Interview | PCP Crew

Jonathan Begley let us in on the snowboard scene in Helsinki and 'no budget' film making

Finland has always been stacked with ace riders, and Helsinki’s got a cult-like reputation for being one of the sickest places for street riding. We’ve seen shit loads of great footage throughout the years hailing from this city and its locals, but sadly, things aren’t what they used to be.

“There used to be many local crews filming every winter, a bunch of rail jams, premieres and other events”

We sat down with Jonathan Begley from the Finnish snowboard crew PCP to discuss their latest no-budget production ‘Dissociate’. Jonathan filled us in on what the scene in Helsinki is like nowadays and how people have gone from watching 45min VHS snowboard classics on repeat to barely having the attention span to watch through a 30-sec Insta clip.

Tell me a bit about PCP, who are you guys?
Jonathan: We are a group of friends based in Helsinki that like to do a lot of things together, but snowboarding is what really connects us. We have all been riding in Talma for years and just naturally started to hang out and film snowboard videos. PCP isn’t a strictly defined bunch of people, though. In our videos, there are those that are most active and driven to ride a lot and hit street spots, but there are more of us that can be considered part of PCP.

Henri Kemiläinen. Photo: Jonathan Begley.

How’s the snowboard scene in Helsinki?
Jonathan: To be honest, the snowboard scene is pretty weak compared to what it used to be. There used to be many local crews filming every winter, a bunch of rail jams, premieres and other events. Now there isn’t much of that left. The winters have also become warmer and shorter… While the scene might not be what it used to be, it feels very friendly and it seems like it has been getting a little bit better again. We’ve been seeing a lot of people riding in Talma this season. Would be sick to see the younger generation step up and start filming some videos. Hopefully, they’re not too busy with Instagram.

Heikki_Kantanen. Photo: Juho_Varjokallio.

You’ve been filming ‘no budget’ snowboard films for more than 10 years now. Looking back to when you first started, how do you feel that things have changed?
Jonathan: It kind of hasn’t. It’s still all about having a camera, a bunch of friends, finding spots and having a great time. In the end, that’s all we need. But of course, a lot has changed too. Filming takes a lot of time and that can be tricky to find in between jobs and other responsibilities. At least none of us has a kid yet! Another thing is the winter becoming shorter in Helsinki, which forces us to make trips up north for more snow. Last winter was pretty good while filming for ‘Dissociate’, so we got to hit a bunch of Helsinki spots too.

Joel Pircklen. Photo: Juho Varjokallio.

Considering people’s attention span has gone from watching 45min snowboard films on repeat to barely having the patience to watch a 30sec clip on Insta, where do you reckon snowboard films are heading?
Jonathan: Clearly the videos are becoming shorter for the most part. In a way, this is really cool too, because it makes it easier to commit to filming a video. Some of the “films” these days are just five minutes long, but they can be really sick. It’s also nice to have shorter videos that are easy to watch and get hyped on while eating breakfast before riding. But it is true that videos are not on repeat the same way they used to be. There are so many videos coming out now that it is hard to watch them more than once. We all used to have our classic films and parts that we’d watch over and over, but that’s probably not the case for kids now. It would be interesting to know what they think about snowboarding films today. Maybe we should be asking the kids this question.

Jonathan Begley. Photo: Juho Varjokallio.

Who would you say are your biggest influencers in snowboarding? Why?
Jonathan: For us the single biggest influence is probably Videograss. It seemed like they created a new direction for snowboarding films that were more down to earth when snowboarding had just gone crazy with the filming techniques and everything. They also had the coolest riders like Jake OE and Jonas Michilot.

What’s next for PCP?
Jonathan: We enjoy what we do, so this winter we’ll definitely be out there filming. Every year we try to progress with new spots, better tricks, filming etc. Hopefully, we also get to hit some new locations in Finland and abroad. Now we just need some snow. Check us out on Instagram, if you want to know what’s up @pcpdoingthings.


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