Silverscreen: "City of Rats" Karim Bakhtaoui interview.

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Silverscreen: “City of Rats” Karim Bakhtaoui interview.

The Silverscreen article for Slam City’s debut video release “City of Rats” can be found occupying a healthy amount of pages in Sidewalk issue 187, which is doing the rounds at the moment, featuring an in depth interview with Henry Edwards-Wood and shorter interviews with a handful of the Slam Family.

Palace ambassador Karim Bakhtaoui missed the deadline to get his interview in the article, so we decided to bring it to you via the website this morning instead. Read on below to see what Karim made of filming for the project, tales from the streets of London, his plans for future filming and more…

Photography by Lex Kembery.

If popular wisdom is to be believed, then “City of Rats” is your first proper video part. Is this true? If so, how have you managed to slip under the video part radar for so long?

Yeah man, first full length video part! So stoked! Well, it was more a case of never really been given the opportunity to film for a full length ting. I always tried to have footage in most of the projects that go on, whether it be in London, France, Spain or The States, but never a full length part. The closest thing I kinda had to one was my remix section in Hold Tight 12, which I shared with Joe Sivell. But apart from that, mostly jus’ had clips in UK vids, friends parts, in online edits, made “Rat Signals” for Slam or had clips in London sections in vids from abroad. I’m really stoked to have been given the opportunity for “City of Rats” to film a full length part! Gave me a chance to show more than just a couple of clips here and there.

So whilst working on “City of Rats” you’ve also been filming for the upcoming Palace video, right? How have you split your time between the two videos? Did you get to the point where you would keep specific tricks for the Slam video over the Palace video, or did you just go out and film whatever trick with whoever was out filming?

Nah, not really. The tricks that I filmed for the Slam vid were mostly thought out, some of the tricks were spur of the moment hype too! But they were mostly things I’d thought about doing for a longtime as are a lot of the tricks that I’ve been filming for Palace.
It is difficult in some instances to spread the footage over multiple projects. I just make it so that when I think of something I wanna film I also think of who I wanna film it with and try and construct my part like that. Avoids conflicts and makes the footage have a lot more variety!
More towards the end of filmin’ for the Slam vid it was imperative to split footage and spots that I wanna film tricks at, whether it was for Palace or the Slam vid. Executive decisions had to be made. I was a lot more  specific with who I went out to filming with, for footage purposes. So yeah, I guess I was a lot more picky, mission wise!

Is there any comedy/sketchy scenario that automatically comes to mind when thinking back to filming missions for the video? Spending most of your days filming in and around inner-city London you must have had your fair share of run ins with bellends and dodgy characters…

A couple but they mustn’t have been that memorable ‘coz I don’t really remember them. Haha! Mostly I was on the mission in the evenings and weekends so I didn’t get given too much grief! There was a couple of times when I went to film the tre-flip over the rail for one of my enders and got turfed by this one security guard over and over and over again, until we kinda just told him one day that we were just gonna keep comin’ back until we get it so he might as well just let us do it! Still didn’t let us though. It’s the thrill of the chase though! All part of the game! Went back anyways and merked dat!!!!!

How much of the video did you get to see prior to the Prince Charles premiere? Did Henry let you see the project as it was coming together, or did he keep the whole thing close to his chest until it was ready to premiere?

It was all a bit up in the air with footage ‘coz of always being on the mission; if I wasn’t out with Henry then I would be out filmin’ with Morph or Lev. When I did get a chance to watch footage or my part coming together, I wouldn’t so much focus on watching it as the finished version, ‘coz when you’re actually filming you don’t really watch it as a finished product ‘coz you’re still out every day trying to get clips. I’d watch it more to see what spots I still wanted to hit up, what enders I was down to film, if I needed more lines…mostly stuff like that. Prior to the premiere I got to see my part but it got changed before the premiere ‘coz it was quite different to what I remembered it being when I saw it at the premiere. No hip-hop but it’s cool, I was stoked on it though! Holla!
And much love goes out Femi for my intro! Shouts to all the true SB heads, don’t even need to name names! You know who you are!

Whose section were you the most shocked by when you finally saw the finished video?

Personally I was mad stoked on Snowy’s part ‘coz its so Trill! So steezy! Raw! Real street skatin’! Was mad stoked on Tanner’s lines, fully Polo’d up – was a pleasure to watch!
Jake Sawyer fakie hard mid line – straight Gully!
My homie Kurt Winter’s tricks are just off the chain!
I was stoked on Casper’s part! Smiffy and Jerome was hella dope, Jerome’s backside lipslide frozen in time pose, so banging! Smiffy doin’ his geezer push at the end of they’re part was probably the funniest thing ever!
Lucien and Rory! Trill! Trill! TRILLLLL! Palace HYPE!!!!
Morph’s ollie was probably the Trillest shit in the whole vid! Dun know!! Committing bare nuisances!!!!

Now that “City of Rats” is done with, what’s next for you? Are you on a strict Palace filming mission, or have you got any other sections lined up?

Well the main focus for the time being is Palace vid for sure. Been trying to work hard on my part for that! I want it to definitely be better than my Slam part! Havin’ a video part come out has given me a whole new lease on skating! New hunger to feed off of. Got a few things in the pipeline apart from Palace vid which I’m not really at liberty to discuss at this present point in time. But all should be revealed in due time! Jus’ wanna end this by sayin’ much love to everyone who was involved in “City of Rats”, was a long time in the making, from all the freezing cold winter nighttime missions to the laid back steady chillin’ rays of the summertime sun. Mad hardwork and dedication from all the mandem involved! Big up Slam crew. Past, present and future.
Big up Clapton Castle!!!

Karim’s “City of Rats” trailer:


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