For some, 30 years ago might as well be the beginning of time in the BMX world. Odyssey is celebrating it's 30th birthday this year, and one of the most memorable milestones in the brand's history has to be their 'Electronical' DVD released in 2008. Watching the video now serves as a beautiful time capsule of the era, when DVD production was still in full swing and Odyssey was an early adopter on the HD front. With full sections from a hugely influential lineup that included Chase Hawk, Gary Young, and Aaron Ross with his neon bike, who all remain mainstays of the team, the ever timeless Mike Aitken, and Taj Mihelich, Jim Cielincki, and Jimmy Levan who were all in the twilights of their pro careers, the crew reads as a real who's who of BMX from that time period and beyond. Take a trip down memory lane with Will Stroud, Jim Cielencki and Mike Aitken as we remember Electronical...
The Lights: It was Jim Bauer’s idea to make the light board signs with everyone’s names. They are individual Christmas lights, and it took some time to make. We took some of them to spots also.
Jimmy Levan’s head injury: Jimmy had a tough couple of years. Jimmy had that head injury towards the end of filming, and didn’t have health insurance. We made the call collectively not to show the crash. It will be in the Jimmy DIG documentary that Chris Rye is working on, coming out next year.
SD/HD Formatting: This was a learning experience for me, since it was the first time I was using HD. I didn’t know what I was doing, and my frame rate was off, as well as some settings. I also crushed the blacks too much, and didn’t realize it while shooting the video. Formatting was an issue also, since Chad Shackelford used a 4:3 camera for half of the filming.
Gary Young’s Head Injury: Gary doesn’t have a helmet on in any of the Spain clips, which was before his crash. The double to over in his part was the try before he crashed. It didn’t even look that gnarly of a crash. We were all staying at Gary’s house; it was a tough situation. Sarah (Gary’s wife) was at the hospital all night with Gary. He ended up pulling through and made a full recovery, which is great. He wore a helmet full-time after that.
Gary Young’s curved wall ender controversy: It was a tough call to use it as an ender, since he didn’t pull it. Between Gary, Jim, Chad and I, we had many hours’ worth of discussion about it, and we left it up to Gary. Gary felt he would have rode away if the run-out wasn’t sand, and was comfortable with using it.
Gary Young’s dedication: We were at Baltimore Dew Tour, the one where Steven Murray got hurt. It was hot as hell. He did really well; he came up to me after the contest and was like, “Hey man, I got about two hours before I need to go to the airport, do you want to film a few things?” We filmed like three or four clips; it was cool to see his motivation.
Matt Beringer Yard: A lot of the footage is from his backyard, which is cool since it’s gone now. You can’t compare Beringer to anyone. He acts like a kid in all the right ways; has the right attitude. He loves BMX for all the right reasons.
Adam Banton: We did a Vancouver trip for a week with no real plans, nor a place to stay. We randomly ran into Jason Teet, and he offered us a place to stay, and showed us a bunch of cool parks. We also got to pick Adam’s song together, which is cool.
Aitken: There was just over a year of filming for Electronical, and Mike was in the middle of filming multiple parts, like Summer Of Fit, Anthem II, and “That’s It!” He didn’t go on that many trips because he was so busy. I heard Aitken’s song on a college radio station during editing, and shared it with Mikey and the crew. Out of five choices everyone liked it the most; kind of random luck of flipping on the right radio station at the right time.
Chase’s trophies: We filmed all the intro shots with the sign at the Odyssey warehouse, and Chase picked up a random trophy from the back and started jamming out with it. A lot of people asked if that was one of Hawk’s trophies from when he raced as a kid, when it was just a random trophy that meant nothing.
Chase and Aaron’s house: Chase and Aaron lived in the ultimate BMX party house at the time, with Devon Hutchins, Adam Roye, and several other guys. Steven Hamilton was randomly one of the house guests, chillin’ in the back yard with sunglasses, holding a beach towel. They had a roommate that didn’t ride and looked like he should have been in a fraternity, not a BMX house. Chase and Aaron hated this dude so much, they’d climb up on their shed in the backyard with loaded BB guns and wait for him to come home from work, and light him up when he got home.
Aaron Ross: You either love the song or hate it. Aaron wanted to ride to something happy and poppy; he never wants a serious vibe with his parts. This was early into Aaron’s bright-colored bike era. He has an array of colored bikes in this part. We didn’t do much color-correction with the video then; that’s pretty much how his biked looked straight out of the camera.
Last part choices: There was a lot of debate with who was getting last part; it was either Aaron or Gary. It came down to the wire, right when the DVD was getting authored. If Gary pulled the curved wall to curved wall, he probably would have had the last part.
Taj’s school shoot: A friend of Taj’s bought a bunch of schools in Kansas on eBay for $5000 each. Taj got permission to go there, and bought a bunch of wood from a hardware store. We had about a week, and lived at the dorms for that time.
Jim C.: Jim had just started Sunday, and was on a Berlin trip with Aaron Ross who was riding for FBM at the time. That trip was when Jim initiated the conversation with Aaron about riding for Sunday. - WS
Hauling props to Baldy: My intro was actually filmed at Mt. Baldy full pipe. We hauled the sign and a generator up there. That sign was huge; it weight like 50 pounds. It was almost dark by the time we filmed it.
Changing times: This part was different than my previous parts, since it was a lot faster. It was less about tech tricks and more about speed and spot-based. The drop-in curved wallride in Berlin- it was cool when you find a spot, and think, “Oh my god, I’ve been waiting for this.” Berlin as also cool because I got a DIG cover out of it (Issue 63).
Last clips: The video challenged the formula of what the way a video should work. There was more to each person’s ender than the “Oh, my god, this is crazy.” The enders all varied, I appreciate them. Chase’s ender being the whip, Gary’s, my last clip was just me not dying, trying to land 360 into that fence barrier. I completely got away with it. It was kind of funny. -JC