Adam Brewster is undoubtedly one of the most creative and influential yoyo players of the modern age. Alongside a laundry list of great tricks that he’s created, Adam Brewster can also boast a vast amount of videos that he has appeared in or created as a collaborative effort with his wife. In addition to winning several contests, Adam continues to be a very unique and stylish yoyoer that belongs on everyone’s list of favorites. I’ve had Adam in mind for an interview for quite a while, and was excited to talk to and learn more about him!
Adam, you’ve been a relevant name in yoyoing ever since I started throwing and actually much longer than that. How did you first get into yoyoing?
I was actually just thinking about this the other day, and there are two answers.
The first, is that I have been playing with yoyos, just doing gravity pulls and basic sleepers since I was about 8 years old (20 years ago, holy moly!)
But then, I really got into it around May of 2002 when my family moved from Australia back to the US. I found Yomega’s website, which at the time had was what’s probably best described as an early precursor to YoYoExpert’s trick list. It had Brett Outchcunis and Mark Montgomery doing tricks ranging from basics, to advanced, and then bronze, silver, and gold for the highest levels.
I got my first ball bearing yoyo around then and spammed the web boards looking for tips to learn all the tricks I could get my hands on
How would you describe yoyoing then?
It was a kind of strange time. The gigantic explosion in trick creativity from ’00 & ’01 was done. (Although people like Yuuki Spencer and Johnnie DelValle were still pushing the envelope quite a bit) Fh1s weren’t for sale anywhere so people went from having really good 1A yoyos easily available, to having to settle for something not-quite-as-good (or modding what they had), and I think unless you were in a city that had a decent pocket of yoyo players around you, the best you could do was tinker with the tricks on Sector-Y that were already a year or two old and try and come up with some kind of variation. Since I was in Oklahoma City with the closest players being 3 hours away in Dallas, I just spent hours and hours soaking up/learning all I could.
Wow, so that would be the period between when the Fh1 mold broke and it was discontinued and when the FHZ was released in 2004?
Yeah! That was exactly that period! Haha.
What were some of your favorite tricks early on?
Early on, tricks and trick creators were indelibly linked and any time I liked one person’s tricks, I liked them all.
Jason Lee, Spencer Berry, SAGE, and Paul Escolar WERE my trick influences back then.
Red Clover was probably the biggest non-Spencer trick to influence me… But I remember specifically bugging Spencer Berry more via AOL instant messenger about tricks than anyone else back then. Breath, Rancid Milk/Curdled Mayo, Cataclysm and Enigma were all watershed tricks for me.
I also had an annoying enough personality that since I always felt like I missed out on the trick hey-day of 2000-2001, I bugged people ALL the time to figure out if that ‘crazy new thing’ I tried was actually new or if Steve Brown and Chris Neff did it back in ’99… Haha.
All of the tricks that you mentioned are some of my favorites that I’ve discovered from the era, a lot of them are actually kind of crazy even by today’s standards.
Yeah! It still amazes me how some of those tricks came out so polished and clean from what were essentially very unrefined concepts.
So, back then you were heavily influenced by those tricks when creating your own tricks?
I think back then, as now, I really just played around with things. Taking the time to go, “now I know I’m supposed to ‘x’ but let’s see what happens if I do ‘y’.” Plus a lot of accidental discoveries.
Oh, and I always hated Green Triangles. Everyone kept ending tricks in GTs (’04-’07 was notably bad) so I never let myself finish a trick that landed in a GT, until I figured out a way to make it NOT land in a GT. I do a few nowadays, as I don’t see the need to feel animosity for any trick… but vestigially, you’ll see them few and far between with me.
Oh! And additionally, I always liked the idea of playing around with concepts in reverse. I’m still chasing after a ‘Magic Rise’ so I can go from Trapeze to Magic Rise to Magic Drop, over and over seamlessly.
So, at what period would you say you started to develop your own style? One of my favorite clip videos from you is your “Bend and Fold” video in which you threw a responsive FHZ and features a lot of your folds/gates style.
It was actually a Fh2, not that it matters! Haha.
I started to do a couple of things specifically:
#1. I wanted to go back to the most basic of tricks and see if there were elements there that had been missed out on. I figured, if grinds are basically a glorified, “Walk the Dog” what other fundamentals could be applied with a new viewpoint? (i.e. Rock the Baby/Elevator)
#2. I played a lot with posturing. I still think this is the key to just about any trick that looks good. There’s this old video from ’07 called Back and Forth- Fun in 3D where I played with moving the mount itself instead of moving the yoyo around (for the most part), and after that, I started to realize that a lot of how a trick looks is all in how your hands are held, and it wasn’t just “hitting the mount.” I think the best take on this I’ve seen since then, is Jason Lee’s “Wiggly Thing” where the yoyo is locked into the mount, and the whole difficulty of the trick is in how everything else is moved around to make the trick look good.
So, how did all of this transpire into you becoming sponsored by Caribou Lodge?
I guess there are a few ways to answer that…on one hand, 2008 was a pretty good year for me!
I won my first contest (SER 2008), I came up with a lot of my favorite tricks (most everything from Eleven still contains concepts is like to re-explore – too bad it’s hard to see anything haha), got 2nd in prelims at BAC, and even got to go out for Nationals. I also got to be in a lot of videos like Brandon’s Throw 2008 DVD, and I think the biggest factor though was that I had started to become good friends with Chris, and Boyd had been trying to convince him to give me a chance for quite a while.
I think all those things came together, and while on a trip to visit my family with my then fiancée, (now wife) and on Christmas Eve, I got a call from Chris asking if I wanted to join! It was the best gift I got that year!
You appeared in Save Deth Volume II with a pretty great part that kicks off the video, what was the process in filming for that like?
It was a lot of fun! I was living with Seth Peterson at the time, so I kind of had an ‘in’. Haha. Anyway, one day he and Dave scheduled it, we went downtown to Des Moines and shot it! Good times!
What would you say the biggest difference, if any, being a leftie makes in yoyoing? I’m left handed too and I always refer to my hands in tricks as my throw and non-throw hands as opposed to my right and left hands to avoid confusion.
Hey! A fellow southpaw! Alright! For me, being a lefty was weird at first, but when I clued in that I could treat just about every video like a mirror, it opened up a world of trick learning! Now I love it!
Yep, the “mirror” thing with tricks is what I’ve always done too, I don’t even realize I’m doing it anymore half the time. Despite being married and in the scene for so long, you still put out clip videos and new tricks on a pretty consistent basis. If you had to pick, what’s your favorite clip video that you’ve ever made?
All in all… it’s a tough call. Honestly, a lot of my videos aren’t that “good” as far as production quality, since I’ve always been more interested in just documenting the tricks (thank God for Instagram).
As far as videos for the sake of videos go, I’d have to say that I’m honestly partial to Pacific Bonfire, and Greetings from Lake Superior at the moment, just because the locations were so beautiful.
There’s also a Gnarwhal 2 promo vid I shot a couple of months ago that we’re keeping a tight lid on for now, but when the time’s right, we’ll release it and I had a ton of fun with that one.
I also feel like I need to mention this fun video that my buddy Bo-Jack made for me. Never really got the exposure I was hoping it would’ve, but there are a ton of tricks that I really enjoy in it.
So how’s that for a clear & concise answer? Haha.
To touch on something else that I’ve always been curious about, what’s the story behind the name of Spencer Berry’s combo, “Adam Brewster Won”? That’s a good combo that takes some getting used to due to the lack of hand movement.
Yeah, so ECC 2008 was my first time meeting Spencer Berry face-to-face, and even though we’d been long-time internet friends, we really hit it off in person. Well, I also practiced my ass off for that contest and got 3rd place, and was kinda bummed out, but Spencer said that I won in his heart, so he named that combo to cheer me up.
Ah, that’s awesome! Speaking of which, one of my favorite tricks of yours is Eureka, which is your answer to Spencer’s Enigma. I know this is probably impossible to answer, but if you had to pick what would your favorite trick that you’ve invented be?
Haha oh man… can I default to the always-lame answer of “whatever I’m working on at the moment?” Haha.
If I think about it, I’ve always like Shadowgraphs and Deep Dungeon, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t toot my horn also for, Gunshots, Tether, Tie Me Up! Untie Me!, and Elevators too.
Tether would have to be on my list of favorite tricks ever, that’s a cool one!
What would your advice be for any aspiring trick creator?
As far as advice, I’d say the 2nd best thing to do is learn a lot. The more of a library you have to reference and draw from, the more likely you’ll see or understand something in a new way.
The best thing I can say is to just try to be open to being creative. Creativity is in how you talk to people, in making sure you take the time to read good books that challenge you, or listening to music that inspires you, or even the food you eat and how you work your day job (or schoolwork). I say it over and over again, but I believe it wholeheartedly.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Hmm… well, I was just at Triple Crown this past weekend and then there’s the Iowa State contest which will be sometime in September, but after that, things will wind down for me for a little bit ’til contest season starts up again next year. So maybe another video or two? (I hope so!) Thanks so much for the opportunity Matt, I really appreciate it! 🙂