SHAJBA: To hit it off, please disclose your location.
MIKI: Just chillin' on my balcony, smoking a cig and drinking some green tea with a nice view on Koper city.
SHAJBA: What did you do yesterday?
MIKI: Yesterday I went riding and then I had a little part time job.
SHAJBA: Nice! Are you considering moving back to LJ at some point in future? Or anywhere else for that matter?
MIKI: Most probably yeah, as soon as I sort my college stuff out. But yeah, I have some aspirations to move abroad, but no real plan for now.
SHAJBA: You were or are still studying Italian and English, right?
MIKI: I still am studying translation, yeah.
SHAJBA: Aha. So how is KP during the week. Murska Sobota for example is so boring and empty. Everyone is in LJ during the week. How is in Koper? You get bored or lonely there?
MIKI: Koper is pretty much the same, especially in the winter. There really is nowhere to go. In the last few years it's not that bad though, because we squatted an abandoned factory called Inde and it's the best place ever. We have a nice place to chill, make awesome events and we even have a little skatepark.
SHAJBA: Ah OK, I wanted to talk about that too..can we postpone it a bit and talk about your BMX beginnings first? You´ve been riding for a while now. Have you started with BMX straight away or were you a MTB dude prior to BMX?
MIKI: Yeah, of course. I was into MTB first, but when I started riding skatepark and street I soon realized that I gotta get a BMX bike. That was in 2009, when we still had our old skatepark in Koper. Then I got injured and stopped riding for two years and a half. In late 2011 I started riding again and it has been non-stop ever since.
SHAJBA: Was your partner in MTB crime Voranc? I know he also started that way.
MIKI: He was, and he was killing the dirtjumps on the big wheels already. I remember him doing some sick suicide no hander to no hander landers.
MIKI: Yeah, he had those on lock, crazy dude!
SHAJBA: That dude is so amazing. You don´t see him anywhere for 6 months and then he comes causally to the skatepark and kills it. I don´t get it.
MIKI: Yeah, me neither. He's some sort of superhuman, he rides like nobody else I've seen.
SHAJBA: Yeah, artists i guess (Laugh).
MIKI: I guess his artistic skills really do translate into his riding, he's always in search of that perfect aesthetic.
SHAJBA: Talking about other KP shredders..What is up with OBC? Maybe you could start by telling us some basic info about it first..
MIKI: Well, OBC is short for Obala BMX crew, which is the crew of riders from the Slovenian coast. Or is it short for Obilni bajs Cvijo?
SHAJBA: (Laugh)I can already imagine shirtless Cvijo.
MIKI: Yeah, I saw that image way too many times in my life. Anyway, Cvijo started it and we also had a blog once, but it hasn't been updated for a long ass time now.
MIKI: I think he should start vlogging, he would be an international success. And interviewing underground rappers and shit.
SHAJBA: No doubt. OK, but OBC crew still exists. You are a tight crew of friends. I think of one the rare groups in our scene which goes to all the jams, hangs out together on a daily basis etc.
MIKI: We do, even if we don't have much to ride, we still try and do it as much as possible. We have lost some members due to them living elsewhere or not having time to ride, but we also gained some new ones, so it's ok. We are also connected with the EDW$ crew from Nova Gorica, we went to some trips together and stuff. Shoutout to those dudes, they're awesome!
SHAJBA: Yeah, I was discussing this yesterday with a friend of mine; We were asking ourselves why younger riders stopped going to the after parties. Then we kind of agreed that it could be the new weed trend in the BMX as opposed to the alco(hol) generation in which we grew up. Then again, your crew is also a crew of heavy smokers, but you always stay for the party.
MIKI: That's a pretty interesting question. We could be on anything, but we are staying for that afterparty no matter what! I think it could also be the fact that back in time, the jams/contests always had the afterparty at the skatepark and more people stayed for the party, just because they didn't have to go elsewhere. Maybe youngsters are not that crazy today as they were though, some people take riding too seriously.
SHAJBA: So you think you can be competitive and a party animal at the same time?
MIKI: I guess you could be, but when you look at some of those riders, they come to practice and progress at all costs, which means that if they stay for the afterparty, they may not be able to ride the next day, or at least not on a crazy level. For me BMX is primarily fun, but for some it is a serious sport, which means they aspire to be serious athletes. Nothing wrong with that I guess, but it is not what BMX was meant to be.
SHAJBA: Yeah, so it´s not the weed´s fault (Laugh).
MIKI: Don't blame it on the reefer (Laugh).
SHAJBA: What is you opinion about the Slovenian/Balkan scene in general? Do you wish there were more BMX riders, jams and whatnot or you don´t care about that?
MIKI: I always wish there would be more riders, that the scene would grow bigger and all that stuff. The problem is, in my opinion, that we don't have enough skateparks to ride. Or even street spots. There are a few big cities that are really cool to ride street, but there are places that don't have anything to offer for a BMX rider. Unfortunately, we are still a few steps behind Western Europe as far as riding infrastructure is concerned. Our government/local communities don't really care about action sports in general, which is a big shame. But we still have some amazing riders and crews. Look at the Huščija crew from Croatia for example, they are killing it in the streets and dropping really cool street mixtapes. Or even Shajba, you guys have put out some really awesome content over the years and continue to do so.
SHAJBA: It is especially hard to survive a winter as a rider. Imagine you´re 12 and your friends are all playing basketball or football indoors and if you want to do your sport you have to go outside where is freezing and wet; Of course the majority of kids will join their friends and gradually stop riding. The fact that you are restricted to bunch of curbs and flatland does not help either. But ok, let´s put that aside; LJ has 2 indoor parks, street spots etc. but the scene seems to be stuck at a certain level. You think we need an international BMX wave to make BMX more popular with the kids, or you think we can do that on our own?
MIKI: I think that we can do that by ourselves locally, but the authorities need to start listening. Ljubljana does have 2 indoor parks, but one of them is in a squat, which means people made it with their own hands and budget, and the other one is not public, it is small and not open all day. I think that we need a real public skatepark in every bigger city in Slovenia, that would make things way easier for riders and the scene would automatically grow.
SHAJBA: You´ve mentioned the name Inde earlier. You guys have made a place with a DIY skatepark, bar/club, workshops etc. Can you tell us more about it, for people who never heard of it before?
MIKI: UP Inde started as an idea for a place to chill from a few individuals. There is a factory in Koper, that has been abandoned for the last 10+ years and it's been just a place for junkies and hobos for the majority of the time, until the aforementioned individuals started to clean a few rooms and tried to make a nice lace. Soon, a lot of people joined and all of a sudden we had a squat. Since the place has gone public in February 2014, there have been countless concerts, cultural events, movie nights, sport events and even some BMX and skate jams. The guys from Pumpa in Postojna have been so nice to give us some of their old ramps in exchange for some concrete, which they used to build other ramps. We are also planning to build our own indoor skatepark from concrete, beginning in spring 2017.
SHAJBA: Yeah, I was at your last BMX jam and I really liked it. Real nice vibe! In addition, the afterparty place was packed with people, we´re talking about 150-200 people…How long do you think it will take, until you receive the same treatment as in Ljubljana (ROG)?
MIKI: Thanks dude, appreciate it. Yeah, it really shows that there are no places quite like UP Inde on the Coast and people really need this kind of environment. I hope that we will be safe for a long time to come. The local authorities haven't really been bothering us for now and we are trying our best to make a good impression on the local community.
SHAJBA: Yeah, I think you´re doing a great job. I think we´ve arrived at the conclusion that DIY spirit and work is essential, if we want to improve BMX/Skate conditions. For example, MOL is now looking for some alternatives for ROG, we in Murska Sobota got our "skatepark" after we had organized BMX events for years. Local municipalities won´t do shit unless you force them to do so. And if they do, they would hire an undertaking such as Varis Lendava and that would be the end of the "skatepark" story. I saw a cool article in Mladina magazine a couple of weeks ago about an Independent Skate festival in Pula. They have been organizing the event for a few years and it´s become one of the biggest independent skate festivals in the world. You think BMX riders in Balkan area should become more involved in our community in that way?
MIKI: For sure, if nobody helps us we should help ourselves. Self-initiative could be our only escape in these dark times. The local sheriffs are not going to do anything by themselves, they are obviously more interested in mainstream sports because they are obviously more profitable. But if we continue to build stuff, organize well attended events and promote our thing, they will be forced to do something about it, sooner or later.
SHAJBA: Exactly. Uf, I almost forgot to mention Slovenj Gradec. They´ve been working hard as a BMX/Skate community and they are supposedly getting a concrete skatepark (similar to NG) by the end of 2018.
MIKI: Hell yeah, I didn't even know that one! Great news really, looks like we are getting somewhere at last. Yeah, the skatepark in Nova Gorica is the only one in Slovenia to actually earn the name of "skatepark", so I can't wait to see the one in SG!
SHAJBA: I´ve always liked your ratty style. Who were you influenced by?
MIKI: Thanks man, likewise. I was obviously influenced the most by people who I rode with on a daily basis, those would be Voranc, Cvijo and Pari.
SHAJBA: Fook yeah..Pari is also one of the toughest mofos on BMX.
MIKI: He can click a turndown virtually anywhere and is a beast in general! Talking about international influences though, it had to be all the Animal videos I was watching as a kid.
SHAJBA: Ah yeah, of course. Have you seen the new one? Facts?
MIKI: Yeah watched it yesterday and it's sick. I love the new Navaz filming/editing style. It's still raw as fuck, but with a modern twist on it, I love it. And the riding was amazing, the highlight for me was the huge full-cab over that rail by Matt Miller.
SHAJBA: I´m guessing you don´t give a shit about trends?! Or have you started doing pull-up bars after every landed trick (Laugh)?
MIKI: (Laugh) Hell no! I've been doing pull-up bars off big drops with my 24" MTB like 8 years ago, but then I grew some testicles and started doing real barspins (Laugh).
SHAJBA: It´s funny how crankflips and pull-up bars were always one of the tricks which have been hated on the most by the vast majority of the BMX community. A few years later, the trendiest shit on earth. It seems that all the jibbing, "anti-big tricks", style has transferred from skating to BMX. Well, nothing unusual I guess?!
MIKI: Yeah, we just gotta accept that the BMX scene is really influenced by skateboarding, even though some really try hard to differentiate those two. The skateboarding scene and industry is much bigger than ours and like you said, it is nothing unusual that we get a lot of trends from skating, but still, we will never really be quite the same as skaters.
SHAJBA: Word. Are you a Meme guy? Like, are you following Meme accounts?
MIKI: Yeah, quite a big fan actually (Laugh).
SHAJBA: What are your best meme accounts?
MIKI: Some of my favourite are @shitheadsteve, @trashcanpaul and @doggosdoingthings. They are dank af.
SHAJBA: I´m also a Shitheadsteve fan. One of my favorites are also the grapejuiceboys!
MIKI: Yeah, I know that one too, they sick. Also a follower.
SHAJBA: I have a hunch that you´re a rap-head. true or false?
MIKI: Neither true or false, I don't primarily listen to rap, but I do love it!
SHAJBA: What do you listen to then, primarily (Laugh)?
MIKI: Well I've been a huge stoner/doom metal fan for a good few years now, I think that's my main jam right now. But I also listen to a lot of house, techno, funky stuff. And some nasty trap too.
SHAJBA: Ahh, ok. At your Jam you were rolling Matter (Slovenian rap group) as well. Fan of them?
MIKI: As a matter of fact I am a fan. Their beats are sick and the lyrics are just nasty. A lot of people hate them, because they say it is not quality music, but I like to interpret them more as a social experiment, performance art style group. They also had a concert in Koper in the summer and it was sick! As a "Matter" of fact - pun intended (Laugh)
SHAJBA: Got it (Laugh). I also like them, don´t really get the hate towards them. “Gepek tok velk”, awesome beat and flow.
MIKI: I know right? Best song ever.
SHAJBA: OK. Let´s continue with the trends. Are you following any of the vloggers?
MIKI: Well, I watch some webisodes from Scotty Cranmer from time to time, they are pretty entertaining. Also, the Common Crew has some cool content on their channel sometimes. But I really can't stand watching a vlog that consists of ten minutes of talking to the camera and 2 minutes of riding.
SHAJBA: What about podcasts? No Jumper?
MIKI: I've watched a few, there were some pretty interesting guests. I liked the BMX-related TCU interviews better though.
SHAJBA: Can you imagine a Yugo urban podcast?
MIKI: I think that would be sick, someone's gotta do it!
SHAJBA: I agree. I think there is so much room for interesting content in our area...Maybe the language could be a problem, if you extended your guests scope to all the Ex-Yugo countries?!
MIKI: Let's bring back the great Serbo-Croatian language then (Laugh)!
SHAJBA: (Laugh) And the red star.
MIKI: And the Marshall. But yeah, the language barrier would probably be an issue. I guess you could solve that with subtitles though.
SHAJBA: Or just use Cvijo as a translator..
MIKI: Dude, now we talkin!
SHAJBA: Any other activities you´re involved in?
MIKI: Well, we have plans with UP Inde to start a radio broadcast and we are currently training to be speakers. It is pretty challenging, but fun at the same time. I'm sure you'll hear about that one pretty soon.
SHAJBA: Damn. In what language?
MIKI: Slovenian, we are just trying to offer an alternative local radio station, because there are actually a lot of people out there who don't want to listen to the same stupid music and voices every day.
SHAJBA: OK yeah, of course. So maybe you´ll be the next yugo podcast star host?
MIKI: Let's just say you gave me a prettttttty good idea for a show (Laugh).
SHAJBA: Don´t forget to film, though (Laugh). I really like to watch podcasts accompanied by videos, somehow you get the feeling you´re there with them in the studio or I don´t know…(Laugh).
MIKI: Yeah I feel you, if a podcast is done good, you really feel involved. I guess we could try with that type of podcasts, that would be interesting.
SHAJBA: Anything you want to add to our convo? Otherwise, I think we can wrap it up slowly.
MIKI: I just wanted to say thanks to each and every rider I ever had the pleasure to ride with, you're all awesome! Also big shoutout to Benno for this fun little interview and all the Shajba boys, keep doing your own thing, you've been killing it since day one!
SHAJBA: Tnx, bro!