Focus / Joseph Biais

Interview: Benjamin Deberdt

Photos: Guillaume Périmony

 Guillaume Périmony

From hungry young buck to a figure recognized all around France, little Joseph has grown a lot… Often found where you wouldn’t expect him, he’ll take part in some far off exotic trip or jump in another suburban train to get a chance to see a spot for himself. Which is most likely how he always seemed to manage in parallel quite successful studies and high visibility in the media, whether French or beyond.
As the “student phase seems to reach its end, Joseph is busier than ever, especially with skateboarding, and Guillaume Périmony next full length video, above all. Between that and keeping himself on the road, you should see him around quite often this year!
As we put out this appetizer sort of part, he is somewhere around San Francisco, after a cross country road trip across the States… Most likely inventing the longest and most pointless #hashtag ever!

So, back home?
Exactly, back to pop’s and mom’s: in our suburb, close to Versailles, even, if, in all reality, I must have slept once at my place, and spent one afternoon… But, yep, back home, RER trains and all!

You have been moving quite a lot, these past years, haven’t you?
Yep, quite a bit. I lived in Lille for a year and a half, then was off to Australia for a bit, then back to my parents suburb for six month, back to Lille for five months, then Krakow in Poland for five months. Then, back to my parents, and for the past couple months, got a room in Paris. It feels like I don’t really have a home, right now, but where we are now in Paris, I really dig it, so I can see myself being there for a while.

What do you make of my theory about suburb skaters being more likely to be moving around than your average center of Paris kid?
Yeah, most likely. In the suburbs, once you hit puberty, you realize there isn’t much to do there, so you start getting reckless. But, it also has its advantages, like everything, but I think that, at one point –at least, it was, for me– you can’t take it anymore. You lose so much time in public transports; you feel so far away from anything, everything has to be planned out, etc… It’s just less practical. So, yep, you get tired of it, and that feeds a desire to move to the city, it is more or less the logical next step.

 Guillaume Périmony

Frontside 50-50, in Paris.

So, you are taking a year off? You have managed to always study, while skating. How long are you gonna last “not doing anything”?
Year off, yes and now, that’s when you stop what you do to start again the same thing after. Right now, I’m –finally– done with my studies, and I’m more looking at the next step. I want to skate fully and see what comes out of it, at least for a little while. We’ll see.
Like you said, I always skated while balancing it with school, exams, internships, all that. And it’s true that it was sometimes frustrating not having enough time, or not being able to enjoy skating at a 100%, or stressing because you are skating when you should be studying. You always feel on the fence, and therefore you keep questioning yourself.

Sponsor wise, where are you? And where you stand, about the whole sponsorship thing?
I still have Vans and Carhartt that have been supporting me for years, now, and I’ll take the opportunity to thank them. And apart from that, I still get boards from Zero, and I’m on Starcow, the Parisian shop.
I feel that I’m really lucky to have sponsors that help me out and are serious about it, and help me do more or less what I want. When I how saturated it is now in France, with dozen of dudes that skate really good and are deserving, yep, I think I am really lucky… I don’t think much more would happen for me, but if I can keep on skating for a while and get a few plane tickets taken care of, I’m down!

You have been quite all around the globe, what makes traveling interesting, to you?
First of all, I have realized all parts of traveling are cool. Before going, you are super excited, you can’t wait, you daydream so many things… Once you get there, usually, you’re on, you dig everything. You discover, see new things, you meet people, it’s a blast. And, then, towards the end, you start missing things, you are tired, and you want to sleep in your bed. So you are super happy to go home. Then, months, years later, you have all those memories you can look back on. You realize it was such a cool trip, and it makes you want to go again, anywhere, just somewhere you don’t know!
But, yeah, what really attacks me are completely new places, cities, neighborhood I didn’t know even existed… Then, off course, discovering the culture, the people, the food from the country, it is just great, and a real chance. Oh, yeah, and skating-wise, I think everybody has noticed: it is more motivating skating spots you’ve never been to before! Funny how you throw yourself a lot more when you’re not home, in the end.

 Guillaume Périmony

Wallie, in Lille.

Adulthood is around the corner. How do you feel about it?
I’ll be frank; I really don’t feel it, apart from a few little things. First, I believe that with age, you have more apprehension –when skating– and I do feel that recovering time is getting longer. That said, I’m fine, I can still skate everyday! But it’s not like when I was 16, and I would skate from 14h00 till 20h00 without a break.
And I do feel a little out of synch with the others, in Paris –the twins, Oscar Candon, Rémy Taveira, Idris Jani that all have four to five years less than me– in terms of school, work, responsibilities, independency. I’m reaching that age where you got to work, where I can’t just ask mom and pop for money. So, it’s a bit stressful… But, well, I made up my mind; I’m giving myself a bit of time to fully skate…

After Megamix, you are working on Guillaume Périmony’s full length, you’ve been filming quite a lot recently: what keeps you motivated, or inspired?
Yeah, I would say I have been filming a lot for the past two years, mostly with Périmony. Since he moved to Paris, it’s so much easier and convenient. I really like filming with Guillaume, because, first of all, he films really well, and he’s really passionate about skating, so I can fully trust him. He’s also super motivated and always ready to go, so that’s quite pleasant. It’s also motivating to build a project, a part, to see it grow slowly, to give a direction at what you want to do, and show… What motivates me is always skating new spots, being with my friends, having a laugh, trying tricks and managing to get a part I like, in the end.
As for inspiration, I would say it comes from everybody: the people around me, which who I skate with every day, but also videos and music.

And here is Joseph Biais latest part, or more accurately an appetizer for his up-coming part:

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