Last year, Brian Freeman aka BFree’s Vibralux section proved to be one of the most engaging VOD releases to date. Under the creative vision of Kansas filmmaker Adam Johnson, Freeman astounded those who purchased his online profile with a more diverse trick range than we have seen from him in the past, some incredibly technical feats that include a 450 royale to alley-0op topsoul full cab out on one of Kansas City’s most famous handrails and a ballsy topsoul to 180 gap down an impossibly tight stair set that proceeds a horrific scorpion bail which looked destined to end in a hospital visit. Considering the fact that the last full section anyone had seen from Freeman previous to this was a relatively lukewarm performance in Adam Johnson’s Pariah on account of fracturing his tibia shortly before filming began, there was little doubt that the Oakland-based blader was definitely fighting fit this time round. The response was so positive to his section that Adam Johnson later commented that he wished he had charged more for it, which suggests that sales were equally as favourable. It takes a lot to produce a video part that can stand alongside the likes of Chris Farmer, Chris Haffey, John Bolino and Alex Broskow, but that is exactly what he did and some might argue that his section has more replay potential than some of those contemporaries. The big question is – can he do it again?
Well, it looks like we are about to find out. Throughout 2016, Freeman has been hooking up with Long Beach filmer and Blader Gang mastermind Erick Rodriguez at various intervals to stack clips and, any day now, the fruits of their labour will be available to purchase. In addition to getting a Blader Gang tattoo via go to blading tattoo artist Chuck Cauton, which seems to be a rite of passage for everyone in the Blader Gang VOD series to date, BFree is certain that his latest profile is equally as good as his Vibralux section from last year. At the time of this interview Rodriguez was deep in the editing process, so we haven’t seen anything to confirm or deny such claims, but based on his last performance we are eager to see more. While you wait for BFree’s Blader Gang Worldwide section to drop, we decided to find out a little bit more about the project and picked his brain on a few other topics.
Wheel Scene: The last footage most people saw of you was your Vibralux VOD. Were your happy with the reactions it received?
BFree: The reactions that I got from the whole experience was amazing for sure and I want to thank everybody who supported that to make it happen. To be honest, I was surprised by it since only a handful of people had done the VOD, so we didn’t know how it was going to turn out. Plus, having a deadline doesn’t make it any easier, but all-in-all I was happy with the final product. Shout out to Adam Johnson and the Vibralux family.
What can we expect from your Blader Gang section and how will it stand up against your Vibralux part?
That will be up to everyone else to decide. All I can tell you is that, if you expect kush, you better get kush. Filming this section, I was in the same position I was in while filming for the Vlux VOD, where time was not on our side, so we had to make do with what we had and be grateful for everything that came with it. If it doesn’t get you juiced to put your blades on, then I didn’t do my job and I highly doubt that.
That is a bold statement. Where was the edit filmed and how long did it take?
We filmed through out the year, E Rod and myself had really busy schedules this year, so that was the hardest part about this section, but that’s also what made it so dope. We created something when we really didn’t have time to do it. We couldn’t have done it with out all the homies either, straight up.
Any injuries or interesting stories from the filming process?
Getting injuries is never fun for anybody. (Laughs) I definitely was trying not to repeat that process, but shit happens! My favourite part from this project was probably the night that we decided to hit this spot in downtown Oakland. We had about seven homies with us to help make it happen. I think everybody was on an adrenaline high or maybe the weed was strong. E Rod had broke the connection chord to his monitor screen on his drone, so he had to guess what the shot was going to be like. Everything worked out and I couldn’t believe it. One of the dopest feelings in the world is when your crew goes out on a stealth mission.
What was it like working with ERod?
The best way I can describe it would be like how Vinny Cha$e & Kid Art work together. If you have heard their music or seen any of their art then you know what I’m talking about. It’s just kush as fuck. I think E Rod and myself share that same vision of how we can show blading from our perspective. He is always ten steps ahead. When you are working with him, no matter what happens, you know it’s going be dope.
Are VODs worthwhile from a skater’s perspective? Does anyone actually make a decent amount of money from them?
A decent amount of money is only an opinion, like $1 is better then $0; that’s just someone’s opinion. If you are trying to provide and want to do so by doing what you love then, yes, I think it is in this day and age because our industry is so small. You’re not getting cheques in the mail if you don’t have a product with your name on it or winning contests in this game. As a whole, I feel like blading needs more structure within its finances. We can’t expect parents to want their kids to blade if there isn’t going to be a way to provide for themselves. They’re going to tell you to get a real job but you can’t because you love blading.
“If it doesn’t get you juiced to put your blades on, then I didn’t do my job and I highly doubt that.”
Which VODs have you been most impressed by so far?
Vlux crew’s have been unbelievable and the BG Worldwide sections.
On a completely unrelated note, what happened with the TV show ideas you were working on?
Need more money!
Fair enough! It seems like a lot of bladers are hopping sponsors at the moment and many of them have ended up riding Valo for their own pleasure. What are your thoughts on this?
I have no idea, but it’s Vs up.
How seriously do you take blading? Is it something you would like to try and build a career out of if it is possible? If so, what do you think about the fact that this isn’t really an option for most skaters at the moment?
This is my career right now. Everything goes in a cypher. This time around we have to protect our future. For the ones who think it’s not an option, you need to change that way of thinking. The first step into building anything is knowing what you want.
That is an optimistic way of looking at it. What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I’ve got something coming out this month with Street Urethane. I’m really happy with our crew that we’ve got going. I can’t wait to link back up with those homies. You’ve got to keep yourself busy or you’ll die.
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.
Photos courtesy of Filthjuice
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