for 30 to 40 minutes. There are going to be hard tricks, but not exclusively by all the well-known Berlin faces. We will see friends from Osnabrück, the Spaniards and Koreans, truly friends from around the world who made it in front of my camera. Correspondingly you will get to see different styles of skating not limited to Dance, Tricks and Bangers but also moments of friendship or utter stupidity and silliness like setting things on fire just to skate them. Just a whole lot of madness and good stuff.
We’ve been talking about the sequel this whole time and actually know nothing about the original ‘Seasons’. Tell us about it!
‘Seasons’ is the first big movie I tried making. I believe it’s been four or five years ago now. People tend to say stuff like ‘A longboard movie of ten or fifteen minutes length? Who wants to actually watch that?’ but it kind of worked out in the end.
Is there a favourite moment of yours in ‘Seasons’?
Lots. I really like watching the session of Wolf, Tobi and you in which you are opening beers with your skateboards. Or the one session at Velodrom where Tobi’s board gets stuck in the stone barriers and he can’t get it out anymore. I think I have watched this at least a thousand times.
You mentioned earlier that you are making music. What’s up with that?
I do make music! Originally I’m a bass player. Currently I am playing in a group called Marshall Ar.ts. Music is basically my first true love before I discovered skating. I have spent the lion’s share of my life making music and I have lived through just as many great times with music as I have with skating. Every Friday I’m hanging out with the same people in the same room to make some music. Next year I will be knowing these dudes for a longer time than I haven’t known them. This is the kind of friendship I truly appreciate and the kind that lasts. So definitely, after skating, my other true love.
Is there a motto that accompanies you through life?
Not in that sense. What’s important to me is that at the end of the day I can take a look in the mirror and can honestly say that this is me. I am true to myself and I am still a good person. It’s all I care for. I don’t want to lose myself or chase some kind of trend. I’m a simple person and that’s what I want to keep being. I don’t view myself as special, but just like everyone else. I am a human being with all my flaws and I constantly try to doubt whatever I am doing in a critical way. Within our group of friends it’s a principle of mine to provoke critical thinking to determine whether something is wrong or right. Whether you are on the right path or whether someone has taken the time to view something from a different perspective.
Give us some wisdom for future generations!
There’s always another doobie! (laughs)
Quick random questions: Your favourite colour!
Your favourite skate video?
Arbiter DK from Original Skateboards
Tea or Coffee?
Superman! Yeah, I know..
If you could choose a superpower, which one would be yours?
I would need two! Superpower number 1 would be the tongue of a gecko. It’s just incredibly practical in a lot of senses. If you need something – like a doobie for instance – you can just grab it… with your tongue… and it’s done. (laughs)
Superpower number 2 would the ability to make beer out of everything if I choose to.
What’s your spirit animal?
Describe yourself in 3 words!
Give me 5 minutes! (counts) I will leave it at that. (laughs)
Any last words?
I can only say that in this moment I am truly happy. All this reflecting and reviewing of my past years including all the skating, AWHOU! and a whole bunch of new people in my life makes me realise that those have been the best years of my life. I can’t really say much more.
I have been knowing you for a couple of years now and I want to use this opportunity to tell you that you’re a dope person. I am happy to know you and I am happy that we just had this conversation. I am also stoked that other people have the opportunity now to get a glimps of your world through this little interview.