The first time I met Sandy was at an Etnies demo at Jellystone in Wisconsin, They were filming for the video “Why didn’t we do this before? tour.” That was one of the craziest days I have experienced, and Sandy has always been a rider I have looked at as influential so it was even craizer to meet the guy. Since then hes always been friendly over E-mail and everything which I am even surprised about. Finally got an interview with him for you.
Also after this, go check out Sandy’s Website for more pictures!
Etnies and T1
When was your first time you really knew BMX was meant to be your thing?
When I was a wee boy,it felt to be doing something different with my life other than football and I could pedal away from trouble makers faster than running.
You have been in the game for many years, did you expect to be able to live your life doing it?
Definitely not. It was just a mixture of luck and being at the right place at the right time and doing my best at what I loved.
Who was your very first sponsor, how did it come about?
It was a small Art clothing company called ‘Ceramic Rabbit’ that my buddy Tim ran. He used to do Street jams in London and I would go to them and it sorta snowballed from there. As far as a frame sponsor, it was Standard Bykes. I came to the States in ’93 and met those dudes at the BS comp in Shimmerville, PA. Then 2 years later moved to Iowa to the Standard house and got on the team.
What was your first bike?
My first bmx bike was A BH California Star!(Euro brand)
What is your current set up like?
T1 custom garrett with Fly and profile parts.
Have you always had a pretty similar set up or has it changed over the years?
I used to ride a 50 pound Bike in the Standard days with 2 brakes, 4 pegs, a gyro, 6 piece bars, a free coaster and even a break bastard. WTF!! Now I have one brake and no pegs, so it’s gone full circle and looks more like my first bike!
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You have been able to travel all over, where do you think your favorite place to ride is?
That’s a tough one . I think here in Austin to tell you the truth. I can ride every terrain I want by just pedaling out of my house. It’s a really convenient city which I am lucky to live in, and don’t need to sit in traffic.
Living in Austin, Texas which has an amazing scene.. Where do you usually ride?
I just pedal about aimlessly by myself on my BMX bike or my track bike.
Who are some of your usual guys you ride with?
Pretty much by myself or whoever I’m shooting these days since I don’t have much free time to just ride around anymore.
Over the years you have had some really good video parts, which ones were your favorite?
I think they all have their moments, and are representative of my state of riding in those points of my career. Standard Style Cats was one of my faves since it was my first. Federal’s Trafaelio was great too. I liked both the Etnies dvd’s too. It’s more nostalgia to me watching them and brings back memories of where and when I filmed them.
What do you think of the current state of bmx from both sides, contests and just riding?
I don’t know and I don’t care. I don’t follow this kind of stuff anymore.it’s all about pedaling around and having fun these days. the way it should be.
Do you have any new video parts coming anytime soon?
Nah. Not in the near future. I think I’m done hurtin my body and have nothing to prove anymore. Who knows. If I do, it won’t be in the traditional sense. Hopefully it’ll be goofing around with some sort creative direction other than trick trick trick.
What is one trick you have struggled with the most?
Turndowns. you either have that trick or you don’t!
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If you were only able to do one trick for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Table tops. They feel the best and won’t hurt your body
Outside of riding your a photographer, Did you go to school at all or was it mostly self-taught?
It’s mostly self taught. I hate reading manuals and stuff. I’m more of a practical guy and get out there an learn by trial and error. I spent a lot of money learning the hard way with film…
What kind of gear do you work with the most?
Still a lot of film cameras.(nikon and hasselblad) What a sucker! It means more to me and It’s how I learned. and i’m comfortable with it. I use Digi a lot too for work and reportage stuff which makes perfect sense on quick turn around and easy on your wallet.
Do you have that dream camera you have yet to get your hands on?
A leica M6, or a large format camera set up.
What are you favorite things to shoot?
Mostly documentary stuff. but I enjoy it all, Music, BMX, people etc.
You have a lot of photos on your site of random people, what do you like about that?
I love it. Having a camera gives me a good excuse to spark a conversation with someone random , listen to their story and hopefully snap a picture.
Rider wise, who is your favorite people to work with?
Usually people that I know somewhat first, and will have the patience to let me set up my gear. Riders who will do something a few times so I get different angles. Anyone that’s creative and pedaling fast. Definately not using their bike a scooter at 2mph. That’s not bike riding.
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Because of photography you have travelled the world, where are some of the places you have been in the last few years?
South Africa, Japan, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Mainland Europe, North Americas, Texas!
Out of all of the places you have ever been, if you were only allowed to be one place for the rest of your life, where and why?
Hopefully somewhere remote when my Lady graduates as a doctor and I can work on my photo projects and be a good house husband/ kittie’s daddy.
If you could spend the day with anybody, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Probably my Mum. I don’t get to see that crazy old bat enough!
What is your perfect day?
A sunday with my phone turned off and doing absolutely nothing but sitting on my porch with the lady watching the cats play in the front yard. So emo!
What are some of your favorite websites?
fecalface.com, flicker.com, kfmrecords.com, craigslist.com, lemonoparty.com
What are some of the magazines and places somebody can find your work?
Austin Chronicle, Dig Bmx Magazine, Hambuger Eyes, JPG mag.
Outside of riding and photography, what are some things you are into?
Playing in a music project I am involved in with some friends from Scotland. www.myspace/iglomat haging out in my shed listening to cassette tapes.
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What kind of music are you into?
Pretty much everything really.
Who or what are some of your biggest influences in your life?
Scotland. My Mum and Grandparents, Comedy, Music, Bikes and travel, humour, documentation.
According to your website, it says you were stabbed, how did that all happen?
Just close minded kids in a rough area with nothing else to do but to stab people. It’s common practice amoungst the angst ridden unemployed youth of Scotland. It’s like a medal of honour.
Any close calls since then?
No, knock on wood.
What are some things all people should experience in their life?
Travel to third world countries. Independent thinking. Living by yourself without a trust fund.
What kind of advice do you have for people just getting into BMX?
Pedal fast and far away from drama.
What kind of advice do you have for people getting into photography?
Shoot as much as possible and shoot everything till you feel comfortable and figure out what you like to shoot. Get your pictures out there as much as possible. read plenty of books by the masters. Practice practice practice…dial it in and get your own style.
If you could change one thing about BMX what would it be and why?
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Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Thanks to Kurt for the interview! Thanks to my lady and cats, Thanks to Povahand Don Brown at Etnies, Joe, Taj and Sieben at T1, my family and friends in Scotland and in Austin.
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