Considering that Brian put his heart and soul into his latest video part, we figured it was right time to sit down and ask him some questions about what he’s been up to in 2012 and what gives him the drive to go out and get things done how he does. It didn’t hurt that Ryan Fudger was just in Chicago for a week and shot a ton of rad photos with Brian, along with some contributions from local Chicago photographer and awesome dude Tim Burkhart. Read below to see what Brian had to say, see all of Fudger & Burkhart’s photos, and to check the teaser again. Oh yeah, and be sure to come back to RideBMX.com this upcoming Monday, December 17th, to see what we’ve been cooking up with Brian–it’s awesome.

Interview: Andrew Brady
Photos: Ryan Fudger & Tim Burkhart

Brian, congrats on an awesome 2012. I know for you, it was an up and down year with injuries and an ACL surgery recovery. Did this play into you filming all of this crazy footage in just over six months time?

BK: Thanks! It was an action packed year for sure. I think coming back from a big surgery made me more motivated than ever, especially since my knee and body felt better than it has in years. I guess all the hours spent off my bike made me all that more excited to get back on it and not just that but push things further than I had previously. I guess the cliché of “hard work pays off” proved true in this case.

Brian sticks an over toothpick underneath Chicago. When it’s too wet up top, sometimes you gotta go underground… Photo: Fudger

You’ve been in the game for a while now. You filmed your first ever video part (Mid-Where) over 10 years. Now ,over a decade later, you’re going faster and harder than you did back then. This is pretty rare in BMX. What’s your secret?

BK: Anyone who rides BMX knows it’s both physical and mental. By taking care of myself it also made me mentally ready to push things again. I got back on my bike with yet another new found love for riding, traveling, learning, etc. I eat reasonably, exercise, ride and stay busy. I think the more busy I am, the more motivated I am. This goes for on and off my bike. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve turned my TV on this past 6 months. I don’t like to sit still.

What’s a daily riding day like for you? Are you doing wild shit all day long, or is that under a certain circumstance? What makes you enter that “zone” and want to do the things you do?

BK: No day is ever the same as the next. When it comes to riding or life in general, I make sure that I do at least one thing a day that makes me uncomfortable or scares me. I think leaving my comfort zone is the only way I can learn and grow. This doesn’t always mean it’s big scary stuff though. Yesterday, for example, I worked on backwards manuals on a curb for a long time. It wasn’t scary but it was uncomfortable since I’m not very good at them. I made a bit of progress and that to me is a successful day. Of course, the most rewarding thing is when you take those skills you learn onto something with consequences. It’s scary and mentally challenging but it’s progression. Progression is always the #1 goal.

What riders give you that urge to get on your bike and hit up a spot or do some wild shit?

BK: There are too many to list. Of course I get inspired by fellow pros. For example, anytime someone visits The Bakery I get super inspired by seeing now they push riding in their own unique direction. It’s not just pros though. I also get inspired when I see someone push themselves, even if it’s just a beginner rider at the park. When you see someone going for it, it makes you want to go for it. Know what I mean?

You’re no stranger to doing a bit of experimentation and doing progressive things media wise for BMX. You’ve been filming for years, started The Bakery, and have been a part of making things move media-wise for years. What do you think about the current state of BMX media and the mediums in which BMX is portrayed these days? Where do you see it going?

BK: BMX media is crazy these days. There’s so much good stuff coming from everywhere. Print, web and even DVDs are all making BMX what it is at the moment. I love it all. I created The Bakery to not just portray BMX in a good way but also to eliminate some of the bullshit we as street riders put up with (security, police, weather, pedestrians, etc). The feature videos slowed down this year a bit due to conflicting schedules and budgets but The Bakery did host what many have said was one of the best BMX events ever. I was honored when I heard that but also had the pleasure of seeing it with my own two eyes. Every media outlet plays their part in general and hopefully they can all survive long into the future.

A lot of footage is filmed in Chicago, but there’s plenty of other footage from other places. Where did you go to make this video happen?

BK: I traveled a good bit this year. I’m proud to say a lot of this footage is from the Midwest (Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana) but also some clips from far away places like China and Russia. I like to have variety but in this case the Midwest shined through for sure.

Nollie to double peg in Russia. Photo: Fudger

Speaking of Chicago, what’s it like riding at a professional level there? What are some of the pros and cons of the city?

BK: Being a pro rider in the Midwest isn’t easy but Chicago is actually a great place to live and ride. We have a solid crew of talented riders and awesome people. Some of the people I ride with might not be doing the most groundbreaking stuff every day but they are always learning and genuinely enjoy riding. This makes me want to push my riding while also never seeming like a “contest” or anything. All fun and no drama over here. I love it. The only cons of Chicago is the weather, traffic and it’s expensive. It truly is a one-of –a-kind city. I love it.

Care to do talk briefly about the BMX/skate plaza you’re trying to make happen in the city?

BK: A fellow rider and I have begun talks with the city about building another park here which is greatly needed. As of now there isn’t really a park that’s near downtown and good. A city as progressive as Chicago can do better. There are lots of hoops to jump through before making this a reality but I’m ready to put in the work. We will also be working with fellow riders and skaters to make sure everyone is happy with it. I have a pretty good idea for the park that will make it different from any other park in the world and hopefully I can do what I can to make this happen. Thanks to fellow Chicago rider Nick Wilbat for already helping with this project. I don’t ever like to use my “pro status” for personal gain but if that’s what it takes for the city officials to listen to the needs of BMX/skaters then I’ll use it all day long. As long as it benefits everyone.

Explain the filming situation–all of the footage is seriously great. Well filmed, high definition, etc…who all helped this thing come together?

BK: I’ve had some amazing filmers help me out this year. Most of them are people I ride with often as well. They include: Paul Dybas, Andrew Brady, Tony Malouf, Jeff Wescott, Grant Castelluzzo, Jeff Klugiewicz, Paul Williams, Tony Loconte, Tony Neyer, Trent McDaniel, Kane Wang, Stew Johnson, Mike Escamilla and more. Thanks guys!

The song in your upcoming video is pretty heavy and you had some help getting permission to license it. How did you end up deciding on the song and what was the process like getting it legit to use in the edit?

BK: I’ve talked about that song being a good song for a video part for years but it would have to have the right clips to go with it. After watching some of the footage Andrew and I decided that the song would finally fit good for something. Tunney actually put me in touch with the people at the record label and I actually ended up paying to use the song. For me it was money well spent since I wanted it all to be legit. Plus, I know half the payment went to the band which also makes me happy. It was a learning experience with all the contracts and stuff in order to license it. It all worked out though.

What are your future plans? Any last words you’d like to give?

BK: A lot. A major interview project or two. Some video projects both with myself and with The Bakery. Events are always fun. Trips are always amazing. All that “normal” stuff planned but also some unexpected stuff which I’m really really excited for. Sorry for being so vague but don’t want to ruin any surprises just yet. Plus, isn’t the world supposed to end or something? (laughter)

Last words?

BK: I’ll steal a classic quote from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of shots you don’t take.” Remember that.

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