The Quiet Leaf
Seoul, Korea. 2pm Raining.
I was sitting at a studio near Euljiro with Jin Yob Kin, founder of The Quiet Leaf, a quarterly magazine about skateboarding, photography, music and art. We had a chat about culture, photography, music and the weather. Somehow the weather seemed to matter to us that day - we both lived in Europe for a while.
What is The Quiet Leaf all about?
The Quiet Leaf is a print magazine based in Seoul. Each issue focuses on creative people and places within the skateboard scene of one country. As a bi-annual publication we produce two regular issues per year and additional special editions in collaboration with brands or stores etc. While for now we are primarily focusing on print, it is important to understand that The Quiet Leaf is more of a cultural platform than just a mag.
What is your connection with the skateboarding culture?
I'm a skater, and I grew up in a small town without a constant flow of information. I used to save up money to buy skate videos on VHS or back issues of Monster, Transworld and Thrasher. Those magazines were my source of information and they were consumed entirely from cover to cover. Naturally, I developed an interest in the culture. From board graphics and fashion styles to photography and music preferences. It was inevitable, and it was the best.
As a magazine, we try to keep those same values alive. The Quiet Leaf portrays people who are influential because of who they are and what they do, not because of the latest record they broke. They're not only skateboarders but also artists, musicians and photographers. All those creative disciplines are still prominent within the skateboarding culture, even though they are sometimes overshadowed by competition and cool kid swagism.
Birthplace : Bonn, Germany
Resides : Seoul, Korea
Stance : Goofy
Setup : Magenta 7,625, Independent 129, Bones 51mm
Favorite Trick : Sidewalk manuals
Favorite spot : "Cult", Seoul
Favorite item to wear :
If Only" long sleeve by Victoria Hong Kong
Why does Skateboarding matter to you?
Skateboarding matters to me because it helped me to become who I am. As a kid it provided me with a sense of identity. It's probably different for different skaters around the world, but I think skateboarding as a community is equipped with a great set of values. This may sound weird, especially with the industry grown so big, but you know what I mean. At the end it's all about having fun on your board and feeling absolute freedom when you push.
How do you feel now that you are back in Seoul?
It's different from the first time I came here. The first time I knew I wouldn't stay too long and, I guess I didn't want to get too attached to things. Same when I went to London after that. And then, when I came back here, I moved with everything I had. The mindset was different. I had finished all my studies and came here to stay. For the first time I put down my bags and started building something. And it's great, I can already look back and smile.
How do you get to work ? And what's usually on your desk ?
I used to work from home for about two years. Now we have an office space and I take a bus every morning. It's great, because it takes about forty minutes and I've decided to use the commute to read. Because, you know, sometimes you forget. Anyway, not sure about its status, but these are some items on my desk: 4 copies of our new issue, 9 stickers, 1 coffee mug, 2 coffee stains, 1 pen, 4 receipts and 1 used envelope that I use for notes.
Who is behind The Quiet Leaf? Are you working on it alone?
The Quiet Leaf is Sumin Lee and me. Sumin is our creative director and designer. She does the visual magic. I do the general directing, and most of the writing and photography. Black Thought of The Roots once said that the members of the band could change, but the core would always be him and Questlove. If you'd put the two in a string orchestra it would still be The Roots. I'm rhapsodizing, of course, but that's kind of how I see The Quiet Leaf.
How do you put an issue together?
I have different folders on my computer that contain names and information. Putting an issue together is far from a secret mission, but I take it quite seriously. The folders are named after places, and once a folder is full I can start to match names with categories, develop ideas and reach out to partners in crime. If things work out, I plan a trip to visit a local skater. Next are interviews and edits, translations and images, design and lots of coffee in between.
I have noticed that each issue has its own colour. Does colour play a certain role in your designs?
Actually, not every issue has its own specific colour. Our regular issues are classic plain with a lot of white space and often a black and white cover. Only for the special editions we come up with concepts to incorporate the identity of the brand or theme we work with.
Tell us what you've been up to since your last issue, and
when is Issue #6 coming out?
Since our last issue, we have worked with two brands to release special editions. The Vans Korea skate team released their first video, called <Gyesok Gyesok>, and we produced a "Making of" print documentation for it. The book includes interviews with the director and the riders, as well as a photo series that displays their 6-month project. It came out with the premiere of the video at the House of Vans Seoul. And in October, the adidas skateboard team came to Korea for the Skate Copa Court Seoul event. We followed them on their 6-day trip and made a special edition that portrays their journey before, during and after the event. It was released last week at the Year End Sesh party by Originals Korea. And currently, we're planning our next issue. We're aiming for February, but we'll see what the next year will bring. Follow us on instagram to keep in touch.
It seems like music plays an important role in your magazine. What does music mean to you and how do you incorporate it into the printed medium?
Music is a big part of every culture or sub-culture, it is a form of expression and in that respect very close to skateboarding. The videos I grew up watching again and again as a kid certainly influenced the way I skate or the way I value things in skateboarding, but subconsciously I believe it also influenced my taste in music. Generally speaking, I think music says a lot about someone's character, and thereby it plays an important role in our mag.
Can you put a mixtape together for Skate Create Unknown?
Of course! And since we've talked about how music says something about our character I'll compile a list of songs that are connected to The Quiet Leaf.
1 / DJ Okawari – A Cup of Coffee
2 / Jazz Liberatorz – When the Clock Ticks
3 / Eric Lau – It's Time
4 / Funky DL – The Nineties
5 / Perquisite feat. Benjamin Herman – I'm Walking