I can’t remember the first time I heard of Andre, or the SBL crew. I know it was for a video of theirs on The Come Up or another site. Long story short, Andre emailed me one of his latest edits when I was helping out Adam, and figured he might have something interesting to say. I shot him some questions, and he shot me back some answers. Check out what Andre has to say, watch some of his edits, and then leave him some love in the comments!
Andre Louie Gonzalez AKA DRE
National City in the San Diego County
East County Bmx when things get legit!!
6 or 7 years I think
Years filming and editing:
Almost 3 years
So what was it that got you into riding in the first place? There’s a pretty big scene around the San Diego area.
It wasnt too hard, I started crusin around town when I was twelve years old and did it everyday til it got dark. Then this one day I was home when my dad was flippin channels and stopped it on that old show Bluetorch TV. It was a segment on TJ Lavin and his backyard. I was like “I got a big back yard, I can do that too”. I got into stackin bricks with a board and jumping. I think my biggest jump was 3 trash cans, a christmas tree and a bench, then the fun and jumpin just progressed.
What about filming and editing, what sparked your attention there?
I was about fifteen and the only one who owned a camcorder so I wasn’t to comfortable lendin it to my friends because they were all dumbasses. That and if anything happened to it I’d get my ass kicked by my parents. So, because of that I stuck with the camera. It was those group of kids that got me to watch the Holy of all Holys, Criminal Mischief! It was from there that I liked the type of shots that were completely distorted, smooth and just really fun to watch. I tried to see if my camera can do that. I found out they were called fisheyes, and spent a hundred dollars on a wide angle lens then just gave up. When I turned eighteen my mom finally got me a legit camcorder then it all fell into place. I also have really bad back so im obligated to make my self some what useful.
What kinds of cameras, lenses, tripods, glidecams, lighting, editing programs, etc. do you use?
Its nothing like ur typical bag of equipment, but definitly “low budget”. I use a Sony HDR-HC5 Handycam, a scratched “baby” death lens, my lucky lighter, scooby snacks, bike tube, wax, extra tapes and this hand made handle my grandma made just for me. Some of it is for good luck and I’m sure you can point out what is for what. hahahahahahaha!! The editing program I use is SONY VEGAS platnium pro and I’m still learnin how to use it. I would love to own a VX, glidecam, or a light but now that I have a job it seems more of a reality, but it won’t be for a while till I can buy one.
What’s the scene like where you are from? Any up and coming riders who people should know about?
The scene is pretty good at least in my mind, lots of laughs. It has changed a lot cuz now we got a lot of lil SBL followers so spirit lives on. We dont really bust our ass everyday or were the next big thing but its fun and thats what counts. As for up and comers just everybody who’s in the videos, I’ll name them all. Albert Mercado, Lahsaan Kobza, Eric Soto, Chad Kerley, Mario Santiago, Tyler “Rail Queen” Parkinson, Raziel Mejia, Derek P, Johnny “Shark” Gould are the ones who shreds hardest, you can tell by watchin any of the edits.
Do you guys do much traveling? Where are your trips usually bringing you? Do you have any big plans as of right now?
Honestly, we dont leave the South Bay because none of us have a car. The thing is that we all live within trolley distance, fifteen and older, and some what jobless. So the only way we get see each other is the trolley and it is kinda sketchy cause most of us “hop it” meaning we get on without buyin a ticket. You’ll see some wild things on there too and the trolley cops are worst part about it. I myself had some pretty close calls hoppin without ticket. As for new things maybe a trip some where?, or some how? but what I noticed is I had so much good footage the last couple edits there would of been plenty of footage for a DVD. That is my ultimate goal or have anything to do with big project like a DVD. Until then I have plenty of ideas for web edits. I just finished a Chad Kerley edit and it took three days, its hard to keep up with the kid hahahaha. I’m also workin on a SBL kids edit so expect that.
Do you find yourself on the bike, or behind the camera more? Would you rather have it be the other way?
I am sad to say that im behind the camera more. The reason is that I have a really bad back and because of it I can’t learn anything new. If I tried to film it would take too long to do. I don’t have the energy to try a trick until I pull it, and the lack of riding I don’t do doesn’t help me mentally. I also think everybody thinks its as easy as it looks but its not when you have a vision of what you want. So I would rather have it the other way but I just stay behind the camera. Head cut offs and shakiness bothers me. I wanna try and put together my own edit some day but I say “Don’t send a boy to do a mans job”.
Is there more trails, street, or parks to ride where you are from? Where do you find yourself most often when you are riding?
We just had our own and last set a trails get flattend, a bunch of ledges get capped, and more security guards!! It SUCKS!! We ride mostly street but the city just built a pre fab skatepark which is fun and new. Another new thing is that the skatepark in Chula Vista we used to sneak into religiously just got legit started letting bikes in. As for me I just ride around the corner at some three stair or I’ll just bomb a hill which is enough for me.
Do you guys ever feel like it is harder to progress there with a smaller number of riders around to push it?
I think its all just fun vibes for everybody. Everybody messin around, laughin, then you wanna try something new you know you’re going to fall on but its no big deal, just more to add to the fun. Today we just watch one of the older edits and we just got this drive out of it. When the camera is out it’s little more serious cause everybody wants to get shit done and put in their own fair share of work. When most of us are together everybody is comfortable with each other cause we keep it pretty tight, so there is not too much pressure. I think its the same for every bike rider.
What exactly does SBL mean? What’s the story behind that?
SBL stands for South Bay Life, we had already done our first edit. We were so psyched and it was time for the next one. At the time Fitlife had just come out and everybody was in this phase where whatever you werer doing you would end with “life”. I’m positive every bike rider was guilty of that phase.hahahahahahaa!!! I was sayin “I wanna do somethin with south bay in it” and one of us was like “South Bay Life”. I liked it and stuck with it.
What are you usually up to when you aren’t on your bike?
Hmm, I have a pretty free lifestyle other than working “grave yard” shift at a Shell station, on the bad side of town on the weekends, and because of it I fall asleep at 5 o’ clock in the mornin and wake up at 1 o’ clock everyday!! I’m on the internet mostly, watchin my favorite web videos, or seeing whats new in the BMX world. I’m kind of boring.hahahahaha
Do you guys party pretty hard there or what?
I’m sure everybody else does and I used to but I stopped after last years Halloween. I had just finished a sweet edit, passed one of my GED tests, and its Halloween. So its only right to celebrate. I drink about 6 beers super fast and I got drunk. We all decide go to the streets. Long story short, I get thown it the “drunk tank” in downtown and get let out 8 o clock in the morning. It was the worst, but I didnt get charged with anything and my friend had to pay a fine for something even though it was my fault we got arrested. He’s a homie and was cool about it.
What kind of music is a dude like you into?
I like a lot of stuff and there is too many to name. I’m into anything that has a lot of energy to it, and original. I can listen to Black Sabbath all day!
Do you have any favorite websites?
TCU because of obvious reasons, BMXunion for their interveiws, VBS.TV for all their crazy docs that they have and epicly later’d, youtube and vimeo for other obvious reasons , and the Berrics because their web videos are amazing !!!!
Who or what are your biggest influences on the way you film?
Mostly the BMX filmers such as Ryan Navazio, Joe Cox, Joe Simon, Rich Hirsh, Derek Adams, Edd Allen, Darryl Tocco, Charlie Jobling, Larry Rhodes, and Larry Alvarado. as for Skateboard filmers Ty Evans, Greg Hunt, Chase Gabor that films all the bad vids on the berrics, and if it counts patrick o Dell who does epicly later’d. they all do work that stands out from everybody else’s which makes me a big fan and can’t enough of.
What is BMX?
This is a hard question but I can say I love it and its way too much fun.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
BIG THANKS TO my parents of course, Albert Mercado for being the best friend that he is. Henry @ East County Bmx for being a homie and helpin me out with parts. Gabe for being the nice guy that he is. Kurt for this interveiw. SBL HOMIES that I love being around Razi, Lahsaan, Soto, Chad, Albert again, Mario, Rail Queen, Derek, and Shark, they have all busted ass for the name of SBL. mike for spendin that time in “drunk tank” with me. jorge for all the trips and rides everywhere. every pro or BIG WIG I’ve come into contact with because I’ve looked up to them in one point of my life or still do. Thanks to all the supporters of SBL!!!! Anybody who has helped me out or wanted to help in some sort of way. Anybody I’ve forgotten, thank you
Anything else you want to say?