Interview with Kato, the Boss of Remz
Can you sum up your skating life?
It all started about 25 years ago, the day my mom threw me on a roller disco rink with skates on (the ones with straps and good old plastic wheels)... And the wheels have kept on rolling since then!
Tell us about your skating prize list...
For his first contest, Kato, the unknown hobo, appeared out of the blue and finished 2nd at the European Championship of Münchengladbach in Holland, just behind René Hugreen (in 1994 or 1995 I think).
Then everything is a little confused. I think that it was my first and my last competition altogether, by the way! My first place in Copenhagen after our beer contest with Tom Alqvist doesn't count, of course... The only reason why I did that competition was because I was completely wasted. The Danes forced me. Well yeah, sorry, in the end, all I did was messing things up all this time.
Why did you leave for the USA?
I had already travelled quite a lot before that, from Denmark to Italy, looking for the right place to throw my ideas. With the arrival of the Remz project, California seemed to be the logical destination...
What is a typical day in the life of Kato?
My work makes me do lots of different things. From designing new products, to promoting the brand, through graphic designing, touring, as well as managing the team. You also have to take part in the industry at a more global level, etc. Of course my days are rarely typical...
How did the Remz concept come about?
Freedom of Feet, man! It all came about from that.
What is the link with the former project of the Out brand?
Out has ceased to exist for a long time, of course there's no link anymore.
What happened with Out?
Without Out, everything would have been different from the very start. Toto Ghali showed me the right direction (finding investment) to make the Remz project that I had in mind work. We were both from the South. We formed a good pair of reckless quad skaters, that's for sure! After I left for the States, everything changed a little. Remz became independent, with me of course... But we keep in touch... What's up Toto!
Could you tell us the story of the Out Remedyz or the Remz Haffey 2?
It's a long story that was published on remz.com in 1998 or 1999, I believe... It's a bit long to tell here. I'll make sure that it's reuploaded on the website. In short, it's the story of Kato who creates a concept (Remedy), meets up with an old acquaintance who provides the contacts (Toto), commercializes the idea through a series of investors (including Out), escapes to the USA to get the concept back and recreate the brand independently (Remz). Put like that, it sounds simple...
Why did you chose Ground Control for the frames?
Given that GC is managed by Sunshine, I can make sure that my Remz productions won't be delayed... And that's important for the launching on the international market. Apart from that, the frames are the bomb, so that I only have to focus on the rest. It makes my life easier, each to their own.
How did you chose your pro riders?
They chose Remz, all of them. On top of our business relationships, all the skaters and me have strong friendships, even with the former skaters by the way... Pianowski was one of my best men at my wedding, and last month I was myself best man at Jason Marshall's wedding.
How do you plan to make the concept evolve in the upcoming years?
You'll have to take a plane and break the windows of my office to get your answer (joking). We're working on it, don't worry, we're on it...
Skating seems to have a very street oriented image in France, how do you deal with that reputation?
These things work out by themselves! If it's street, then be it, we'll see what happens later. And Haffey skates the ramp every day currently, the world is upside down you see!
How can you explain the success of the Haffeys 2 in France?
People had been waiting for a full white Remz for a long time... and there it was. And Remz remains Remz, it's a successful concept with a reputation. Do good skates, it'll work. Do good skates that look good on top of it, it'll work even better!
Kato (left) and Fathi Lamine (right) >
Born on: November 21st, 1974 — do the math...
Foot size: 42 EU
Weight: 75 kg
Size: 1.75 m maybe?
Team: 'The club of the buddies of the skating industry'
Marital Status: Married
Quads or In-lines? Over time, both gave him bruises at the hips!
Best meal: A few tomatoes from the garden, A dash of olive oil from Sant-Mateu, a bit of salt of Aigues-Mortes, fresh bread, and a smooth red from Hérault.
Favorite music: 80's hip hop yo!
Hobbies: Family. Taking care of his little wife who gives birth next month!
Favorite quote: 'We'll see tomorrow'
Likes: What he likes.
Dislikes: What he doesn't like.
Best memory: Life
Worst memory: A fall in Lausanne at 70 kph
Beginnings in skating: Disco funk era baby!
Work situation: Tax payer
Liens utilesInterview by Bobor