JAC: Who are the people who helped you learn or have been an influence in your career?
Aki: A lot of people. Not just one person. Jesse is one of them. He taught me what to do and not to do. I’m not sure if he was a big influence though. At certain age’s I’ve always had someone to look up to. He was one of them at the time. I should say the people who worked at West Coast. They taught me a lot of stuff. All of the people I met when I was at West Coast are where I learned a lot of skills and of course Jesse too. There are a lot of no name people that nobody knows that I look up to.
JAC: When did you start Hog Killers?
Aki: I started Hog Killers in the 2009. Right after I quit West Coast on Dec 25th. I started my shop on January 1st. I already lived in my shop and worked on my own stuff back then. I would do side jobs here and there. Mainly I had the shop because I had a Lincoln and other projects. No landlord would like me working in their garages. They kicked my out in Long Beach so I moved here. It wasn’t my initial plan to have a shop here, but it was the only place I could live and work on my stuff.
A lot of my work comes through word of mouth. I’m trying to take my bikes to more shows to get exposure. Hopefully the economy catches up and people start spending more money. I’m just trying to survive. I’m doing ok though. I do full customs, servicing and sell parts. I have to work on my website though so I can start selling online.
JAC: Is there a favorite part of the bike building process you enjoy more than others?
Aki: I like everything. I like doing electrical. People can’t do wiring well and I know I can do it well. I like to hide everything in tubing and try to keep everything clean. I like working on the details. Like clips to hold the wiring, I never use zip ties. That’s one thing I learned from Jesse. He never uses zip ties.
JAC: What are some of the projects you got going on now in your shop?
Aki: I got a Goose Neck that I’m working on. The ULH, 60’ Panhead, 76’ Shovelhead and an 84’ Shovelhead. I’m trying to get them done for the Born Free 5 show. Hopefully I can get the Goose Neck done soon so I can have Sonny (Boy) paint it.
Go to www.hogkillers.com to check out more of Aki’s work and parts he has to offer.