From Oklahoma to the Valley and now in Downtown Los Angeles, Andrew Jackson has found himself immersed in everything that is in DTLA. From the seemingly endless spots, the crews of riders always there, the other crews roaming through, and now working on projects outside of BMX, Andrew always seemingly has something going on. AJ has had this video sitting around for a while, so we decided to drop it alongside a few questions focused on where he calls home…
How’s LA been treating you? What’s been keeping you busy?
Everything’s good out here man. Just been riding a lot, chilling with friends, and enjoying myself.
Some of the clips are from your interview in Ride 188, which is almost a year old…so have you been sitting on this edit for a while?
Haha, yeah, it’s been done awhile. There wasn’t really any project I had to make an edit for. I just wanted to make something I was proud of and I think AK that filmed it felt the same way. I know it sounds weird, but I didn’t even care about putting it out when we finished. It’s cool to finally get to do something with it though. Thank you guys.
You’ve been into filming/production for a while through your The Bank project, but you’ve been doing some stuff outside of BMX. What are some of the more interesting projects you’ve done?
My favorite things to work on are collaboration projects and I’ve been really lucky to have made some talented friends in the Arts District of Downtown LA that I work with. I really like doing that kind of stuff rather than commercial or narrative work because it’s more like what we do with BMX. The person is good at something and I document it the best I can. But, specifically I’ve done some fashion stuff with my friend Elliott Evan and I did a dance video in this abandoned jail with bonesthemachine last year. I’ve currently been working on this documentary with my friend, a homeless guy named Fernando. I try to stay busy working on film projects when I’m not riding.
What are the major differences when dealing with non-riders on a project?
Nothing really. If the people you are working with are talented then you really don’t have to do much directing or anything like that. Some people just have it. Same with riding. You can take a kid to the best spot and he can do some crazy trick, but if he doesn’t have it you can always tell. It just won't look natural. Then you could take someone like Eddie Cleveland pretty much anywhere and get an amazing clip 1st take.
Pegless politics…if someone has done a trick on a rail with pegs (say a grind to over)…is it okay for you to do it pegless?
I try to avoid it the best I can if it’s something super obvious. I try not to use doing pegless grinds as a gimmick or a crutch to not have to find new spots or be creative. I do think some stuff gets a pass if it’s the right setup and enough time has gone by from when it was originally done with pegs, but I’m definitely not watching videos looking for spots to one-up people on haha
There have been some heavy crews rolling through downtown LA lately, are the spots getting hit just as hard? Being a local down there, are there still new spots to find or has everything been uncovered?
This last year it has gotten way more traffic than usual. I don’t want to speak for everyone in the scene out here, but I know we are all riding and filming all the time even if you don’t see the footage right away. Then you have people from out of town that don’t really kick it with anyone putting out edits and sometimes redoing stuff that people have already done, it kind of misrepresents the scene. I don’t know how to feel about it, because I’m all for people trying to get out there and have their stuff seen, I just wish people would go about it differently sometimes. And to answer the question about new spots, I’m pretty sure all of downtown has been mapped out even before I got here. Maybe no one has gotten a clip on it yet, but it’s been found.
How does living in DTLA compare to where you grew in the Valley? Has it changed your riding at all?
We’ll originally I’m from Oklahoma. Then when I was around 12, I guess my parents decided what they had been doing wasn’t working and started 2 different companies and made enough money that we could move out here. I didn’t really fit in very well because I was this poor country black kid living in Calabasas. So it was basically like the black Beveryhillbillies or something haha. All of our neighbors still hate our family because we don’t really fit in up there. I’ve always felt way more at home where I am now here in Downtown.
My riding has changed a lot because when I first started riding I only rode trails I didn’t even ride street haha. But after I started to get more into street riding I would come out to downtown and the areas around here all the time; even back then I always loved going around looking for new spots. As soon as I started planning to go to college, I applied for cal state LA, which isn’t even the best school I just wanted to live out here and I’ve been here since.
Being surrounded by concrete for miles in every direction, when was the last time you rode trails? Do you miss it?
Probably a few months ago, we have some trails up in the valley and my brother and a few friends reshaped them and rode them for a day. I really miss our old set that got plowed we had so many good times down there. It’s not the same going to someone else’s jumps as your own.
What’s good with wethepeople? You guys were on that coastal trip a bit ago, any new trips, projects, or products in the works?
Yeah we just did a trip up to SF. It’s always cool to get to go up there and hang out with everyone. There's been some talk, but I don’t have tickets booked anywhere yet. I’m still riding my C.R.E.A.M. frame and forks and loving that setup.
You guys for doing this. Wethepeople, G-Sport, and everyone who supports me running my signature parts. I try not to take anything for granted and I appreciate all the support I’ve get from family, friends and everyone else out there.
Photos from Andrew’s interview in Ride 188…