All photos and captions by Cooper Brownlee
Prior to the launch of Division Brand, I had not heard of Daniel. I don’t know if it was just me not noticing his name or clips in edits, or if he was just secretly hiding. Either way, since the launch of the brand, I’ve quickly become a fan of DJ’s wild ability to kill it with the pegs. After seeing some of his recent edits I decided it was time to get ahold of this dude and find out more. I think you will get real psyched on this one. Take a look at what he had to say…
Name: Daniel Johnson – AKA: DJ
Location: Melourne, Australia
Years riding: 8
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
I used to pedal around when I was in primary school for about 3-4 years, doing endos & monos on a schools basketball court. I remember I held the record for the longest mono which was about 2 basketball lengths, haha. Now, at that same school, there is a gnarly gap to rail, which I have been spooked on doing the last year & a bit…
Gap to switch hanger.
How are things going with Division? Do you have any trips, edits or signature goodies in the works at all?
Everything with Division is going awesome! All the products came in last week & are fresh as hell, I’m setting my new bike up next week (with my own signature bars on there) and I cant wait for it!! There is gonna be a couple of us going to Canberra this weekend for a bit of a filming trip, hopefully I’ll be able to ride, as I fractured a bit of bone in my wrist a few weeks ago.
Actually, what did you think when Clint and Cooper approached you to be one of the first people on Division?
I was over the moon.. nothing but excited! Just seeing how successful Clint is with Colony, I knew there was nothing but good things ahead for myself & the brand.
Do you have any other fresh sponsor news you can tell us about?
I actually just got hooked up with some ZOO YORK flow here in Australia! Super stoked on that!!
Now that things are starting to heat up in Australia with the summer, have you been able to find time to get out of the factory and ride more?
Yeah, summer is on its way! I can’t wait to get some sun on my pale skin, haha!
There’s been the long summer nights here too. It’s getting dark at 8:30 pm so yes, definitely plenty of time for a grind.
“Marnold was suppose to do this railhop but DJ took claim of it on him. I remember the next railhop DJ found he gave it up to Marnold to make it even.”
Actually, kind of an off question, when it’s summer there, it is winter here. Is it frustrating at all that when it’s getting hot, most of the brands are pumping out sweat shirts and stuff that’s made for cold weather here? I’ve been thinking about that for some reason…
Haha, interesting question.. I never really buy many clothes from certain brands, basically because I’m lucky enough to ride for Focalpoint & now Division which are / will be always bringing out stuff as seasons change, Cooper never fails to bring out good designs with focalpoint.
Where can you usually be found riding these days? What’s your ultimate dream setup?
I’m usually down at my local skatepark “Ringwood” for a warm up session on the rail & ledges, then we basically have a look at our maps & go ride whatever street spot we are feeling on the day. My dream set up would be 2 rails in a row, maybe an 11 stair to a 15 stair, kind of mellow… Yeah, I could definitely imagine having some fun on that kinda set up. Ballsy, but fun, haha.
It sounds like you have a love for your pegs. What would you say is your go to grind on any setup? What’s one that beats the shit out of you more than you actually do?
I definitely love to grind. My go to grind on most things would be an ice or just 2 pegs, opposite or normal, doesn’t really bother me. It’s awesome going to a rail & regardless which side it’s on and you can still have a grind.
Over normal 50 grind.
Let’s say you had to remove all but 1 peg for a full day of riding. Which one would you keep on? Why?
I’d keep my opposite back peg mainly because I can hardway out of opposite feebles a lot better then my natural way. Oppo ice grinds are the best, & feeble 180’s/360s are fun.
Do you have any travel plans of your own for the summer? Anywhere in particular you really want to get to at some point in time?
I don’t have any big plans over summer, but I’m sure I’ll go summer for a little escape..
Let’s say you could go on an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world to 5 locations of your choice. Where do you go, why?
1. Arizona desert. The nights skies look amazing their with a 30 second slow shutter, I’d time lapse the shit outta it.
2. New york, just to scope all the spots out & ride them all.
3. Barcelona. SPOTSSSS
4. New Zealand, helicopter flights over the snowy mountains would be breath taking.
5. La Palm. It’s some epic island near North America, I think…? Apparently its the best place to gaze at the stars.. again for photography reasons.. haha.
Have you found much time to film at all these days? That split edit for Division was sick and your clips in a few other edits were solid. Don’t even get me started on how good that solo Division edit was too. When can we expect to see some goods?
In-between injurys I’m always trying to clock clips when I can. Lately, the tiniest of injurys have been putting me out, like broken bones in hands, small fractures in wrists, & my forever re-accuring shitty knee, which I had a reco on a few years back… just getting tweaked out & feeling terrible everyday, haha.
Who are some of you biggest influences when it comes to riding? Can you honestly say you have learned any tricks specifically because of them doing something?
I have always been a huge fan of Martinez & Williams for obvious reasons. They just destroy everything they ride. Also, my crew I ride with. There’s always good times riding & mucking around with new grinds & what not. I haven’t learned a trick in ages… I’ve just been doing things on bigger stuff I guess…
“Pretty famous rail in melbourne that has had a bunch of stuff done on it, switch ice grind.”
Obviously, you are living the double life of being a full-time worker with the pro status on the BMX, but where do you think your life might be if you never got into BMX?
Haha, if I never got into BMX, I really have no idea what my life would be like. I would of done a lot better at school that’s for sure.. haha
What are you usually up to when you aren’t working or killing those pegs of yours?
I have been pretty hooked on shooting time lapses lately. It has been sending me on some crazy missions thats for sure. Just the other day I drove an hour & a half to sit at a waterfall for 3 hours & shoot a few time lapses there..
So I heard you are into golf? What kind of a handicap are you working with? Have you ever got a hole in one?
I LOVE a round of golf!! I have never gotten my handicap sorted out though, haha.
I have came pretty close to a hole in 1, ball hit the flag pole coming in & plonked itself about half a foot from the hole. I was still happy with the birdie though.
Could you see yourself trying to move into the pro golf life? It’s not even fair how much money those dudes make…
Haha no way in hell do I have the patients to attempt to get good enough. It’s definetly the hardest sport out there.
Since this is the real world and we can’t all make millions driving balls all day… what do you do for work? How did you get into that sort of job?
I work in a factory working on CNC machines making difflocks for 4×4 cars, work nightshift so it’s nice & quiet in the factory with only 2 other blokes in my work area, I just rock out to my iPod all night & get just enough work done to keep the boss happy..
One of my riding mates got me the job there when I was 17.
You are also into shooting photos and video, right? When did you get into that? What kind of a setup are you playing with?
Yeah as I have said, hell keen on shooting time lapses. I have also been helping filming with Focalpoint & other BMX edits.
I have a Canon 7D with a 50mm, 17-40mm, 135mm & a 8mm fisheye
I got the glidecam hd2000 for steady shots for when we cant use the skateboard to film, & also forked out & got a hell expensive dolly for my time lapses which works a treat.
I only bought my camera last year, with no photography skills at all & minimal filming skills, but self teaching photography has been pretty sweet, reading a few things here & there to lead me on the right track.
“More spots now able to be hit because of daylight savings. Railhop in melbourne.”
I feel like you know how to party? What’s the drinks / smokes of choice? Approximately how many drinks does it take for you to think hitting on that girl next to her real beefy boyfriend is a good idea?
haha, the drink of choice for a nice beverage would be a VB, but if I’m in party mode I’d probably opt for a vodka, seems to get me pretty messy fast. As for hitting on a girl with a beefy bf, I don’t think that would ever happen, I am so not keen on drunken fights, have never been in one and I never want to get into one, haha.
So a blonde, brunette and a red head walk into a bar… Which one goes home with you?
The blonde because she’s dumb enough…
Cooper informs me that your mom is heavy into the rap game? What is that all about? Do you ever go to shows with her? Are you even into rap?
Hahahaha, my mum is a bit of a thug, her claim to fame is that Lil’ Jon once shouted her a shot at 1 of his after party shin-digs.
I am fairly keen on rap, but it isn’t my strongest preference. I have never been to a rap concert…. don’t wanna see my mum there, hahaha.
What’s the last song you heard, movie you watched and website you visited?
Last song I heard was “Levitation” by the band Above This.
Last movie I watched was “Me, Myself & Irene” – Jim Carrey classic!
Last website I visited was www.xnxx.com
“Switch ice grind to bars out, funny thing is Jack Kelly missed filming this somehow.”
What’s something about yourself that might surprise people? Any super powers?
I get really annoyed when my pee is yellow (de-hidrated). I instantly get some water into me when I notice it.. haha
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Hopefully in a reasonable house, with a few puppy dogs running around in the yard, with a decent rail going down my front steps. Working a shitty job still to pay the bills and riding street as much as my body will let me with whatever crew I have left…
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
I’d like to thank you for this interview, all my friends & family, my crew for putting up with my shit talk, anyone who has read this… I’m also sorry you decided to.
Clint for everything he has done so far, Cooper for being the best & nicest person in the world,
Joey at Zoo York for the clothes.
Anything else you want to say?