This year we are stoked to introduce our new BMX MC, Andy Zeiss. Andy will be working alongside our long standing MC Seb Hejna and comes from a rich international heritage in BMX. Andy has certainly been around the BMX block a few times, and as one of the original founders of the Rebel Jam over 10 years ago he certainly knows a thing or two about BMX (and how a BMX contest should be ran). Recently Andy has been the go to man for the Nitro Circus and has worked alongside the likes of Travis Pastrana all over the world. We can’t wait to see him at NASS, but more so, we cant to hear his witty sense of humour and ability to get the riders hyped up. - Richie Inskip
Hi Andy, great to meet you! I guess we should start off with the basics, can you tell us a bit about where you’re from, what you get up to on a daily basis and how long you’ve been in the BMX industry for?
Likewise, pleasure is on my side. I was Born and raised in Cologne, Germany, but I´m pretty much travelling the World for the past 10+ years. Still though, Cologne is where home and the family is. I´m involved in / with the BMX for, lets say 25 years now. Started of riding of course and then at some point started organizing jams or events, which ended up in being self-employed in the action sports industry for 15 years now. Today I´m working for VANS Europe, being the EMEA Team Manager and BMX Event specialist. I also work with Red Bull for events, athletes and athlete projects and then there´s Nitro Circus, where I´m one of the lead MC´s since 2013. Good times, no complaints, haha.
Nitro Circus is insane! I actually went for the first time last year at the 02 and it was an experience to say the least.
Yeah, its pretty savage, haha. Nitro Circus performed in over 250 shows worldwide, I did around 150 with them by now. Pretty crazy when you think, that was only in 3+ years. Each show is different, some are indoors, some outdoors, some with different ramp set ups, different languages, etc. But thats also the interesting part and it´s a true entertainment, family orientated actions sports show.
Ok so let’s talk bikes. First of all, how is the BMX industry right now? In recent years we’ve seen skateboarders around the globe reach worldwide fame with the boom of streetwear and celebs wearing certain brands. Can you see BMX heading in this direction? From my experience it seems like the scene has been steady for a while now…
The question is - do I / we think BMX needs to head the same direction. Do we still need that comparison? There´s no question about this: Skateboarding is way bigger than BMX is and I think it will always be like that. I started of as a skateboarder and by the time I quit in the mid 90`s and switched to BMX, skating was on one of it´s lowest points - but still larger then BMX ever was. Honestly I think we can thank Skateboarding a lot, I think it helped to create and shape a DNA for action sports in general, not only for BMX. I think BMX is pretty healthy at the moment. Yes, the industry was, or parts of it is still hurting and there were a lot of changes in the past few years too, like the whole media side switching to digital, brands suffering or even running out of business, BMX pro riders being without a bike sponsor, etc. But I agree, in general I would say the BMX community is doing OK currently. And I want to believe with all the latest energy it could even get better. Think about it, there were times we didnt have single World Championship… this year it seems we have three, LOL. You know what they say - Where attention goes, energy flows!
Photo by Bart De Jong
What about brands? Have you got any favourites and are there any new brands or riders coming through that we should keep an eye out for?
Obviously VANS, hands down - I grew up wearing VANS and now I´m even fortunate enough working for them. I love what we stand for, it´s still a very family driven brand with a passion for Skate, Snow, Bmx, Surf, Music and Culture. It seems some outdoor brands are getting cooler and cooler too these days. Some even create collabs with street wear brands. Thats pretty cool. Poler for instance, or Geoff Rowley´s Civilware. But there are a lot of cool brands out there. I never was a fashion guy and followed the hot topics in the scene, like Supreme, or whatever. But I love seeing people that create a brand out of a passion. The Trip by Ty Morrow, or Further Brand by Sean Ricany are a few to mention for sure and even some in Europe like DUB. As for riders - man, there´s so much talent out there. Just look at the kids these days, so good. I love watching kids with an own style and identity. Like Corey Walsh or Courage Adams…. fire man!
We’re hyped to have to join us at NASS this year to host our BMX comps. What attracted you to come and take part in the festival in this way?
I´m super pumped. A bit ashamed too as it´s my first NASS actually. For some reason I always had a different job at another event, or project, or was touring the past years. It looks so much fun and most of my team riders like Hennon, Webb, or Dandois kept telling me how sick it is. Plus, I promised Seb (Hejna) not to miss it again, so now even working together with him is a treat for sure.
We’re looking forward to having you there Andy! Any final words?
Looking forward to it, good times ahead and deffo looking forward to chugging down a pint or two. See you soon!
Be sure to check out our full line up HERE and secure your tickets to NASS 2017 today!