Interview: Jeff Klugiewicz / Chik’N Nugg’t

luke mouradian pic

luke mouradian pic

People that have been riding since the early 2000’s remember Midwest BMX and the impact that it had on BMX as a whole. The videos that they produced would be put out directly to the Internet while everyone else was putting years of work into videos that were released on VHS and DVDs. One of the masterminds behind the Midwest BMX site was Jeff Klugiewicz. The transition from making web edits to an actual DVD seems to be backwards in this day and age but there is always a warm feeling when you get a physical copy of riding material.

Keep reading to find out more about Jeff Klugiewicz’s mixtape, “Chik’N Nugg’t.”

First off, how long did you work on this video before releasing it?

Hmm… let’s see, I started filming for it late winter or early early, so not too long ago.

Was there a few tricks that people wanted to do that were not done due to the deadline?

Not really, we didn’t really set out to “get shit done,” it was just a fun project. I mean people went in but it was never stressful like you better get this done. People went as hard as they wanted to.

What is the reasoning behind the naming of “Chik’N Nugg’t” and “The Level Below?”

“Chick’n Nugg’t” is just something we call a certain trick, usually a trick that is done on accident. It’s when you bonk both your front and back tire on something and usually almost die… Haha. It’s just a funny thing that happens a lot that no one really had a name for, so we named it. Anthony Malvasio is the king of them and at the time when we decided to make the DVD he was doing them a lot, but on purpose. The name was funny, so we named it that. TLB is too long and boring to explain, ha.

Why did you decided to make hard copies and not go straight to the web?

I’ve made so many web videos, seriously hundreds. Also, I’ve done long mixtapes, skate edits and I did a full online bmx video mag called Moment (section from moment); I just never created a dvd. That really pushed me to put something out there that I can look physically look at, you know, something I can hold in my hands. I feel I moved in the opposite direction; when everyone was making VHS and DVDs, I was putting shit on the web. And now that the DVD is close to dead, I finally got that done.

What happened to MidwestBMX.net?

HAHA, I always get this. Dominic Trovato and I started Midwestbmx.something.com I’d say in 2001 and it turned to a dot net in 2002. We did it for a long time and we always had a blast doing it. Dom would set up the site and do interviews and other content and I would do the photo and video material. It worked real well and we accomplished a lot with that site. I never thought it would be as big as it was. Anyways Dom started to do other things besides riding, like work/car/family stuff. Since Dom wasn’t riding too much anymore, I decided to start my own thing, and that’s when I started The Level Below.

What items can be found in your camera bag?

I have a dad cam with an Opteka fish, Canon 7D with a Canon 50mm lens and a Fisheye. Hmm, I also have a light in there for filming at night. Other various items in there include wax, tools and a patch kit. Usually a couple bars to snack on and thats about it.

Weather is finally looking up, it is cold today but I think winter is over!

Yeah true, I am hyped on that. What are the different uses for the handycam vs DSLR when filming?

Haha, well the differences for me are that when I film with the handycam it’s more laid back, I’m not thinking about a final product or project. It’s just fun more like when I first started filming. You know it’s just point and shoot style. You no longer have to be like, “Oh don’t film this, it’s not cool,” or whatever. Everything is cool enough for a dad cam. Just takes me back when no one cared about the final product and all you cared about was having fun and filming your friends. I recommend it to any filmer/editor, serious or not.

How does your riding change when you are riding just day-to-day as opposed to trying to focus on making a full section section?

When I ride day-to-day it’s usually just pedaling around my house and you end up where you end up, I probably have the most fun these days as a whole. They’re just all around fun, you might not be riding the best spots but you are hanging out a lot more, getting into weird non-bmx shit, and that’s always a good thing but I also enjoy filming for a section because I get to push myself. I guess I’m always kinda filming for something but when I have a actual section in mind, on those days we do a lot more driving around and have actual spots in mind. It’s never like I have to get this done cause I need to finish this section. Yes, the project does motivate me but it’s just fun to do shit.

Was it difficult to be the main man behind the camera as well as having a full part?

No it’s just something I have always done. Some people think it’s weird that I am always filming them or usually bring a camera around. I mean even if I dont have my bag I’m still shooting photos or filming with my phone. They’re like “why do you always have your bag or whatever?” I’m like what does it matter, does me carrying a bag around really bother you? As long as I have ridden I have had a passion for filming and photography. Why not document all the good times, I just love filming. I feel that they think I’m trying to make money or something but it’s not like that at all. I don’t sell videos to people in the DVD; I am just trying not to lose too much money. I do make money through filming but it’s not BMX related. I film and edit for a company that is as far from bmx as you could imagine. But there’s no money in filming BMX. I film bmx because I love bmx and that’s it. A bit long, sorry kinda got side tracked.

How did you determine which clips were saved for your video compared to clips used in your most recent web edits?

For me, I guess it’s easy. Some clips you film knowing that you want them for a section. You are just psyched on them so you know you want to save it. It sucks having a clip in a section that I am not into.

I know this might be a hard question but whose section did you enjoy putting together the most?

It’s hard to just say one. I really liked putting them all together. Plus my memory is shit so i can’t really remember, ha. So if I did have a answer for this it would just be a bunch of bs i made up now, I am not trying to do that. HA.

The intros before all of the sections seemed personable, what made you commit to that theme?

Haha I don’t know, it’s just fun to make fun of your friends and that’s what we all are. I feel making fun of your friends knowing they won’t take it to heart shows what kinda crew you have. I love all those dudes!

Are you currently working on any other projects?

I am filming for another mixtape but an actual mixtape this time, not a dvd; Just a video to document my summer. I am super excited for it. Might do the Animal thing and have a section or two, then the rest all random. I love those DVDs. It will probably just launch on youtube or vimeo.

Where can people get ahold of the “Chik’N Nugg’t?”

Through Empire, Danscomp, Albe’s or email me at JeffK@thelevelbelow.com.

Any other things you would like to say?

Yeah, I would like to thank anyone who has helped me out in anyway. My parents, my girlfriend, Neal at 4 Seasons, all my friends everywhere, you all have helped me out in so many ways, I can’t even say thank you enough, My sponsors; Profile Racing, Mankind Bikes, Etnies, Sun Ringle, and ODI. Thanks to Damian and Defgrip for doing this interview.

Click here to check out the trailer for Chik’N Nugg’t.

  • eminem

    damian is soft


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