Friday Interview: Darryl Tocco

Have you ever described someone as "a dude?" I do it every so often when I'm at a loss of how to describe someone: they're just a dude, you know? Someone that is always down to have a good time, always enhances every scenario, and is high up on the list of people to hit up to have a laugh with. That's Darryl Tocco, beast on the bike, genius behind a camera, and one hell of a dude.


Friday Interview: Darryl Tocco
Oppo wallride-to-180-to-fakie bar. Heat stroke on deck in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Fudger


First thing, sorry to hear about your ankle, man. What happened and what's the diagnoses?
We found a setup the other day with a left side ledge eight feet in front of a seven stair and I was feeling out a feeble hard-to-fakie hop down the seven and jumped off my bike in front of the set. Since the seven was steep, I ended up kinda just getting sent to the bottom with all my weight on my left ankle—pretty similar to what took my foot out in the Squash It trailer. Doc says nothing is broken so I'm waiting for the swelling to go down so we can check for ligament damage. Fingers crossed.

Is this the same ankle you busted in the Squash It promo?
It's not; this time around it's the left side.


Friday Interview: Darryl Tocco
Doctor visits. Photo yoinked from @kinkbikes instagram.


I feel like you've been pretty lucky with injuries in the past, am I wrong? What do you think is going on lately?
I definitely have been. I've had my share of stitches and minor fractures—random shit. This past year kind of bit me in the ass, but shit happens, ya know? The majority is just bad luck; I'm a pretty calculated guy, so I think that has kept me in BMX's good graces over the years, but sometimes you just get dealt with.

Sorry to keep talking injuries, but I know you've had a few problems with your fingers getting jammed and dislocating super easily when throwing the bars…to the point that you've been chilling a little bit on the casual, everyday barspins. What's the story? It's gotta be a bit frustrating considering bars are really your main course, you know?
A few years ago I dislocated my pinky finger on my left hand on a bad barspin catch. I let it heal and chill and ended up doing it again a months later. Basically, it gets weaker every time I do it, and at this point, it's probably ended up sideways a dozen times now. When it comes out it looks disgusting and I have to pull it back in—it hurts like a bitch. It's something that really messes with your confidence because, like you said, barspins are my go-to trick. It's definitely one of those things that I just try not to think about, but I always end up doing so anyway. I still throw them every time I go out and ride, but I'm a bit more selective about when and where.


This is what it looks like when Darryl’s pinky pops out. No fun in Seoul, South Korea.


You recently made the switch from being my roommate to not being my roommate. How has this negatively affected your life?
These are trying times [laughs]. Miss you, bro.

Really though, you moved from one BMX epicenter (Long Beach) to another (Austin), what have been the positives of both places?
Long Beach was good to me. The weather is obviously the best…there's nothing like it. I have a lot of really good friends in the Southern California area, and there are insane amounts of schools and spots to ride. Living ten minutes from the beach is unreal, also. I'll always look back at my time there fondly. I've been coming to Austin since I was 18 years old, and dreaming of it since years before that. Some of my best friends are here, there are literally endless street spots, an incredible park, a huge music scene, and amazing people everywhere. I love it here.

And the negatives?
I think I kind of got fried on the Long Beach thing. I wasn't enjoying riding during the week, and I just felt like a change was due. Too much industry, gossip, and drama for me at times. As far as Austin, the clear negative is the summer here. It's brutal. But, I plan on treating the Austin summers just as I've treated the New Jersey winters, and just flat out avoiding them if I can [laughs]. It's a small town, too, which I'm sure will create some interesting situations in the future.


Friday Interview: Darryl Tocco
Manual-to-booooosted 180 in Long Beach for his Squash It section… Photo: Fudger


I just watched Squash It for the first time an hour ago, and then I watched it again a half hour later—it's seriously so good. What was the project like for you overall?
Thanks, man. I'm still happy with where it ended up and how it came together. It was a good experience, Jay [Roe] and I really had to push the [guys back at the Kink] office into a big full-length project, and I think it was worth it. It's definitely a task balancing video stuff with pro rider stuff; getting hurt definitely put a damper on my part, but what are you gonna do? In the long run, having all your friends ready to bust their ass for a big project is really motivating. I can't thank all the team guys enough for putting in 100% on that shit.

I feel like there was a pretty cohesive theme throughout the video: the burnt lifestyle swaps and a lot of the static shots were given a cold color treatment while the main clips were super warm. How'd that come about and for what reasons?
I made the intro first and I wanted to use that as a kind of template for how the rest would look. Cooling down a lot of the static/lifestyle shots was just something I thought looked a bit different. I usually shoot everything from the HMC pretty warm, so I tried to give it a rest at certain times. A lot of the static stuff happened to look nice if it was contrasted to all the reds and yellows that I love on the handheld stuff that I shoot. I like how it looks, but I'm sure there will be some critics on that stuff.


Friday Interview: Darryl Tocco
Darryl living in Pattaya, Thailand, with Sean Sexton, Jay Roe, Tony Hamlin, and Ben Hittle.


Who has your personal favorite section?
Tony [Hamlin], for sure. Over the years, I've worked more with Tony than anyone in my career. He works his ass off, and it shows every time. Coupled with the fact that Tony actually suggested his own song, it ended up feeling pretty personal.

I feel like one of the most difficult parts of editing a video would be doing your own section. Like, cutting in shots of your own face and being like, "Yeah, I look good in this shot." [Laughs] is it weird at times?
The worst! Editing my own footage is without a doubt the hardest part of trying to keep the video cohesive. I don't want to include clips of me waxing ledges, or slow-mo barspins. Keeping my part short and sweet without any flash would be ideal, but I want the video to feel fluent. Definitely awkward [laughs].

I'm grasping, but I gathered from the internet that you guys are working on some sort of project with the Am/up and comers like Jacob Cable, Ben Basford, etc. True?
We just wanted to have a good time in Austin for a little while. Basford has never been to the States, and it's fun to get Jacob out of Huntington for a minute. The weather is prime right now and we have a million spots, so Jay wants to have some of the dudes come through and chill. I'm bummed I'm missing most of it. No solid plan of action with the footage, just hanging with our friends and seeing what happens.

How is it traveling with such a young kid like Jacob? I assume that whether or not it's intentional, that you and the rest of the dudes are educating the little dude about the way BMX works…
Jacob is a trip, I constantly forget how young he is. I'm almost twice his age—shit is crazy. He's got a long future in BMX ahead of him and I think being around real dudes that aren't egomaniacs is important for anyone that's young and into BMX, and hopefully, he finds that in the Kink team. Some of our conversations amongst the group can be pretty industry heavy, which sucks, because when you're 15 you shouldn't be worried about who's riding for who, or why this guy got kicked off that team, or who's getting paid what. I'd hate to think of myself at 15 with such close connections to behind the scenes shit, but I guess times are different. As long as him and his friends are focused on riding, like the actual activity of riding BMX, he shouldn't have to or want to worry about any of the bullshit or clowns that are out there—they can just cruise. Shout out to the Common Crew, keep doing your thing. There'll be plenty of time to be worried about team managers and pay cuts and sponsor changes later on. You don't need that shit.


Friday Interview: Darryl Tocco
Baby Tocco! Darryl was once small(er), 14 years old, and really good, too. Photo yoinked from @kinkbikes instagram.


You've made, what, six full-length videos? Has making a full length DVD gotten any easier over the years? How has it changed for you?
Yeah, six. The making of it never gets easier; it only gets harder. Tricks are harder, spots are tougher, security is smarter, and cops are more pissed off. That's how it goes, though. I'm a lucky guy to be doing what I do, and I love riding and filming BMX. As far as post-production, you get more efficient with every project, so that's something that I've gotten better at. Watching something that you've made and are psyched on is a pretty amazing feeling, I'm happy to contribute full-length videos to BMX, even if not everyone is feeling them.

The first of Éclat's Native series dropped recently and I'm pretty into the concept. Is yours done already? If so, how'd it turn out and what are your thoughts about the project overall?
We filmed mine a few weeks ago, it was really cool to be apart of. Paul Robinson is a really talented guy and he has a lot of good ideas, so it was cool to see this one come together. Shane's was amazing—I loved it. I saw Nathan's footage for his and, of course, it's insane. I'm really proud to be a part of the Éclat team—those dudes are the shit.


Friday Interview: Darryl Tocco
Darryl and the rest of the crew stood through freezing temps for this photo in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Fudger


On the same theme, Kink has been doing their Off The Clock ad series. Why do you think it's important for companies to convey that their riders aren't some robots on a bike?
I think it's cool to show the other sides of these guys. These are some of the most interesting people I've ever met, and no matter what you think at any age, there's a lot more to living life than riding a bike. Just like the Éclat Natives project, I think it's awesome for people to get a glimpse into what these guys are into outside of BMX, whether or not you share the same interests. There's a lot more to Chris Doyle than trails and inverts, and that goes for everyone on all the teams I ride for.

Your signature Kink frame is in its second rendition. Is a third in the works? Are there any other signature products in the works?
A third is in the works. We're still messing with ideas so there isn't much to say about it, but I'm forever grateful and humbled that Kink puts my name on one of their frames. My seat from Éclat recently came out, and I'm really psyched on that, too.


Friday Interview: Darryl Tocco
Rail hop barspin, as seen from five stories up. Photo: Fudger


Since you're off the bike, what are the next month or two looking like?
Lots of music, lots of books, and lots of chilling. I'll be on the balcony if you want to come by.

My parents and brother first and foremost, and my entire family for always being down. Everyone (including the teams) at Kink, Eclat, and Osiris. Jay Roe and Van Homan for guiding me through this maze. Kyle Carlson for always having my back. All my friends everywhere, and of course Ryan, Z, and Keith at Ride for the interview. Thanks.