DJ Farley builds custom bikes, organizes music festivals, surfs, skates and manages bands. A conversation with DJ is an exercise in keeping up, and his passion blazes through a discussion of SoCal skate/punk/bike culture. I caught up with DJ as he was organizing a ride with the Chopaderos, an extreme bike club he works and rides with, and prepping for a weekend music festival sponsored by Fat Tire bikes and New Belgium beer. Our conversation touched on building a tricked out ’70 punk inspired ride, his Cali upbringing in Venice and his love of music.
Fortified: How did you get into building custom bikes?
DJ: I’ve been a creative being from my youth, buying, fixing everything from bikes to skateboards to you name it. Mom was always working so I had to figure out a way to get what I needed. About two years ago I needed to get back into creative mode so I went to Craigslist, bought a unloved bike and that’s the beginning. Next the bands came a calling.
Fortified: What’s the craziest bike customization request you’ve ever had?
DJ: A bike for my daughter and son-in-law. They’re Oakland Raider Fans, we live in San Diego, so I put on the blinders and created two custom, black and silver Raider bikes. Damn that was a tough build, but we had them over for Christmas morning and they went crazy when they saw em.
Fortified: What’s the common connection among surf, skate and bike culture?
DJ: The link between the three cultures is California lifestyle ! Hey when you can grab a surfboard, skate or bike and head out anytime of the year that’s what we live for. Visit sometime you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Fortified: What is it about Fortified lights that fits into your design aesthetic?
DJ: As for the Fortified Lights, they’re a great design aesthetically and street-wise which makes the bikes look tough. Every bike I finish gets the light installed while I crank up the Metal and turn the screws.
Fortified: What music do you listen to when you’re working?
DJ: Music that helps me design and build is a mix from early punk, UKSubs, The Adicts, The Ramones, The Damned, Buzzcocks, The Clash to Pennywise, DI, Bad Religion, Black Flag, Circle Jerks and on and on. On the Metal side Motorhead, Slipknot, Mudvayne.
Fortified: What music do you listen to late at night when no-one’s around?
DJ: Same as above.
Fortified: If you could go out for a ride with anyone living or dead who would it be?
DJ: Evel Knievel