When a BMX company has been around for fourteen years you have to figure that they are doing something right. That was my exact thought when planning the next company to feature for the column and that is why I chose Volume and Demolition. Also because Brian Castillo is a dedicated, hard-working person who constantly pushes BMX in a positive direction. He multi-tasks like no other and still finds time in his day to shred. He rides BMX simply because he loves it, and helped take a dream and make it a reality which is something most people will never do. It takes an incredible amount of drive to run multiple BMX companies for over a decade but he handles it with a small crew working alongside. I made my way down to the offices recently to hang out for the day, shoot some photos and talk to Castillo about what it takes to make it all happen.
As most of these go, let’s start out with a little bit of info about you.
Name: Brian Castillo
Age: Old enough not to answer.
Hometown: Placentia, CA.
Current Residence: Brea, CA.
Years Riding: Long enough not to remember.
First and foremost I want you to take a minute and explain the difference between Volume and Demolition. As most riders out there understand, they are one and the same but for some, it seems as though they are two completely separate companies.
Volume first started out only making frames, forks and bars but later did a lil’ bit of parts here and there. Volume will get back into the complete market this year and will only do parts for those completes. Demolition came a year after and is the full range of parts. I always saw that doing parts under a completely different brand name would open the door to a lot more opportunities with different riders, product range, trips, collabs, etc.
Where did the idea to do your own thing come about anyways? Correct me if I’m wrong, you were riding for S&M at the time right?
Yeah, I was riding for S&M at the time but I was also working at Primo doing a bit of everything from product development, photography, graphics to team managing. I felt it would be a good time and opportunity to pull the trigger to do something on my own with everything that I learned while working at Primo.
What year did you get the official business license for Volume and Demolition?
Volume started in 1999 and Demolition started a year after.
In those days, what was the state of the BMX industry? Obviously you wouldn’t have started a company knowing it was in the shitter if it was.
In my mind it was an amazing! I wanna’ say BMX was on the rise due to the X Games being around since 1995 and the magazines having a really strong influence back then. I rode a ton and was fortunate enough to get in the mags and also had a lot of influential friends that would also help out and support the brand, I just thought it all was a no-brainer. I definitely had a lot more passion than brains then too though.
Where did the name for both companies come from?
Like most guys that try and come up with a name for anything, it either clicks right away or it takes a bit of back and forth. Volume took a bit of time; I think I debated over a couple different names. Volume sounded the best and then I thought that I could make the branding cool. Demolition was something that seemed to just click and the riders right away loved the name and the different identities Volume and Demolition were going to take on.
As far as actually being named “owner” do you hold that title as an individual for both companies or are there a few people behind the scenes?
Our CFO is La Luang and is the “behind the scenes” partner. He was actually my boss per-say over at Gallop (Primo) until we both decided to make the move on our own.
How many employees did you have when you first started and how many do you have now?
We started at three employees and we now have six.
What has been the best part about owning a few BMX companies?
The best part is dealing with a lot of cool riders and talented people in general, being able to ride whenever you like and seeing the development of products.
How about the worst?
Since we’re a small brand, we all take on a number of rolls and that can take a toll on you. It’s non-stop work! And the BMX market isn’t necessarily the most consistent. It’s a roller coaster of inconsistency.
I know that you wear a lot of hats over there but can you really break down what it is you do for both companies?
It’s a little bit of everything but my daily is graphic design, product development, photography and just being the general brand manager for both brands.
With the current state of BMX people have been heard saying that the die-hard companies are going to be the only ones that stick around in the next few years. What are your thoughts on that?
It’s definitely a saturated market right now and I think a lot of die-hards are hoping that a few make it less difficult for the passionate ones to move forward. A good example is the UK BMX market, which is a lot crazier than the U.S. market right now. Every shop and every mail order there has a TW catalog brand that undercuts everyone. It’s one thing to give back by sponsoring riders, doing trips, making cool products but these brands are just making it harder for the good brands to move forward in a way that will help the industry grow in the right direction.
On that note, what are your thoughts on the corporate involvement we have seen come and go over the years?
I think we’ll see them back off on their involvement in BMX. With BMX hitting a tough patch, these bigger corporate companies will second guess it or get out completely. Again, only passionate people are the ones that will stay in this industry.
There really aren’t a lot of corporate BMX specific brands in the industry anymore any ways. They don’t put a lot into BMX as much as they did back in the eighties/ nineties when brands like GT used to rule BMX. The riders took over the core BMX market and left them behind in every aspect. I think we’ll always see skate brands come and go into BMX. That will be a revolving door for a very long time or at least until bike shops or BMX specific shops can make it justifiable for them to stay in it.
If I told you that I was going to start my own frame/parts brand, what advice would you have for me?
Honestly? Don’t do it! No, just do your homework and email or call some companies who you respect and get the full grasp of what’s going on. Everyone in the industry takes on many rolls and you’ll have to be really driven to succeed. Don’t get into BMX with the naïve notion that you’ll become a millionaire. It’s a tough industry and I hate to keep saying this but passion for BMX is what keeps this industry going.
It’s no mystery that people don’t get involved in BMX for the money but realistically what would you be doing otherwise if you weren’t neck-deep in the industry?
I started to go to school for graphic design and marketing. I don’t know if that would have paid off but it would have been interesting to see if I was just as driven in that field as BMX, where would I be today?
For those out there that don’t know, you have quite the reputation as a badass street rider that has paid his dues. How does that factor in with being a company owner? Do you feel like some companies are missing that authenticity?
Thanks! I’m a lil’ jaded and don’t think of it all that much. I get the feeling that the whole “rider-owned” thing just doesn’t mean that much anymore to kids. Since not a lot of companies put up their owners resume on their sites, kids just assume that the owner is the brand manager. I do think a brand looks more authentic when riders are behind the scenes and not a bunch of con-men who do it as just a nine-to-five job.
To be clear, exactly what products do you guys produce under the Volume name?
Volume’s specialty is frames, forks and bars but this year we’re bringing back our complete bike line. We’ll also be releasing parts specifically for our complete range later in the year.
And, what ones do you produce under the Demolition name?
Demolition produces every part to build up a complete bike for the hardcore rider.
Obviously each company has it’s own team, look and feel but do you ever get worried that people think that they are the same?
That used to be a big worry for me. Since I still have a big hand in the graphics, it’s always tough for me to flip the switch to a different style/ feel for each brand. We do have a lot of other amazing graphic designers and illustrators that help with the look of the brands too. The riders especially have a bigger role in making them separate too. Both teams have a completely different style and look that really separates the two brands. Volume riders are more of an eccentric batch, they really put a lot of thought into what they ride and shoot. While the majority of the Demolition guys are a lot more raw and ride a bit of everything.”
Who currently is in charge of the Demolition crew and who is on the official team?
Joey Cobbs is the team manager and the pro team is listed below.
Ryan Biz Jordan
Mike “Hucker” Clark
Who currently is in charge of the Volume crew and who is on the official team?
Mike Mastroni is the team manager and our pro team is listed below.
Daniel “Lil’ D” Martinez
Who do you think has a harder job keeping track of the crew, Joey for Demolition or Mike for Volume?
It’s probably about equal. Demolition does have a lot bigger crew and that might take a bit more work on keeping everyone happy.
Who would you put your money on in the boxing ring between the Demolition team and the Volume team?
Good question! I feel like I’m picking a favorite child here but I’d say Demolition. It’s DEMOLITION! No, those guys are all balls out. Don’t get me wrong; the Volume guys can wreck havoc… maybe Volume, actually? It’s like in Indiana Jones where the ninja was dong all those knife tricks and Indiana just shoots him. That’s what the Volume guys would probably do? Ha-ha!
What do you guys have in the works for each? Do you have any new products, projects, or anything else you want to share with the world at this moment?
We have a lot of stuff in the works but I know how the Internet world is and we usually keep our stuff under wraps until we want it to drop. We all really work hard to release all of our new goods towards Interbike in September. Our team managers are constantly working on trips and shop stops but really can’t say what’s what until we get closer to them. Other than that, Mastroni is working really hard on getting footage for the Volume DVD that’s due out… stay tuned.
I guess that about wraps it up, thank you for taking the time to do this, I know you are one hell of a busy guy. Anything you wanted to talk about that we didn’t touch on?
Not really. Good job Jeremy!
Any shout-outs and thanks?
Thanks to everyone at and on both Volume and Demolition, all of our dealers and distributors for all their support throughout the years. You guys all rule!
All I know is that Brian is someone who people should recognize as a true BMX legend. Not only has he done more for BMX than most ever will, but he is also still out there giving back on a daily basis. His drive is inspiring to say the least and I was stoked to have the opportunity to get to get to know him a little better and pick his brain a bit about the two companies that he calls his own. On that note, be sure to check back next Wednesday for the sixty-fifth edition of Through the Lens and as always feel free to leave any questions in the comments section or email me directly at [email protected] and I will hit you back as soon as I can. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram as well @jeremypavia.