Category Archive: Interviews

Martti Kuoppa & Viki Gomez – The Flatmatters Awards Interview

Intro/Interview: Effraim.
Photos: Provided by Martti Kuoppa & Viki Gomez.

The 2014 Flatmatters Online Year Awards for Edit of the Year in 2014 panned out much like the Rider of the Year category, Bombardaros by Martti Kuoppa and Viki Gomez took landslide victories in the Editorial Choice and Readers Choice Edit of the Year category. Over 13 minutes of quality modern day flatland by two of the finest flatland riders ever! I caught up with the both of them separately. You definitely want to read what these two legends have to say about the video and the background work and emotion that went into it! Respect!

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Jean William Prevost – 2014 Flatmatters Awards Interview

Intro/Interview: Effraim.
Photos: Dub.

2014 was a great year for Jean William Prevost, aka Dub! Of course we all know Dub won three awards in the 2014 FM Year end Awards, the Reader Choice and Editorial Choice for Rider of Year and also Innovation of the Year with his IGI peg design. Winning three awards was not all about his riding, but also leading by example with the organisation of RealCitySpin, and not entering his own contest really sent out a message to everyone about what he is about, and on top of that running IGI. I caught up with the man himself to talk about the awards, his plans, contest organisation, travelling and so much more! Flatland is in a better place with riders like Dub involved and giving back, much respect!

medals for FM

Dub what a year for you, and the awards! Lot of love out there for you, taking home both the reader and editorial vote for rider of the year, and Innovation of the year with igiBMX peg design. Firstly how do you feel about the awards, and how 2014 went for you?
Thanks to everyone that voted for me and that help me during my travels. The awards help everyone push and progress together as a scene. Initiatives as this one is what stimulates growth. 2014 has past and I am looking forward now as I am progressing and setting new higher goals in riding and in life.

Last year you also did a lot of work outside of your own personal riding with organizing the Real City Spin, and this year your event is part of the World Circuit, what can we expect this year with the event?
Organizing a competition is definitely a lot of work. It being part of the circuit this year will help attract a lot more people and reach out to the youth of Quebec, I want to get as many people as possible to get a taste of what flatland is about and possibly get them on a bike. Lots more warm-up space and special care to the riders needs is what’s to be expected at this year’s RealCitySpin.

forklift mexico
Forklift in Mexico.

That sounds great Dub! It is also great that you took young Benjamiin Hudson from Chile under your wing, help with sponsors, getting name out there with amazing videos, do you think that is something thats possible for more pros to do that kind of thing?
Benjamin’s nickname in Beijing is 螳螂(Praying Mantis), he definitely rides like one as he twists and turns around impossible pivot points. I did what seemed right and I am proud to see him out there ripping it up. I think some Pro’s out there could focus a little less on accumulating material wealth and put more time and money back into the sport. So much more needs to be done to legitimize our sport to grow out of the underground and enable more than the elite few to live from riding and competing.

What are your plans this year riding wise?
Hit up the World Circuit and some smaller events also, visit China and ride more
than last year.

What are your plans this year for igiBMX?
Grow the brand and introduce new ideas and concepts to the bike.

ais ben me indonesia
Ais, Benjamin Hudson and Dub chilling in Indonesia.

How long would you say you are on the road for per year, and how often are you at home?
I am definitely away from my comfort zone most of the year, being away from home really gives you a different perspective on the World of flatland and it’s intricacies, there seems to be way more riders out there then I had ever thought.

What are you looking forward to this year, event wise?
I am looking forward to BMX Cologne, I have never been and would love to be able to give the best of my riding at this event this year.

medalls for FM

Who is sponsoring and helping you live the dream Dub?
Everyone that has helped during my travels and my mom, grandma and sponsors; Amnesia Shop, Nomi Trademark,Konkrete Shoes,514 BMX and Fareast Cycles. I can’t forget Takuji and Benjamin for embarking on the journey through South America and sharing the adventures together, that was a dream and a half!!! I still can’t believe we made it!

What’s your biggest inspiration in 2015?
Challenging myself with putting out tricks I’ve wanted to pull for a long time, out-doing myself in competition by refining the movements and opening new doors, put an event together that will surpass any other that ever went down in Quebec and bring creative and useful product to the Flatland scene to help and push the level to greater heights.

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Dub takes a moment to chill in Mexico with Jesse Puente & Pete Brandt.

You just won the annual Toronto contest straight off the IGI South American tour for the third time, congratulations for that! Where you travelling to next?
Next up is France! There’s a place I’d like to visit where Merlin the Sorcerer supposedly rests near a supposedly enchanted forest. I would love to visit mysterious Tibet and the province of Yunnan in China (wishful thinking) and also going back to the IOXC contest in Indonesia being held in Bandung this year will be a treat.

Any final shoutouts Dub?
FLATMATTERS!!!

Related links:

http://www.flatmattersonline.com/must-watch-jean-william-prevost-double-trouble

http://www.flatmattersonline.com/flat-ark-2014-semifinal-yohei-uchino-vs-jean-william-provost

http://www.flatmattersonline.com/jean-william-prevost-battle-in-the-rockies-interview

http://www.flatmattersonline.com/jean-william-prevost-benjamin-hudson-against-the-current

TCU TV – The Matthias Dandois & Alex Jumelin Interview

Let it be said first, I’m a big fan of these TCU podcasts where Catfish and Adam 22 invite different characters onto their show and discuss their lives in all forms. For the 13th episode, Alex Jumelin and Matthias Dandois were invited to the show, rather than mention everything they discuss. Sit down grab a beer, a tea or coffee, whatever you have and enjoy and listen to their perspective. This is great!

Shintaro Misawa – 2014 Flatmatters Awards/Most Progressive Rider Interview

Intro/Interview: Effraim
Photos: Shintaro Misawa.

We start the week with the third in our series of exclusive interviews with the winners of the 2014 Flatmatters Online Year end awards, this time it is the turn of flatland jedi, Shintaro Misawa who was voted Most Progressive Rider of the Year by you the readers of Flatmatters! We catch up to talk about his online videos, practice rituals, his various bike set ups and so much more! Don’t miss this!

Shintaro Click here to read more »

Simon O’Brien Lookback Interview

Stewart Munro got together with Simon O’Brien to talk about his riding perspective these days, competing, travelling, and a whole lot more! It is also great to hear Simon’s thoughts on the flatland scene, and older riders competing again, as well as some amazing throwback clips! Definitely worth a watch!

DecoBMX – 2014 Flatmatters Awards Brand of the Year Interview

Intro/Interview: Effraim.
Photos: Chad / http://chipriggs.com.

The winners of the 2014 Flatmatters Online awards now have their medals, so I am going through the process of interviewing each winner over the next month or so. We begin with “Brand of the Year”, which was won by Deco BMX. I caught up with the main man behind Deco, Chad Degroot to grab his thoughts on winning the award, his brand, new products in the works, collaborating with Profile, and talk all things flatland, read on!

ChadSelfie

Firstly congratulations to you and DecoBMX for Brand of the Year, how do you feel about receiving the award Chad?
This is awesome for so many reasons. First off I want to thank you for doing this, seems like BMX has lost sight of why and how we got here. Plus who are trying to push things for the better of the sport. These awards are refreshing and such a great idea. This award is for DecoBMX but it wouldn’t be possible with all the supporters out there. And a huge thanks and respect for the whole team including the ramp and street riders. Tsutomu Kitayama or “Storm”, Lee Musselwhite, Terry Adams, Thomas Noyer, Tang Meng, Kerry Gatt, and Hiroshi Uehara holding it down on the flatland side. This award is a stamp on history for 2014 and I couldn’t be more proud to receive this on behalf of DecoBMX and what we represent. Thank you.

Thanks Chad! As well as having great product, it’s also about the team getting out there. Who makes up the Deco team?
It’s not limited to Tsutomu Kitayama or “Storm”, Lee Musselwhite, Terry Adams, Thomas Noyer, Tang Meng, Kerry Gatt, and Hiroshi Uehara but more or less anyone who rides a bike part, sticker, LIKES us on Facebook, comments on anything, and throws support our way.

Selling the Wu pegs singular was a stroke of genius, something unless you ride you might not understand. What are your plans without giving too much away for Deco in 2015?
Thank you for this, but it was a few minds coming together to make the WuPegs possible including Shawn Burnham. We are switching production in house at Profile Racing in USA so you know the original Wu was great but were going to make it better. Tsutomu is on his signature JACKPOT frame that is done sampling and will be out early summer, clean design, well thought out, great graphics, and hand picked colors. Our Camo line of seats including a flatland specific seat, camo fork caps, camo swirl grips, camo pedals are either out now or will be soon. Also the Tie Dye parts including seatpost clamps and seatposts have a great look. Working on a bag that doubles as a tool bag or toiletry bag. USA made Pac Ends bar ends are out now. We are supporting great jams and events like Fl-BMX series, Nowhere Jams, One Love, Voodoo, Battle in the Rockies, and more. On a side note working on the Profile Z-Coaster is a dream come true finally having it released in April. I spent a lot of time and work helping them develop this product that is THE BEST hub I have ever ridden. I give that shout out for Profile stepping into more support with Deco, Tsutomu and TA as team riders, and the flatland community needs this support with a great company with this kind of history.

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The main man behind all things Deco! Photo: Chipriggs.com

Besides Deco you have ran a couple of skateparks, and now also a shop as well. How do you feel these experiences have helped you with running Deco?
It’s having business pride but also employing riders, giving money back to rider owned companies, building our local scene here in Florida, not trying to change the world of bmx but staying with it for the long haul, making the right moves, being a business to stay in business with good decisions, making the customer happy or giving them options.

On a day to day basis, how many people do you employ under at Deco HQ?
To employ is a tough one, it’s really only me. But I don’t want to leave out my employees at my shop who answer the phone, sell Deco direct to customers, and answer questions about Deco as my shop Mr. B’s doubles as Deco as well. Right now in house my shop has 4 employees. Outside I couldn’t consider them employees but people who help Deco and see the light. Chris Rye does some graphics and ideas here and there. Matt Coplon has always put in time and effort on social media, ideas, and sales through Profile Racing Distro. The Space-Station crew with the shirts and graphics. Randal takes care of hats and patches. So I am not really answering this correctly but if you have to ask under this one roof for Deco its just myself and my many personalities.

ChadxftH5
Xft One handed Opposite Hang 5 out at his second office, photo: Chipriggs.com.

What would you say are the core principles that define what Deco is all about?
Look how you want to be seen. Be honest and don’t let business run you. Keep it in control at all times. Once you are to big you lost control. Everything is a story so I am keeping the stories telling. BMX birthed Deco so I’m staying true to the roots where it all came from.

If someone wants Deco product, where can they get it from?
First I would say to shop local, but this can be tough so respected mail orders would be next. For Distros if your a shop hit up Direct, Profile Racing, QBP, Deco Spain, Deco France, Agun, Decade in Japan, and many more and always keep in mind direct from me chad@decobmx.com and hit me with any questions on ordering, where to get the good stuff, and even suggestions/concerns/ideas.

Any final shoutouts?
Thanks to everyone who voted, who rides, follows, likes, is honest, and gives two shits about Deco. and smiles about BMX.

Hiroshi Uehara Interview – The Hundreds

Head over to The Hundreds website to check out this great interview with Hiroshi Uehara, that discusses Hiroshi’s 430 Brand, lifestyle, business, competing with big brands such as H&M and much more. Really good read!

http://thehundreds.com/hiroshi-uehara-interview/

Matthias Dandois – Fathead Interview

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!

James McGraw – Battle in the Rockies Interview

Intro/Interview: Effraim.
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!


Gerator body varial at the warehouse where Prelims will take place.

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.


James has been killing the back wheel this year, dump truck xft ice cream pivot.

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.


James can ride the front wheel too! Xft hitch in Kobe, Japan! Photo: Bobby Carter.

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!

First real session in the Battle Zone from James McGraw on Vimeo.

BFWC & Overground + James McGraw Interview

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!