Kage Kono is the fucking man, that should be the extent of this preface. But that might also be an insult to the history and knowledge of such a dude. Pushing 40, Kage still looks 25 and continues to ride, dig, film, surf, explore, whatever he wants. Kage is part of the Fairfield scene, having come over from Japan 10 or so years ago and frequently blesses us with his presence on roadtrips, weekend bashes and casual afternoon sessions. The first feature I noticed when meeting Kage was how calm and peaceful he comes across, not a skerrick of harm would be present in the soul of such a man. His wife, Marko is as you would expect, similarly gentle.
Kage just recently put out a killer 15 minute mix of shots from riding and travelling adventures, called ‘Trailblazin”. To give it the attention it deserves, and to find out a little more about Kage, I shot him through a few Qs.
Kage – Carve at Nimbin
Take a read below and don’t forget to say hi when you see Kage out and about, he will probably restore your faith in the world.
Kage – before we get into this, could you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what has been your path to your current location in Brisbane?
My name is Kage Kono. I will be 38 years old in this March.
I’m from Komazawa, Tokyo, Japan. Komazawa is the place where Japanese BMX scene has begun. I was lucky that I grew up in the area that had public skatepark because BMX was not that popular when I started riding back in 1993. But there were already few good older riders at that time, they only could get information of riding out of magazines so they created their own style and sending everything. Their life style wasn’t only involving bike riding but also so many extreme events like riding on and off road motor bikes and cars and so on. The scene in Komazawa was as legit as what we got in Fairfield at the moment which influences me the most for my riding and life style. One of the old Komazawa local guys, his name was Yasumitsu Doi, he passed away when he was 19 years old from a car accident, he was the biggest influence on me. His riding style was way beyond the time and most of my riding inspiration came from him.
I moved to Brisbane with my wife Marko in 2007 to pursue my study of English, riding bikes and surfing. I knew if I lived along the coast, I would be surfing all the time and would not study. So I picked Brisbane to restrict myself from having too much entertainment. But when I saw Fairfield bowl for the first time, I fell in love with it at the first sight and decided to live around Fairfield, that’s how it all began. Japan is great country but due to their system of society and climate, there were not enough time and places for me to do everything what I wanted to do.
Kage – No Foot Can at Komazawa Park
From your perspective, what’s your local scene like?
As I mentioned before, Fairfield reminds me a lot of my old local Komazawa. There are so many talented people at the same time as well as sketchy kids hanging out. And also Fairfield has been visited by many foreign riders like myself from all over the world which makes the park like one of the main biggest BMX community crossroads in Brisbane. The local riders always welcome those visitors with their open-mindedness and respectful attitude toward anyone who comes and hangs out and I am especially grateful for those who took me in as part of a local scene.
Tell us about ‘Trailblazin’, what was involved in the making of this piece?
This movie is about the life style of myself and friends around me so whenever I found situation that I want to film, I pick my camera up. I knew eventually I will edit footages and make something someday but I didn’t set any purpose to it. But when I had shoulder reconstruction surgery in December last year, I used that recovery time for editing the movie. That time was a perfect opportunity to be creative.
Kage – Table at Fairfield Trails
The video has a unique feel to it, largely due to the music, riding and shot selection (i.e. b-roll, nature footage etc). What influences the way you film and edit?
I don’t exactly know how my movie got that taste but most of the music that I like are from 60’s and 70’s. I spent bit of time for searching the musics which go with all the footages. Maybe that was the hardest part for making this movie. I’ve got most influenced for bike riding filming from probably ‘Etnies Forward’ I watched that movie so many times so that might made me film like it subconsciously. I definitely appreciate all the movies filmed and edited by Joe Rich and the PA trail scene from ‘Mutiny let’s get mystical’ was amazing as well. Talking about filming itself, the biggest influence come from surf movies I guess. ‘Thicker than water’, ‘Sprout‘ and ‘A broke down melody’ are my favourites. And I love watching David Attenborough’s documentaries.
‘Roos Fightin’ – Kage Photo
What is your goal with creating videos, what do you hope to achieve and what would be the desired reaction from your audience?
I don’t really have much goal or set achievements. I’ve been using just shitty Nikon D5200 DSLR body with old lens that I got from my dad from 40 years ago. But those lens made it so much fun to film but I would like to up date all my camera gears for better photography and filming time lapses.
I’m just happy that people who I like give me a compliment for what I did. I’ve just got an offer to make music video for Fairfield local skaters band ‘Dead weight express’. I love their music and am looking forward to make something cool out of them.
What does the future hold for you, both in terms of riding and life generally as well as filming/editing?
I am thinking about moving to somewhere close to the ocean with a decent block of land and having a slower life, surfing, riding and growing vegetables and stuff. Hopefully, my filming and photography skills will be helpful for me to make a community in the new place just like having amazing local friends at Fairfield through bike riding. All I want to do is keep on improving skills and things that I like while having fun and see what good things are going to come out of it.
Rainbow Beach Sunset – Kage Photo
Double Island Point – Kage Photo
Check out more of Kage’s shit on his Vimeo page here.
Thanks for being down to do this piece man, I hope you guys enjoy.