Calvin Kosovich Interview

Photos & Interview by Jeff Zielinski

Calvin Kosovich keeps it cool. I mean, how many other riders do you see shredding with their damn shirt tucked in? The dude is one of the most casual people I know and it’s always a pleasure to ride, shoot, and just chill with him. Whether Calvin’s eyeing up a gnarly rail or sitting behind the camera for hours on end, he’s always on an even keel. He’s clearly got focus and drive, otherwise he wouldn’t have picked up and left a steady job in Australia for the uncertainty of Southern California. He made his mark on the scene without ever being that “hungry dude.” I guess when you’re as cool as Calvin,you can ease your way into any scene—I’m just glad he chose ours. Congrats on the bump to pro, dude, lets hit the cuts again soon. —Jeff Z.

Describe for us how this video came together. I know a lot of people lent a hand in filming and the whole process was more organic as opposed to planned out missions…
Yeah for sure, basically after the Vans video I had what seemed like a week off in streets and just kicked back trying to enjoy myself without having to film and be stressed out. First day of the Kink SD house—in April 2016—I fell out front of the house messing around trying to pole jam the light post wire and fell back onto my wrist—completely fucked the Kink trip and ended up with a good sized bill. So I nursed that wrist injury and started filming this Kink part right after the Vans Illustrated premiere in June—after a total of eight weeks off the bike with the injury. I wasn’t super eager to jump into another full part because you really have to put a lot of pressure on your self and every time you film a part it has to be better and you’ve got to progress—well… that’s how my head ticks, anyway. I’m sure that’s not how a lot of people view BMX video parts, but it’s an obsession to say the least. I really took one day at a time and by October I surprised myself and realized, damn, I have a part, well… one that I could envision an near end. This gave me two months to narrow in and remove, replace, and handle any clips I wanted to get. So the last two months were super planned out, I would kinda ignore the homie’s phone calls and just sneak off for the day[laughs]. When you film with a lot of people it’s easy to just get stuck in filmer mode and forget to get into the “Oh yeah, that’s right, I need to finish my part” mode. Juggling time is hard and everyone I hang out with needs to be filming—we all do—it’s all we need to do and it’s awesome.

How long did you have you to work on this video? 
June through until the 26th of December, I swore an oath to myself that I’d have the part done before flying back to Australia on the 27th. I didn’t want to drag the video part burden back to Perth and instead just try to be free while I’m back for summer to start something new.

The 8mm film footage is a nice touch. The film camera was a recent addition to your camera bag, right?
Yep, it’s all-new to me and I’m stoked on the whole thing. Although, I had a bit of a trial and error finding a camera that was working in-between shooting $115 dollar test rolls [laughs]. All the Super 8 in my part was shot by Dakota Roche and Biz—appreciate it boys!

This video is unique for you because it’s all only California spots. Was that intentional or did it just work out that way?
Yeah, it’s always been intentional, living in California all year with a fresh slate made it organically happen. I usually come back toPerth and film and sneak that footage into my parts, but this time I was locked down in Cali and finally produced a full Cali part SF to SD—tick that off the bucket list.

I know spots and setups play a big role in your riding. How much time did you put in seeking out spots? 
For sure, I’d say spot searching never actually ends. Anywhere I go I would be looking even when I’m injured—it’s just constant. Once again an obsession to say the least [laughs].

I lived it so I already know how the story goes, but would you mind rehashing the story of how you got your runner-up ender two days before going to back Australia for a few months?
[Laughs] Yes. I was trying to get that spot handled for probably two weeks approaching that date and I just didn’t make it out. I originally saw the spot and planted the idea about six months prior to getting the clip. The day I saw it I was kinda weary and wasn’t sure of the outcome so I passed on it for a brighter day. It wasn’t until I had my part on a timeline that I realized I needed one more ender clip to be content and compliment the closure of the song. The brighter day turned out to be the day after Christmas and I managed to drag you [Jeff Z.] out and get the best film and photo assistance ever, thank you once again Z, couldn’t have handled it without you!

The completely self-filmed Hollywood High over crook is another good story worth telling…
Fucking Ty [laughs], Ty is the boss for reals, though. Basically, Ty and myself were talking the night before to meet up in Hollywood because I wanted to get the over crook while Z was free and try get the photo, too. Next morning Z and I head up to Hollywood High and I messaged Ty and said we are like 40 away see you soon. Ty thought we were meeting at his house—which is also in Hollywood—and then driving to Hollywood High together, so he’s waiting for us not knowing we are already setting up all the gear at the 16. We are setup, flashes ready, cameras locked off, and the janitor comes over and says, “Leave now cops are on the way.” I’m by no means ready to send it and Z is like we have to get it now, I just pressed record on the locked off cameras and just started getting it. I managed to get the trick and about five minutes later Ty and the boys rolled over into the school. Legit self-filmed ender—Dan Foley would be proud[laughs].

You managed to get through this project almost totally unscathed, too. How many crash clips did you log?
I have no idea how, but the only logged crashes that are more like baby bails are in the credits at the end of the part. I really wasn’t under pressure with this part and nothing was done unless I felt like it, it was just super organic and that’s a big part of why I wasn’t slamming like my past video parts.

You made a bold move almost three years ago when you left your day job in Perth and came out to Southern California without any solid plans. What was your situation like at that point and give us a little recap on the events unfolded you for State side…getting your Visa, filming/riding for Illustrated, etc…
Yeah, moving over was gnarly. America in general is hard with immigration without a reason of having to live in the USA. It was a process filling out paperwork and proving that I was an internationally recognized athlete—not to mention the $5,000 lawyer bill. Before moving over I was a self-employed plumber and gas fitter in my eight year of the job. Not super happy and I felt locked into a position I didn’t want to be in. When you’re young you should act out those crazy thoughts or ideas because it’s the only time you can get away with it. The older I get the less I feel like doing something outrageous when it comes to left turns in life. I’m glad I made the change and moved to the USA. I’ve now got lifelong friends and most importantly I’m doing something I’ve naturally wanted to do, ride my BMX and produce video content. It wasn’t until we started filming for Vans Illustrated that I started to feel more included and a part of the USA scene. It’s not easy to just move into the heart of the industry and expect to be involved in every little thing your sponsors are doing. It just doesn’t work that way and I knew it. For me it was just a chance to get away from my life in Perth working ten-hour days, six days a week. So when Vans told me I was getting a full part in Illustrated I was shocked and it really opened up another door for me within BMX. It’s helped me stay away from that treacherous job I left behind.

How long have you been riding for Kink? And how did you first get on the team?|
I’ve been with Kink since 2013. Jay ended up emailing me after watching my Still Bleeding Black & Blue part in a local Perth video we produced. I sat on it for a while because I had already been riding for The Set the last three years and felt loyal to them. At that time I wanted to travel and move to the USA and Kink was stoked to help me get there. Just the opportunities and the memorable trips already, I can’t thank Kink enough, you guys are awesome.

You’re currently back home in Perth enjoying the summer down under. What are you getting into during your stay there?
Yep, it’s awesome and the weather is great. I’m going to just be kicking back with the Perth crew, I’ve been filming with Callan Stibbards already and trying to get some fun little projects in the works with Local BMX shop. I ordered three rolls of Super 8 film so I’ll be shooting a bunch on that guy.

And what are you looking forward to in the New Year when you get back to the States, both with Kink, Vans, and just in general?
The Bungalow [bar in HB] with the crew and just get back and be productive with everyone—it’s nice to be able to have people to hangout and ride with on a daily basis. Hopefully work on a little piece for Vans. It’s still in the air right now, but it’s going to be awesome. Kink has a trip coming up in April that hasn’t been announced, but that’s going to be one to look out for. Vans Street Invitational in March in Huntington Beach, and don’t forget about the Vans BMX Pro Cup—I will be supporting the homies in Sydney this February. Once again thanks to everyone who has helped and supported my vision of BMX throughout the years, I couldn’t do this without a helping hand, at the end of the day we can’t do it all ourselves.

Tooth-smith-180: With one day between Christmas and when Calvin was flying back to Australia the pressure was on for this one, but Calvin kept it cool as usual. 

Over grind: Calvin’s spot knowledge paid off on this gem. Unfortunately, one of the tenets—who claimed to be a big producer—went off on us about setting up loads of gear in the street without having a permit—LA shit…

Over crook: Hollywood High has been putting a barricade in front of the 16 stair rail off and on for the last few years as a deterrent. It has taken such a beating that it’s basically just a piece of scrap metal that can be easily removed, but it made more sense to leave it there for Calvin’s over crook. 

Toothpick: Calvin’s pretty savvy with the front peg. This was a quick chiller we shot while checking out the spot. 

Tailwhip: Calvin’s got the whips and bars, but he’s pretty selective about where and when he lets ’em fly. This hop through the poles to gap was exactly the type of spicy setup he reserves the whip for.