Lights, Camera, Revolution – an interview with The Rejected Lens and DJ Richie C
Recently exploding onto the scene with a set of photos for The Reptile House blog, featuring Zeronine’s superbly painted Mauri NGRS and his stunning CAG inspired gears, we thought we’d sit down with the man behind the camera ‘J‘ from The Rejected Lens. (Read The Reptile House Interview with MikeZeroNine here: https://thereptilehouseblog.com/2016/06/07/mikezeronines-tm-416-devgru-custom/)
However, ever keen to change gears up a little, we thought we’d invite another renowned luminary from the ‘Plastic Deth‘scene to also pull up a chair. The ever hardcore DJ ‘Richie’ C …
Whilst we’ll discuss the current state of Plastic Deth, Photography, and the inevitable ’30 Rnds’question, we’ll take time to see why these long standing stalwarts still enjoy getting out in the field and tearing it up.
GM75: Welcome, thanks for taking time out for an interview. This is somewhat of a change from our usual fare, as I quite literally wanted to informally have a conversation in the most liberal sense about our favorite past time. Straight out of the gate, how long have you both been playing and how did it all start ?
TRL: Personally, compared to most I am fairly new to the past time. Playing for nearly a year and a half now, its been a steep learning curve to get to where I am now. Playing as much as I can, I wanted to learn as much as I can as fast as I can. With the help of DJ and others, as you can imagine I have only begun to scratch the surface. All started though with what is probably the most common answer. I saw a friend mentioned in an article about his team, wanted to be a part of it. Next game I was there.
DJC: I’ve been playing about six years now, so not too long in the grand scheme of things. I guess it all came about when i moved into my new place, while my neighbor and I were chewing the fat over a few beers he mentioned he had a small “gun collection”
intrigued after seeing what to me looked like plastic toy guns he went on to show copies of Airsoft International magazine where seeing some of the images of guys fully kitted up ready to go to war well and truly had my attention!
whether you enjoy the publication or not it showcases some great images and a tonne of information for anyone who wants to get in the know.
It was right about this time that my father passed away and heading out to games, keeping busy and the support and good times with the guys I played with really helped me through a very tough time.
REJECTED LENS & Random Trashy Cloud 9 Promo Short
The Rejected Lens, with Slikk Media recently joined forces with Random Trashy Airsoft to produce the fantastic Cloud 9 promo short, here’s what Random had to say …
I have always wanted to take the next step with my video work from working on my presentation skills to trying to be as efficient and streamlined with my YouTube content as possible. When having a drink with my friends over at Slikk Media I showed them some aspirational footage from a TV show. I explained “I would love to create a video with that level of quality plus the pace and hair tingling watch factor” Slikk media’s response was at that very second .. “We are doing this!!”
Then the challenge began. Finding a team, venue and squaring the local authorities away and informing them of the shoot was surprisingly easy. Finding a licensed drone pilot was a challenge. Cloud 9 Combat stepped up straight away after seeing my brief outline and wanted to be part of the project as they had never seen such a leap towards high end Airsoft footage.
Location hunting took the best part of 6 Months and over 100 email with tens of hours on the phone using services like Kent Film Office and local event location companies I spent more time chasing my tail than anything, waiting on property owners and letting agents. We found some perfect locations but was denied usage purely down to the firearms aspect. We also spoke to the owners of the venue where they filmed World War Z and took a tour and got the green light. I then started planning dates, equipment hire and pyro …Then at the 11th hour they doubled the price.
After getting everything in place the shoot day arrived. With some great planning and support along with help on production from The Rejected Lens. He played a huge part in getting the project to the finish line. That and the considerable cooperation from Slikk media and Professional Photographer Nick Simmonds . We arrived to do the shoot, Simon from Slikk took charge and before I could even process my actions it was over after shooting for close to 7 hours. It all just blurred into the background. The team worked together seamlessly and I feel we really accomplished something of that next level quality.
The next project, is already shaping up to be something far more challenging and ambitious.
GM75: So, after all this time what’s still the attraction, what keeps you inspired and enthused with ‘Plastic Deth’ ?
TRL: Like I mentioned before, there is always something to learn and adapt to. That has got to be one of the most enticing things about it. The ever changing situations and culture that surrounds the game, certainly keeps me on my toes.
DJC: As with most guys I’ve played everything from skirmish days through to 48hr MilSims in minus 18 degree snow. For me right now that is exactly the attraction…. If a full on MilSim at a hardcore MOD site is on the horizon you can spend weeks prepping kit and battle plans etc, or if you want to catch up with a few friends you may not have seen on the battlefield in a while you can throw on some jeans, hit up a local skirmish site and still be home for victory chicken dinner! There really is a lot of choices when it comes to slinging plastic.
GM75: Now, ‘J‘ you’ve just fired up a startling new and fresh ‘Photography’ project, not only show casing some of the very best gears and load outs the scene has to offer, but it’s got quite a style and ambience to it, gives us a little back ground on this ?
DJ – you’ve already been captured by Rejected Lens‘ camera, is this a valid form of posthumously capturing what we do, or has perhaps photography in ‘Plastic Deth‘ become an over exploited art form that’s since been over saturated (arguably TRL’s work is very different from the plethora of stuff out there) ?
TRL: Well, I have always liked the staged photos that you see around from some of the higher profile individuals in Airsoft. The photography has always been something I would have liked to have gotten into, and looking at the reception I have got, I just wish I had made the leap sooner.
Being at events, and never having pictures taken of me was always something that got to me. Hence the decision to pick up the camera and be behind the lens instead.
DJC: Very good question, again I think the world of Airsoft is very diverse. I know a lot of guys are into they’re specifically orientated loadouts: CAG/MARSOC/SEALS etc. for example mike zero one nines attention to detail when he does an impression is something to behold. But for me I like TRL’s take because most of the shots are taken in game, yes the odd one here and there may be “posed for” but it captures exactly what guys are doing/wearing for the game at hand. That and I feel his pictures/write ups come from a very humble place, its not about a million and one hash tags to get followers or about how much of a “pipe hitter” you are its just good, gritty, art.
GM75: ‘J‘ and yourself DJ, both put out a significant presence all over the country throughout the year, as such, whilst both your gears are stunning iterations to real world warriors, is visually eye catching ‘form’ here, in this instance a natural by product of function ?
TRL: In terms of my kit, I have always been an advocate for function! If it isn’t useful I won’t have it. I am all for the impressionists out there and I really think they really do look very cool, but personally, I’ve never been a fan of pushing my kit toward a certain era or unit. That being said, I can understand when people buy the expensive kit mind you. With the real steel stuff you can really appreciate the quality where it is due.
DJC: I believe every Airsofter has done it, spent hours moving every single pouch from one place to another because that one operator in a cool video had his plate carrier that way, only to move it all back again because it doesn’t work.
A famous man once said … “if it doesn’t go bang or can save your life, it ain’t worth carrying” And I can safely say I’m at that place right now. When you strip it all down to the basics you can bring whatever you like to a game, its what you carry on your person that must be mission specific.
I knew this guy once that had a huge plate carrier and a pouch for every spare piece of molle, in fact he was the complete opposite he didn’t have enough kit to fill the pouches so used to roll up t-shirts and socks and stuff them into the pouches to make them look they were bursting with kit! Of course we would never let him forget! (laughs)
GM75: TRL, again on the topic of form vs function, what’s your more imperative objective to capture and represent on film ?
TRL: If people have high end or expensive kit then of course you want to get the best angle on it. Due to my camera having an awesome zoom capability I like to ride the zoom function and get as many variations of the same image.
Form vs Function though, it does all depend on the type of shoot and/or setting. If I am out on the ground and want some ‘in the action’ shots, then by all means its all about function, but given the time to stage a shoot like Matt’s 416 spray job images, then it is all about getting the best out of the kit provided and maximising the angles, with the lighting and a thought to a later edit.
GM75: DJ You’ve naturally progressed through a wide variety of load outs and gears, where are you at with your latest inspired load out ?
DJC: As I mentioned earlier I’m not one to really plough a ton of money into a like for like loadout, just not my thing. I have certainly done “inspired” loadouts to get as close as I can with the kit I already own but I much prefer function over form. I guess the closest I would say my current setup resembles is a US JTAC.
I’m currently running dual comms as I usually find myself RO (Radio Operator) when playing in a team.
GM75: What makes it still fun and exciting after all these years ?
TRL: As I have mentioned, the ever changing structure that is the Airsoft/MilSim community will always be key. Always trying to stay ahead of the curve will be something every Airsofter will yearn for, and in the end I think that is what fuels the addiction more than ever!
DJC: Being an engineer by trade I always love my kit and gadgets, so for me I really feel the leaps and bounds Airsoft has made in recent years with improving technology has kept me hooked.
With the introduction of products like TAG rounds and high end radios from TRI have really put that real steel feel to Airsoft that I felt was always lacking. I would always be trying to find that innovative piece of kit that no one has heard of yet. And I quote …”DJ Richie Cee – Buying kit today that you’ll want tomorrow”
So yeah I’m eagerly awaiting the day someone builds a SOFLAM for Airsoft use !!!
GM75: So, despite some radical changes, and explosive rise in popularity, what do you think the future holds for Airsoft (Plastic Deth) and MilSim ?
TRL: I think you have hit the nail on the head there. The explosive rise will only keep on growing, the amount of media going live will keep on growing, and Airsoft in whatever form will be as popular as ever.
Personally, I will take this question to let you know something big is coming from me in the very near future. Something the Airsoft scene has never seen before!
DJC: I think we are very lucky in the fact that Airsoft and more in theMilSim community within the UK is very small and close knit, so 99% of the players are always attending the same events and have some form or another of rapport. Stirling Airsoft have been pushing boundaries with their MilSims for years with some epic boat and helo insertions along with they’re immersive games held in Spain. Put this alongside Combat Airsoft Group and they’re show stopping first event held at STANTA not to mention them building an entire afghan themed tribal area! I definitely feel the MilSim community is moving from strength to strength with a lot of Airsofters seeing these great games setting the bar and inspiring young and up and coming players wanting to get involved.
GM75: So, what next for you both, DJ your pretty prolific on the field with a heavy attendance to many MilSim events, plus I know your always busy melting vinyl in your down time, and what can we expect over the summer from The Rejected Lens ?
TRL: From me, everyone is in for treat. As I mentioned earlier, there is something the Airsoft community has never seen before coming your way.
Nothing else to say about that just yet. Other than that, I will be attending a lot more games, at some new and revamped sites, trying to keep the fresh content rolling and keep the media flowing for a long while yet! Eventually all going well, merchandise and such will be the next step given the market and audience.
DJC: There really isn’t much set in stone right now, I’ve got my eye on Stirling Airsoft MilSim’s coming up towards the end of the summer held in Spain. I would also like to concentrate on some training, I feel although I’m out playing quite a bit it would be nice to fine tune specific skills.
Who knows perhaps we can shoe horn TRL from behind the camera and get him downrange ???
GM75: Gears, both on the field dropping ‘Plastic Deth‘ and film wise what are you using, as the readers always ask, what’s the one essential piece of kit you can’t do without ?
TRL: Behind the blaster, as I’m sure many will agree with me, there is rarely one piece that takes precedence, it is the culmination of all the admin and kit that builds an effective player. That being said, if I had to make a comment on kit in general I couldn’t leave the house without, it would have to be my ‘Karrimor Hot Route’ boots and my ‘Gerber Suspension’ multitool. Although there are more expensive and bigger branded boots out there, I really can’t fault these. Water tight, super comfy and great value for money.
Behind the camera though, of course it has to be my ‘Canon Powershot SX720HS’. Team that with my ‘Peli 1020’ with the pick’n’pluck foam, and it is a winning combination.
DJC: Right now I’ve found myself very much at home using my Ferro concepts FCPC assault solution set up with dual comms, one TRI 152 and one Baofeng UV5R. Ive also just started to field a slimline molle belt and a back pack very similar to the First Spear vertical envelopment pack.
I would say the one bit of kit that is essential for me is my Garmin 401. When out on rural ops its just amazing, gives first/last light times, accurate grid references, waypoints and so much more!
However, my essential tool this summer has been my M320 launcher along with TAG Reaper and Impact rounds. That right there is one hell of a force multiplier!
GM75: It’s that time, I’m a fan of real steel ammo counts, is this viable or is putting down as much ‘plastic’ as possible with ‘Hi-Cap’ hell the only way forward ?
TRL: This is one of those questions that will always split the market. It will always come down the situation at hand. If you are behind cover and taking heavy fire, then by all means put the fire down. However if you are going to a higher profile MilSim event, then the attendees will need to know what they are getting into. I have witnessed what looks like a shop size bag filled with BB’s going into a 48hr weekender. Just not feasible and not the way to do it.
DJC: Most MilSim and themed games I attend these days enforce a mid-cap rule which i think is great because it gets players thinking about they’re shots and ammo counts. That being said, sometimes suppression is the name of the game and you absolutely have to put a tonne of rounds down range.
However if I find myself at a skirmish day where high caps are allowed i’ll always pack one. I see no point in giving someone a tactical advantage of not reloading if I don’t have to … A wise man once said ” If you find yourself in a fair fight you’re doing something wrong”
– a huge thank you to The Rejected Lens and DJ for sitting down for this interview, be sure to keep an eye out for em’ on the field and you can find out more on TRL’s stunning photography at the links below – S23
The Rejected Lens