Seth Ethier, McThuggin, Joey Piazza, and Terrence O'Brien talk TIGT, spots, "riding", and more....

Seth Ethier and an ensemble cast of underground riders from around the Northeast just dropped one of the best street riding videos I’ve seen in a long while, Today I Got Time. Seth, McThuggin, Joey Piazza, and Terrence O’Brien were kind enough to answer some questions about about the making of TIGT, along a few other things loosely based around, as they would call it, “riding”.

Seth Ethier

The man behind the video, Seth Ethier
Photo: Zack Cooke

I’m surprised we’ve never crossed paths before, we know a lot of the same people and I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Boston over the years, why don’t you tell me (and the readers) a little about yourself and your background in BMX?
Yea I’m surprised too but I guess that’s just how BMX works, you never know who you’re going to bump into. I come from Worcester county in Central Massachusetts. Grew up between two towns, Southbridge and Oxford. They’re both smaller towns about ten or fifteen minutes outside of Worcester and about an hour from Boston. I’m 27 years old and ride with/for 90EAST. I was about fourteen years old when I started riding with a few friends from Southbridge. I eventually started riding with my boys from Oxford as I got older. We made a few videos (Proven 1, 2, and 3), they’re in the bonus section of the DVD.

How did the idea for TIGT begin?
I bumped into Stephen Klein in Boston back in 2017 then stayed at his place in NY a couple months later and it all kinda just kicked off. McThuggin was living there as well and we were all into the same nonsense so it seemed to click. I’ve always been into the idea of filming a full-length.

Tell me a little bit about the crew and how they got involved in the project.
Shane, Terry, Zeeeky, and I grew up together so it was natural. Zack Cooke… I’ve been riding with a lot over the past 5 years, at least “riding” is what I call it. Stephen I met through Grimaldo in Boston, which lead to me meeting McThuggin. Matt Mantas lived in Boston for a bit and we rode a bunch during that time. Honestly, he filmed two-thirds of his part in a month right at the beginning of the filming in March of 2018. Joey was kinda always in the mix when I was in NY, and Johnny I just met about a year ago through McThuggin. I’ve also ridden with Kevin Bostch a lot as of late. 

In the age of Instagram clips and iPhones, what made you want to make a full length video in 2020?
Full lengths are classic and I enjoy the idea of video parts. 

Smith grind over the rubber stopper
Photo: Matt Mantas

I personally hate carrying a camera bag with me these days, I feel like it takes away from the fun of riding spot to spot and hitting stuff on the fly, some people don’t mind it at all though. Where do you land on the spectrum?
I don’t mind it, I used to never ride with a bag, but now I kinda enjoy it. I like being able to carry anything I need…. beer and what not. 

Did you film the majority of the video? Or was it more of a collaborative effort?
Yes, I filmed like 99% of it there’s a few long lens clips I didn’t film and obviously my section. 

You’re a Boston guy, but it seems like the bulk of the footage in the video is from NYC. How much time did you spend in the city during the filming of TIGT?
I do live in Boston, but a lot of it was filmed in NY. McThuggin lives in the Bronx so it’s a good meeting place for everyone who was in the video. It’s kinda the middle meeting point for everyone. There honestly wouldn’t be a video if it wasn’t for 141st St. Probably two-thirds of the time filming for the video was spent in NYC.

Aside from Mass and NYC I saw some stuff from PA and Florida in there, along with some international footy, where all did you go filming for the video? Were they trips specifically for filming, or is the footage more stuff you happened to film along your travels?
Different people went on different trips but Jersey, Alabama, Florida, PA, and Georgia were some of the places we rode in the States. Barcelona, Paris, France, and Japan were some international places I visited. I would say it was more of a travels thing and film the riding. I would rather see a city by riding through it then being on some tourist shit. You could say the trips were for filming, but really we were just tryin’ to get into nonsense. 

“Riding”
Photo: Zack Cooke

There’s a few clips in the video from my area that are in pretty obscure, random locations, what’s your process like when you roll up to a new city looking for spots? Are you a generally google-mapper, downtown guy, outskirts creeper, or none of the above?
I’m probably all of the above. I usually street view some shit before I go somewhere in the States, internationally I don’t find the need to. I like to see different downtown areas, but I also like being in the mix out in the neighborhood of the cites too. 

Watching TIGT it’s pretty obvious you draw a lot of influence from 90East, Skapegoat, and the Scerbo-era Animal videos. Aside from those, what other videos/filmers/editors have made an impact on your riding/views on what makes a good video?
Anything Bob or Lino have made is probably my biggest influence. And Clarky. I like the Simone X-Games parts as well. 

Seth and Zeek
Photo: Zack Cooke

Who has your favorite section in the video?
I have two favorite sections, Terry and Stephen. They’re honestly all equally as good but them two killed it.

Anything else you want to plug or upcoming projects you want to mention?
Plan to do it all over again with the same people whether we ride or don’t. #freezeeeky 

Cody Neiswender AKA McThuggin

Cody out there living the High Life
Photo: Nilo Hodge

Why don’t you start by telling everyone a little about yourself?
My name is Cody Neiswender, I just hit the big 3-0. I grew up in Lebanon, Pennsylvania but spent most of my time in Harrisburg before moving to New York City. 

You’re from Central PA and currently live in the Bronx, how did you link up with Seth and the rest of the Mass guys in the first place?
I moved to the BX in 2016 with Stephen [Klein]. He went on a random trip up to Boston and linked up with Seth and the rest of the 90 East dudes. Eventually Seth started coming to ride the city more and more often and he always stayed at my crib. Unfortunately we have been friends since [laughs]. 

McThuggin, gap pegs on home turf in NYC
Photo: Stephen Klein

I know Seth was all over the place filming for this video but what about you? Did you take any big trips for this video or is most of your part filmed in the greater NYC area?
I took a bunch of trips around the Northeast with Seth between small PA towns up to Boston. A bunch of us took a trip to Spain in 2019, man that place is a blast. We spent ten days drinking thirty cent beers and lurking all over the place. It was a wild time for sure. 

Your style of riding in your section (and in general) is very simple and straightforward. Is this an intentional thing?
I just suck at riding in general [laughs]. I have always been drawn towards riding setups and grinding. Before BMX I rode dirtbikes in the old coal mining regions of PA. I feel like I carried that over into my riding. Trying to conquer the terrain around me instead of trying to learn tricks. The majority of the clips were filmed in the general area where I live and was stuff that I thought looked cool. We all have full time jobs and we are just riding for pleasure, the simple things just feel the best to me. 

Who has your favorite section in TIGT?
It’s so hard to pick one. Everyone killed it in their own way. If I had to choose I would say the first two sections are my favorite (Stephen, Johnny, Joey). Stephen and Johnny have been slept on for years and they are both true savages on a bike. Joey has always brought his own perspective to riding spots and he was way ahead of the current style of riding with the rail/ledge setups. 

Johnny Monaco, about to crank a 360 out of this wallride
Photo: Matt Mantas

Are you ever coming back to PA or are you in NYC for the long haul? Either way, are there things you miss about the Keystone State?
I don’t have any plans to [move back] in the near future, but I’ve always wanted to live in Philly so maybe one day. I definitely miss having a car and being able to travel around more, but there really is no reason to ever leave Uptown. 

Yeah yeah, go ahead and google it…the boys already killed it anyway
Photo: Matt Mantas

Anything else you want to mention or plug? Any upcoming projects?
Hopefully we can keep up this momentum going and film another video in the next few years. Covid kinda put a stop to a lot of our plans, but I really wanna hit some South American countries when we are able to travel easily again. Shout-out to Robbie at Cult for always having my back and Big Scerbz for holdin’ me down. RIP Knick, Slow Joe, and Shepps.

Joey Piazza

Why don’t you start by briefly introducing yourself to anyone who may not be familiar with you or your riding?
Joey Piazza from NYC. I’m 35 years old, I ride for Skapegoat/T1. I’ve also made videos under the am:pm name since 2006.

If you have two grindable surfaces anywhere near each other you can bet Joey will touch both of ’em
Photo: Stephen Klein

Seth is out of Boston and you’re an NYC guy through and through, how did you end up having a section in his video?
I met Seth thru Abdul years ago on one of their random weekends in the city… I never really kicked it with him until McThuggin and Stephen moved to the BX…It was always an event when he visited…the drinks flowed, the jokes never ended and somehow “riding” happened…   

I liked the vibe and just met up to ride when he came down. Fast forward and we’re in Barcelona drinkin’ espresso bumpin’ into banks—that’s the type of energy I wanted to be on.

Pegs and tires on things, BCN
Photo: McThuggin

I know some of these other guys were all over the place filming for TIGT but what about you? Did you take any big trips for this video or is most of your part filmed in the greater NYC area?
I met up with everyone in Barcelona in 2019. I also took a few trips up to Mass…Other than that it was mainly NYC/Jerz/PA.

Correct me if I’m wrong: This is your first section in quite a while that hasn’t been edited by Bob Scerbo or yourself. Are you picky with who films and edits your footage? (If you are, what made you trust Seth?) Are you happy with the way your TIGT part came out?
True, it’s the only section edited by someone other than Bob or myself. I am picky ’cause I only like filming with people I’m friends with. Being filmed or filming other people can be awkward. That’s pretty much the whole reason why I’ve never done anything more than my own projects. I love the banter and energy friends bring to the table. Our inside joke game is completely outta control—not many people can handle it. Seth and his crew from Mass fit right in to the equation. He was super motivated to film and travel—and he also knew how to make fun of McThuggin, which I enjoy [laughs].

An aluminum rail and fresh, unwaxed concrete…no problem
Photo: Stephen Klein

That grind on the bench/uprail right at the four minute mark is one of the most abstract double pegs I’ve ever seen, loved it. You’ve been in the pegs-on-things game a lot longer than most and definitely way before 4060s got as trendy as they’ve been the last few years. My question is, do you think there is a limit to the amount of combinations and ways you can put multiple pegs on various objects or is it a truly endless? Who’s grinds are you siked on these days? Does any particular clip, section, or rider come immediately to mind when you think of progressive peg moves?
Ahhh…It’s endless. Especially since most of the things being built today are deterring you from the traditional style of riding. Rails are knobbed on the top so you gotta figure out how to get around that. Same goes with ledges or aluminum things. The city forced me to ride the way I do. They’re trying to build these abstract spots, I’m just trying to figure it out—chess not checkers style. There was alotta creativity in the video—Seth grinded through alotta obstacles. I like seein’ what he comes up with at spots. He has a unique style that’s new, but has that OG feel to it. I have a very biased view when it comes to grinds… East Coast All Day [laughs]. I always enjoy seeing James Hess, Chris Carter, You (Pat), and Lino—let’s not forget he grinded across the top of a cab.

I noticed you only had three pegs on for that rolly-60/40 on the picnic table. You’ve also had clips in the past where you take a front peg off for duster type moves (Not knocking it at all, I do the same thing). Is there a limit to how far you’ll change your bike setup to make a trick work on a certain spot?
Unless the peg is part of the trick, I have no problem taking it off the bike. In order for the picnic table clip to work, the back peg had to come off. The bike was pretty much locked in between the table and the bench. I’ll do whatever I need to do to the bike [laughs]. However, you always leave the spot outta that type of behavior.

Removing a peg was all it took to make this rollercoaster 40/60 possible
Photo: McThuggin

Who has your favorite section in TIGT?
Stephen Klein and Zeek…Zeek is just a wild dude—I didn’t know he was a bike rider [laughs]. I don’t even think he had a bike on our trip to Philly [laughs]. He used Seth’s bike and did a rail ride to bar on this skatepark setup. I liked his anti-rider approach to his part. Free Zeek.

Stephen is the future of BMX, you’re gonna see his name a lot more often. He can ride the grittiest setups and make it look easy, plus he put a good hurtin’ on the BX when he lived there.

I can’t wrap this up without asking about AMPM 4, any info you’re willing to share with the people?
Out before the end of 2020, that’s all I got.

Matt Miller hooking one of my personal favorite moves in the video, gotta love those scaffolding setups
Photo: Matt Mantas

Terrence O’Brien

I’m realizing that aside from having seen a few of your video parts, I really don’t know anything about you, can you tell me (and the readers) a little about yourself?
My name is Terrence O’Brien. I’m 27 years old, born and raised in the small town of Oxford, MA. I’ve been riding since I was about 13 and for the most part have been fully invested in that since. Not too much else interesting about myself besides that. Our nearest city is about 15 minutes away (Worcester), and we’re about an hour away from Boston. The majority of the filming for my part in this video took place between those two cities.

Terry popping a railhop into the “bulkhead” [New England-ease for stoormdoor]
Photo: McThuggin

I first saw your name pop up a few years back in the 90East videos, how did you get involved with those guys? I assume you’re from the Boston area?
I’m hyped that you recognized my name from the videos, I’m a fan of the A Town Trash catalog myself so that’s dope to hear. I first started riding with 90East around 2012, but I met Lino around 2006/2007 through the big homie Webster Jake. Web was cool with my friend Dylan’s older sister (shouts to D-Trem and Alana) and used to ride our local park with us and show us the ropes. I stopped riding for a few years during high school, but I always kept in touch with the homies over the years. Once I was out of high school, I started to go to Boston a lot to ride with Webster Jake and Lino. Seth eventually made the move out there permanently so we had a place to stay at whenever we wanted and it turned into us having our own sections in the Public Property DVD and just kind of becoming part of the crew.

What about this video? I know you and Seth are homies, were you involved with this project since day one?
For this video, the filming process was the most natural out of anything I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in so far. It turned into a reason to not only get out and push myself riding-wise and to find new spots, but an excuse to take short-notice road trips and travel with friends while making new ones along the way. To be completely honest, I’ve always let Seth do his thing when it comes to BMX projects. I trust him with my life and not many people are lucky to have a friend as motivated as Seth. He got a decent camera and the right set up and a few clips turned into a full-length video.

I know some of these other guys were all over the place filming for TIGT but what about you? Did you take any big trips for this video or is most of your part filmed in Massachusetts?
I wasn’t able to take any big trips like a few of the guys were, but I still managed to get around a little bit. Like I said before, a lot of my part is stuff from Mass. I took a few trips to NYC with Seth to hang out with Cody and Stephen and when we weren’t drinking dollar beers or talking shit, we actually got a good amount of riding done. I also went with Seth and Zack Cooke to visit our friend Zeeky down in the panhandle of Florida and we got to hit some awesome spots in Alabama on the way. We hit up some grimey places in PA, too—which were interesting. I couldn’t believe you could get beers to go at restaurants in Pennsylvania. Crazy stuff.

Was it planned all along for you to have the last section or is it just something that kind of happened along the way?
I had no idea about having the last section until around a year ago when Seth was starting to see the vision for the video in his head. At first I got stressed out thinking about the pressure of closing a video, but I’m glad it worked out how it did. It made me step my game up a little bit—I won’t front.

Terrence with a quick over ice to in
Photo: Zack Cooke

McThuggin had mentioned that throughout the filming process you made some positive life changes, care to talk about that at all?
I decided a little over three months ago to give up drinking for good. Everyone has their own life experiences and upbringings and I appreciate that. For me, it just became a distraction. I love partying and debauchery as much as the next man, but when I see people losing themselves in the process I can’t help but relate. I ran into some health issues involving seizures which changed my life drastically and once the drinking stopped, so did the hospital visits. A good amount of my clips had some liquid courage-ment though, so it’s funny to look at the intro to my section and see me leaving the most notorious liquor store in Worcester. Shout out to Kelley Square.

Who has your favorite section in TIGT?
My favorite section is from my day one homie Shane Byrnes. I’ve known him for at least a decade now, he was always the younger homie, but we all knew he was gonna be a problem from early on. His song is fire, and all the Miami footage looks so crisp in his section. Getting to see pretty much the whole video take place, I was super excited when Shane’s part hit the screen for the first time.

Any other projects you have in the works or anything else you want to plug?
As of right now, it’s all efforts towards another 90East project. Seth has a way of making things happen, so expect part 2 sooner than later. Thank you to everyone who was involved with the making of this project and anyone who watches/supports independent DVDs in BMX. Free Zeeky!

More “riding”
Photo: Zack Cooke

Don’t be a freeloader! Seth is till selling DVD’s via Instagram DM, if you enjoyed TIGT be sure to pick up a copy, they’re only $15!

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