With the GoPro on hand, Billy Perry and the FTL crew (Billy’s clothing brand) have made quite an impression with his NYC riding videos that gives you a bicycle ride point of view that you don’t normally get see through the chaos of the city. We love how they throw in some crazy moves in with the rides and they always stop off at spots to session too. If you ever had any questions about Billy’s videos, what he thinks of his videos, and what Billy is up to in general, this interview might be a good read for you.
The FTL channel has been going hard for awhile with FTL riding footage of you and the crew, when did you start taking it more serious or started to take off?
I made a video cruising around downtown with a few friends back in the summer. The video was filmed terribly, but it was a really laid back, fun day so I decided to edit it and put it out. My subscribers at the time were happy to see I was uploading again and were feeling the chill street session. I started to make more and I’ve been having a lot of fun trying to progress the filming/editing .
With your channel getting more and more popular with all your NYC rides, was that something that took you back? Especially since it wasn’t a pure bmx edit with nothing but tricks.
Definitely, I guess I am so used to NYC and riding the streets with my friends that it never really stood out to me or any of us really that so many people (riders/non riders) would be interested in watching the videos.
Seeing how the POV rides do so well for you, what’s next in store?
GoPro NYC 4. Hopefully another US city and a European city for this year. My goal is to keep progressing the videos.
Why do you think people have been drawn so much to your city rides, think it’s just something different and what a biker goes through in the city that average people don’t normally see?
I’ve noticed that many people love NYC, and seeing it from a street view can offer a virtual tour for someone who has never been there. Riding a bike is the most efficient and thrilling way to get around the city. You legally have to ride in the street but the way we ride is probably something not a lot of people have seen before.
“I’ve noticed that many people love NYC, and seeing it from a street view can offer a virtual tour for someone who has never been there.”
I always think its funny to see what the general public is drawn to and seeing how your NYC rides average 500k and the normal core edits getting lower numbers, what are your thoughts?
Yeah it’s definitely interesting, those videos are usually filmed in a day or two as compared to working on an edit for months at a time. The general public probably doesn’t understand what goes into a technical line with switch tricks and grinds, but I can see how weaving through traffic and jumping off of trucks can be easier to comprehend haha.
After seeing your view counts going up, we’ve heard you know some of the “YouTube trade secrets” to get numbers better, can you share any of your insight, haha?
Haha, to sum it up the key is to put 100% into the videos. You can make an amazing video but if you don’t follow through and make it appealing to your target audience at first glance, your chances of getting it out there are slimmer than they could be. A lot of it is out of your control and up to the YouTube algorithms.
Seeing how popular Adam LZ got from his channel, is something like what he does seem interesting to you? As far as talking segments and making more of a personality out of yourself other than the riding or adding to your riding?
Adam LZ is definitely really good at appealing to his audience. I feel our personalities are very different though. I’ve come to learn that people are drawn to seeing who you are and what your personality is like. My videos are mostly riding and less talking, I’m not the best at talking into a camera but I’m always interested in trying new ideas. I just want to make videos my friends and me are hyped on.
FTL is your clothing brand that you’ve had for a bit and is what most of the videos are for, do you have long term plans for FTL and the clothing side of things in bmx or even outside of bmx?
FTL has been around for a few years. I love the whole process of designing, presenting, packaging, shipping, and etc. I was bummed for little while because it was costly to make some of the clothing pieces I wanted to, so it lost steam for a minute. I made a few dollars from the POV vids (ads) and put it into a new run of goods. I made a promo vid for it with Anthony Panza and myself that was filmed and edited the same day haha. I was definitely not anticipating the response we received and learned I did not make enough of each item. For now the plan is to keep making clothing and accessories, film videos, and hopefully a trip in the near future with the crew somewhere new.
A lot of people don’t know you’ve been going to school for graphics, what’s your plans after college?
I finished college last Spring, I received an associates degree in Graphic Design. I do that here and there but I just want to ride and travel as much as possible at the moment.
Do you have anything lined up later this year going on or new things lined up for 2016?
Can’t say too much but I have things in the works with Volume I am very hyped on for 2016! I’m Currently working on a video with Nick Jones. Other than that just riding and seeing new places.
Check out Billy’s YouTube Channel here>>