AL BOGLIO INTERVIEW
If you were skateboarding in Australia in the ’90s, you’ll no doubt remember Time, the core skate company owned by Al Boglio and Christian West. Time was known for their classic clock logo and a few groundbreaking video productions, including New Found Men, Money and Tempo filmed on the East Coast of Australia in the mid and late ’90s. You may also remember Al Boglio’s skating – he was known for his huge pop and smooth flow. As of today, 08/08/18, Time is back. In light of their return, we caught up with co-founder, Al Boglio, to talk about skateboarding in the ’90s, what he’s been up to over the past two decades and what’s in store for the brand going forward. If you’re too young to remember those days, sit back and enjoy some Australian skate history.
Let's talk about what's been going on with you since Time stopped back in 2000.
Yeah, it’s exciting to see key shops backing Time once again. Christian West and I started Time around Christmas 1994 and had a great run until we decided to put it on ice in June 2000, right before the GST and the Internet revolution.
At that point, I felt the urge to explore and travel, which I did for a year before the stars aligned with Jérémie [Daclin] and Cliché in 2001. At first, I was helping streamline the distribution and global reach, then I managed the short-lived Link footwear project that Salomon and adidas started. They decided to stop Link in 2005 and that’s when I was put in place to direct Cliché.
I definitely wore a lot of different hats over the years and am proud we got Cliché to resonate on a global level. We opened the doors for some of the best brands right now, like Palace and Polar.
Yeah, so tell us about running Cliché.
In 2007, I was getting strong signs that Salomon was not interested in skateboarding anymore, so I connected with Gary Valentine who liked the idea of adding a fresh brand alongside Enjoi and Almost. Dwindle made Cliché boards for years and I had good personal connections with Steve Douglas and Bod Boyle who ran everything there. We had less budget to play with after the Salomon years, but answering to skateboarders was a much-needed change and we were able to really tap into amazing production, quality and logistical resources from Dwindle.
They asked me to relocate to Los Angeles in 2013, so I focused on North America for three years while still remotely managing Jérémie and Eric Frenay who sat in the Cliché office in Lyon. In late 2016, I was informed that Cliché would stop. They offered for us to buy the trademark but after reflection, Jérémie, Eric and I thought it was best to move on. We almost started a new board brand, but in my eyes, Lucas [Puig] was key to it all and he had better options on the table. We wanted to start fresh if anything. I also had started conversations with adidas on a possible role in Portland but I had just moved back to France from LA, the timing was off.
Now you’re working for adidas, right?
I was fortunate enough to take 2017 off with my severance, which gave me time to reflect on everything, skate a lot more, in its purest form and hit ‘refresh’ for the next play. I did have the idea of creating my own agency in Europe, representing the best skateboarders, so I reached out to Ryan Clements about a possible joint venture. Everything started to accelerate this past January, lining up the possible roster of skaters and very close to signing the deal with Ryan, but adidas reached out about a possible role back in May. It took some time with lots of back and forth, but I am now officially working for adidas skateboarding while based in Lyon. I always wanted to be part of it, all the connections with Jascha Muller, Paul Shier, Kerry Fisher, Neil Chester, and other friends over there like Lucas, working closely on past Cliché collaborations and so on. Dream come true.
Tell us about starting Time with Christian West back in the ’90s.
I decided to quit Prime Skateboards and start an Australian board brand with Westy, just the two of us with a small bank loan. We started so small, screening Omni blanks in his parents’ garage on the Goldy. Westy would print them all, mind you – they were one-colour graphics [laughs]. But yeah, Time quickly elevated because we were fortunate to have skaters like Ryan [Denereaz], Ben [Harriss] and Greg [Stewart] skating for us in its infancy, those guys were hands down the most stylish skaters in Oz. Their footage from the video New Found Men in 1995 still stands today.
Where did you end up? Was it a big operation or did it remain a small work-from-home style set gig?
We moved the operations from Runaway Bay to Darlinghurst in mid-1995, started to make boards with PS STIX in the USA and by ’98, grew to the point where Westy and I could pull a salary each and play golf every other afternoon. It was a home-style set up for sure, but the fax machine was running hot and Westy’s Nokia mobile phone bills were enough to pay a top am a monthly salary these days [laughs].
Who designed the clock logo and the rest of your artwork?
Wade Burkitt came up with the clock when Westy, Wade, Dion [Kovac], [Paul] Brabenec and myself lived on Bourke Street. I wrote the word Time, which sits below the clock. Most of the artwork was from Steve Tierney and Paul Brabenec. Years later, I was so stoked I was able to get them both involved with Cliché graphics.
Why did you and Christian decide to cease business back in 2000?
The GST was tough. A lot of businesses were a bit lost on how to adapt to it and we were also at a point where we needed investment to grow. Our resources were limited and one day our minimums with PS Stix tripled. I guess we were outselling Element, Mad Circle and New Deal in Australia so who knows, maybe their Australian distributor at the time made one of those calls. Then the Australian dollar was $0.49 to the US in 2000. These are just some of the factors that led us to stop it. We did have interest from people to buy it but we decided to travel.
After all these years, what made you decide to kick Time back into gear?
It’s funny, I started the Time Instagram in 2015, posting old catalogue photos and boards, just for pure nostalgia. I caught a comment from Sammy Winter one day, saying, “Let’s collab”. Next thing you know the Last Call x Time product is being delivered. Just seeing the clock logo back up on board walls was so cool. Everything sold out and the interest was sparked again.
Fast forward to a few months ago, when I was chatting with [Andrew] Brophy and he mentioned Ben O’Neil was a big Time fan back in the day and was thinking about making some re-issues. I got his number, we had a really long talk and everything made sense; if Westy and I were to start again, it would be with Ben and 4128 Distribution.
So who is involved in the company now?
Christian is in Sydney and is sitting on a goldmine of footage that we have started to leak, Ben is in Brisbane, runs the production, logistics and sales and I’m in France orchestrating the capsules and creative to release.
The big question on everyone's lips is, who’s on the team?
Right now, we want to make some cool capsules every quarter and build the brand’s identity back up with key shops that know the place we held in Australian skateboarding heritage. The “Once upon a Time" capsule is all black and white following up from the back cover of your issue with Jake Hayes on the cover. We’ll add more colour to the “Christmas Time” capsule, and then likely focus the next 2019 capsules with some of the OG guys. But we also want the new gen involved, so who knows, maybe some young Aussie grommets will fit right in, very soon.
Al's Slam cover, poster and a couple of spreads from his interview in issue 28, January 1995.
The new release from Time is available at 1991 Skate Shop, 335 Skate Supply, ABD Skate Supply, Beyond Skate, Daily Grind Skate Co, Fast Times, Kingpin Supply, Locality Store, OCD Skate Shop, Parliament Skate Shop, Precinct Skate Shop and Jimmy's Skate and Street.