Brand History - Bronze 56k

Brand History - Bronze 56k

Dan Bunn

Join us as we take a look at the rich history of New York's [very rare] hardware company and their library of groundbreaking skate videos. Who said learning can't be fun?

Bronze Bobby Puleo (Pulio) skateboard decks

Bronze as we know it today was born from the minds of two skaters from Queens: Peter Sidlauskas and Pat Murray. The pair first met in Peter’s back garden when they were 6 years old and soon became friends and were making videos together before long, along with the rest of their homies under the name Flipmode. In 2006, they released their first ‘proper’ full-length video, ‘Suck My Flipmode A.K.A. Flipmode 3: The First Flipmode Video’, which premiered on the screen outside the New York Supreme store and marked the start of a new era of New York skating, signifying the beginning of the end of the reign of the 90s pros, with Flipmode helping shine a light on some of the city’s up-and-coming younger skaters.

According to Peter, Pat always wanted to make a company based around Peter’s videos which almost led to the creation of various different companies over the years. In 2009, Sognar Skateboards was almost formed, alongside a video made by Peter titled ‘sognar’, which would have featured some faces you may recognise from Bronze’s videos: Shawn Powers, Billy Mcfeely and Derick Z. However, Pat soon had a vision that the company should be called ‘Caviar’, which almost led to the creation of Caviar Skateboards in 2010, again accompanied by a video by Peter sharing the same name, although this fell through when Pat couldn’t think of a suitable image for the brand. Eventually, in September 2011, the boys packed in the name Flipmode as well - apparently Peter never liked the name due to it also being the name of Busta Rhymes’ crew - and teamed up with JP Blair’s crew to form Bronze as we know it today.

Initially, Bronze only really existed through their social media presence, with the boys posting weird photoshopped images on Instagram that, surprisingly, proved to be really popular. While they may have lacked any physical products, their online presence helped give the brand the semblance of a legitimate company, with Peter dubbing the brand ‘a fake company that seemed real because of the internet’. Despite this, Bronze’s popularity continued to grow which ultimately led to Polar’s Pontus Alv reaching out to Peter and Pat and showing his support, saying he saw a lot of potential in the brand which pushed Peter into wanting to take the brand further, and even giving the boys advice on dealing with production, making proper PDF catalogues, sourcing clothing, and other useful tips for getting the company going.

Bronze first burst onto computer screens in 2012 with their debut video, ‘56K’, which showcased Sidlauskas’ unique style of editing - complete with iconic basketball videos and random clips from 90s television and the darkest corners of the internet - alongside the skating of Billy McFeely, Adrian Vega, Shawn Powers, Kevin Tierney, and more. The video quickly gained attention online which prompted Peter and Pat to consider actually making some product, you know, like most companies do. Despite Bronze now being known as a hardware company, hardware was in fact one of the last things the brand produced, with them instead producing T-shirts and skateboard decks, before eventually releasing their own hardware; although 'their own hardware' was just Major Hardware bolts spray-painted Bronze which they first started selling for $10 dollars as a joke, only for people to actually buy them.

Following up on ‘56K’, in 2013 Bronze released their second video, ‘Solo Jazz’, which is arguably one of their most iconic releases having improved upon the formula established in ‘56K’ with even trippier editing, a bangin’ soundtrack, and the addition of two of my personal favourite Bronze skaters, Josh Wilson and Dick Rizzo. This was followed by ‘Enron’ the next year, and then ‘Trust’ the year after, with each video improving upon the last, but what helped Bronze gain wider attention beyond the skate scene was their collaboration with Palace in 2015. The collab which saw the release of a clothing and hardware collection alongside a collaborative video, ‘Paramount’. The video just makes sense, the style of each brand compliments the other perfectly and the blending of the two feels natural, from the Bronze/Palace tri-ferg idents to the pairing of the two team’s skaters, it just works. Since then, Bronze have collaborated with countless high-profile brands from Reebok and New Balance (although this was cancelled when someone at New Balance realised the Bronze logo was eerily reminiscent of another famous company’s logo) to HUF and DC; they even did an involuntary collab with Bobby Puleo (if you can call it that) when they released a blank deck with nothing but the Bronze logo and ‘Bobby Pulio’ written on it - if anyone’s got one of these let me know because I want it.

 After a brief tour video filmed in Paris and Berlin in 2017, Bronze released their longest video to date, ‘It’s Time’, in 2018 which arguably came to define the modern iteration of Bronze’s team, with loads of the legends that you see in Bronze’s videos today including Nick Ferro, Dick Rizzo, Grady Smith, Mark Humienik, and John Shanahan. The video features some of the craziest editing of any of Bronze’s videos with heavy emphasis on bizarre 3D rendering alongside the usual visual weirdness. Bronze became relatively quiet after this however with few videos over a minute or two in length, likely due to the impact of the pandemic, before releasing a 20-minute video, ‘2020’, two years later, which was followed by a brief 6-minute video, ‘PTSD’, a few months later. This takes us to Bronze’s most recent offering, ‘The Reuben’, which you can read about on the blog.

That's enough chit-chat though. Head to the shop now to view and buy the full range of Bronze 56k clothing and hardware at Cardiff Skateboard Club. Safe.

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