Meeting… Maxime Geronzi!

Interview: Charles Paratte
Portrait: Marcel Veldman

"You open your eyes, and you don't remember where you are, and it might be the color of the sheets that helps you put it together."

 Marcel Veldman

While waiting for the new Cliché video premieres, in London tonight and Paris tomorrow, we rang a guy whose footage might be the most anticipated, after his recent feats!
Only to find out we had a lot to learn about him…

You still live in Perpignan. Have you always lived there?
I actually grew by Paris, in Cergy-Pontoise, and stayed there till I was about ten, something like that. Then, we moved South, and since I have been there.

How would you describe the town?
It's a village! Everything is small, everybody hears about everything, it's a small town, but I call it a village. I like it, but at some point, you need to do something with your life, right? Got to move.

But you do travel, with all the trips you're on, right?
Yeah, but I'm not happy with it anymore. Before, when I was younger, I had all my friends, but everybody is gone their way, got their own life. It's normal, right? But, I don't like it anymore. I'm going to Barcelona! I'm taking an apartment, there.

Really? Then again, it isn't far from Perpignan!
Yes, it is real close, but the weather is way better over there. Here, you always have some wind, it's detail, but it is annoying. In Barcelona, it's all perfect!

You have been dealing with old injuries, how do you cope with it?
It's still not fixed, I'm in the middle of it, right now. About my ankle, I had a sprain fracture in 2011, and it's coming back now. I fell on it again, and it has all moved, so I have to fix that. As for my wrist, I have two torn ligaments.

How does it affect you?
Actually, as long as it doesn't hurt, it can stay as it is. I am going to have a lot to do with the new Cliché video dropping. So, I will get surgery after that, I have time.

So, all this time, you were skating, praying to not fall on it?
Actually, it happened a long time ago, without knowing. I t was a big slam that sent me to the hospital. The pain, I know it. I should have been fixing my wrist for two years now! I know the pain, it hurts really bad, but I am used to it, so no worries. We will get the surgery done, in due time.

You film and also edit, right?
Yes, I have always done it, since real young, with my friends. I have had photographers and filmers around, and I took on Adobe Premiere real early. I do my little edits, for fun, at home. It's a passion. I have always liked doing it, de-rushing the tapes, all that. I could not give it up. It's a different than actually skating: filming great lines with the homies, being stoked on how it came out, finding new angles, all that, like staying in front of the skater, I really like that.

What about something that doesn't involve skateboarding at all?
I have always snowboarded, I was even doing it before picking up skating. My mom was a ski teacher, so they put me on skis real early, and then on a snowboard. Every winter, I go to the mountains. My parents have an apartment there. It's a ritual, every winter, go to the mountains.

You never give it up?
Oh, no, I ma so into it, just like skating. Well, at one point, I had to slow down a bit for skateboarding, but I would still go up there, for short weeks, I had to.

Your recent “Excuse My French” part really surprised me: many lines, unexpected tricks. It was a conscious move?
No, it just came upon like that. It wasn't supposed to come out on Thrasher, at first. The story is that Nike SB and Cliché were paying me those trips to go film for them. But, sometimes, on grey days, or when You aren't feeling fully on, you would rather film with a VX, it might look better. I ended up coming back from some trips, or filming missions, with only a couple HD clips, and my sponsors wouldn't understand. They were stressing a bit, and asking me what I had been up to. We were almost making up lies to justify that we didn't film in HD. We would come back with twice as much VX footage than HD, while I was meant to film in HD, that's the thing! I ended up with three minutes of VX clips, so we decided we could do a selection, and there we saw we could put a part together, and I had the fucking track! Cliché spoke to Thrasher, and they were into it. It's nice that it ended up on that kind of site, when it wasn't meant to be at first.

You're telling me that your best part is footage you were hiding because you thought they were from “off days”!?
Yeah, in the beginning, it was a bit like that… When the sponsors got the word that we were putting together a VX part, we went filming “gnarlier” stuff, like the Paris things, to finish it up. In the beginning, it was “chill” tricks, but toward the end, we did focus on it.

What have you heard about the part, since it came out?
Only good things. It's the first part where I only hear good things about it. I had good returns from my shared part in Bon Voyage, but my friends were expecting a full part, then.

Have you named the Dome trick, at the end?
It's a Jesus Kick! Well, I call it a Jesus, you can call it whatever you want, as long as there is Jesus in it… [Laughter]

 Marcel Veldman

Backside pivot. photo: Marcel Veldman

And with all this, you still managed to film for Gypsylife?
Yep, I'm fine. I did have a good “full year”, like I never had before! [Laughter] I did not waste my time, like for the previous videos. Let's say that I just woke up. At half deadline, it clicked, I realized that I was ahead. I thought: “You can give it all, really do something!”, so I ended up having a lot of footage, so we could do a really good selection, and here we are. We'll see, we'll see!

The Gypsy Tour is a Cliché tradition, were you on one before that?
No, that was my first.

Was all of Gypsylife filmed in Gypsy Tour mode?
Yep, we did a regular Gypsy Tour, about fifteen days around three cities, with the usual 15 Euros. Oh, yeah, we got a raise, it's up to 15 Euros a day, now!

How did you cope with it?
It's a great experience, being with the others, seeing their reactions, seeing mine, also, as it was new to me. You don't know how it really is. At the end, I was happy to go home, but could have kept it going a few more days with the “street life”! [Laughter] The Gypsy Tour, it's a whole, it's a mission, it really is! As soon as you wake up, you're on a mission. First, you wake up early, from the sunlight, you have nothing to drink, you got to hit a store, you have to wash off how you can, you sleep on the ground for fifteen days, yep, it's mission!

So, who's the ultimate gypsy?
I would have loved for Lucas to stay longer, I know it's him, right? Apart from him, Kyron and Chet. Kyron, because he's young. He's a true young gypsy, I think it's in his genes! [Laughter] And, Chet, well, he simply is The Real Gypsy!

What about the worst gypsy?

It's not his thing?
Hmm, well… Apparently, no, it's not. [Laughter]

How much time do you spend on the road, compared to being home?
It's just keeps getting more, when I was younger, I would travel a bit less. Now, I am being sent on trips more. Actually, it comes from you, if you skate and get productive, everybody is happy. You got to do what you are meant to.

You mean that it is your decision?
Yeah, yeah, off course! You got to step it up, and motivate the people over you.

That's the clarity moment you were talking about earlier?
Totally, I thought that if I gave it all, it could only be beneficial.

With all those trips, do you end up not even remembering where you are meant to be the following week?
Frankly, I have had it all! I have been in a country, and not knowing anymore where I was when I would wake up. You open your eyes, and you don't remember where you are, and it might be the color of the sheets that helps you put it together. You spend long days traveling, and sometimes, yeah, you are a bit out of it!

Do you spend time with people that have nothing to do with skating?
Off course!

What do they make of it?
For some of my friends, It's not even a discussion subject, really… [Laughter] Then, some others are really interested, they ask a lot of questions, always wondering how t works. They see it as something a bit supernatural.

Speaking of odd reality, and to get you in the mood for Gypsylife, let's rewind that infamous part, more or less filmed on the low:

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