I’m sure I have said it 100 times over the years that Cooper Brownlee is one of the hardest working dudes in the BMX industry. Between his roles at Colony and Division Brand along with always keeping things with Focalpoint going, there’s definitely always something new cooking for the guy. I figured it’s been a while since we caught up, so I thought I’d hit him up with a few questions to find out what’s new. Let’s see what he had to say!
Name: Cooper Jay Brownlee
Location: Melbourne , Australia
Years riding: 15
Alright, so you’re one of the busiest guys I know in BMX. Let’s start this out from the top. How are things going with Colony these days? I know you’re always cooking on a trip, video or something rad. Care to fill us in on what’s coming in the near future?
Things are definitely busy! Trips are always on the go! I just got back from a month in the USA and off again in a few weeks. We have some video projects in the works right now so we are on that clip count. We’ve been working on a few new products and colabs right now aswell which should be cool when they come to life.
How have things with Division Brand been going? What can we expect from that crew? Do you have trips or anything planned for those guys?
Yeah things are growing, it’s a small brand but we help out a lot of riders around the world which is satisfying. We are working on a few web videos right now, The Worldwide Mix #3 just dropped and DJ just released one recently which we spent a lot of time on and has another on the go already, that kid has been going hard collecting footage with me for a while now, can’t wait to get some of it out. Rhys Gogel, Jeremie, Frenchie and Anton have also been filming for edits. Anton’s should drop any day now and he killed it!
And yeah we have a few trips in the early stages of planning but real hyped to get on them that’s for sure!
You have put together three worldwide mix edits for Division Brand that I’ve been so stoked on. Are you guys planning on doing more of those? What’s your favorite part about doing those videos and what’s your least favorite? I can imagine getting clips from riders all over the world is a little rough.
Man I love these web vids, We wanted to do so that everyone was getting involved within the brand and getting some love, making single rider web vids is awesome but it can be hard to get a lot of footage and sometimes can take 6-12 months to drop the vid so this way everyone can get a clip or 2 and hopefully they feel apart of everything. We are definitely going to do more, it can be tricky getting footage from riders all over the world which makes the turn around time on the videos a bit longer but it’s worth it man to get those dudes involved.
A few months back you decided to move Focalpoint from print to online. What were some of the biggest factors in that decision?
Money! The mag was funded off my own back from day 1 and it got to a point of paying for itself which was great! But printing and postage costs just kept going up and it was killing me. To be honest we also lost a few advertisers which hurts since the page count was based off the ads we had.
I thought of the idea when I was driving home from Canberra (8 hours from home) and by the end of the drive I had it all planned out in my head. I hit up a few of the main supporters to get their take on things and they were more or less stoked. Sure it sucks not to have a hard copy, I love print but it was the best we could come up with to keep things going and now it’s going pretty strong again. I also like that the rest of the world gets to see some of the shit going on in the scene from AUS.
Do you have any other projects coming like videos, some fresh shirts or anything like that?
We are working on a lot of original content for the site, doing some web video interviews which I am hyped on, trying to do some shit that helps portray BMX in a positive way and to show riders you don’t have to be the best to enjoy riding and keep doing it. Right now I kind of get the impression that some kids quit just because they didn’t get sponsored or something like that. BMX is more then that! We are always printing new tee’s and that, we are not a clothing brand, it’s more a scene thing if that makes sense? I get stoked when I see someone reppin’ a tee, kind of shows they are down for what we are doing and motivates me/us to do more.
Are you getting into any other freelance jobs for filming or photos outside of BMX at all or is your plate pretty much full all the time? What are some of the weirdest side jobs you have taken over the years?
Nah not really at all, I do want to do some stuff outside of BMX but time is the main issue, lately I’ve been getting up super early for photo/video missions into the city which has been cool but some of that relates back to some BMX projects so I can’t really escape it haha.
What’s a typical day like for you these days?
It can vary a bit, but I would say get up and onto the computer about 7.30am, check all the sites and watch any vids that dropped over night, reply to emails etc… Then just work on projects throughout the day and night, I chop and change on the things I work on all day long, it keeps things fresh, I don’t see the point on working on something I am not feelin’ at the time. It’s like web video’s I will have 3 or 4 on the go at once and just chip away at them all, back and forth and bit each day, it helps me get fresh eyes on them. I will usually go for a ride late afternoon with whoever is keen then back on it in the evening until 11-12 at night. Some people might find that really fucking boring but I love it man, I have an awesome job, one that not many people get to do so I am not going to half arse it.
How do you balance all of the different roles you have with the different brands? What’s the trick to fitting everything into a single day that needs to be done?
Like I said just before, just working on what you are motivated on at the time, some days I am real into editing then other days it could be more about creating content, online promoting. I always have a to-do list and I get hyped on crossing shit off it haha.
Colony and Division is where most my time goes, just the TM stuff is dealing with about 50 riders so that takes a lot of time with emails and scheduling news posts along with Instagram and Facebook! But it’s awesome talking with all these guys from all around the world. Millar also does a lot of the team stuff which is good, we both just do whatever comes up.
Do you get burned out on BMX after talking about it all day every day? What are some things you like to do to keep it fresh?
Not really, probably just because I do a lot of different things, it’s not the same thing everyday. But I do love watching TV series’s, I will usually watch and episode or 2 before I go to bed with my girlfriend to take my mind elsewhere for a bit. Other then that, shooting photos is dope!
I can’t imagine you have much time for other stuff outside of BMX, but what are you getting into when you have some free time? Any hobbies or things you like to do to change things up a bit?
I’ve been learning to screen print over the past 9 months, it’s real fun but can frustrate the shit out of me at times because I mess up a lot of blank tee’s haha. But when they work I get stoked, every time lifting the press up and seeing the print worked gets me stoked! I print most the FP tee’s now and also some of the Colony and Division stuff. I love the DIY side of BMX.
What’s one thing you wish you had more time for? What’s one thing you could use less of in your life?
I wish I had more time to shoot photos, hanging out in the city just shooting the day to day happenings, I really love that shit man.
Since I know you aren’t stuck behind the lens all the time, when can we expect some fresh footage to pop up from you? I feel like BMX needs a full Cooper Brownlee edit here soon.
Man I‘ve been filming for a new Colony web vid for a while now but yeah I am usually filming so it gets hard to get stuff for myself haha. Hopefully have it done in the next few weeks…
What’s one trick that has been kicking your ass lately or something you just can’t do for the life of you?
I tried to learn crankarm ginds the other week and just when I thought I was on the right track I got worked! I also have a love hate relationship with Ice grinds to 180.
Where have you been getting most of your riding time in these days? Any hot spots you have been stoked on?
Just near my house we have this ghetto spot which a few flat rails and ledges we put in, I hit that fair bit, other then that all weekend we spend driving around searching and hitting schools. The city gets hit a couple times in the evenings during the week aswell which is real fun.
Care to share a few things you hope to accomplish in 2013?
I’m stoked seeing the new Colony completes out in shops which dropped last month, we spent a lot of time getting them perfect, Division top load stem and a few other things should drop in the coming weeks which will be dope! We have a couple major filming projects in the works so getting out there and filming with all the guys is something I am really looking forward too. Oh and finish my web vid haha!
What’s the last song you heard, movie you watched and website you visited?
Song would be Jedi Mind Tricks – Heavy metal kings on Spotify. No movies of late but been hitting Criminal Minds pretty hard. Website would be WordPress, just did a news post on Division haha.
How can people keep up with you these days? I know you’re on Twitter, Instagram and all that.
Yeah I don’t use twitter much because the app is shitty on my phone, Instagram though (I wish they had easier ways to sign in to multiple accounts!)
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Millar for giving me the opportunity to do what I love for a job, anyone I ride with, past and present. Contributors to the mag and site, all the team guys. Basically anyone out there riding because they love it.
Anything else you want to say?
Enjoy bmx, help build your local scene and keep shit in the hands of riders. There are so many dope rider owned brands and shops/mailorders out there so supporting them is key to a healthy scene.
Thanks to Kurt for the interview and anyone that just read this, much love….Coops