Kireru, IWA Deadpool guy, someone you could not miss if you were at IWA, also know by his real name Thomas, was our guest for this interview. Dedicated Airsoft player, designer for ASG, this trooper has been around the block…and then some. What we wanted to find out was his take on Airsoft outside the office. So let us begin.
I took a look at your blog , so you’ve been playing for 10 yrs now. What’s been like playing 10 years ago up till now?
It all started with me and my buddy went for a weekend trip to London, just to go shopping and have a good time. During this whole weekend we were like “Yeah, airsoft, it looks cool, blah, blah, blah, blah” and I’ve had airsoft guns before, I’ve had the Smith & Wesson Spring and a cheap M4, But now we were talking about getting into it seriously. And on last day there, we actually agreed to save up for whole year and after that year buy everything at once. We didn’t want to start up with, you know, jogging pants and sneakers, looking like totally noobs. I’ve been playing Counter Strike for a long time, I was like semi-pro nerd level, so I knew what kind of setup I wanted. I’ve always been into guns, so I kinda knew what I wanted and I wanted everything at once. I didn’t want to build up. About six months went by and we had already saved up enough. So my buddy, he has family in the US, he went over there and he goes like “Dude, there’s like the biggest amount of surplus stores here, I’m gonna buy everything now” and I’m like “All right, cool!”. So we got all the gear then and went on to order our AEGs online from HK. So when we went out for the first time I had full woodland BDU uniform, I had a black semi-nice tactical vest, a fully pimped out TM G36, glasses, coms, everything…side arm…everything. And I was like “Yeah, I look badass”. You know, the first time you put everything on, you get that super soldier feel. So we went out to play in some woodland area and I panicked. I mean, I was shooting at trees because it looked like a guy, and I didn’t know the range of my rifle, I’ve only been shooting mostly in backyards, I didn’t really have the full extent of range definition in airsoft. You see a guy a 100m away, you start shooting and you realize “Oh, my, God, my BB’s are falling halfway down”, right? So, there was a lot of panic with a lot of fast situation awareness, what are my limits, that kind of a reality hit.. i had to quickly realize what my limits were. Airsoft is a game it’s not real life. The limits with your weapons dictate how you play. There was lot of adrenaline pumping in me, and I remember, I was just, like, all over the place, I wasn’t running around like you would in a, for example, paintball game, cause airsoft always has this small touch of tactical realism. The gear, the people, all that. So you’re a lot more cautious and stealthy while you try to look tactical, even though you’re not. Luckily, the people we were playing with were super cool and they talked a lot to us, like “this does that” and “this is how this works” and “there are rules”. So a basic woodland game day, with no skills and kills. These days though… HPA has made a lot of heads turn lately, a lot of people are using it and it’s kinda changed the game a lot, the dynamics of the game, is now more speedball type games. There’s a lot more “run-and-gun”. So for my own personal preference, I like games where you’re, I won’t say limited, but there are more challenges. I like more serious games, maybe 30-round cap, medic rules, no full auto…something that keeps the game more dynamic, something that makes you think twice. So, today, I’m more relaxed with my game play and pick the games that are more suited for my preferences. The first time is always fun when you’re out playing and after that you get comfortable within your preferences and your box of comfort if you will. And my box of comfort is – I like it real. I don’t want speedballing, jumping over obstacles, doing a ninja roll and shooting left and right using my laser trail of BBs to aim. Plus, I’m 35, I’m too old for that shit.
You’re never old for airsoft.
No, you’re never too old for airsoft, but you’re too old to be jumping around and doing ninja rolls and backflips. It’s like mainstream airsoft is turning into paintball. The paradigm shift you see now is the new generation of airsofters coming, and there’s a lot of them that are young and what they are introduced into is – not gonna bash HPA, cause it’s not HPA’s fault – it’s more like a mindset issue. With social media, you tube and all that, airsoft has become a lot more fast and racy as a hobby. And with the borders opened in Asia, you get a lot more different brands of guns than you would have back then, so these days any kid can buy a cheap-ass rifle, put HPA or just buy some psycho internals and shoot, you know, 30 rounds per second and have a 3000 high cap mag. And that’s usually what you get into when you start playing, that’s what you normally see but it’s like, if you divide like a learning curve of airsoft into sections you have your beginner, your casual, your, I would say more “lifestyle” airsofters and then your “hardcore: mil sim people. And I’m not saying everyone’s going to go through this evolution, but it seems like a lot of people are starting in the first and in the second. the new beginners and the casual, speedball types. There’s not that evolutionary curve where you want to become more. You’re fine with your cheap made gear, you’re fine with your sportsline rifle that you just threw some psycho internals in so it shoots fast and hard. You’re kinda settled with that. Where I’m at, and I’m not saying it’s a better evolution, I’m not justifying me as being higher as anyone else, but that natural need to try more, learn more, that mindset it’s kinda disappeared in mainstream airsoft, in my opinion. But you see a lot more game types changing, the videos are changing, this Call of Duty killing spree kind of stuff, you don’t see a lot of people doing training, drills or any of that sorts any more. So, for me, airsoft personally has become more like a realism training element for me, as a hobby.
What is it like to work as a Graphic Designer and Social Media Manager for ASG?
Well, to be honest, it’s not as glamorous as you might think. A lot people think, when they look at AGS or any manufacturer for that matter, that working for an airsoft company is all fun and games with guns It’s not. I mean, airsoft, for the most part, for the manufacturers, is about selling your product, you gotta pay rent. Of course, they have a close relationship with retailers and players. ASG does listen to the community and try make that the next best new thing. I think ASG listens a lot to the community. But I’ll probably say for my position, because I play airsoft and I do social media, and I’m also somewhat of the company personality when talking to video interviewers or stuff like that so I get to do things others don’t. Maybe 85% of it is normal work, sure I’m surrounded by airsoft guns, but 85-90% of my work is meeting up at my office, turning on my computer and doing the graphical work and doing my social media stuff. It’s nice to have the social media part, to have relationship with news sites, like yourself, that way I get to meet a lot of great people and talk to them. I also get to develop some of the art work concepts for new projects like out EVO. The packaging and the look of the whole EVO universe that was my design – I spearheaded that. So, it’s nice to see your work come out in stores, something you can be proud of. A lot of people loved the EVO, I’m proud that I was in that process, I didn’t do so much with the gun itself, the engineering part, but I had my airsoft experience taken into account – what do I like, what do I think, which direction we should take. But I’ll probably say, the biggest benefits, personally for me, working for ASG is that I’ve gotten to go to IWA, I get to see behind the scenes, what the airsoft and real steel industry looks like. I kinda knew a little bit of that from my former job where I worked for a store called “PX shop Denmark” where I sold tactical gear to police and military personnel, even the SF guys. So I kinda knew what the industry looks like and it’s a great industry, I love being here and ASG gives me the opportunity to still have a foot inside the industry. But I will say this – you learn a lot about what the airsoft industry is like, and not just with ASG, but in general. It’s not the la-la land that every one thinks it is. So it’s nice to see the real business part behind airsoft, it’s nice to get that insight as well, so you know how everything is kinda connected.
Tell us more about Kireru Airsoft?
Kireru is my gamer nickname since I was, I think, 13 Maybe 14. I got it of a documentary I saw once about Japanese people, especially students. Japan has something called “kireru” which is slang for people going nuts without reason. Snapping. You see a lot of that with students in Japan, because they are under a lot of pressure, with school and family and sometimes they go nuts. So, back then I thought it was kinda cool to use as my Counter Stike gamer name. kireru kinda stuck with me throughout almost everything. I’m called Kireru in almost every game that I play and one day I just decided to buy kireru.dk. But with Kireru airsoft, I actually started it after I started at ASG. Ibplayed airsoft before i started at ASG. I kinda wanted to tell the story of airsoft in Denmark. I didn’t want to be that guy with a gun cam only doing killing spree videoa, and only be about “look at me! Look at me!”. I wanted to show other players. So, I bought a Ronin M, which is a 3 axis gimbal and a Canon 70D, because it has auto focus, and I started filming. I wanted a professional look, I didn’t want that hand held, running behind people look…i wanted nice, smooth footage of people playing. I wanted to film other people, how they play. I think for me, it’s more interesting to see how people duck behind cover, how they run, what kind of gear they have, their normal human behavior when they play under stress. That sorts. I mean, a lot of people threw uploads POV videos that’s about it, right? I wanted to tell more about airsoft in Denmark, instead of just my own airsoft experience. But, lately, with this paradigm shift that has been in mainstream airsoft, I kinda backed away from airsoft generally and try focusing on some specific things, like gear, reviews and articles every once in a while about the mentality behind airsoft or other more serious topics Round the tactical mindset. I’m trying to promote more of that next stage in airsoft where it’s not about having some fancy gun and just shooting everyone. It’s more about training, gear, the understanding of it, appreciation of the gear, I mean, you have a lot of people with gear that looks nice but they have no idea what it’s really for. So, I’m trying to switch format.
From what I understood, your goals in Airsoft are a little bit different than those of a regular player. Tell us more about your goals.
I touched on it before in my previous answer. I mean, airsoft is a hobby, people see it as a sport, but for me sport is something you train, something you practice, something you want to be better at and most people are content with going out on Sundays and playing. I always thought there’s more to it. Airsoft is just a gateway, in my case. It’s a gateway to a bigger universe. Airsoft has guns, it has gear and it takes on from real life. Real operators, real squads, real situations, and a lot of people forget that. They put on their gear and they’re soldiers for the weekend and then Monday they tag #IwannaplayagainSunday, #airsoftislife #operator but they never really go out and train, they never go out and do 9-hole training, transition training, physical training, so for me, my goals in airsoft is that of a different mindset. It’s about being better. It’s about understanding more of what airsoft imitates. Cause airsoft is basically an imitation of real war operators and gear. Sometimes, I think mainstream airsoft kinda forgets that. They don’t really want to get into the things that requires hard work or learning or anything like that. I’m not bashing airsofters that are comfortable as a casual players – but a lot of airsofters, they are comfortable with what they have and that’s it. They don’t wanna see what’s on the other side, what the next step could be. And that’s kinda what my goals in airsoft are, I wanna learn more about gear, I wanna learn more about weapons manipulation, can we do more work-outs related to tactical training. Airsoft for me first was a hobby to go shoot people but now airsoft is more of a gateway to understanding more credible things, more real things.
Any other hobbies beside Airsoft?
I’m a pretty avid gamer. I like playing video games, I used to play Counter strike like a lot. I came close to that semi pro status with version 1.4-1.6…. That’s way back. But playing 8-10 hours a day only gets you so far in LiFe before adulthood steps in. I like to film, I do that for my blog as well, I’ve taken a liking to do filming and editing, a little bit of motion graphics. I workout when I can. Nothing serious but it’s nice to stay in shape…. Round is a shape. But Im gonna say, gear and the mindset behind the real world training. It’s it’s own hobby outside airport. Because it’s not related to airsoft, it’s more related to being a gear-whore. Movies, I like movies. My favorite movies are Die Hard, Fight Club, Seven, I like movies by David Fincher, especially movies that are really nice cinematically.
A birdy told me you will be attending Project Gecko. Are you into Fast Roping?
About Project Gecko – Project Gecko is a German company run by Eli who has a background from the military. He offers a lot of different courses within the tactical element, based on real world training and simulation and he offers this mainly to military and law enforcement, but he also has some courses that are open to civilians. Last year, I hosted a CQB course here in Denmark where he came and showed a small handful of airsofters who were committed to learning and understanding the military tactics from a technical aspect. It’s a great course and I consider Eli a good, close friend, as well and I’ll have the opportunity now to go to Prague, end May and attend a course called Air Assault. Now, the Air Assault course is more than fast roping and deploying from helicopters. The military framework and mindset behind the course and the challenges are what really make try to push myself more. It’s not that I like fast roping, I’m actually a little scared of heights, but again, it’s about pushing your boundaries and seeing how far you can go. For me and for a lot of people, I would say having a military frame or a military doctrine of teaching and training and then doing it, is a lot more acceptable and easier than some guy who took a course about fitness telling you you just gotta run 10km. It’s more tangible to get a better feel for because you have people with experience from the military telling you how to do stuff and how to push your boundaries. It’s about mindset. Pushing your boundaries and, hopefully we will see more of it in airsoft, is about mindset. It’s about where you want to go, how do you want to improve on certain qualities of your own being. But, yeah, I’m gonna be flying around in some helicopters, fast rope down, do some really nice tactical stuff, really looking forward to it. You can always go to a Project Gecko, their website and learn more about they they can offer. So if you’re really into learning real CQB tactics, learning fast rope or whatever just google Project Gecko.
Tell us about your Airsoft team.
I got a lot of friends that play and that’s how I usually team up these days. The former team I was on was called SCAR Inc. We disbanded last year, in 2016. I played with SCAR for over a year and I still game with them as we are friends still.. But I can tell you when I was playing for Scar Inc. It was a very serious team and it kinda set the bar really high on what I would expect from my next team. They have same preferences that I do; push yourself, train, learn and develop yourself. They all attended Project Gecko CQB course i Denmark. It was a serious team, but we still had fun. Our Thursdays were either a meeting day or we did training and practice – 9-hole, cardio, we did long walks with comms. That was Thursday and then, come Sunday, depending on what kind of mood we were in, we would either train again on or go playing. So it was kinda like a sports team. If you played basketball, you practiced two days a week and then have a league game. That’s why I don’t get why a lot of people’s argument that airsoft is a sport. Because you’re doing nothing for it to be a sport, except going out on Sundays and flash your gear. A lot of people claim and try to put airsoft on a pedestal but they’re not doing anything to keep it there. Putting #operator on your Instagram post, that doesn’t mean you are doing more to develop or push yourself. Buy new gear and running around for me has it’s limits.
Your loadout and gear?
I actually got some new stuff and some of the stuff I have now is gonna get switched out, hopefully soon. But, for my plate carrier I have a Perroz design low-profile, slick plate carrier. LPSPC. Perroz, who makes plate carriers and other types of gear, is located in Canada. It’s a really small, compact plate carrier. It’s nice because it had the Velcro front and the swift clips so I could put on my Haley strategic disruptive chest rig on it. You just click it on the plate carrier and the Velcro and you’re ready to go. I have the OSO LAP (Light Assault Pack) that goes on the back panel of my plate carrier. It has a big pocket for my tri 152 radio. It has a big compartment for whatever I want to put in it. I used to rock a Platatac DAX Mark 2, pants in Kryptek. I was one of those guys who thought Kryptek was the new shit and now I kinda regret it. The pant sizing is a little bit off, kneepads are nowhere near my knees when I bend them. If it weren’t for the knee issue, they are ok. they’re werent totally satisfying. But i just recently got a pair of Combat System CZ combat pants. They are a reproduction of CRYEs combat pants and they sit a lot better and, I gotta say, the quality is top dollar. Usually I like to say that I like real steel stuff or the original manufacturer’s but in this case, I couldn’t get Crye combat pants in woodland. I probably could, but it would cost me $600 cause it’s so unique and never in my size. But, I gotta say, Combat Systens arw made really nicely and the people who make it are professionals, so it’s not a replica, it’s a high end reproduction. I’m really satisfied with it. On my belt side, I have a Platatac SICC Mark 2 which is a gunfighter belt. I got two G-code m4 scorpion soft shell pouches on the belt along with a 5.11 dumppouch. On the belt theres also have a predator gear, they’re called Bjorn Holsters now, a Danish manufacturer that makes custom Kydex holsters. It was actually originally made for my PO9, but for some strange reason, it fits my Hicapa. Its a custom TM Hicapa from Elite Shooting Centre in the UK. Nothing special in terms of looks.Ita got a Springfield armory slide on it. I’ve bought it like 8yrs ago and it still shoots pretty decently considering. I have a UR/OPS shirt combat shirt. Oakley M frame 2.0 as my ballistic goggles/glasses. As my primary, I have a Systema PTW 2008 model with a HERA Arms IRS 12 inch M-lock front. I have a Surefire M600 A sitting on a Haley Strategic thorntail with a 45 degree offset. On top of the rifle is a Aimpoint comp 4. I have a Blue Force sling on it as well. For comms I use Sordins Supreme CC Milspec and a TRI PRC 152 radio, Solomon boots GTX 4D and my helmet for now is a replica airframe.
I mean, I always like MERCs in Sweden. It’s nice and close by and it’s about 200 players and always good fun. It’s nothing serious, but you can play seriously if you want to. But it’s always good because it’s with a lot of Danish players that I know, it’s kind of a mil sim/big game type. Some years they have vehicles, sometimes they don’t. I wish Denmark would do some more mil sims, because they are pretty strict with what the mil sim is, they have a lot more rules, they are more into keeping it serious but, as of late, I haven’t attended that many newer mil sims. But, there is one in Sweden called Panteon, which I would love to attend.
I can’t really tell (for a favorite one), I haven’t had that ultimate mil sim experience yet, so I can’t really pick a favorite.
Plans for this summer?
Yeah, I’ve had the opportunity to be invited for a small webseries, that’s gonna be filmed in Serbia. It’s gonna be a high-end production webseries, featuring airsofters backed by professional filming and choreography, so it’s gonna be like, for airsofters by airsofters. It’s gonna be a great opportunity for me to try that aspect of being in a real Movie production when it comes to filming. Again, I’m into filming myself, so it’s nice to see how professionals really do it and I know the people who are behind it are gonna do a great job and I’m really looking forward to working with them.
Any last words?
Always try to learn more and It’s all about mindset.
Talking to Thomas was a pleasure, and I hope you guys enjoyed it. If you have any questions, suggestions or just wanna stalk him, kireru.dk is your stop.
Keep shootin’, keep playin’, see you next time!