Why in the name of god are we interviewing this shit stick? Who fucking knows. He’s a good dude who has helped out countless amounts of homies, and turned from some sort of little emo bitch with a skin tight pants, to a full grown shit talking super hero by the name of Bitchard Simmons. Much to the shagrin of many, I am still backing Kyle as I have been for years. (photos: Dave Chami)
K- on a scale of one to one hundred how much will you like it when i smash your face in?
How did you get into filming?
K- The only reason I got into filming just skating with my friends and my dad had a camera.
How did the focus transition from skating to filming for you?
K- It just started working and I was having alot of fun with it. It was also a motivational thing, like, ” Let’s try and do something, let’s go to this spot because this guy wants to try this trick. Even if it wasn’t something hard, it was more of a project. Because at the time, we didn’t have cars. So we would take bus to Greer, which we sucked at, or go to Skateworks and skate the boxes and shit in the back. When things became more of a project it was just motivation. Then things started brewin’.
What was perhaps the first pro or am you filmed? How did that come about?
K- I would say besides maybe filming a demo, and the random pros that were there, Skatecamp maybe.
You were the Skatecamp filmer?
K- Anthony Claraval did it for a few years, then Ewan (Bowman) did it. I was a camper for a few years during that time, and I went to Dave Metty and just told him, “Hey I want to film more, how can I help?” Jake Palu was working as a cabana boy at the time, so that was kind of my in.
Was Skatecamp a launching point for you?
K- For sure, I met alot of people. I met Avery, Jerry, Louie…alot of the San Jose dudes there.
It definitely opened alot of doors. Not only to filming, but getting outside of the peninsula you know?
OK, we know some guys in these other ares that skate, they are down to hang out with us. we didn’t know any spots in San Jose… If we went to SF, it was like just the pier. That was it.
After that you were tapped to make the Skateworks video, “Shop Copy.”
K- Yea. Shop Copy was the first full length, real, let’s put alot of time into this and make it good. I worked at the shop, (Skateworks) for maybe 2 years, and then Jason (Strubing) started talking about making a video, I would work at the shop maybe like 2 days instead of 4, and just film the rest of the time and he would pay me the same. it was crazy at the time, I was getting paid to film.
Was it overwhelming having your first project premier in a full sized theater packed with a drunken, rowdy crowd?
K- It was awesome. It definitely made everything worth it. It was cool to see such a big response and know we put something together that was rad and fun, and everyone was stoked. Can’t complain. No crickets in that theater, thats for damn sure.
After Shop Copy you transitioned to working for Think right?
K- It was literally at the Shop Copy premiere. Bruce Rodella came up to me and was like, “we want to talk to you, we want to get something moving on our next video project. I was like fuck, lets do it. I was skating with Ears (Justin Williams) alot, and getting familiar with those guys. I think after they saw the video, they knew I could actually do something. I didn’t start right away. But after Joey (Digital) left, they were like, “OK, your the guy now.”
Was that a learning experience as far as filming people you didn’t know?
K- Yes and no. It was kind of always the case. Even with Skatecamp… Alan Peterson would show up, I don’t know him. But I would just walk up and ask if I could film his backside 360 or whatever. I was always kind of thrown into that realm of I don’t know you, but here we go. Even with Shop Copy, I knew all the kids. But I didn’t know any of the older dudes. Like Pete the OX, I was super intimidated by that dude. I just knew him from Greer, he was the gnarliest dude. Turns out he’s one of the best dudes ever.
You filmed Daryl (Angel) early on, especially in those Think days. Has it been strange watching him grow from a little kid into a superstar?
K- Honestly, it’s how I assumed things would happen. There was a minute there where I thought it might not happen, you know he got a job or whatever. He wasn’t getting boards, and thought maybe it wasn’t going to go down. Reality is harsh for a young am. It’s a brutal one when you realize that it might not work.
More people don’t end up making it, than people that make it…
K- That’s for damn sure. There’s people that I thought undoubtedly would one day have their name on a shoe, and it never happened.
How did you come to work for Enjoi?
K- Chris Avery moved away. I worked for Enjoi, for maybe 4 years.
Looking back, is Bag of Suck the most substantial video project in your resume?
K-Easily, the most recognized or respected I guess. It went alot of places. People really liked it. But you have to give alot of credit where it’s due. I always get asked about it, and I have to say, Chris did so much, Ev’s did so much, and the team did everthing. We all kind of pulled it together in the end. It was a cool group project…
Then after a little down time, Bonus Round right?
K- After Bag of Suck we did a few little trips, we did the Barcelona trip. And that kind of stemmed into we need to do another project. Dwindle was jumping on the podcast thing, and podcasts are pretty boring.
How did that differ from Bag of Suck?
K- Sometimes it felt totally organic, like what I imagined it was like doing Tilt Mode, and Man Down. But there were definitely other time where it was so frustrating to try to help get everyone together and on the same page.
You were pushing, and trying to get stuff people. You weren’t only filming and shooting photo’s, you were also trying to motivate…
K- Yea, I was trying to push people that had maybe hung up the pro board a while ago, or were working full time jobs, or married… It wasn’t just a bunch kids skating together. It definitely had it’s difficulties.
What was your feeling when it was said and done?
K- I was super stoked at the premiere. I was laughing my ass off the whole time. I really wished I could have been involved in the editing process, but I think it turned out exactly how it should have.
Around this time you started getting into photography right?
K- Really what got me stoked was taking a camera on that Barcelona trip. I would just randomly shoot this or that. Nothing crazy, but when i got the film back I was psyched. it was rad to see things in a whole new medium, a new way of putting things together.
Was it easier to break into shooting photos because of digital age of camera’s?
K- No, I had issues. I didn’t buy a digital camera right away. I had alot of trial and error issues. Once I figured out I wanted to take it further, and I needed to learn it faster, you can’t really be blowing too many photo’s you know? People aren’t wanting to keep shooting with you if your blowing it. Once I grabbed a digital camera, the learning curve was alot faster.
You probably got alot of insight from Joe Brook and Mark Whiteley around that time…
K- Oh yea, for sure. It made all the difference. I pretty much got a free internship with the best skateboard photographers in the world. That’s crazy. I didn’t really realize it until later. I started paying attention to what these dudes were doing, and what it was all about. I would see Joe setting the photo’s up, then I would see it in the magazine.
How did LRG come about?
K- Anthony Claraval had filmed, “Give Me My Money, Chico” and didn’t have alot of editing experience at the time. He talked to a few people, then finally ended up talking to me. That was like 3 1/2 or 4 years ago. It’s pretty amazing. They are really rooted in skateboarding and have been. They are not just jumping on the bandwagon. When I got involved through Anthony, it’s changed and evolved into a brand that looking back as a kid I would have been much more interested in. It’s definitely crushing it. It supports rad skaters, we have an amazing team. They do alot for skateboarding and for shops that are doing it for the right reasons. They give me an opportunity to do things outside of skating, they have their hands in quite a few things. It’s opened doors to things I probably wouldn’t have otherwise got involved in.
In light of his, “Free Lunch,” and being you were around him alot for a time, what do you make of Andrew Langi’s current dilemmas?
K- I don’t know wether to say, “I told you so dummy,” or “sorry man, that sucks…” I do feel bad for him because it’s hard to know who to listen to when your younger. Especially when you are getting money and being flown around the world to ride a skateboard. You can’t blame him too much for being young and stupid. It just sucks that that’s the way it ended. He’s a talented dude, and i wanted it to work for him. But when you blow it, you blow it.
How good is TX?
K- Pfffff… easily top 10 ever. Like Koston level. Just watch him skate flat ground. That dude can do anything. I know people say that about everyone, “Oh, that dude is the best…” he can do a dork trick like a benihanna on flat, then turn around and do the best switch 360 flip. You can take him to a mini ramp, and see him do shit you didn’t even think would be in his bag. He’s got it all. Seeing him get all the way on Adidas is awesome. He is one of the best, and really deserves just as much as all those other dudes for sure.
So being just shy of 30, you already have a 10+ year run in skating. Do you see this career path continuing?
K- Yea, I hope so. Cross my fingers. This is what works, and this is what I love. I’m so honored, and so lucky it insane. I never thought I would be in this position. It’s crazy, I don’t know how it worked out to be able to continue like this but it has