Interview by Mark Noble
In the past few years, or as he puts it, “For pretty much as long as I’ve been riding, almost ten years I guess,” Mike King has conjured up some of the web’s finest videos – there’s no doubt you’ve sat back and enjoyed his work for the likes of MacNeil (who he also rides for, on their UK team), Amity Bikes, and more recently for the Seventies UK collection of brands where he was in-house filmer for a while, out on trips, hitting contests, and filming edits at their private indoor park. Now branching out into the freelance game again, Mike is also putting some extra focus on to his own web site at FFWDBMX.com and sticking together his new portfolio video site. Says Mike, “I’m trying to put everything I can into Fast Forward, kinda tricky when you’re a one-man army and have bills to pay. I’m also working on a portfolio site and starting up another brand…” So let’s find out where Mike started – here are his FIRSTS.
First BMX bike you had:
Haha, well, I went into a bike shop just after my 12th Birthday with the intention of buying a Mongoose, but was somehow convinced by the guy that worked in there to come out with a reduced Schwinn Powermatic, it rode like shit, I definitely got mugged off there but refused to believe it for years…
First BMX Video you watched:
Haha, at first I used to watch the videos on Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX a bunch and record stuff they showed on the Extreme channel, before picking up an old VHS Props issue that was reduced in a shop somewhere. I must’ve watched it 1,000 times…
“Had to sit on this one for a while, but it’s always worth the wait seeing it drop and that people are into it. Almost everyone on this trip I’d met and filmed with before, having everyone in one spot was a breeze.”
First BMX event / comp / show you went to:
Way back I remember going to watch Backyard Jam in Bournemouth, Coventry, Sheffield and then riding in the Brighton one, that was pretty nerve-racking, pretty much everyone I idolised was on the deck next to me. I got so many Snicker bars from that contest, I was eating them for months afterwards…
First Video you watched and thought, ‘I’m doing this’:
Hmmm, it never really went like that for me, as a group, myself and everyone I started riding with would always just take photos of each other, then we’d just put them on Myspace and shit like that. Pictures slowly got stale and video seemed way more interesting, I don’t know where my inspiration came from video-wise, it was just the buzz I got out of producing something with my friends and looking back at it and thinking ‘fuck yeah!’ – that just kept me interested.
First Pro BMXer you met:
Hahahaha – I don’t know, but the only thing that sticks in my mind is meeting Ben Manual at a Backyard Jam and asking him to sign a poster; I didn’t know his name or anything, when I asked what it was he just replied, “I’m God.”
“Not much to say on this one, a pretty surreal crew and one of the funnest trips ever, as well as being a video I’m still stoked on.”
First camera you bought to shoot BMX:
Just a crappy digital camera for years, then a little handicam thing; after a couple of years of shooting on that and meeting Webbie, he actually gave me a Canon XM1, I don’t think he realizes quite how thankful I am for that.
First rider you filmed:
Not a clue there, I think Isaac Lesser or Cam Hardy were the first guys I was really filming with who were sponsored.
First trip you went on to photograph or film BMX:
Well, every year since I was 16 myself and the majority of my closest friends have gone to the Masters in Germany, it’s almost like a tradition now, we went and stayed at Mellowpark for a few days before one year which was sick, I used to do little edits with that, but I think the first ‘real’ trip was an Amity trip to Paris: I got the gig through Wallace or Cam I think, that was the first time I’d ever been taken on a legit, paid-for trip, I think I’d only ever sold one or two videos before that trip, so it was pretty mind blowing to me.
“Hennon’s riding has always blown my mind, plus he’s the funniest dude ever, so filming this part was fun. I think this is the first time the rider has actually chosen the song and I think Ben’s choice in this one reflected his personality as well as his riding nicely.”
First professional job for BMX photography or video:
Hmmm, could’ve been a Ryan Taylor or Ben Wallace edit for Amity, or a Mark Webb video for ESPN… But we won’t talk about that one.
First mess up:
Well, fingers crossed I’ve been pretty lucky, I lost almost all of my footage on a nightclub video once as I got sold a whack card; but BMX wise, besides the odd dropped frame etc. with the VX I can’t really think of anything – it’s just my luck that usually when I’m set up ready to film something at a contest in one spot all the action will go down on the other side of the course, anyone that films contests will feel my pain there.
First video published / featured:
Amity in Paris I guess, that was the first thing that actually tied in with a magazine article.
Any other things?
Thanks for taking the time to hit me up! Shout out to all the riders that make it a pleasure to film with and all the companies that support and respect the industry and those trying to earn an honest living.
“Always wanted to go on Ride To Glory. The novelty of all the challenges and a good group of super friendly guys somehow made dodging rain and hitting a load of indoor parks for a week one of the best trips of my life!”
Here’s a few more of Mike’s recent videos for good measure. So good.