PREMIERE / Bears Skateshop "BEARS VIDEO" / INTERVIEW

The Rennes scene has been renowned for its constantly bubbling activity for a good while, now; the most diligent of now-O.G. heads definitely remember Pacôme Gabrillagues' video works, most notably the full-length "CROSSWALK" back in 2010 - at the dawn of the rise in popularity and traction of independent european creation - or maybe more contemporarily, the entire Galerie 126 adventure. Théo Le Guével's newest full-length VX-1000 video, "UNCENSO-RENNES", bears witness to how the recent generations have been insisting to honor such a rich cultural legacy ever since and, in between more Rennes activists throughout the ages, Laurent Ségal also fits right in since at the wheel of Bears Skateshop, formerly Bamboo, open on location since 2004. Thus in a way, it's almost two decades that the release of this "BEARS VIDEO" by Yoann Cailleteau is celebrating - but not just that as, given the variety in the profiles composing its sum, it also reflects the human adventure aspect of skateboarding, on one hand; and healthy doses of elbow grease smoothness, on the other hand. Checking in on everyone involved just had to be done, as to duly honor the Rennes scene as far as we're concerned - and they all turned out to have plenty to say, too, as the joined interview can attest, below!

*

Laurent Ségal

*

LIVE Skateboard Media: Hi, Laurent! And thanks for supporting the production of this local video from Rennes. So, yeah - here's the mandatory space where you can push your stuff and claim street cred; may you please introduce yourself, recount your background in skateboarding and in the Rennes scene, and how you eventually ended up managing what's now a longtime established skateshop? How old is Bears now, really? What is it that you would say you've been bringing to the Rennes table, which most notable initiatives have you been supporting over time and the commercial aspect aside, how would you describe your general activity?
 
Laurent Ségal: Hi Aymeric - first off, thanks for this article and interview about the Rennes scene; it truly is a pleasure to get to introduce more people to the local activists, as well as their respective motivations and talents..
 

"[Rennes] is a
student town and
fresh faces pop up
yearly"

 
So my name is Laurent and I manage Bears Skateshop in Rennes; I started skating back in 1990, I must have been thirteen at the time. I rapidly got hooked and also to the idea of traveling to skate new places, uncover new spots, using all the France and Europe contests as an opportunity to do so; back then, video content was way less of a thing than it is now with no Internet nor Instagram and so it was all about ripping and trading VHS tapes. I must have watched "RUBBISH HEAP""NEXT GENERATION" and "QUESTIONABLE" over two thousand times each...
 

Laurent Ségal, melanchollie. Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau
 
Another trait of the time period was the lack of skateshops - you had to go to Paris to gear up. Eventually, alongside friends, we suggested the idea of a small skate aisle to a small local tennis shop and that's where and how I first got to associate passion with business, which actually led to me to study and learn sales. And from there, I just ended up in Rennes! The shop opened back in 2004 and, since the early days, we've been supporting riders, video projects, local brands, and we try our best at fueling and cherishing the scene with contests, video premieres, that whole deal.
 

"You gotta listen to
others, and be
able to
question yourself"

 
LSM: How personally fulfilling is it, being a scene activist via a skateshop? What are some of the difficulties one may be confronted to in such a position, or maybe you never had issues handling all the corresponding responsibilities? Did the pandemic impact your activity in any way? Judging from "UNCENSO-RENNES", the locals' didn't seem affected, either way.
 
LS: Ah yeah, it's very fulfilling. Thanks to this position, I always got to meet wonderful people: my wife, my friends... Including some I actually witnessed grow up: entire generations of then-kids who now are full-fledged adults with an occupation and their own offspring...
 
But there is a share of difficulty indeed. Self-doubt, stress, all-nighters aplenty and very little personal time - you gotta listen to others, and be able to question yourself...
 
The Rennes scene just keeps growing and renewing itself - it's a student town and fresh faces pop up yearly. The pandemic did make tons of things, e.g.. contests or events in general harder than usual to organize, plenty of dates got pushed if not cancelled, and as a whole it's been tougher keeping in touch with people. Thankfully, there always seems to be a few heads willing to carry on with the motivation: for instance, Théo really was brave with carrying "UNCENSO" as a project from its beginning to its end.
 

Laurent Ségal, frontside nosegrind, Evreux, 2004. Ph.: Alexandre Pouillot

LSM: How is skateboarding in Rennes in 2021 in particular? What are some skaters and initiatives one really shouldn't miss paying attention to, and how about the local politics in terms of skate repression, spots, parks? And finally, how did you end up deciding on going for a full-length Bears skateshop video?

LS: Skating here has been good! Tons of new heads and young beginners as of late - just like everywhere, I guess, but here that also means crowded skateparks, and spots that are only skatable at specific hours...
 

"I hope their effort
can inspire many
more people
in return"

 
When it comes to the video - I'm almost ashamed not to have backed one sooner, to be honest. When we welcomed Louise and Toad onto the team, it's really Toad who threw the idea out there: "we got a sick crew going on, let's make a video!". Which always seemed so obvious really, but working at the shop and constantly running out of time makes it that hard to be up and ready on all fronts.
 
That's exactly why I'm wholeheartedly thanking everyone who helped out on this project, in a way or another; I would have loved to be more present on the sessions, or during the editing days... But the whole crew really killed it, the video is fun to watch, and showcases a variety of styles. The team is quite well-rounded and so, I hope a lot of people will be into it and this thing gets tons of views as to duly reward the local work and also, in hopes that their effort can inspire many more people in return...
 
Je vous aime, les copains - merci !

*

Yoann Cailleteau

*

LSM: Hi Yoann ! Thanks for sharing your work with LIVE, may you please tell us about your background in skateboarding, skate filmmaking and how you ended up at the wheel for this Bears project eventually? May you please introduce us to the people who contributed in terms of footage and graphics, and how hard (or easy, I assume) was it for you to get an exclusive animation by Pacôme Gabrillagues?

Yoann Cailleteau: Hi and thanks for your interest in the project.


Yoann Cailleteau, nollie backside tailslide. Ph.: ???
 

As far as I'm concerned, I've been skating for over twenty years, complete with my 'sponsored skater era' way back when (we're talking prehistory). And I've been shooting photos for fifteen years - video activity is more recent.

"Being a Rennes O.G.
still helps"

Regarding Bears, I remember we started talking with Laurent as Louise, Louis-Marie and then Yassine were climbing aboard - it just felt like the right time to make a video.

So I asked Tommy Soirak to help me with the local camerawork; and Yassine's clips were shot by two Moroccan filmers: Mouad Mimouni and Ikbal Naamani to which I am very grateful.
 
For Hugo, I directly asked the right connect: Louis Deschamps for leftovers, and then I managed to share a day or two with Hugo directly, to get a few last clips.
 
Two of us have been working on the titles: I made the main one and Yassine's introduction animation, and then everything else: the names, the credits... are by Alexis Legac, that guy with the wildest ideas.
 
And yeah, getting ahold of Pacôme was easy: Laurent only had to ask. Being a Rennes O.G. still helps.
 
LSM: Globally, how would you describe the vibe on the filming sessions and the overall process; which lessons and experience will you remember about this whole journey? How quickly did everyone stack footage, how seriously did you yourself take your role as a Rennes ambassador and did you have a specific goal in mind in that position? Had you made,  and do you intend on making more videos in the past and future respectively?
 
YC: When it comes to motivation levels and vibe checks, nothing to fault: I especially liked that everyone had specific ideas for their tricks and spots, that always helps.
 
The elders were passing on knowledge to the youth the whole time: trick repetition, selection, spot choice, as far as warnings regarding cracks...
 

"In between Covid,
injuries, availabilities
and a rain-prone Brittany,
we managed alright
"

 
And the whole adventure allowed me to progress on my side of things, too. Now I feel like getting a new camera, as well as a different fisheye; I'm still sorting out my options there.
 

Yoann Cailleteau, ollie, Lorient. Ph.: Tim Trompesance
 
We started filming two years ago I'd say. At first the pace was mellow, quiet and then this year, all of a sudden, most everyone kicked themselves in the butt to go and film more and get the project closer to completion. In between Covid, injuries, availabilities and a rain-prone Brittany, we managed alright.
 

"Reasons for the whole
spaghetti western gimmick:
first off, here kind of
is the Far West
"

 
Personally, I tried recommending mostly new or obscure spots as, being older, I'm aware of how every possible local hammer has already been thrown down over the past ten, if not twenty years (Geoffroy Leblanc, Dany Hamard, Hugo). I also tried advising folks as far as I'm familiar with their style, wanting everyone to stand out for who they really are and their parts to have their own distinct vibes.
 
There are reasons behind the whole spaghetti western gimmick: first off, here kind of is the Far West, complete with its bars and poncho-wearing homeless people who sort of resemble street cowboys. And it's also mostly a reference to an older Rennes video: "LA CLASSE AMERICRENNES" with the spiciest of excerpted dialogs from "LA CLASSE AMERICAINE" - featuring John Wayne, la légende, tu peux pas test.
 
At first I assumed I'd just follow the format of my own YouTube videos: a roughly ten-minute piece, except the project spontaneously overgrew that perspective in the end and so, I'm that happy that it's finally coming out, two years later.
 

"Since the beginning
of the year,
four of us
have bought cameras"

 
So on the side, I'm also regularly dropping smaller capsules on my YouTube as I was saying: RENNES CLUB, the latest one to date being "STREETMAFIA".
 
Right now, I'm filming for the next one and also several web 'parts' for the likes of Alex Frey or Tim Pham; I'm almost done with those and really, I'm quite stoked, also on how we went to Paris quite a bit to wrap up the filming. I've also been filming Mathias Bideau and a video for Damned Soul, a new company from Tours, France with a metal-oriented imagery.
 
I've also been involved in a zine project (alongside fellow contributor Yann Quenez) by Matis : MOMO Magazine, issue one of which is already out and available by now. Since the beginning of the year, four of us have bought cameras, and that groove keeps digging itself.
 
 
Finally, the end goal behind all those initiatives is to provide the locals with footage and photos if ever needed, have good times, enjoy our own productions and help make the Brittany scene shine.

*

Laurent "Meccano" Bigeard

*


Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau

LSM: Yo Meccano! I don't expect you to remember, but we actually crossed paths a few times at the very early days of La Poterie skatepark in Rennes, along with Thibault Proux, graphic artist extraordinaire. So, I know you've been skating that city for quite a while - may you please tell us about your background, how you first got into skateboarding, in which context that happened and how the Rennes scene was like at the time?
 
Laurent Bigeard: Hi Aymeric, oh no for sure I actually do remember the Popote sessions with Proux-sensei! That was a while back indeed!
 
Regarding my history - it's quite typical really, I grew up in a small village called Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, in Brittany. I remember one of my friends buying a skateboard and being so proud of introducing his new toy to the rest of us - we followed through, quite naturally and I just never stopped.
 

"Pacôme really was
our Senior Motivator,
so crazy, and
always on the
move!"

 
Then my parents got separated and that's how I ended up in Rennes, where I met the whole Mini Team click: Hugo Maillard, the Chambry brothers and Momo. The early Arsenal plaza days (before the street park happened) were so sick, that's where we'd all meet up on Wednesdays after middle school, and on weekends, on both Saturdays and Sundays! Delightful memories.
 
LSM: How fondly do you remember the era during which Pacôme was filming for local classic, « CROSSWALK »? That video was both the peak of an epoch and the start of a new one, wasn't it in a way? Maybe there are more local productions you can think of that would be worth bringing up too?
 
LB: The Pacôme era! Wow, yeah, that was a blast - he really was our Senior Motivator, so crazy, and always on the move! Street action, street action then more street action - Galib' (Pacôme) was the best to have around, super involved in the local scene too, he really kicked things up a few notches in Rennes - singlehandedly. Damn, those were exciting times!
 

"I used to go
to buy gear
with my sister
and then boom -
suddenly he was
my brother-in-law"

 
Off the top of my head just like that, hmm... Being the father of two, I don't really keep up with current skating but... Oh yeah actually, "UNCENSO-RENNES" by Théo Le Guével is worth bringing up! Slick filming, great vibes, cool stuff.
 
LSM: So, how's your personal history with Bears like and how did you end up linking up with the crew? How has been skating in Rennes over the course of several generations now - and do you miss certain names, styles and spots from the past that you would like to mention?
 
LB: Laurent's Bears really is the local shop - so I used to regularly to buy gear with my mom, but mostly my sister and then boom - suddenly he was my brother-in-law! So many memories.
 
Also at the time, the shop was called Bamboo: one location in Rennes, and another one in Le Mans! I remember Lolo had set up a gigantic tube TV there, on which he would play the latest skate vids and so, all of us would naturally meet up at the shop after school. It really was kindergarten, sort of; I can still vividly picture Laurent just sitting there on his smoke break every afternoon at six, only to then suddenly have to bear with a flock of us being unleashed upon him [laughs]! Je t'aime Lolo !
 
As far as generations are concerned, hmm - of course things change by design, and the younger skaters naturally grow to take the elders' place, but the core dynamics of the Rennes scene persist. Then again, like I was saying earlier - I don't really keep up with skate news all that much (besides the occasional Instagram clip). A few names Rennes dearly misses: Pacôme Gabrillagues, Simon Debord, Stéphane Foglio, Julien-Yacine Chaqra (Momo) and most importantly, our friend Yanasse (Yan Lamballais), who passed away last year… R.I.P. bro, love.
 
And talking ancient spots, well... Maybe the old Get High skatepark and, of course, the Arsenal early days!

*

Yassine Megherbi

*

 
LSM: Hello Yassine, may you please introduce yourself? Where exactly in Morocco are you from and how and where did you first start skating? Then, how did you end up linking up with the Bears crew in Rennes? In general, what is your background in skating and what are your inspirations?
 
Yassine Megherbi: Yassine Megherbi, twenty-five years old. Born in Oujda.
 
I first discovered skateboarding in 2009 through Matter Skateboards owner: Ikbal Naamani, after seeing him skate around Oujda. His moves were surprisingly to me, down to his bench crooked grinds. Skaters at the time were a rarity, but that didn't hold me back from jumping right in.
 
I got in touch with Bears via Patrick Lhomme. I was actively looking for sponsors; Patrick sent the shop a few of my skate clips. From then on we established an early back-and-forth about the possibility of joining forces and, most especially, the general mindset of the group.
 
My inspiration is to become a better skater and part of Morocco skating history.
 

"[...] Show
not just the Moroccan
skate scene,
but a lot of the
national culture too"

 
LSM: Out of naive curiosity, did you ever run into this Cliché Skateboards video of their trip to Casablanca, two decades ago already? I believe that right there was one of the first ever instances of a bridge being built in between Morocco and the rest of European skateboarding, in a way. What do you think of such an early initiative? Maybe you can recognize certain spots or landscapes? Would you say skateboarding has grown, locally, since that gem of a time capsule and would you like to mention some current local skaters or projects, perhaps?
 
YM: That Morocco video most certainly had a big impact at the time since skateboarding here was still barely considered as an emerging sport. The video helped show not just the Moroccan skate scene, but a lot of the national culture too.
 
Unfortunately and for diverse reasons, a certain number of those spots are long gone now.
 
That being said, a lot of new ones have also been popping up everywhere, most especially in the biggest cities in Morocco, including Casablanca. Some even catch the curiosity of foreign skaters, which allows for constant networking and some beautiful collaborations.
 
A skater I would bring up: Ayman Taibi, from Rabat - young blood with great potential.
 

*

Nans Arnaud, Clément Paistel, Louis-Marie Poirel, Damien Thebaud

*

LSM: You guys! Mind introducing you to our kind readers, please? What are your respective backgrounds in Rennes skateboarding, how and when did y'all first take up skating, and how did the Bears connect happen eventually?
 
Nans Arnaud: My name is Nans Arnaud - Nans being my first name, Arnaud my last name, for those who may be confused! I started skating roughly seventeen years ago in Dinan, a small town in the Côtes-d'Armor region of France, and then moved to Rennes about a decade ago. I was skating a lot until 2012, and then underwent some major injuries and also worked several different jobs which sort of forced me to put that aside for a bit. Sometimes I'd skate four times a year, oftentimes for local contests, snagging some gear and goodies while I was at it.
 
 
Those past few years, I had been working as a cook, which is both fascinating and captivating except I just quit in order to spend more time focusing on personal projects and enjoy life, travels, skating and my dog a little more. On the side, I also give skate lessons for a local non-profit organization from time to time - and have been for six years.
 

"​From time to time,
someone will put

the video on
at parties
"

 
My older (and cheekiest) skate friends remember my stint on Oxelo Skateboards that actually enabled me to visit India - a memorable trip in fact. From time to time, someone will put the video on at parties, just to burst my balls over it [laughs].
 
As far as Bears is concerned - Lolo suggested to back me as soon as I arrived in Rennes, pretty much. That's it for my background!
 
 
 
Clément Paistel: Yo Aymeric ! My name is Clément Paistel, thirty-three years old, also known as Toad.
 
I've been skating since I was fifteen; I first started out in Pontivy, my hometown, alongside some neighbors. We used to just ride down the hills in the area and then it wasn't long before I started going to the skatepark and learning ollies and more tricks... I never ever once quit, and am still as psyched on the activity as on day one!
 

"It really doesn't
come down to this
or that skater really,
but all down to
beautiful skating
"

 
It's been a bit less than a decade since I moved to Rennes. The skate scene is incredible and so are the vibes; to my own surprise, I joined the Bears team about four years ago, at the same time as Louise did - we get decks and discounts!
 
 
Louis-Marie Poirel: Yo and thanks for the interview! I'm L.M., twenty-four years old; originally from the Paris suburbs. I first took up skating in Sèvres - 92310 - when I was thirteen, maybe fourteen. Moved to Rennes around 2018, and currently living in Brest. After roughly a year, a year and a half in Rennes, I started developing a tighter relationship with Bears and then they spontaneously suggested supporting me, I was and still am stoked and thankful!
 

"I don't know
what's missing,
really - perhaps
sincerity
"

 
Damien Thebaud: I am Damien, skate-born in 2008 in the town we call Saint-Brooklyn, 22. At the time, Pacôme edits and the apparent vibes stemming from the Hugo-Meccano-Chambry synergy were our reference and so, Rennes looked like the Eden of skateboarding. When "CROSSWALK" came out, I was still in high school and still instantly knew I had to move there, which I quickly did.
 
I was welcome into the scene very rapidly, although for a bit I kept relying on my original connections back in Saint-Brieuc - including my deal there with a shop called Silverbay. So in the end it took three, maybe four years of Rennes life, and an intervention from François 'Masta' Tizon to motivate me to leave those behind and get on Bears proper.
 

Damien Thebaud, nollie. Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau
 
LSM: So, how did filming your respective parts for the Bears video come about? Was it a rather spontaneous experience, or did you go on full missions for certain clips maybe?

NA: Well my part in the video is so short, I'm not even sure it qualifies as a part! I really couldn't find any time for this project due to my night shifts at the post office, and day shifts in the kitchen at the time. My schedule very rarely matched Yoann's and the rare sessions I could get in, I mostly spent them focused on filming for another video ("UNCENSO-RENNES" by Théo Le Guével); all of this recent activity really fueled me up though and, consequently, I'm so fired up and looking forward to filming a lot more for the next Bears projects.

We're actually headed to Morocco in a few days, too, with the rest of the team.

LM: Well as for me I started filming quite late, and so I had to go on some missions but everything worked out just fine in the end! Frej (Yoann) and I are pretty tight, he really knows how to talk to me and handle my shit; so, it's always a blast being out there filming with that G.

"Videos are important,
I believe -
especially when
first starting out
"

DT: This part was a sum of missions for me, pretty much - all filmed while I was busy giving skate lessons and working on my license for those in Quimper. I'd come back to Rennes every other weekend with my trick and spot lists, and then would usually skate just with Yoann (very thankful there). And then there are a few clips that we got in more relaxed, homie session settings which really brought some fresh air in, as this entire year has been really strange for my skating in general.


Damien Thebaud, no-comply flip. Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau

LSM: Louis-Marie, what is your usual relationship with skate videos? What are your tastes and inspirations, main references and how would you say you prefer to expose yourself to them - via which platforms, and at which frequency? Do you think anything currently is lacking in skate videos nowadays, and how do you see their future? Damien, same questions - just with an extra telling of the respective stories of your top three favorite pants...

LM: Videos are important, I believe - especially when first starting out. In order to get inspired, learn, and get psyched! However these days, I watch a whole lot less of them; sometimes I'll dive in when I do feel like it, but I'm not out here trying to watch everything.


Louis-Marie Poirel, switch frontside big spin. Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau

I like both refined and aggressive skating. The way I dress really does represent my vibe I guess. Many skaters inspire me really - regardless of origin. I used to live in Sèvres - close to Meudon - and watch Oscar Candon do his thing: that was quite a reference to me. And then folks like Taveira, Gillette, Zach Saraceno...

"Continuing using
grainy footage"

Very clearly I mostly consume them on Instagram, and from time to time on the computer if it's an interesting full-length video. Again, it's not like I'm spending four hours a day watching skate vids - just at least one, maybe two for sure on Sundays [laughs].

I don't know what's missing, really... Perhaps sincerity, and not doing things just for the sake of doing things, or only sticking to the big stuff. I don't watch enough videos to have that type of insight though, I feel like. So maybe I'm missing the mark [laughs], but I would be into more artistic videos. And continuing using grainy footage. Gestaflex toss toss !

"Full-length videos [...]
function as a piece
by themselves,
and can't be
summarized
to a trick list"

DT: As far as I'm concerned, I got into skating via full-length videos as soon as the naughts in VHS form, thanks to my seniors; that and I was always into not taking skating so seriously either, and mixing it up with absurd stuff (big up "4 SANS BRONZE"); creativity over performance, too.

I'm not interested in the smartphone culture whatsoever, so I don't watch anything on Instagram. I indeed prefer an ensemble under the form of orchestrated parts and full-length videos which - in my eye - function as a piece by themselves and can't be summarized to a trick list but works as a constructed edit with transitions, intent and a certain manner to display cities and their unique architectures... Fragmenting something of the sort into twenty-second clips just to show the hammers makes no sense to me.

I do try and actively keep up with the skate video scene; every other day, I'm going to watch an hour and a half of (either old or new) stuff, mostly on YouTube (Vianouzneverdies, Free Skate Mag, Solo Skate Mag…) or Skatevideosite.


Damien Thebaud, ollie one-foot. Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau

Regarding what I would like to see more - well, absurdities and oddities such as the little skits in the Girl videos would be neat in recent, mainstream productions. In general, people should try and utilize this incredible medium that is the World Wide Web to inspire and push individual creativity with what's really just a circus toy at the end of the day, and not necessarily try and turn it into a sport complete with status quos on trick hierarchy.

I just coped a small camcorder recently and so, I'm going to tackle making my own video soon - thinking of a really stupid full-length with "SINGE VIKING V.S. MECAÏMAN - FIGHT FOR THE BRONX" as the title - ça va bouncer !

And when it comes to clothing - big up to my girlfriend Ioulia who's always down to actually design my most ridiculous ideas and make them come to life, ha!

LSM: Toad, from your body language I can tell you're a particularly style-oriented skater with a proneness to perfectionnism - but then a lot of your footage looks like it really was just shot on the fly. How did the filming sessions feel to you and how satisfied would you say you are with your part, in the end? In terms of skate style inspirations, who would you say are your references, be it people or videos?
 
CP: About my satisfaction, I'll just say that I'm really hyped to be part of this video, and rather happy with my part, but I wouldn't call it great either - I'm sure I can do a lot better with more allocated filming time. I only really went out on maybe four filming missions in total, which is also cool and I enjoyed every time.
 
 
Tons of skaters inspire me - I binge watch Instagram quite a bit. I'm into Ishod, Jack O'Grady, Kyle Walker, Carlos Ribeiro, Evan Smith, Hugo Maillard... It doesn't come down to this or that skater really, but all down to beautiful skating when you think about it!

LSM: Nans, may you please recount the story behind your ender - that one intriguing double noseblunt yank-in thing? What on Earth is that spot and how premeditated was that move, how did you go about it?

NA: For my last trick, the double noseblunt yank-in, I just really wasn't inspired by the spot and yet wanted to do something original in the moment. So I just didn't think, climbed up there, did it and there you go!

*

*
 
LSM: Yo Antoine! Same questions as above, regarding your background and influences skateboarding- and video-wise. And then, where does one start deciding to learn backside nollies into fakie five-o reverts, or filming a fakie 360 double flip down stairs? Judging from your clips, you've been into 360 flips in general for a while. How did filming your part go?
 
Antoine Couapel: I've always skated in and around Rennes - be it the region nearby generally comprising my more rural hometown, or the city itself as soon as my teenage years. The scene is really dope here: everybody knows each other, and everybody is mostly down-to-earth. About joining Bears - Lolo came up to me during a video premiere at a bar to offer his support; maybe that's to be blamed on one too many beers? Either way, now is too late to go back! I really appreciate what he does for me.
 

"My 'last try promis'
which [patient filmers]
get to hear
fifty times a day"

 
Backside nollie fakie five-o revert on a small curb like I'm doing mine on in the video is dead simple if you can backside 360 nollie on flat, and fakie 360 double flips are my gimmick trick in games of S.K.A.T.E. to try and piss people off [laughs] (and have Nans roll his eyes). So why now down stairs? Well, it's just a terrible idea. I think I must have been trying to wear out the filmer?
 
Regarding the process - it seems like every time we start filming a new video, things start out by just collecting odd clips here and there, without a concrete project in mind; then, the idea gradually starts to form that the ensemble is going to be legit and then, one month prior to the deadline, everyone suddenly realizes how they have to hurry the fuck up [laughs]! What I'm remembering from those filming sessions: just great times, a few snapped decks and filmers who were very patient with my "last try promis" which they get to hear fifty times a day.

*

Louise Crespin

*

LSM: Hi Louise, may you please introduce yourself? Where are you from and how did you get into skateboarding? Judging from your Instagram, you got into surfing first it seems like, is that right or have you always been an enthusiast of both practices? Eventually, how did you end up on Bears?
 
Louise Crespin: My name is Louise Crespin, I'm twenty years old and study physiotherapy. Originally, I'm from Rennes and, indeed, started surfing before skating. I still practice both on equal terms.
 

Louise Crespin, frontside boneless. Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau
 
Since I'm from Rennes and everybody knows each other here, it really was rather natural for me to bump into Bears and the crew.
 

"In a bowl,
you don't snake
whereas in the water,
you gotta fight
to catch
those waves
"

LSM: Would you say that your transition-oriented skate style is a direct heritage from those roots in surfing experience? What would you recognize as a common denominator to both practices really, if any, in terms of feeling and as means of expression and where would you situate the main differences? Also, past the activities themselves - what is your general impression regarding the mentalities in both fields? Does one seem more open-minded than the other, for instance?

LC: Oh yeah, bowl skating and surfing really do feel pretty close in terms of groove and movement; street skating, maybe not so much.


Louise Crespin, frontside slash. Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau

Surfing and skateboarding really do have different mentalities: I find skateboarding to be a lot more open-minded and embracing, be it the people or accessibility altogether. In a bowl, you don't snake whereas in the water, you gotta fight to catch those waves.

LSM: Are you into any other creative activities by chance? And what is your general schedule like, which amount of time would you say you invest there compared to your skating agenda? Anything in particular you're trying to develop on the side, personally or are you going all in right now with skateboarding being your current priority in the present?

LC: Besides surfing and skating, I draw and paint - less and less due to my classes though, but for the longest time those were part of the daily schedule. These days, I've mostly been focued on skating, surfing and studying - which already is a lot for me.


Louise Crespin, frontside boneless. Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau

 

*

Hugo Maillard

*

 
LSM: Hello Hugo! First off, congrats for your part in the video, your new board on Magenta and all your recent and current projects. Before we get into talking skating, how have you been and what's up with your musical activity? You dropped a piano EP, « NI LE MATIN », some months ago already. How long have you been practicing that instrument for, and how did you discover that sensibility of yours for it originally? Any point of comparison you could think of in between musical trance and skate-induced serotonin? Any rupture point too, maybe?
 
Hugo Maillard: Hello Aymeric - I've been great, living on an abandoned terrain in the Eastern boundaries of Rennes (right next to the old Galerie 126) for a year and a half now, with a group of friends. We live in shacks and passionately perform farming duties: we grow fruits and vegetables, keep hens, dabble in metal forgery and woodworking... The place is owned by the city and bound to be 'urbanized' within the next couple of years; and so, we settled there to try and bring a new life to the space before it's overtaken by cheap concrete, eventually...
 
Since that one last EP dropped, I haven't been playing the piano much (nor skating much either) - recording of the last few tracks for that album roughly matches with the time period where I moved where I currently live, and there is no way we could have a piano around these parts: there only is very rudimentary thermal insulation and so, the instrument would promptly decay.
 

"That moment
where things just
come together
with no planning"

 
Regarding my history as a musician: I started out with a lot of synth playing and digital music experiments originally, ten years ago now - trying to juggle (at times awkwardly) with all the different hats, ranging anywhere in between the composer's to the producer's. It is via those early attempts that I realized what I liked the most about the process: the act of play, the direct interaction with and communication via the instrument, complete with its vibrations. And so I got myself a second-hand piano from a few friends of mine, then practiced on many other, different ones during my stint in Brussels.
 
Maybe both music and skateboarding do indeed meet somewhere in the general field of improvisation, around the idea of letting go. Both can consist in times of sometimes trial, sometimes success and the latter instances reward the player with an upper level of confidence, which in turn is bound to feed spontaneity and lightheartedness. That moment where things just come together with no planning.
 
LSM: What is your relationship with the current landscape of skateboarding in general in 2021? Where would you locate yourself on the spectrum of media assiduity and consumption, if anywhere on there? And - after so many years on a board now - what are some aspects of the practice and culture that you either lament or - to the contrary - keep you excited to go and do your own thing?
 
HM: Well, since my aforementioned three-year stint in Brussels (from 2016 on), I've been taking my distances from that whole 'landscape'. At the time, I was mostly into developing my own artistic activity - and I also missed the strength to rebuild an entire skate sphere from scratch out of my immediate circle then. And then later, after I moved back to Rennes in 2019, I got to catch up with all my old skate friends (Louis, Clément, David and so many more), which definitely breathed some fresh air in and that's when I started skateboarding more frequently again.
 

"You really gotta
differenciate in between
these two worlds:
professional and
amateur skateboarding"

 
Due to this sometimes high, sometimes low relationship with skateboarding, I'm completely lost when it comes to the latest mainstream news, and really can't be bothered or enthusiastic when it comes to looking up info - in general I would qualify that my approach to the current skate landscape as quite disinterested, to be fair. To be frank, say, in every day conversations, I'm really struggling to defend the professional aspect of skateboarding these days - with the overabundance of advertorial content in the dedicated media, the domination of the industry by huge corporations complete with the inhumane treatments that entails per se, the general 'look at me' attitude, or the commercial utilization of the image of this or that given individual or group for a sponsor's benefits. I think that really distracts from the beautiful, 'original' (at least to me) values of sincere partnership, collective emulation and organic strength of the amateur skate community. You really gotta differenciate in between these two worlds: professional and amateur skateboarding, although the lines can be designed to be overwhelmingly blurry.
 

Hugo, frontside nollie to switch crooked grind. Ph.: Yoann Cailleteau
 
LSM: How about recounting your background in Rennes skateboarding throughout the years, in particular? When did you start skating there and what were your first impressions like? Eventually, what was it that drove you to become one of the scene's most recognizable ambassadors, and what memories do you cherish specifically from the « CROSSWALK » and Galerie 126 days?
 
HM: Wow! Deep cut!
 
I first took up skating in the small town of Chevaigné, fifteen kilometers up North from Rennes. I remember discovering the activity via the first Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game on the PlayStation that the son of my mother's friend, Paul Eric, had brought that day; in fact I still have vivid memories that hot summer day spent trying to play in the shade...
 

"L'Arsenal -
a world in
and of itself -
an open air
skate and life
school of sorts"

 
Got my first cheap complete from Leclerc and things were on. My parents had just moved into a house next to an industrial zone and there just happened to be this warehouse just nearby, which had super smooth concrete ground! So at first, I'd be skating there every evening after school - I must have been ten then - building sketchy ramps with my immediate neighbor: Benoît Leray. He was going to middle school in Rennes at the time, and would regularly bump into Pacôme Gabrillagues on the bus! Pacôme turned out to be going to skate the local plaza, l'Arsenal, every Wednesday; and so, we got curious about that one, went there one first time and then it just turned into this ritual where every one of our Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays were spent there - for nearly seven years straight.
 
That's where I originally met the people who, in the long run, would turn out to be my best friends. Gauthier Chambry and I actually often bring up the subject of the fabulous energy on constant display at l'Arsenal at the time: some kind of world in and of itself, with no emphasis on specific generations - an open air skate and life school of sorts where all profiles would meet, learn, banter and laugh... We used to party there at night, even. Everyone belonged there and would bring their individuality to the microcosm - I'm getting teary-eyed just reminiscing about it.
 
There, we would also bump into the skateshop guys, the pros (Dany and Geoff) and various skate friends and vagrants in the midst of their respective Rennes visits. Everybody would film, edit and screen their videos at various bars around town, most oftentimes supported by Laurent and Bertrand at Bears, and the overall emulation was just insane!
 
Then "CROSSWALK" happened - an epoch of its own, carried by all those paths formerly crossed at l'Arsenal; we traveled a lot with the crew behind that vid back then, camping left and right, crashing at friends'. That's also when we started building our first D.I.Y. spots, under Jo's influence! At that point, Pacôme and Quentin are both studying audiovisual and graphic design respectively, and so the project is also an opportunity for them to practice those skills with a certain passion.
 
For me, it was one to try and come up with a beautiful part. That video turned out to be a great contribution to Rennes, but also Brittany skateboarding: it features Artur Barros from Dinan, Jeremy Jolivet from Ploërmel... Having been so tightly involved in its makings is quite something.
 
We were quite on the move in general then, participating in Battle of Normandy, in la Ruée Vers L'Image... A time of discoveries, really! Then more sponsors started coming in, including Burn which resulted in some (meager) skate-related income, and there also was the Anagram video! Was the time of my first few trips outside the country, too...
 
Galerie 126 came together a few years later; that was also a great moment of emancipation, meeting and learning, with more possibilities now in reach, and the discovery of many different artistic practices. I started studying fine arts; at the time, my circle mainly consists in people from outside the skate microcosm, which contributes to my distancing from it that, in turn, changed my vision of the activity and maybe comforted me in my reluctancy to adhere to some of its aspects.
 

"I'm fulfilled
in that I feel
completely free,
and the rest of
the group seems
to accept that
"

 
Then we did "MEGAMIX"! Arnaud killed it there - unlocking corporate budgets to benefit the local scenes! Then there were the J'dek Prod videos, by Louis Deschamps; also Brothers Video, by David and Sebastien Riollier ; and, of course, the most magical of moments: TonicThis video encapsulates the era quite well: "J'dekboarding" really was a blast! Can't believe it's been five if not six years, already! 
 
LSM: How fulfilled are you as a Magenta rider - as of recently, with full professional status as well? How would you describe your cohesion with the rest of the group energy, and on which points would you say you complete one another enough for you to accept the role of a representative? How often do you bump into the team, how would you qualify the energy on the sessions and what is it that you're the most excited to develop with them?
 
HM: I'm fulfilled in that I feel completely free and the rest of the group seems to accept that. Their support for my piano EP "NI LE MATIN / NI L'APRES-MIDI" and part that dropped alongside the album last year, entirely filmed with my friends was something amazing - and I insist on thanking the crew there for trusting me with my vision. Maybe that's exactly where we understand one another, and what drives me to contemplate further collaborations.
 

"I also spent
my middle
school internship
at Bears, where
I got a lot
better at
fingerboarding"

 
Although, I only very rarely with the rest of the Magenta crew, so it's a bit hard for me to describe the energy on the sessions. All the ones I've spent with the team, be it in the midst of their Rennes visits or on my own trips to Bordeaux and Paris make for nothing but great memories though. Gotta admit, my current farming occupation calls for daily presence and thus, doesn't facilitate traveling around as far as I'm concerned.
 
LSM: How did your part in the Bears video come along? The footage looks particularly spontaneous - what's up with your history with the shop altogether, may you please recount that?
 
HM: It's a pretty funny part in that I didn't really film it consciously: it mostly comprises footage Louis had filmed whilst on the "NI LE MATIN" part sessions, and then some casual footage at flatbar paradise: a flatbar spot my friend Gauthier Chambry and I built, hence the spontaneous aspect!
 
Bears, Laurent, have been helping me out for a while now - since I was thirteen I believe, back when the shop was still called Bamboo and we were heavily in touch with the scenes of Le Mans, Angers and Tours - where I first met Romain Batard, Jo Dezecot, Alexis Jamet... I also spent my middle school internship at Bears, where I got a lot better at fingerboarding. Visiting the shop after skating was also a ritual - we'd crack so many jokes there, watching the videos.
 
And then Bears also pushed me by introducing me to various reps from the time period - Samuel Caillaud, notably - who were in charge of the marketing of Circa Footwear and Cartel Skateboards in Western France. I'd get boxes at the shop, and thanks to them I also got to travel to so many events around the country - King of Wood and whatnot. Surely they saw the potential champion in me [laughs].
 

"I've actually never
felt that present
before"

 
Since then, my relationships with my sponsors have evolved to the point where Bears no longer is in that intermediary position; I still go every now and then though, to gear up!
 
LSM: Beyond your artistic hyperactivity, almost paradoxically, you have this certain reputation of someone who isolates themselves in order to better create, if that makes sense. Any comment you would like to make there, perhaps? Any current projects you want to bring up? Merci !
 
HM: I don't really think of myself as isolated - I always lived in collectives and to this day, I live in a place with no doorbell, nor doors. So maybe you're talking from skating in particular. Either way, our current project of occupying that space and discovering rural savoir-faire and various farming labors is driving me to develop relationships that are most deeply anchored in the local and concrete - so, I've actually never felt that present before!

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