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Chris Rye

Der Props Gründer im Interview

interview by markus wilke and thomas fritscher

Name, age bla.

Christopher Rye, I’ll be 27 on May 8th., 1999.

What’s up with you riding street?

It’s just fun. I rode flatland for 10 years seriously, but with all the other things going on in my life lately, i just don’t have the time to stay dialed anymore, much less progress. We (the Baco crew) had always ridden ramps and street all along, so when I stopped riding flat, the other stuff was still there. Steet is fun, just manualing stuff and doing pussy gaps and what not.

I like jumping too and trying to be stylish. If it’s one thing I’ve learned in my career is I’d rather watch someone do something mediocre and do it totally stylish that watch someone do something crazy, but do it totally SICK. I love the style in our sport more than anything.

How and when did you get started in bmx?

I got into it when I was 13 (1985 or so). My cousin Kevin had a Haro Master

and I thought it was the SHIT. I met a couple kids at school, got a bike, and

it was all over after that. I don’t even really remember high school, all I

remember is riding all the time trying to learn flatland tricks. I was reading

the magazines too. I remember thinking Martin Aparajio and Woody Itson were

the shit. If I think about that now I seriously start cracking up. Fuck, it

was SO gay back then.

What inspired you to start making videos?

I guess all along I’ve had this fascination with electronics. When I was

10 or so, my uncle Morris got this Zenith Heathkit computer and it was just

the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I would sit at it for hours and hours

playing Zork (it was just words back then). He had this black and white video

camera too and I had a pet gerble and I would try to do special effects like

make it disappear out of it’s cage. Just do an edit and take it out of the cage

and it was gone. Years later when I got into riding, Chad’s parents had a VHS

camera and we just started filming everything. We hung out with skaters at the

time and would film them too. Then I would go home and edit off the camera right

to a vcr. I somehow added music and then I had my first video. Then when we

met Mark Hilson and Mark Fluette it just all fell into place. Hilson had already

made a video called Thrashin’ Menasha. They were more into the scene than we

were, we had never even been to a contest. Hilson had this big VHS video camera

that could do video and audio dubbing, and we just started filming each other

riding. Soon we made Bacovision and a year later Baco 2. By this time I was

really getting into it and wanted a camera of my own. I finally got a 8mm camera

and soon after a Hi8. All I did was ride and film, that’s all any of us did.

The next thing I knew I was making the Stardard video, Fat Ones and starting

Props. It was crazy.

What’s your favorite part of making videos?

That’s a really good question. I think the best part is finishing a video

and knowing that it will change things. Like when I finished editing the first

Road Fools. To just sit back after it’s all done and the master’s sent off to

the duplicators. No one else had seen it except Dave (Freimuth) and Hilson and

they loved it. I also like making videos when I have good footage to use. Making

the Baco videos are always fun. I love telling little stories with the way you

can edit things, I think that’s my style. I like making things happen with the

music. I like humor. I like new things the most, ever changing, re-inventing.

Who are your current influences in videomaking, riding, or life in general?

I really don’t have any influences in making videos, I just edit as I go.

As far as riding goes, I get influenced by stylish people with skills. Joe Rich

has always influenced me, he’s a dope ass rider with dope style. Music influences

me to do things. I love getting psyched to do something.

How and with who did you start Baco?

After me and Chad met Hilson and those guys, we got into screen printing.

Chad and I had built these three stupid little ramps and we called them Baco

1, Baco 2, and Baco 3. I think it’s because Chad liked eating Bacos (bacon bits)

and that’s just what we named the ramps. Very stupid. When we started printing

shirts we called the whole deal Baco Designs. In the beginning it was mainly

me, Chad, and Hilson doing the shit. Then when we made the videos we just used

the same name, Baco. The name is so silly sounding, but it stuck. No one objected.

And Props? Who does what at Props? Who had the idea?

In the beginning me and Marco would do everything together. We edited linear

back then and it was always faster with 2 people. I would be setting up the

next edit and he would be finding the next clip. As time went on and after we

got the computer, things started changing. Marco’a dad is this big buisnessman

and Marco starting taking more of an interest in that. With the computer for

editing it was more of a one man job and I could do the editing on my own. Soon

I just ended up doing the video making part and Marco did the buisness side.

Currently I am responsible for making the videos, doing any graphic design (logos,

box designs, ads, etc.), and whatever else. The computer is always a ballup,

it’s pissy and it’s a chore sometimes just to get it to do what you want. It

requires a lot of maintenence. Marco does all the sales, plans out our schedule

for traveling, and tons more. He’s kinda like my team manager, he takes care

of me. We own Props 50/50 and we both do our part equally I think. About who

had the idea…to tell you the truth, I really don’t remember, it just all fell

into place. I came up with the name “Props” though. It was origionally

supposed to be a print magazine but turned into the videos.

Is there a difference in making a Props or a Baco video? Do they have different

philosophies? If so, which?

I’d say Props is more systematical and Baco is more creative. Baco was,

is, and always will be just about me and my friends, so we just make it as it

goes with the footage we have at the time. We tend to get a little silly with

it sometimes, because we can and it’s fun. We do our own thing with Baco, we

have our own video-making style. Props is definitely more of a job than Baco,

it’s like one hundred times more work. Props is never ending, there’s always

something that has to be done. Props is more than just the video magazine, now

we have Road Fools (which is crazy work), and there’s always something that

comes up just when you think you’re gonna get a break. We’ve been doing work

for Huffy the last 2 years and they always need something to be done. I think

we’re gonna make some commercials for them again this year and probably their

team video. Me and Marco have big plans for Props, far above and beyond just

biking. Props is something that we could do for the rest of our lives if we

do the right things with it, in and outside of biking. We’ll just have to see

what happens.

It seems like the spirit of Baco lives on in the Props credits. Why are those

so important to you?

I just want to make people smile when they watch the credits. I like to

think of them as a celebration kinda. There’s a lot of characters in our sport

and there’s a lot of humor. I think people should see that. The credits in Props

are probably my best chance to get creative on a bi-monthly basis. I tend to

spend a lot of time with them, fine tuning the edits and getting the audio mix

perfect. I can be really anal at times, I’m really picky about certain things.

I guess they reflect Baco in a way, it’s kinda the same filming and editing

style. A lot of people don’t even know about my roots with Baco, they just have

no idea. Baco is what started it all.

Is music as important in our life as it is in your videos? What kind of music

do you listen to? What’s up with Jamco?

Music with me is interesting. I like a lot of different styles of music.

From hip hop to alternative to techno to trip hop to metal to underground to

folk. 70’s obviously. I love music. I used to play guitar and bass but ever

since I broke my elbow 2 years ago I can’t do palm up with my left hand, making

it impossible to play. I definitely miss that, I really liked playing bass.

Jamco is just a hobby for now, just a fun thing to do, a creative outlet outside

of videos. I try to produce songs the best I can, but it’s really time consuming,

plus I don’t know much about professional audio engineering. The songs I did

for Baco 7 and 8 took a year each. Of course I’d work on them here and there,

not like a year straight or anything. Lyrics are another thing. I’m learning

when it comes to lyrics, learning what to write and what not to. To make a good

song you gotta keep it dope no matter what. I like to write rhymes that flow,

that have hidden meanings you have to think about to figure out.

It seems like the content of your videos changes toward more mayhem, more

drug/alcohol reference and more girls. Is your life changing or are you just

showing more in the videos nowadays?

I’d say my life has changed a little bit. I used to be against drinking

and partying and shit. I guess I’ve lightened up and discovered how fun that

stuff is. People do funny things when they’re drunk. As for the girls, girls

are always good to look at.

How would you react if someone says your videos are sexistic?

I’d say, “Yeah, so what?”

What do you think of the current riding scene, since your company basically

grew with the sport? Do you live the bmx-dream?

The riding scene has definitely changed over the years. It went from being

really gay, to really underground, to really cool. That’s where it is now, really

cool. I remember back in the day, riding at Festival Foods, and people would

drive up to watch. They’d be like, “That’s really neat, I never knew you

could do that on a bike.” Freestyle seemed SO foreign to normal people.

No one except a rider knew what it was about and that’s just how it was. Today,

everyone knows who Dave Mirra and Matt Hoffman are. People that used to laugh

at you, nowdays want to bro-down. That part is highly annoying, I just mumble

a few words and shade off. As far as living the BMX dream…I’d say it’s pretty

close to where I want to be with it. My job is to capture the current state

of riding and present it in a way that people like. I’d say Props does that

pretty well. Baco does it great and Road Fools does it the best. I’ve been really

working a lot lately, probably the most I ever have. Sometimes it sucks because

I feel that I’ve really lost a lot of my riding skill because of it. I get hurt

a lot now it seems and I get bummed because I suck. Making Props and everything

isn’t always fun and games, it’s a lot of seriously hard work. People have no

idea. We want to start finding some help this year. We need to find someone

that can film, edit, and use the equipment. I think Dave (Freimuth) is gonna

do a lot of work for us this year. We live together and I’ve taught him a lot

about editing, he’s taught himself a lot too. He did the DK video pretty much

by himself and he did the Props Best Of 1998 too. He did the Baco Uncut commercial

in Baco 8. I think he’s got a lot to offer.

What happened to Tread?

Tread is dead. Basically it was the best American magazine ever, coming

straight from the riding stand point. The industry didn’t understand it. They

were scared of it. Chris Hallman put his heart into it for 4 issues and each

one was amazing. We lost a lot of money on it and almost ruined Props because

of it. If anything it was a learning experience on how lame the industry is.

I think a lot of people were really disappointed when we stopped publishing

it, the riders liked it more than anything. I was sad to see it go. If anyone

cares, there’s a “Tread History” article on the Props website, it

describes everything pretty well. The majority of the content from the 4 issues

we published still exhists free of charge on the site too. .

How has computer technology changed the way you work with videos? What equipment

do you use? How many videos have you made?

Computer technology has made making videos really easy. It’s funny because

now days everyone that can afford a decent computer, or has access to one, is

making videos. Making a typical bike video with a computer doesn’t take much

skill as far as I’m concerned. Anyone can do it using a computer. But to do

it good, and use the computer as a tool, is something completely different.

You know, some people think they have the skills, but in truth they have to

be learned and earned over a long period of time. Experience is everything.

I don’t think you can really appreciate what a computer can do if you’ve never

edited linear, or from deck to deck manually. It’s a whole different game and

only a handfull of people did it good when it came to bike videos. Mark Eaton

obviously, Ellsworth, Dave Parrick, Craig Johnston, and a small handfull of

others. Stew Johnson made some videos the old way. In my total career thus far,

I’ve made about 20 videos linear, and over 30 non-linear. For me, using a computer

saves vast amounts of time and allows me to do the things I always dreamed of

when I used to edit the old way. My current set up, though ever changing, is

as follows:

For hardware, I use an Apple Macintosh G3, 400 mHz. We have a MegaDrive Enterprise-8

tower with 16 Gigs of hard drive space. They’re connected to the computer with

a dual-channel, ultra-wide SCSI accelerator, striped into 4 partitions across

the 2 busses. They are very fast. The video board is called DV Studio, manufactured

by Octopos Systems, a German company. It allows me to capture video and export

it via firewire, aka completely digital. There is no quality loss what-so-ever,

from the original footage, to the final master. We just got a Sony DHR-1000

DV editing deck, it’s crazy dope. We got a couple S-VHS decks too and a Hi8

deck that we literally wore out making Props 1-11. I also have a CD burner,

and various scanners and such. For software, I use Adobe Premeire 5.1 exclusively

for editing and Adobe AfterEffects for special effects. For example, the moving

intro logos in Props are done in AfterEffects. Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator

are also important parts of the video-making process. I also have tons of audio

equipment…samplers, mixers, a couple mini-disc recorders, and such. Jamco

uses that shit. I have an Apple 266 mHz G3 PowerBook too for working on the

road. We are also planning on getting another editing workstation later this

year so there can be two people working at the same time.

Will you ever come to Europe?

Actually, I’ll be making my first trip in the fall when we shoot Road Fools

5, Europe. The trip will cover 5 countries and is gonna be dope as fuck.

Any last words?

I just want to say to everyone that’s reading this to keep it real with

biking and that we need to keep the sport in our hands, so that when the big

corporate companies decide to drop out, we can go on without a glitch. This

is Chris Rye signing off from BacoLand…bye bye.

Text: Markus Wilke & Thomas Fritscher

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