Nuno Oliveira; Photographer, creator of olivejuuuuice.com, blogger on Defgrip.net and full time employee over at Odyssey BMX; this guy eats, sleeps and breathes BMX. As said many times before, Defgrip was one of the main blogs which inspired Tom and myself to start up weareorangejuice.com, therefore we were really psyched when Nuno posted the new Orange Juice collection on Defgrip.
On the blog we have two monthly interviews called: The Gallery, where a photographer showcases his best shots for a whole month, and we have the rolling in Business interview, which focusses on people who are working in BMX related businesses. As a photographer, blogger and full time employee at Odyssey; Nuno was eligible for either one. He was more than stoked to have an interview up on the blog because he did his last interview in 2009; lots of things happened since then. We wanted to grab this opportunity to get to know Nuno through an in depth interview, so we decided to ask questions about blogging, photography and working in BMX. So sit back, grab a drink, enjoy the interview, and get to know: Nuno Oliveira.
1. Hey Nuno, how are you? How is life in Austin?
I’m doing well thanks! Austin is a unique fun town, and unlike any other place I’ve lived. It’s also the closest city to the sun during summer.
When we searched the Internet we couldn’t find a lot of info about you which is weird because you are really involved in BMX. So lets start with the beginning.
No, I’ve been all over. I actually grew up on Long Island, NY about a half hour from the city. I spent most of my life on the east coast. I moved to Long Beach, CA in 2002 then came to Austin in early 2012.
3. When and how did you start riding BMX?
For real for real in the early 90′s. I rode bikes in general before that, but just around the neighborhood doing classic kid stuff. I basically got into riding through my older cousin I would say. He was into bikes and would build ramps in front of the house and stuff like that. He was a cool older family member, so naturally I did what he did.
4. What did your first bike look like? Do you have an old picture of it?
Ha! I’m pretty sure my first bike was a Toys ‘R’ Us special that just said “track certified” on the down tube. No brand, just “track certified”. It was white and I vaguely remember it having some sort of B&W checkerboard pattern, probably on the pad set. It was a cool first bike, I highly doubt it was certified for any track though. No pic, sorry.
5. Did you have friends beside your cousin that you went riding with, what was your local spot to shred?
Of course. After I started heading out on my own I met a bunch of people. The first major spot that we heard about and would go to consistently was a set of trails called the “Cornfields”. There was no corn in sight and it was right on Hempstead Turnpike (a busy main road), so I have no idea why it was called that. Anyway, I would ride and build there as often as I could for a bunch of years and would meet dudes from other towns. The Cornfields is now a Target. After that, we took on another trail spot called “Hooligan”.
It’s worth mentioning that 7-Eleven trails, Oak Park, Superfly’s spot in Glen Cove (plus other little trails that would pop up) were booming as well. Great times.
I started the juuuuice in 2009. I just wanted a place to post photos and talk about whatever, that’s all really. If I take a bunch of photos, I might as well put them somewhere. I worked flickr for a bit, but a personal site just seemed more fulfilling. Plus, it allowed me to have a page that looked the way I wanted.
It was easy actually, Jim Bauer did it for me haha. Before olivejuuuuice was even a thought, he had set up an account for us (Odyssey work related) and used me as the contact name. My last name is OLIVEira, so he turned me into Nuno Olivejuice. Voilà! I ended up using 4 U’s for my site domain because “olivejuice” was taken believe it or not.
Without a doubt, my Lomo LC-A loaded with Provia 400 and cross processed is my favorite shit. All the photos I provided for this were shot on the Lomo. I have a handful of other 35mm cameras and Canon DSLR too. With all that said… I’ve been using my iPhone & Instagram the most lately, but that’s a whole other topic…
10. What’s your opinion about digital/analog shooting? I see that you shoot with both when do you grab which camera.
My opinion is that each format is awesome for its own reasons. I prefer a film camera all day and that’s what I would personally carry around on a daily basis. If there is something time sensitive or someone flies me somewhere to cover an event or if I need a photo of my handsome self for an interview, I’ll use my Canon DSLR.
I’m mainly a point and shoot guy, so digital is kind of boring to me, its just easy and convenient.
I like to ride aimlessly around town, wander, walk through alleys, creep behind buildings and explore. I don’t know what I’m looking for until it jumps out at me. The photos I take are probably mundane to most people, but it’s what naturally comes out of me. I don’t consciously try to express anything with my photos and in fact, I have a hard time considering myself a photographer at all. I merely document observations.
12. You update Olive Juuuuice with your best shots, is there a picture in there of which you are the most proud?
I’m proud of all the photos I’ve supplied in one way or another.
Let’s talk about the other blog that you are a contributor for, Defgrip.
13. Thinking of a blog name is always really hard, how did you guys come up with the name: DEFGRIP.
Let Harrison Boyce explain: Rich Hirsch and I had been hanging out a bunch and really wanted to do something together. We didn’t know what it would be but we definitely wanted to do something. Ideas of a t-shirt line and other random things like that were thrown around, but while we were trying to decide what exactly we would be doing, we started to think of Names. Rich came up with Deathgrip and somehow we ended up changing it to Defgrip. We bought the domain, but never really did anything with it. When it came time to start a site, I thought Defgrip would be perfect. There’s no real meaning behind it, just a cool sounding name that lent it self to a cool logo.
Harrison again: Defgrip started in July of 2005. I had recently graduated college and was working at my first job at a design firm. Before college I had a site called Elamenop for years that was basically a Seattle BMX scene site, but it had kind of faded away and I thought it would be fun to start something new. I was really into photography and design and would always email links around to my friends. I rode BMX every day, but was really inspired by the creative world. I felt like BMX was lacking outside inspiration and I really wanted to do something to bring more creativity into the sport… But really, I just wanted to create a site for me and my friends and I actually had no idea that it would become something so big.
I started a blogspot (that you can actually still check out – defgrip.blogspot.com) and started to post a bunch of random stuff. If you look back to our first posts, we basically didn’t post any BMX content. Just fun stuff we were stoked on. Over time the site went from a blogspot with no photos and just text, to what it is today.
I wasn’t involved in the beginning as you can tell. Defgrip started out with Harrison Boyce, Rich Hirsch and Andrew McMullen. Harrison asked me to join the crew after I emailed him suggesting to check out the Dangerdoom album. I’m glad I did and I wrote in because I was a fan of the site. Right now, It’s mainly Harrison, Mike Ardelean and Myself.
16. In my opinion Defgrip is the godfather of all the other BMX lifestyle blogs. Because you guys were first with showing the world that there is more in BMX besides riding. What are you guys looking for when posting up content?
Plain and simple, we’re posting content that interests us. This means ANYTHING too, not just bike related stuff. BMX is the glue and core of Defgrip, but its wide open in terms of what can actually show up on the site. I’ve done features on people who have nothing to do with BMX, just because that subject interested me. There’s no doubt that this approach has opened up our site to a wider, more eclectic audience and piqued the interest of like minded BMX’ers.
In terms of content, I’m always looking for a different angle. For example, I don’t want to just do a post and say ‘Talk is Cheap is available now’, see ya! That’s lazy and boring. I’d rather get a little package of facts about the video and do a feature to coincide with the release. Every site is gonna have the same info, it’s up to us to make shit special. There’s a certain degree of mindless re-blogging that goes on, but that is necessary to keep the site flowing. Defgrip might not be the most heavily updated or traffic’d site around, but whatever ends up on there is usually worthwhile.
There’s more to BMX than just bike checks, sponsor change-ups, new parts, contest results and rider XYZ’s 2 minute flat rail session. That stuff is interesting to me from a rider standpoint, but boring as hell to blog about. Plus, there are 36276155 other sites doing a great job covering all that. We’ve always been fans of highlighting photographers, videographers and other dudes behind the scenes. I think those people are equally as important as the riders themselves, and that’s why we’ve always had photo galleries, Autophotos and interviews with people like that. People have described Defgrip as “The DIG of bmx websites” all the way to it being “a filter of The Come Up” to me. I can understand both opinions. Outside of BMX content, it’s a free for all… music, art, photography, it’s all good.
Harrison, Ardelean and myself all have very different interests, so you never know what will show up on the site and that’s refreshing for me.
I’ll probably never shut up about this, so I’ll cut it off right there
All those projects were cool. We sampled a pair of shoes with DVS that never came out, but we ended up auctioning off the one pair we had to raise money for Mike Aitken (click HERE to check post). That was pretty cool. As for new stuff, there is nothing planned right now. Maybe some shirts or something, who knows. Like Mayor Koch would say, time will tell.
Besides shooting photos and searching for content for Defgrip you also got a full time job at one of the biggest BMX brand: Odyssey.
I don’t recall ever being asked this question. I’m sure it came, I just don’t recall.
19. Can you tell us about the jobs you had before you started being involved with Odyssey?
Oh man, all kinds of random shit. I did a short stint washing limos one winter which was the worst! That didn’t last long. I delivered Chinese food for a little bit, I worked for a valet parking service and got by without knowing how to drive stick. I did some serious time working at some recording studios on Long Island and in NYC. And of course I also worked at a bike shop too, shout out to Brands Cycle.
Uuuuugh, I always struggle with this question haha. First off, it’s Sunday, Fairdale, Gsport & Flatware in addition to Odyssey. My best answer is I do ‘a little bit of everything’, which generally involves anything to do with keeping everything moving smoothly. We’re a small company so we all wear many hats. My official title is “Brand Manager”, but I dabble in sales, social media and anything in between.
21. So if shops want to add Odyssey in their collection how do they get in contact?
Hit up http://www.odysseybmx.com/contact/ and search for a distro near you or contact us directly for assistance. We’d love to hear from ya.
Going to school had nothing to do with me ending up at Odyssey, sort of. I went to school for graphic design and also for studio recording (music), which is why I ended up working at recording studios for a while. That was really fun and I had a genuine interest in it, but in the long run I found it to be draining and not for me. I was still actively riding during this time, which made the crazy hours worse. I did get to meet some cool recording artists though.
After that, I got a job at my friends bike shop on Long Island. I worked there for a while and my boy Snips who had recently moved to Cali suggested I move out to Cali too. I said ‘fuck it, why not’. I would need a job of course, so before I left I got in contact with Jim Bauer, who was originally from Long Island and was already working at Odyssey. Long story short, I hit up Bauer, there happened to be a position opening up and he got me an interview.
So in theory, if I didn’t go to school for studio recording and ultimately end up getting fed up of that profession, I might not have been at Odyssey today.
I’m sure the answer would apply to any industry. Know your shit, do your job and don’t get complacent. BMX is a job just like anything, you’re not gonna get hired and then just chill and get free bike parts.
24. One question about the future: Do you have any news about new project/products you can tell us about?
Our crew is constantly working on and releasing new stuff for our umbrella of brands. Lately, our softgoods are really becoming a serious part of our business in addition to the parts, which is great. You can expect interesting clothing & accessories projects, new signature parts and some cool new bikes for 2013 too. Keep an eye out!
Know your shit, don’t half step and good luck.
26. Any last words? And No I’m not going to kill you like you said in your interview on BMXunion.
Thanks for asking me onto WAOJ, it’s much appreciated. Shout out to everyone. That’s all, cheers!
Follow Nuno on Instagram @nuno__oliveira