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Interview by Sean Black. Photos: Sean Kerrick Sullivan
Viktor Simco is a surprisingly large man. Both his physical stature and his personality fall outside of three standard deviations on the bell curve. Born in Texas and raised on the icy hills of Minnesota, Viktor is proof that more than steers and queers come from the Lonestar State…
Viktor! What’s up!?
Yo! Just enjoying summer man. Minnesota is fucking hot, but it’s been pretty nice weather…just going out on the lake every day, watching movies in the park, skating, and hanging out at some Minnesota Twins games.
Are you working right now?
Yeah, I’m doing a little landscape gig to make some extra money over the summer. But I just put my two weeks in so I’m gonna be going to school this fall studying International Business. I mean, somebody’s gotta be a manager for my brother. Hahaha. It would be so sweet just to go on tour with him.
For everyone who doesn’t know, who is your brother?
MTV Riff Raff aka Jody High Roller.
The famous rapper who got his start on MTV’s from Gs to Gents…
Hahaha. He doesn’t even like to be called a rapper anymore. He just does like so much shit. He’s like a crazy chameleon. I wouldn’t be surprised if he started singing country for a second. It’s crazy man, he’s so recognizable…he could be walking next to George Clooney and people would be like, “HOLY SHIT! IT’S RIFF RAFF!” When we were growing up in Minnesota, he used to be so quiet and he just played basketball. He moved down to Texas and started rapping when he was 20. Everyone from Minnesota was like…”that shy kid!?” But now he’s living in LA and he’s really making it happen. He just signed with Diplo’s label, Mad Descent.
So Riff Raff did a video recently with Dirt Nasty and Andy Milinokis called “Weirdo”. I’m pretty sure Nate Bozung had a cameo in it…
Hahaha BOZUNG! Yeah it was pretty monumental. He started following me on Instagram and Dirt Nasty commented on one of my photos after that! I was like damn! Haha but it was probably just because of my brother. It’s just such a small world. I think they all just met from being in that crazy Hollywood scene.
Hollywood! I can only imagine that place being a lot different from Minnesota. You’re not originally from Minnesota. What brought you there?
Well, I grew up in Texas but when I was in 6th grade I moved to Minnesota. Hahaha…well it was kind of a mandatory move. That year in 6th grade I lit a dumpster on fire in Texas…it was an accident…obviously. Haha, I’ve always just loved playing with fire. I guess I’m kind of a pyro. But the dumpster was kind of the last straw with my mom so I was sent to live with my dad at the bottom of Spirit Mountain in Duluth, MN. That’s what kind of got me into snowboarding…just snowboard every winter and skate every summer.
What was the local snowboarding scene like in Duluth?
To tell you the truth, there wasn’t much of a scene at all until Damage Boardshop opened up when I was 17. When they opened up, they sponsored me and I was like on their rookie team. I would just ride Spirit Mountain all the time but then I started taking trips down to Minneapolis. We had heard all the hype about the rope-tows at Troll and Hyland. We just wanted to get down there and do like 1,000 laps a day. That’s when I met Joe (Sexton), Jake Olsen-Elm, Jonas Michelot, Justin Hovee, and John Hodge.
Coming from a place with essentially no scene, how did snowboarding with those guys change your perspective on snowboarding?
Those guys pretty much paved the way for street snowboarding in Minnesota. I mean, there were guys like Micah McGinnity and Chad Otterstrom who came before but these younger guys had, like, a program going. They would take laps at Highland during the day to warm up and then go and hit a street spot after. Those guys showed me the ropes. By watching what they were doing I realized that they knew how to mold the sport to their interests…how to make a living out of it.
Who were those guys filming for at the time?
They were all filming for Bald Eagle. They got me in with the film crew and that’s how I first started filming video parts.
Who was your first board sponsor?
I’ve only always ridden for Rome. I got a proform from them when I was 18. I was able to get boards for half-off so I saved up money and I got two boards that year. The tab came up to $750 and I was like…what am I doing!? It was pretty funny but it was worth it.
And you’ve ridden for Rome ever since then?
Yeah, the Rome Rep, Pete Harvieux, gave me my first free board when I was 19. Then it kinda started snowballing when Cavan invited me to meet up with Bjorn at the Jib Farm. I was pretty nervous because I had taken a few laps with Bjorn in the past but I had never set shit up with him or sessioned anything with him. I mean…he’s Bjorn Leines. So to calm my nerves, I bought a 12 pack of beer and I was like…don’t screw up! Hahah.
So how did it go?
It ended up being really fun. His (Bjorn’s) grpa owned an old pipeline business so the jibs are all made up of that. We had a bonfire that night and just hung out. Bjorn is really good at giving you advice on what you have to do and how to approach things within snowboarding.
And that was your first time filming with the Rome Crew?
Yeah, that was my first time getting into a real project. Before that I was just doing homie videos and going out with friends. It was the first time I really realized how to be structured and organized about filming. Before we would just go out and find whatever we could. The trip up to the jib farm was just like a kick in the ass. It was when I realized like…shit I want to do this for a living. You know? It’s like the best job that you can have.
After that you got to go on some van trips with Rome right?
Yeah, after that they called me up and wanted me to come out to Vermont to do a van tour of the whole East coast. That was the 2010-11 season. I flew out in February of ’11 and was on the road with the Rome Am team until mid April. Hahah. It was so fun! We just cruised around and stay in random motels. People can hate on it, but I just think it’s the sweetest way of traveling.
What was the most memorable part of that trip?
So while we were on that trip, Rome had a contest for the best homemade backyard jib park. The winners were at this house in Plymouth, NH. It was fucking crazy. We showed up in the van and they already had this crazy backyard setup. The crew was Laurant, Lazz, Marie Hucal and me. We just showed up and boarded and got trashed. We trashed their whole place, but they were so down. They were just like, “Yeah! Fuckin break it dude! Break the window!”
That’s awesome! So then this season we got to do some filming together too.
Yeah, it was crazy how it worked out. I randomly facebook messaged you and by chance you were planning a trip out to the U.P. of Michigan and flying in to Minneapolis. I hadn’t filmed with Think Thank before. I only knew you and (Brandon) Hammid.
Yeah it just worked out and we all carpooled from Minnesota to the Upper Penninsula because that was the only place with snow. Remember when you did that did that giant Ollie at the alternative school? Haha.
Hahaha. Oh my god that was funny! The school was an alternative high school for kids who had been kicked out of normal schools. The teachers had let a bunch of the kids out of class to watch us snowboard. All of a sudden I hear this scream: “If you land this I’ll suck your dick!!!” Hahah. Oh my god. The girl was like 15 years old. It was so fucking fucked. Haha.
But then what about later that trip when those girls came to the motel room?
Oh my god. We left our phone numbers for this waitress at a burger place called The Dog House and she actually called. Like, how many numbers do you leave and how many girls do you meet on trips and they never show up. So she and her friend actually come and meet up with us at our seedy motel. They showed up and we started playing this drinking game that involved an airsoft gun and a roulette wheel. I can’t really reveal the details from the rest of the night but the next morning when Sean Lucey (Think Thank filmer) came into the room there was a camera flash set up in the bathroom facing the shower. He was like “what the fuck happened last night!?!” Hahaha.
That was epic! Haha. Where is your footage going this season?
I think I have a cameo shot in Nial Romanek’s part in the Think Thank video and then there is going to be a Rome webisode with shots from our Am Team Van Trip this year.
Nice! What are your plans for the upcoming season?
Pretty much just go with the best opportunity. Nothing is really set in stone yet, so we will just see what comes up.
Well thanks for the interview! Lets wrap it up with your sponsors and who you would like to thank.
I ride for Rome, Damage Boardshop, AirBlaster, Dye Eyewear, Elm Headwear, and 1817. And I would like to thank Ben from Damage Boardshop, Ron, Josh, and Paul at Rome, Pete Harvieux, Bjorn Leines for the wise advice and then Cavan and Bridges from Snowboarder Mag. Oh and thanks to my Mom and Dad for not throwing me in the trash when I was born.