Interview by Arthur Derrien | Intro by Julien Bachelier
I remember these two kids who used to come to the Cosa Nostra skatepark every Wednesday afternoon and were struggling to ollie over the funbox.
Contrary to his brother Gabriel, Rémy, who was only 10 years old, had to struggle even more but we could already see a gleam in his eyes when he was skating.
When I moved to Lyon my Wednesday afternoon sessions at the skatepark rarified, but my friends over at the park still gave me news about him and told me about his recent exploits in the streets of our “beautiful" eastern suburb of Paris.
Rémy was definitely hooked on skateboarding…
A few years later, and a few centimetres higher, Rémy joined us for an Antiz tour in Belgium. It could have been hard for him to find his place among that crew of loafers; but when it’s raining every day in the country of beer, drinking enhances your integration skills…
Ever since that hop and concrete internship, Rémy has kept on following us in pretty much all of our trips and is now flying far away from his original “beautiful" Parisian suburb.
He no longer struggles to ollie over funboxes or ridiculously dangerous barriers. He also has hair on his chest and face now, but we can still see that gleam in his eyes.
At 21, I don’t know if this gleam comes from mischief, determination, kindness or simply an ingenuous look at the world, but I’m certain that he’ll grow and blossom doing what he loves with humility and respect. Rémy, you exude happiness; rush in and keep that fire burning inside you…POWER!!!
Hi Rémy! Can you tell us where you are right now and why?
Hi, I’m in Berlin right now. I’m here to skate a bit and also to spend holidays with my girlfriend. And there was the Bright Tradeshow also, so I came to see my friends. Bright is over now but I will stay for one more week to skate a bit.
Ok. Who do you skate with when in Berlin?
Usually with the Antiz guys: Sam Partaix, Hirschi (Roland Hirsch), Dominik (Dietrich), etc. Sam is in Paris right now so I’m staying at his place. I have quite a lot of friends here because there are many Frenchies. Oh and there’s Steve Forstner too.
When do you go back to Paris?
I haven’t planned on getting back to Paris for the moment because I no longer have an apartment there. I moved all my stuff to my parents’ so I don’t really have anywhere to go; I no longer have a pied-à-terre. For the moment I’m in Berlin and I’ll see what happens next. I’m going to be a nomad.
What are your plans for the summer?
I’ll try to chill with my girlfriend as much as possible because I didn’t have enough time to do so last year. And I’ll go to Helsinki in August... Maybe Copenhagen then, something like that.
So apart from that you are just going to chill and skate in Berlin?
Yes, and maybe also a small trip to the South, probably Portugal.
And after all that I heard maybe you are going to move to London in September?
Yeah probably, but it’s not 100% sure yet. It might not be in September though. It will be in September or the following spring.
Great, it’s going to be sick! What did the Parisians tell you when you told them you planned to move to London?
For some reason people in Paris are not very used to travelling to London and especially not on a regular basis. They have some prejudices, especially regarding the weather. Everyone told me I’m crazy because it’s always raining in London, aha. Personally I don’t think it is that different from Paris.
Below sequence: Nosebluntslide to stalefish pull-out in Barcelona. Ph Fabien Ponsero
And it must look quite attractive to you for skating, right?
Yeah for skating it looks sick. First, because I have loads of friends over there, but also for the spots and the fact that there is always many people skating at the same time, even during the week.
Isn’t it the case in Paris?
It is, but it gets complicated when it comes to filmers… Well, Guillaume Périmony quit his job recently so from now on we could film whenever we want actually. So, yeah Paris is cool also when you want to skate any day of the week.
What do you film for these days?
I try to save all the best tricks for the upcoming Antiz video (in 2015). I think (Guillaume) Périmony is also filming The Scene on Paris, so we’ll try to get some footage for that too. And I also had to film a clip for RVCA, but it’s already done now.
Oh yeah, we got to see it the other day and it’s sick! When does it come out?
I don’t know exactly, but soon.
"I ended up on the floor with bits of broken teeth in my mouth..."
You couldn’t skate for a while because your back hurt. Can you tell us more about that?
I couldn’t skate much for four or five months, but it was nothing serious finally. The problem was I didn’t know what the problem was. I think it was due to an excess of skating and alcohol. It wasn’t a knock or something like that, rather an accumulation of various negative stuff. I strained on my back while it needed some rest. Then I started stretching and it got better.
But you didn’t do anything special? You didn’t go to the physiotherapist’s or something?
I did. I saw a lot of them. I ruined myself going to osteopaths and back specialists because it’s very expensive. All they could finally tell me was: ‘’you need to stretch’’. But now it’s summer so it’s hard to find some time to take care of your body; you’re always skating, you go out for a couple of beers at night, etc. It’s easier in winter.
When I first got told you couldn’t really skate, I thought it was because of that crazy slam on a bump to bar I had seen on Facebook a while ago. Can you tell us what happened?
I was skating in Paris, and had been trying the same trick for nearly one hour as usual. At some point a guy opened a door which was opening to the street, a sort of emergency back-door, and we didn’t see each other so my head hit the door.
Oh shit! He opened it at the very last moment so you couldn’t do anything?
I think so. And I was super concentrated; I was determined to land my trick, so I assume I was rushing head first and didn’t see anything. I ended up on the floor with bits of broken teeth in my mouth and my head was cut open quite severely.
Did you pass out?
Yeah, I woke up on the floor in a pool of blood; I didn’t understand anything... I also freaked out a bit because in France, firemen are the first people to come and ensure emergency care and I felt like they don’t know much about it... I found it weird and quite scary. Finally everything went right.
So you stayed in hospital for a few days then?
No. They just put staples in my head and I got out of hospital the same night. Then I went to Morocco to surf.
Not so good for scarring over?!
Not really, but I wore a swimming cap, aha. We were going to incredibly nice spots to bathe, out in the sticks and I was wearing a fucking orange swimming cap...
Who were you with?
Just my girlfriend, so it was ok.
She must have laughed a bit though, aha. And when was it by the way?
It was in March.
Did you get some rest after that trip to Morocco or did you get back on your board as soon as you got home?
I did get some rest; I had difficulties getting back into skating. It was very different from an ankle injury for example. When your head is involved you have more apprehension, but in the end it wasn’t that serious. A friend of mine made a book about Paris in which you can see a photo of this accident though and you can now find that book pretty much everywhere - so each time I open one of them I feel bad.
I understand, it must be a bit traumatic. Which book is it?
It’s called De Paris.
Oh yeah I saw it, it’s really a good one. Who did it?
Thomas Busuttil aka Zeb.
You’ve been to South Africa recently with Converse. Can you tell us about that trip?
Converse have hosted many Cons Spaces throughout the world this year and each time they have asked me if I wanted to go. Obviously I’ve always said yes because it allows me to travel for free. In the end that Cons Space in South Africa only lasted one day, so we then stayed for ten days, just skating street in order to film a little clip from the trip. We have been brought to crazy good spots; we were on top! The edit should be online by the end of the month. There is no photo article to be released simultaneously so we will put it online quicker.
Ok, so you were just going out to skate, and try to film some lines without any pressure.
Yep. It was very interesting because our tour guide really knew all the spots. We’ve been to some seriously sketchy places a few times, because Johannesburg is really ghetto in places. But since he was a local, he knew where we could afford to go and what we could afford to do or not. It was definitely not the type of place you would go when you are just on a holiday trip.
"We were out in the sticks and I was wearing a fucking orange swimming cap"
Did shit happen to you?
One day we’ve been to Hillbrow, South Africa’s most dangerous district, and some guy came on the spot with a huge knife. We had somehow planned such situations, we were like thirty or something, because we know how sketchy the place was. So that guy came in some sort of a non-aggressive way with a huge knife, but since we couldn’t speak the language he didn’t do anything and we ran away in all directions! The day after he found out how to contact us and left a message explaining that he was an OG from the district and had come to make sure everything would be fine for us. He had come to protect us but we didn’t understood at all, so we freaked out and all fled.
How did he manage to get your contact?!
I have absolutely no idea. He was a pacifist who runs an association... So in that particular case it was fine, but despite that when you are in that neighbourhood you can feel the sketchy vibe and you know you have to be careful.
Did you have time for tourism? Have you been to the Cape of Good Hope and all that?
We did have some time for tourism; it was so sick! But we didn’t go out that much at night.
Who was your tour guide by the way? Was it Sam Clark?
No. Sam is from Cape Town too, but our guide was a guy named Luke Jackson; he works for Converse. Everyone lives in Cape Town over there, it’s safer. There are mostly young people, there’s the sea, amazing landscapes, and I think life is pretty cheap there.
Who from Converse were you with?
David Stenström and Felipe Bartolome, a young killer from Madrid. We were just three, plus Neil Chester for three days. There was also Niki (Waltl) who was filming, and our guide Luke. It was really cool; we had a great crew.
I heard you have an Antiz tattoo, so I would like you to explain what really is Antiz’s philosophy and lifestyle...
I think most people already know Antiz and all that stuff. The brand is more than ten years old now. That’s actually on this occasion (Antiz’s ten year birthday party) that I got this tattoo. It was two years ago I think. We were all at Juju’s house (Bachelier) in Spain. It’s a big house in a village, so we decided to party there. Vincent Guillermin was there and he had brought his tattoo machine so every night we had a tattoo session. It was really funny because we drew shitty sketches on paper sheets or even on Post-Its - nothing was really thought through.
Who had the worst one according to you?
Hugo tattooed Lars’ leg (from Carhartt), but he had never used a tattoo machine before so we realised at the end that the tattoo wasn’t straight at all.
What did he get tattooed?
Just the ‘’A’’ from Antiz, but completely crooked! And there was also James, the guy who works for Monster, he also got the ‘’A’’ tattooed on his arm because he was completely drunk. The day after he puked everywhere and realised what he had done! It was fun. We had also skated the small spots nearby. It’s crazy in Spain, you can go to any small city and you are sure to find a plaza to skate.
Let’s get back to Antiz. Is there one single filmer for the whole video or not?
The team is quite big, so there’s still Paul Labadie who films when he has some time and now Ludo (Azemar) helps a lot too.
So it won’t be VX anymore, just HD?
Yes it’s going to be HD. We try to have something relevant with HD images only, because when you mix both formats it gets messy. Of course there is little VX footage but we will work it out so as to have something consistent. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t film on VX that much.
When you are in Paris, do you film on HD or VX with Périmony?
Both actually, we have the choice. If it’s a big trick we go HD, if not we use the VX.
That’s convenient. Not many filmers bother carrying two cameras and adapting to their friends’ wishes...
Yeah, that’s cool. I feel like not many people still film on VX anyway, looks like they are all dying one after another as years go by.
There are still a few survivors in London...
In any case Guillaume’s VX has a hard time, he has to fix it every month...
For how long have you been only skateboarding?
Well... I’m 22, and quit university at 19... So I would say about three years.
What did you study at university?
I was doing an Applied Foreign Languages degree, in English and Spanish. By the end of the first year, I decided I would stop if the second year remained the same as the first one if nothing changed in the way we were studying. Nothing changed, so I quit overnight and never went back. My teachers were sending me messages saying: ‘’will you ever come back?’’ And I answered: ‘’No, sorry’’. From then on I’ve been only skating and everything is fine like that. I never really had the chance to travel when I was a kid, because it wasn’t part of my parents’ habits to do so, aside from a journey to Portugal every year. So I made the most of it and travelled a lot. I’m really glad I did it; I’ve seen so many things.
"They put staples in my head and I got out of hospital the same night"
And do you earn enough for a living?
As I am very often on tour, I don’t really have a rent to pay, so it’s all good. I don’t really have any expenses.
Yeah, you often get your food paid and you don’t have a rent to pay each month.
I feel like many Antiz skaters do that - have a nomad way of life and try to live life to the fullest. Yeah, times are hard these days. When you have an apartment and all that stuff, you have to work if you want to get by.
Do you think you will get back to studies after your skate career, or are you over it and you want to work straight away? Possibly in the skate industry?
If I really get interested into something, I think I could go back to studying, but I’d rather see myself working straight away. Once you’ve dropped out of school, you don’t really want to get back in. I feel like school is a traumatic experience in France. It looks so much better here in Germany. They don’t have classes in the afternoon, and the teachers’ role really is to help students, not to bring them down. It’s much more chill here, and I’m not making it up, even my German girlfriend says so.
Well, I think we are good now. Anything else you want to talk about?
Hmm, no I think we’re good.