Matthias Dandois was in London this past weekend for the Rebel Jam, Fathead from Ride UK caught up with him before the event went down. Hit play for plenty of banter!
Category Archive: Interviews
Photographs: Provided by James McGraw.
There’s a lot of work that goes into organising a contest that you truly cannot comprehend, unless you are inside of it and have experienced that responsibility for yourself. James McGraw just stepped up to the plate, and in a big way! He had a vision, and rather than just talking about it, he knuckled down with the help of Reklamation Bikes and made Battle in the Rockies happen.
At the age of 44, James’ passion and drive to compete shines brighter than ever, finishing a very respectable 11th place in the 2014 World Circuit year end ranking.
When an individual gives something extra to give back to the sport that’s not just for him, that to me something special, and something that helps flatland grow. As I travel to Denver, Colorado today for the first time, I am excited by the unknown with this event. How will everyone deal with the 6000ft above sea level altitude, what’s the warehouse riding spot like, who’s deejaying? What riders are going to show up and throw down? What is Denver like? It is an exciting time! I wanted to catch up with James before I arrive in Denver to find out what’s going on his mind, read on!
Battle in the Rockies is fast approaching, you are just back from the last two rounds of the World Circuit in Brazil and japan. Did you learn anything from those events that you will bring to your event?
Well I would say I have always had a dream of how I would do a contest. Yes basic format is there, but what I saw at the last two stops on World Circuit was the passion that the rider who put the contest together had. Everyone brings a little different flavor on how things run and the intensity the event builds. Brazil was so fun and you feel confident, because you get a chance to ride the spot and find your line. Japan has always created epic events with a turn out of riders that is unparalleled, but for me and many riders I talk with the stress level in Japan is high and confidence level is low due to very little time on contest surface. The areas are always small and crowded and there is no warm up area. So you stand around for hours and then you go, it is the hardest place to ride, but it separates the men from the boys so to speak. But the after parties and lifestyle is great!!!!
For me contests are no longer about winning or losing it is an excuse to ride with my friends I have all over the world. I know many guys make a living from it like I use to and because of that they take it way more serious, but when all is said and done they reflect on the fun and sessions with everyone. My goal is to have a fairly judged event that is low stress and lots of fun. There are two qualification runs so you can relax if you hit your first, push it in the second you have nothing to lose if you miss you can try again, this helps to really allow riders to shine. So what I will bring to my event that I see in other contest is the passion and love for flatland with a little McGraw twist!
Who is sponsoring the contest and for the record how much prize money are you throwing down for this contest?
Well the sponsors are Reklamation bikes, Redbull, Deco, Flatlandfuel, LLumar window films (product I sell in my auto tint business) Westside tattoo, Cedar Springs Hospital, Quest Bmx, Cemant face clothing, Touch of Shade tint, Colorado Flat Jams, AmFlatland Circuit, some crappy web site called Flatmattersonline, Denver electric, The Mansion night club, London bikes, Sequence, The one and only Terradome where dreams come true, Yellow designs, Pedal action bmx, Sanchos mexican food and Louies pizza, with help from everyone we have great prize packages as well as a large pro purse. Thanks mostly to Fred and Robert as well as my self we have $10’000 for the purse. As it stands we will be paying some out of pocket due to unforeseen expenses that have arose but we are hope full that ticket sales for the finals and t shirts sales will help offset that. No matter what we will deliver in CASH to be clear though this would not be possible to have done the video contest with airfare and everything else if it was not for Reklamation bikes. Fred and Robert have put up alot of money not only to help bring recognition to Reklamation bikes, but truly for their deep rooted love of the sport. I am forever grateful that they have allowed me to run with my somewhat crazy idea.
The location looks amazing, can you tell me about the building, the surface and the work you are doing behind the scenes?
The location was a challenge we had initially had a convention hall that was being donated to the event. The Hall somehow closed up and sold to a church towards the end of the summer leaving us in a very stressful bind. I worked out a deal with my friend who owns almost every bar in Colorado Springs to use space in his bars. He told me sizes and it seemed really good. I waited for a few weeks feeling good about the space to go get photos and upon doing so I discovered that yes the size was good, but the freakin polls in the middle of the floor suck ass. I personally spent the next two weeks trying to secure a spot with no luck. As it turns out due to the fact that Marijuana is now legal here in Colorado warehouse space is simply not available.
In the past two years this town went from a 50 percent vacancy on warehouse space to a 1% vacancy. Every place I looked was rented to weed growers. So after hyping this event up putting my name out there I really was stressed. I drove by a spot on the way to lunch after damn near giving up and saw this spot. I called the number on the building and got the guy listed turns out he was in fact the owner I more or less begged him and explained my situation he then agreed , but I had to rent the space for at least two months so I did, hence unforeseen expense. Is the floor perfect? No nothing is, but I have personally patched any and all chips and holes to make it better. I also scraped by hand spots that had paint to make sure that the surface was the same thru out. I have power washed the floor three times to make sure it is clean and I have no soda on the floor and I can not slip the floor has a smooth finish yet I have yet to slip or slide out. There are a few uneven spots at the seams that as it turns out I have a friend who does cement resurfacing and he is coming down this week to help me even those out. I have rode it and like anything I have found my line and it is really good. I cant see anyone hating this floor. No matter what I know that I have put everything I can into making sure the spot is the best It can be. The actual contest floor measures out at 70-40 foot leaving room for staging and spectators.
Can riders practise at the venue the week before the event?
Because I have rented the spot for several months It will be open the whole time. Riders are welcome to ride all day and night thru out the week leading up to the contest. My only stipulation is respect in the day Monday thru Thursday the surrounding business need to be able to work so music will have to be turned down some and we have to respect other businesses and not congregate being loud. After 5pm all is good. It’s real simple thou I rented this place in my name if someone trashes the place I will have to pay for it. We can ride, have fun, party a little, but we need to respect the obvious boundaries.
Behind the scenes organising a contest, there is a hell of a lot that goes on. Shuttle pick ups, hotel bookings, picking judges, working out format, paperwork, organising the venue logistics, are you offering any of those shuttle type services, riders might not know about?
Yeah as I just said so much goes in to organizing an event like this. We have arranged a couple cars and drivers to try and help pick up riders flying into Denver, because it is 50 minutes north of the springs. If we are unable to get some one rental cars are easily available as well Coloradoshuttle.com who specializes in transportation to and from Denver airport to Colorado Springs. As for the Hotel we listed it several times on the Battle Facebook page, it’s the Holiday Inn Suites, Central Colorado springs discount code is BIT this is located a few blocks from the bar district where after party’s are as well pro finals. The venue address is 3208 N Nevada, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80907, there is alot of surrounding hotels everything is with in a few miles of all aspects of the event and parties.
What contest format are you using?
We will go with standard Amflat format 2 runs best one counts finals for pro and expert. However we will for pro finals have 12 riders and we will do the same battle format as seen in Flatark this format is alot of work, but very fun to watch.
How you going about getting a big crowd at the event additional to the riders that don’t ride flatland?
The town has really got behind me on this event. I am lucky to know the guy who owns all the bars in town and he is helping me out with radio and Tv ads leading up to the event as well as interviews in local papers and on radio and tv. Because I perform alot around town I am well known and have alot of followers that will show up and with the finals being in one of the largest bars in town on a Saturday night with public able to come in for 10 dollars, which is the normal cover charge anyways we will have a big crowd.
Of course, BITR is the AM FLT finals, what are your thoughts on who is going to take the crown in each class?
well AMFlat has had a good year with Real City Spin by Dub this year alot of riders have made the journey to these events. Mine is bring alot of international riders that otherwise have not competed in AMFlat so they will not have a chance to get year end placings. So the year end is the usual suspects I really have no predictions because anything can happen. But I do know that who ever wins expert will be in pro finals.
Anything final I may have missed James that you want to say to all the flatlanders entering and reading this?
I have to say to those of you who have not been to high altitude places before, it is not a joke you will feel the difference. First and for most Drink alot of water it helps and know that when drinking alcohol you will get drunk quicker. Sometimes if you are not use to altitude alot of caffeine like sodas and energy drinks can be bad it is best to really take it easy on the first day until you know how it affects you. I really want to thank everyone who has helped me do this. It has always been a dream of mine to hold a big event and now it is a reality I have brought flatland to my home town. I have to thank my wife for putting up with me on this event there has been allot of extra stress due to this event and all my traveling I am thankful she has reluctantly (lol) put up with me. This event will be hosted by me and my family meaning all of us show up and have a good time my goal is for everyone to maybe not care or remember how they rode when is all over but too remember how much fun this event was and how great it was to be able to ride with everyone no matter if they are one of the best in the world or simply just starting out. See you soon!!!!!
Thank you James, I’m getting ready to board this plane, I will see you and everyone else really soon!
Plenty of coverage from the BFWC & Overground contest, this edit takes on a different flavour. Repórter Gabriel Monroy catches up with some Brazilian riders and interviews James McGraw about his 5 day stay in Brazil. Hit play!
The M.U.F Media crew hooked up with Viki Gomez whilst he is out in Brazil for the Overground stop of the World Circuit and doing Red Bull shows. There are a few riding clips of Viki and Mateus Beckmann for all those that cannot speak Spanish, Viki has taken Mateus under his wing whilst he is there. Hope to post more on this story in the near future.
Last year Heresy’s 5th of September edit featuring Alexis Desolneux, and Sebastian Grubinger won the readers choice in the flatmatters year end awards. On Monday 13th october, with the help of Sevisual the same duo combine again. Hit the exclusive interview we did with Alexis and Sebastian and rewatch the 5th of September edit.
For this weeks Throwback I wanted to take a slightly different approach. How about going back through some of our exclusive interviews I thought to myself, I came across this one with the underrated Shuichi Osada. I would love to see some fresh footage of this style cat!
Interview: Effraim & Takuji Kasahara.
Translation: Takuji Kasahara.
Photos: Takuji Kasahara.
So Day 2 of the Flatmatters 4 years anniversary, and today an interview with one of my favourite current riders, Shuichi Osada!
The task of interviewing someone you quickly realise you know nothing about is an interesting puzzle to start with, you could say well thats everything to learn, but in reality where do you start? The following interview with Shuichi Osada is the result of a few months going back and forth with my friend Takuiji Kasahara in order to find out more about a rider I admire so much.
In 2011 as I looked through in access of 2,000 flatland videos. Shuichi’s riding stood out like a breath of fresh air. I had to know more about him, so I sent a few questions, and asked Takuji to chip in with a few questions that would help the flatland world know more about this amazing rider.
Thank you Takuji and Shuichi for putting the time into making this happen.
I’m really stoked what Shuichi has to say about his combos, and the concepts behind them. Hopefully you learn a lil’ something about this japanese shredder! I cannot wait to see his part on the new Zai DVD! Read on…
Firstly introductions, your age, how long riding, whereabouts in Japan are you from?
Shuichi Osada, 29 years of age, been riding 12 years is from Kisarazu, Chiba.
How did you get into flatland riding?
Back in the days when I was seventeen, X Games was big here and flatland got featured on magazines often that’s what got me into flatland. There was not much information about the bikes and I knew nothing about BMX so I bought my first BMX was for street and I was practicing flatland on it at first.
How is the riding scene where you live?
Not many riders and riding spots here, not so good.
Has the riding scene got bigger since you started riding where you live?
The scene was bigger when I started riding, since then it had been getting smaller and smaller and it hasn’t changed past five years.
Tell us about your new company, Buoyancy, what does the name mean? What’s the company all about?
I wanted to name my company something related with fishing. Of course I’ll produce BMX parts other than that, hoping to organize enjoyable contests or events for riders.
Do you have any riders representing Buoyancy?
Takumi Matsumoto, Takuji Kasahara, Naoki Watanabe, Yorimitsu Miyata, Shinichi Kiba (Russia), Hiroki Iwata (Tang meng) and myself.
Are you only selling Buoyancy in Japan, or will your products be available worldwide?
So far it’s only handlebars and basically available only in Japan, but if there is a demand for the products hopefully it will be available internationally.
Your riding really catches the eye, tell me about your riding style, what’s your vision for flatland?
The originality and riding-styles are very important things in flatland and that is what has been attractive to me. In the past few years I’ve been working on switches with swinging a frame and pivoting on the pegs at the same time because I wanted to create switches which is impossible to do with back wheel tricks.
The contest and the result are given a huge weight in current flatland scene in general and riders take difficulty in the first place, due to this, a lot of simple and cool tricks or unique tricks have been slept in our mind so I want to enjoy flatland with free thought.
Are you into contest riding, or more about pushing yourself outside of the contest environment? You compete as an Expert rider right?
I’m not a good contest rider. It’s hard to get a motivation for the constancy, also I get nervous at a contest. I normally ride without caring about a contest. I compete as a pro.
What inspires your riding?
My favourite riders and music.
What do you do besides riding?
I like fishing and lately been into candle making.
What if anything provided the hook to keep you riding flatland?
It’s like a cycle of that the images on my mind get realized then new images/ideas derived from it, this continues endlessly. I’m not the kind of riders who pick up tricks instantly, all my difficult tricks hasn’t come up suddenly, those came slowly from passing through the repetition of the cycle. I feel I’m enjoying flatland more than ever because I have a special feeling towards on my tricks and new ideas on my mind. Even though I’m getting aged and suffering from chronic pain on my body but it’s still ridable so I will continue to ride for a while.
What in your eyes is a pro rider?
The riders who compete pro class that doesn’t mean they are pros. Pro rider is who earns money from riding and makes living off from doing something related with BMX. But in my opinion, doing demos/shows are different it doesn’t require high skills or it requires different skills I say. They are making money as performers. The definition of the pro flatland rider is a rider who makes whose living from the income from sponsors or making money from making parts or other BMX related things.
Who are your favourite riders in japan?
It’s too many to list though. I like riders who has originality and own style or silhouette on their riding. Takumi Matsumoto, Takuji Kasahara, Naoki Watanabe, Yorimistu Miyata, Shinichi Kiba, Hiroki Iwata. I asked to them to use my handle bars because I like their riding. I also like Takuma Kawamura and Hirokazu Miura and Yosuke Shibuya.
Tell me about your bike set up? What are you running besides the Buoyancy bars?
Frame: St.martin FOOT JAM 18.8″
Fork: Magic Fruits Straw V2 Fork
Stem: Camacura makuross stem 35mm
Headset: FSA Impact
Crank: Profile mg crank
BB set: ARESTIC SPANISH BB
Sprocket: Magic Fruits Jellyfish V3 25T
Pedal: Primo balance Mag pedal
Seat: We the People Bel Air Pivotal(short)
Post: S&M Bikes_Long Johnson Pivotal Post
F Peg: Hommage P38
R Peg: Hommage P38
F Hub: Nankai 500AFS
R Hub: Nankai 9T
F Rim: Odyssey 7KA (36H)
R Rim: Sun Rhyno Lite
F Tyre: Ares A-Class 1.90
R Tyre: KHE Mac 1.5
Grip: Deco logo grip
Bar end: Odyssey Par End
Grip Stop: Hommage ring grip
Who are your favourite riders worldwide?
Martti Kuoppa and Stephane Royer and others.
What kind of music are you into?
I like instrumental rock bands such as “Soft” and “Special others” and others. I’m choosing the songs according to my mood of the moment while I’m riding.
Interesting concept (about your riding style), do you see yourself ever riding back wheel as well? It seems like in japan, riders are either front wheel or back wheel? Why do you think that is?
Even if I try back wheel tricks it’s going to be just the moves using my front wheel skills, that is a deterioration in the quality of my front tricks. In the other words, it’s possible to create new front moves with taking new ideas from back wheel tricks done by others, so I don’t think I will try back wheel.
Like you said, you see a lot of riders here in Japan limit ourselves either front wheel or back wheel, I think it’s because of the bike setting. It’s simply the best bike setting for front and back is far different. Also I think originality and style are important things in Flatland so delving deeply into single subject is more suitable for flatland, rather than being just a jack of all trades or master of none.
Do you have a winter spot for riding?
It doesn’t snow often in my town. It won’t be a big problem although daylight hours gets shorter and my night riding spot isn’t so good and I have my knee and elbow pain. I take it slow and I’m thinking to go to the gym to fix my body in this winter.
Do you put a concept on your combo? If so please explain how’s it like.
Yes, I put a concept on my combo.
My combos I created a while ago was inspired by Yammar’s tricks. I was impressed with his smooth combos which is linking a few tricks without loosing a momentum. It’s not interesting if I do same things as what he was doing so I came up with the idea which is linking many tricks by using pivots with a good tempo to make it looks like one single trick.
I thought if I could do that it would be greater. And these days, I like laid-back style music and clothes and been thinking if I could express these kind of styles on my riding. So I’ve been working on around the world style tricks with pivots these days. They are still in the works and need some time to combo them up although I think I can show it to you next year.
Getting towards final questions. Any plans for the new products?
Yes, I have plans to produce products other than handlebars. For instance rail-seats, these days the pivotal seat is the standard and it became hard to find rail-seats even a lot of front wheel riders still prefer to use it.
Hommage & Buoyancy.
I’ll keep on riding and do my best for my brand at my own pace.
Hadrien Picard caught up with Matthias Dandois about his broken ankle injury he suffered back at the Fise contest to discuss the journey and road to recover he has endured, this is a good read! Make sure you hit the link…
Photography: Pics by Maxime Cassagne.
Thomas Noyer dropped a bomb entry for BITR! We caught up with the man to discuss his entry, and what we can expect from him at the main event, read on!
Firstly, congratulations on winning one of the flights to Colorado for the Battle in the Rockies. What was your initial reaction to the news?
Thanks E! First, I have been very honored to have been invited to submit an edit for this contest! My initial reaction by reading the results was I didn’t believe it! By browsing the rider list, I thought it was not possible. Then, I was and I’m still very happy for having been picked!! I’ve never been to the U.S, so it was a pretty good news!!
How much work went into your entry?
At the beginning I wanted to pull two medium combo back to back. But, when I watched the amazing Shintaro’s entry just two day after the contest began, and how he put the level high, I thought I had to film a one minute long combo to put all the chances on my side. I started to practice tricks one by one in different order and in various combos. When I thought I’d be quite consistent, I tried to combine them in one combo. I spent severals hours practicing it before to pull it. Very often, I failed during one of the last trick (tired and lack of clarity..).So, I realised how much it would be hard and mental to pull a 3 min combo as Moto and Dom did: what an amazing physical and mental performance!
If you had to pick one other entry besides yours, who would you have picked and why?
I think all the riders who came in this BITR video contest were very involved!! There were some amazing entry which highlighting the tricks (often never seen before!) and the style of each rider. I watched them so many times! So close to choose one among Moto, Hiro, Dub, Shintaro or Dez because they all put their own difficult tricks and proper style in their edit, furthermore in a one minute long combo….
The video contest seems the most cost effective way to involve riders across the globe in a contest, do you see this type of event growing in flatland?
Sure, because this kind of process is a pretty good way to push the rider themselves and those who just watched the edits to progress or just to start flatland. Each one, with his level, wins! This kind of event as the previous ones (ground tactics, GF battles…) democratizes flatland and allows to discover some amazing talents! It’s not easy to travel the world without a big sponsor and a full time job… And there, reward was worth it!! I even read a comment suggesting to put together some real video contest with prices money… But it never replace the meeting with the riders, the live sessions, and all the moments of sharing which is a really important aspect of flatland..
Were you harder on yourself composing a video combo entry than you might be for a live contest entry?
I was and I’m still certainly harder on myself composing a video combo! No pressure of time, of crowd, ground and place i use to ride on almost everyday… No excuse when your are on your own spot! I think contest video put each rider in his theoric best conditions to give his best riding… So I was determinated to do what I had decided: some of my last original tricks or switch combine between them in one combo. From here, most important was to pull the combo, not the result…even if today I’m stoked for having got the flight!
It was a really nice experience of riding to guide it on consistance aspect with ideal target to ride in live as in video… But not yet!!
What can we expect from you in Colorado?
To spend some great time on and besides the bike, to meet some cool people, visit some amazing place and enjoy the whole trip. I’m gonna try to go to Colorado with a good mood, telling myself I already won a great thing: to be able to come in!
Any final shoutouts?
I would like to thank my family and my girlfriend who always supported me, James McGraw for having the idea and involvement of organized this video contest and Flatmatters for giving me the chance to explain my process. I also would thank my sponsors: ESPRITbmx & Equilibre flatland parts, DECOBmx and Chad DeGroot for keeping my bike fresh, Xplicitenergy drink and Lockwood skateshop and Maxime Cassagne for the nice pics. I say hello to the whole ROOTS bmx asso crew in Albi and to all the rider i rode and i will ride with! Cheers!
Watch Thomas’s entry again:
Photography: Stephane Bar.
Welcome back, Part 2 of the BITR Interview series with the winner of the video contest! Jean William Prevost, the man we all refer to as Dub! Man of the moment, organised the successful Real City Spin contest, just dropped the igi peg, and of course is at the top of the sport competing world wide. Without further a due here is the Dub BITR Interview!
Firstly, congratulations on winning one of the flights to Colorado for the
Battle in the Rockies contest.
Thanks, Big UP!!!
What was your initial reaction to the news?I sent a voice message to James McGraw right away screaming a whole bunch of happy noises hahaha. It meant alot to me, so many great riders took part in it, it’s definitely a blessing to keep pushing forwards.
How much work went into your entry?
I had a friend over from Australia for Real City Spin and he helped out a lot. We went filming three days in a row, I filmed 5 different runs for the contest (including full one minute runs), and when we only had 15 minutes of battery left I decided to try this new run I had never done before with almost all original tricks, that one was my entry.
I’ve been thriving to put out a completely original run one day. It’s alot of work because you must look at the basis of trick and move away from them by skipping steps and shortening the in betweens and filler tricks. With Jay we have been talking about this for a while now, NO FILLERS!!! Like extensive pumping or scuffing no more, trick to trick as much as possible.
If you had to pick one other entry besides yours, who would you have picked and why?
WOW, you’re putting me on the spot here! I would have drawn Dez, Moto and Thomas, they were the best entries to me. So many tricks jammed into one minute for the three of them, all so good. You can tell they took it seriously and worked a lot on their runs.
The video contest seems the most cost effective way to involve riders across the globe in a contest, do you see this type of event growing in flatland?I
I thought this was very stimulating for Flatland, I am sure this kind of event will be growing with how technology is permeating reality nowadays, it’s like there is no getting away from the virtual world anymore, Skynet is up the corner, Big Brother is watching and the NSA is listening!!! They should make one step of the World Circuit a video contest, imagine! Now that would make things accessible and interesting wouldn’t it!! Also, organize or ride, not both!!! (That’s another topic in itself.)
Were you harder on yourself composing a video combo entry than you might be for a livecontest entry?
Live contest and video contest are totally different. Stress levels are different, you have time to compose what you think is the best of your riding at the moment. You don’t have to tone down or add any fillers to your riding to catch your breath because you have another 2 minutes to ride.
I wanted to showcase my tricks as ART more than as Olympian riding, I didn’t fill the minute completely as I had no RAM memory left after those tricks. I wanted to brush away all the extras and give you the core of what I thought represented me as a rider right now. Especially that first trick in the combo which lasts about twenty seconds, I have been working on that link for years, it is now resembling what I had first pictured in my mind back then.
What can we expect from you in Colorado?
Smiles and Good Times! As I don’t get flight tickets paid very often I will enjoy this and not stress as much about having to pay my flight ticket back by winning. I think that the less stress the better the riding! So expect a happy DUB ))
Any final shootouts?
Big Shout out to Amnesia Shops, it is my new sponsor and the Welcome Edit should be out soon. Konkrete Shoes, 514 BMX, Far East cycles, IGI BMX and NOMI !!!! . Also my mom for the gift of life! Love you MOM!!! ))
Check out Dub’s winning entry again right here:
Part 4 and the full part of the Behind the Scenes series with flatland legend Chad Degroot just dropped! In this final episode, Chad discusses his bike shop, running Deco, and flatland! Great stuff from Espn!