Nathan Williams talks 'Above Below'
Ninety percent switch?
13 Nov 2014
Interview and photos by Fred Murray
You would have seen a ton of social media related to 'Above Below' by now i'm sure, and you may have also clocked on to it consisting of two parts; 'Above', the riding video with full sections from Dan Lacey, Nathan Williams, Dakota Roche, Ben Lewis, Ed Zunda and Fernando Laczko, and then 'Below', a documentary all about what it takes to get there. The ups and downs of everything that comes with riding and progression; security, stress, injuries, frustration. We sat down with Nathan during yet another filming trip to find out a little more about the project and the task of filming a full DVD section.
For those who may not know, can you explain what 'Above Below' is?
'Above Below' is a two-part video made up of full parts and behind-the-scenes footage with the riders talking about what goes into filming a video part, riding and what it means to us. 'Above' consists of riding sections and 'Below' has interviews and behind-the-scenes. I think each video runs to about 30 minutes each.
Are you excited about showing 'Below' to friends and family who don't ride?
Yeah, i think people who don't ride will take a lot from it, i mean so will the people who ride because they will understand what it's like a lot of the time. How we feel about riding is most likely how they feel about riding too, but they will still be able to take a lot from it i think. Riding is quite personable to each individual so i could describe riding differently than someone else would - i always think it's cool hearing someone else's perspective on it.
What's the thing you've taken most from this project. Is there anything you think about in particular?
More so, that i'm really happy that i could have been a part of something a bit different and something that you could show your grandmother and open someone's eyes to BMX and what's going on.
If you had to describe what you do, would you give them 'Below' to watch?
Yeah i guess, for me i would find it hard to sit there and tell them everything that comes across in the video already. I'd just say, "Let's pop this video in and it says it all."
What was your favourite trip?
It sounds crazy because i grew up there, but for me, Nashville. I've always wanted have close friends come ride there and hit those spots. It's always good to see the people that you travel with a lot ride your spots and get their perspective. It wasn't just that though, going for food and showing everyone my favourite parts of the city was so good.
Did you have most of your Nashville clips planned before?
No. A lot of the time i just have a rail and i know i want to do something on it. Like that baptist rail, once everyone else started riding it it kind of gave me ideas of what i wanted to do. I'd say maybe half the Nashville clips from Above Below were planned and the other half just happened.
"I'm really happy that i could have been a part of something a bit different."
What was the most difficult moment?
I guess sometimes you can end up riding with a big crew and not that you don't want to ride with those people, but it can be hard to get stuff done. I mean, a security guard is definitely going to come and kick you out if there's ten to fifteen people. That can get a bit frustrating. I always feel more comfortable with a smaller crew.
How do you cope when you're shooting for four different videos over two years. Do you just try and divide it all up?
Yeah, i just try and divide it up i guess. Like this year i decided that i was going to focus on this and my United part and try to hammer out as much of that as i can and then next year focus on the etnies video. My Cinema section is for the most part done. There's probably one more trip for that and then it'll be wrapped up. I just can't think about it all at once because then when i go on trips i start thinking, Oh, i can't do this here because then i can't do it on the next trip, etc. For me it's easier to focus on one project and maybe tie up loose ends while i start the next project.
How do you go about choosing which new stuff you've learnt goes to which video or does it all just come together naturally?
Well, if it's the same trick i don't mind doing it at again at another spot as long as it's different enough. For instance, a truck down a set of stairs, you could do it down a ten stair and then find a different twelve stair in some other city… as long as the spot has something different about it. I don't know… Honestly though, for the most part that's what i stressed on, just not repeating myself.
Do you also stress when you're on a fun kinda trip and there's something in front of you that you want to film for a video part?
I would hate to say that, but yeah i guess there has been times when you're on some random trip and you find something and think, "damn that would be sick". If it's something super risky sometimes it can feel like it's not worth it if you're not filming for a video part.
How much of your 'Above' part do you think is switch?
It kinda depends because there are some tricks that aren't all completely switch.
Yeah, but did you ever turn off the switch completely?
Um, yeah there was the 180 bar over the kind rail in Nashville… Someone mentioned something about doing the all switch part and i thought it might be kind of cool to try and do that, so i kind of did, but then it just got to a point when i'd get to spots and i'd just be like, "well, i'd kind of like to do this, but it's not necessarily switch." It's hard for me to want to put too much emphasis on that because it is what it is.
See more photos from the filming of 'Above Below' here.
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