The past few weeks while working on getting the new site all figured out and dialed in, I’ve been working with getting interviews and other things lined up. I worked with Mat from Tempered bikes to get working on a few things with his team. Mike Vockenson was one of those guys whose name I was familiar with from web videos and other bits. I was curios and wanted to find out more. It just so happened that he was coordinating a welcome edit for his new sponsor Almond and his brand new Tempered edit that’s premiering with the interview above. Check out what Michael had to say, some really good photos by Adrian Duffy, the new edit and then leave him some love in the comments!
Name: Michael Vockenson
Location: Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia
Years riding: Since I was about 5
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
I used to just ride my 16 inch bike everywhere when I was really young. One day my mum rang up the local BMX club and I began racing and didn’t stop until a couple years ago. I think I merged into the park scene just from curiosity as well as being blown away by Criminal Mischief and Etnies Forward.
How are things going with Tempered these days? I’d imagine Matty has a few things in the works with you for the New Year?
Tempered is rad, everybody on the team is dope and real fun to ride with. Matty has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes for a while now to bring the brand to where it is today. It’s pretty crazy to think that a sole ratty kid from Western Australia has been able to gain worldwide distribution from practically nothing. And yeah, there is definitely going to be a bunch of awesome 2011 Tempered naughties. One major project for the brand will be the beginning’s of a non-web production piece including all the team guys, it’s going to be badass!
You just got put on the Almond flow team. How did that all come about? Do they have anything in the works with you yet?
Basically, Chris from 666 was pushing for me and Almond seemed psyched on the deal! I haven’t really discussed any upcoming Almond projects, although hopefully I can join them on a road trip or two in the future. All the shoes and tee’s are real dope, so I’m psyched to be apart of the team.
What’s new with LUX these days? Didn’t you guys just take a trip that got rained on by the heavy floods that hit Australia?
The store is running sweet, it’s still in it’s baby stage, however it’s been growing pretty rapidly since it’s inception. Yeah! We tripped about 2 hours north and were quite lucky to be able to get any riding in. Although, we got shut down on the last day and were almost stranded by the flooding. Trip was still rad, just shit talking and hanging out with a heap of dudes.
You originally got into BMX through racing and had a pretty big background in that, right? How long were you racing for and what kept you from going AA pro?
Yeah as I mentioned before, I started racing at about 5 years old and continued right into my late teen years. I actually think that’s what killed it for me, turning AA and being exposed to the crazy training regime and overall seriousness of racing at the top. I ended up losing motivation and caving into the street scene which was ever so enticing with the amount of dudes to ride with and underlying notions of fun and progression.
What made you jump over to the ridiculous roof drops and rails style that you are pretty known for?
Ahh I don’t know, I guess racing provided the fundamental skills required for solid control of the bike. Coupled with my inclination towards the likes of Van Homan, Dave Young & Sean Burns, I guess that style of riding was inevitable, plus I just love hucking off shit.
Do you still find time to race at all? I’d imagine you could hold your own on a set of trails, too?
No, I have no desire to race anymore, it’s kind of weird seeing as though I used to ride my race bike at least 3 times a week. Not really psyched on trails either, there are no running set’s around my local area and whenever we do hit some trails, I always feel like going out and finding a rail or something instead. Although, I have the utmost respect for anyone who set’s aside time to build and maintain trails, I wouldn’t have the patience.
I know last October you dropped a Tempered edit and a LUX edit a little before that. Have you been filming for any video parts or web edits that we can expect to see soon?
Hell yeah man! I love filming for web edits so badddd. There are like 3 Tempered edit’s just waiting for intro’s to drop, including one of mine. I’ve also started clipping for another Tempered edit as well as an Almond edit. On the non web front, I have a bunch of clips in the new 2020 BMX DVD which has been forecast to drop with the next issue around March.
Matty was saying something along the lines of you are capable of getting up bright and early and being able to film 20 clips before lunch. Do you feel up for the challenge? Has this already happened?
I can’t begin to explain how much I despise lag, I don’t know what it is but i have an inability to fuck around, I have to go from point A to point B in the straightest possible path. With that trait, I just love the idea of getting up early and making the most of your day, especially if your on a road-trip and you’ve put in plenty of money, effort and time to ride, clipping makes it all worthwhile!
The year started off with the road trip for LUX along the coast. Do you have any other trips planned out for this year? Anywhere in particular you would like to get to?
I actually just got back from a week long trip to Sydney with one half of LUX, Mitch Wood. We travelled down in my car and camped along the way, then stayed at Matty’s place in Sydney. Definitely have more trips planned, Tempered are doing a trip to Canberra in a couple of weeks for the BMX games and clipping. I also want to hit the western parts of NSW, try and find old towns that no one rides street in. I was also planning on going to France mid year, but all my camera gear got jacked and I had to replace that. KARMAA.
Let’s say you can go on a trip and bring only 5 people with you. Who do you bring, where do you go, and why do you take those people and go those places?
I would take Samson Ross, Mat Lawton, Dave Wood, Macca and Sam Cummins. We would go to New Zealand for the amazing scenery, BMX scene and untouched street spots. Samson would come because he has to, Matty for chills, Dave for his hatred of lag, Macca because he is plain bullshit and feens street and Sam for the party program.
Where are you usually found riding these days? Any spots in particular you have been real psyched on?
I guess I pretty much ride street, either on the Sunshine Coast (which is slowly dwindling in new spots) or Brisbane. The scene in Brisbane is massive at the moment, always a crew to ride with and so many suburbs which haven’t been searched. Not really psyched on one spot in particular, although, there is this one rail spot in Melbs that Cooper Brownlee took me too which is amazing.
Who are some of the people who keep you psyched on riding BMX?
Everyone who I ride with, although especially Macca and Dave Wood. Macca is so very underrated and just an awesome dude to hit the streets with. And Dave is an inspiration because he is sort of a Coast legend and still progressing and pushing himself at the ripe age of 27.
What do you think you would be into if you never got into BMX?
Fuckk, I have no idea, it’s wack to think about life without BMX, just doesn’t seem right. Maybe I would put extra effort into school and seeing friends. So stoked on BMX!
What are you usually up to when you aren’t riding?
I generally just use up monday to friday with university and work then shred on the weekends, there isn’t room for much else in there. Oh, I blog hard too www.crispystream.com, haha.
You’re currently in college for Town Planning. What was it that got you into that sort of major? What is your ideal job for when you’re out of school with that kind of background?
Thinking about it now, I’m not really sure as to why I chose Town Planning, it was my second preference and after I deferred university, I just chose that and went with it. I’m quite glad I have as it’s been a highly interesting and thought provoking course. If all goes to plan, I would love to work in a firm/council as an urban designer, creating places for people, with a subtle tone of my love for street embedded in the designs!
Could you always see yourself living in Australia, or are there other places you could see yourself living someday?
Yeah for sure, Australia is rad and currently I have no desire to leave everything I have here. Although, who knows what I will want in 5 years time. I’ve seen some crazy as shit places throughout Europe which would be rad to live in
Word on the street is you have A.D.D like myself. Do you find yourself getting overly psyched on things because of it, and do you feel it has helped you get to where you are today?
Haha, I don’t know about that! I do get super excited when searching for spots and finding something. It’s seriously the best feeling in BMX, putting the effort into finding something new, then getting a dope clip on it, bonerrrrr.
Speaking of getting psyched. What are three things you are really psyched on at this moment in time?
New spots, crispystream.com, lady friend.
What’s the last song you heard, movie you watched and website you visited?
Kylie Minogue ‘wow’, V for Vendetta which was amazing and crispystream.com holllaaaa.
If you could be sponsored by any brand outside of BMX, who would you pick and why?
Fredo’s pies, located in Kempsey NSW. Any pie connoisseur would know how bullshit good these guys are.
What makes for a good night out for you? Are you much of a rager or more of a chiller?
Good night out would follow an awesome day riding and include pre drinks at someone’s house then hit a few pub’s and get rowdy. A good night would have to include Macca and Yags, un-describable.
What’s the choice drink on a good night out? Any other party supplies that you could go for?
XXXX gold haha or a nice drop of sparkling, wouldn’t go astray…
How are you with the ladies? What kind of a record are you working with? Approximately how many girls does it take to satisfy one Mike Vockenson?
Mannn I’m super lag with the ladies. If there is a real hot bird out, there is practically no way I’d be able to chat to her, mass choker! Although, I’ve recently met a pretty rad girl and started seeing her, so it’s all gravy.
What are a few things you would like to accomplish this year?
Number one, get through my 3rd year of university with decent grades. Possibly even obtain a part time job in a planning office. When I’m doing well at school, I feel much better about riding and putting in work for that. But alongside school, I just want to be able to push myself on the streets and go on a heap of trips!
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
In an interesting and motivating job, 4 days a week haha so I can ride and travel on my bike as well. Definitely want my long hair back too.
What’s something about yourself that most people would probably be surprised by?
My age, apparently I look about 17, I’m actually turning 22 later this year. Nothing too exciting!
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Definitely to Mat Lawton for continuing to help me out and push me, Mitch Wood & Evan Jaques at LUX for their support, Chris Harrison at 666, my parents, Kurt for this Interview and everyone who rides with me.
Anything else you want to say?