Photo by Timothy Burkhart
Not that long ago, GT was all but done and dusted. Poor bikes, a skeleton team, and no direction. A quick turnaround was definitely required… GT as a BMX brand began revamping itself around three years ago and a certain Ben Ward was brought on board to help turn the ship around and make GT relevant again. With support from the main men at GT, the ex-FitBikeCo brand manager brought in new bikes, better product and hired a team of riders the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the days of Eddie Fiola and Martin Aparijo. GT came back swinging. The next chapter in this story has just been unleashed – the new GT BMX video, Seriously Fun.
The man hired to lace this video together is none other than the guy hanging off a building in the photo above – Andrew Brady – a longtime collaborator of Brian Kachinsky during the heady times of The Bakery around six/seven years ago. The Bakery was awesome – a perfectly formed indoor skatepark with movable modular and connecting features, which hosted the best riders and teams of the time to create cutting-edge and always creative and different video parts: and Andrew was the video element behind the project. So we caught up with Andrew as work on Seriously Fun came to fruition to discover what’s gone in to GT’s all-new video.
First up, a quick history recap – The Bakery:
This was the Bakery – and it was great.
“Brian Kachinsky is, without a doubt, one of the hardest working and thoughtful people I’ve ever met in my life” – Andrew Brady
Tell us a little about your background Andrew?
I always had BMX bikes growing up, but it was never anything more than popping wheelies and other super elementary stunts with kids in the neighborhood in my early teenage years when Dave Mirra was God and I finally got my hands on my first copy of Ride BMX with Jason Enns was on the cover doing an invert. Right around the same time that my friends and I had been riding for a while and in a more contemporary fashion, I started interning at the local cable-access television station. I had access to 3CCD Canon XL1s, Mac Pros with Final Cut Pro, and a great staff that was young, enthusiastic, and passed on a ton of knowledge to me. I’ll always be grateful for that experience. Those two passions collided and I started making videos of my friends riding and posting them online. As far as an editor/videographer, I was just imitating the older generation, dudes like Jeff Klugiewicz and Dominic Trovato and everyone involved in the MidwestBMX.net scene. So, I’ve been riding and making videos somewhere in the range of 10-15 years.
Through all that, I eventually ended up meeting Kevin Porter and started shooting photos and videos with him, which led to me meeting all sorts of dudes in the BMX industry that organically led to a really fun trip from my teenage years to my mid-twenties. Some notable highlights include working for Ride BMX, moving to California and developing friendships with some really great people, working on The Bakery projects with Brian Kachinsky, and just overall just getting a more honest experience of the world through traveling across the United States and the globe.
Nowadays I work for a media firm in Chicago, shoot/edit very little BMX, and I’m totally cool with that. I know that dedication and passion aren’t there 24/7/365 and I don’t force it if I’m not feeling it. I honestly hadn’t made anything close to a full-length BMX project since I was a teenager with my friends, so this was a really exciting opportunity to chop up some footage of folks that I really like as people or riders, mostly shot by Zach Krejmas, who similarly, I love kicking/riding with and respect the hell out of filming-wise.
I was a big fan of those videos and projects that you guys did at The Bakery. What was it like back then?
Thanks, man. The Bakery was such an incredible experience, from the first incarnation to the second one. Everything about those projects was just so fun and pure and against incredible odds and conventional thought. Brian Kachinsky is, without a doubt, one of the hardest working and thoughtful people I’ve ever met in my life, and overall the whole project was a just an amazing ride to be a part of. I’m so thankful that for all of those experiences and life lessons.
Fast forward a few years – what’s it like to be teamed up with Kachinsky again and working on video projects?
Great! I’ve always felt like BK has a timeless style and has evolved and aged gracefully as a rider. This part is no different – there are the classic BK hammers and some dope tech moves that are a nod to the style of riding that’s popular in the streets these days.
“I always found simple to be better when it comes to making BMX videos and I feel BMX is most properly represented when the riding is the showcase” – Andrew Brady
GT isn’t quite a core BMX company that is renowned for team videos of late, so does that come with extra challenges for you?
Five years ago when I was working full time in BMX I’d probably have a different answer, but today, not really. I’ve found that as a creative person, I do my best work when I have to work within a certain set of parameters. I’ve always struggled with more laissez-faire style projects.
So was there a real sense of LET’S DO THIS when it came to starting this project? Like, was everyone psyched to get going?
Totally. GT had quite a bit of footage stacked up from various trips and came back with a crazy amount of good footage from Taiwan. All of the dudes were simultaneously stacking with their own cameras and friends on the side, and everyone came through with some quality footage. Some of these dudes are holding down full-time jobs, school, etc., so an extra hats-off to these dudes for the amount of dedication they showed, all things considered.
Do the GT team riders put more effort into a full-length team video compared to web edits?
I can’t speak for everyone, but from the guys I know and the group texts I’m in with various riders, these dudes would be doing every move you’d see in the video given the opportunity – camera or no camera.
What’s been the best trip so far for Seriously Fun?
I wasn’t on any of the trips, but it sounds like the boys had a blast in Taiwan.
What was the biggest surprise or best treat during the filming?
Rob Wise’s footage. I tend to look at things from a long-term, historical perspective, and this little burst of Rob Wise hammers is just such a great moment to be a part of and chop up, after he kind of disappeared from the BMX spotlight for a while.
What about the downers – any injuries while filming?
Nothing major that I know of, thankfully!
What about the trips you guys went on to film? Any specific highlights?
I wasn’t on the trips, but from the conversations with the dudes I had after the fact, all the dudes vibe super-well and are had a ton of fun.
“These dudes would be doing every move you’d see in the video given the opportunity – camera or no camera” – Andrew brady
So the video also has some compiled footage from around the world – how has that come together?
Most of the footage came from Zach Krejmas, which was a great foundation to start with. Zach has that classic, simple, quality BMX filming style I love. I also really gotta give it up to Dan Conway on this project. He killed it insanely hard in front of the lens, and handled his shit like a professional behind the lens, filming a decent amount of Brian’s part, labeling and organizing all of his footage and more. He’s rocking a DSLR with a fisheye and a dad cam for the long lens and I think it looked good and cut together just fine with Zach’s stuff. All of the contributed footage was pretty quality too. Shout out to all the guys that sent stuff in for the project.
I always found simple to be better when it comes to making BMX videos and I feel BMX is most properly represented when the riding is the showcase. Your filming and editing should complement that, and never steal the show. Handheld fisheye/long lens zoom is just the most appropriate technique for filming a good BMX video in my eyes. If you roll up to a spot and a dude wants to go in right away, that’s just the quickest, best way to do it. I’m there to capture the moment that the rider is creating. They’re the ones putting their lives on the line, they get to dictate the tempo and the pace as far as I’m concerned. The handheld fish/long lens zoom is just the right tool for the job from that perspective. In my opinion, the cinematic stuff is rarely ever done right and nearly always overshadows the riding. It’s cool for marketing products and one-off videos here and there but I don’t want to sit down and watch a 30 minute BMX feature or even a full-length single part that’s comprised entirely of cinematic shots. I think that stuff is much more suitable and appropriate for things like snowboarding, surfing, and mountain biking.
So whose parts are you particularly psyched on?
Conway and Al have to be my personal favorites. I always liked Dan’s riding and he really turned it up a notch over the past couple of years.
Any riders that have really, really surprised you – like, who should we be looking forward to?
Who have full parts?
Kachinsky, Albert, and Conway have full-length parts. Jason, Rob, and JWG have their own shorter parts that are packed beginning to end with the quality riding you’d expect from them. I think the video keeps your attention and has a nice flow to it.
Finally, wrap up the GT video in a Hollywood-style film pitch.
You know the dudes and you know the riding. Unless your ego is so fragile that you can’t stand the sight of someone wearing a helmet on a BMX bike, I think everyone will find something they like about the video.
More on the Bakery: