Hadrien is part of the legendary Blobys crew and the man behind some of the best Paris montages to date! He began filming with a group of friends and by now is influencing and sculpting a new generation of Parisian skaters through his position as the French Adidas team manager and his involvement in the recently opened Arrow & Beast Paris store. All of this, while juggling and maintaining family, a house, and almost most importantly, his garden.
There’s no real fall, everyone is just in so many projects now. Back in the days, we were just going out every day all together doing stuff. Going out every day with no project, not even trying to do an edit or anything, just skating around – but now everyone gets asked for footage from this and that company. It’s impossible to collect anything that actually represents a period or anything. It was just a good crew, we all learned skating together in Bastille when we were young. We kept skating together and started filming, but after a while when people started getting sponsors and were getting paid to skateboard, of course, they are going to have to give footage to different brands and participate in different projects, which makes it harder for us as a crew to make something.
All the time! Everyone has a different life now, everyone has a girlfriend, has a job, has stuff to do. So, of course, we don’t go out and skate every day, but we see each other all the time. For skating or also not skating.
At one point, we were selling stuff in different shops, different countries, Japan, the US, and European countries. It was really rewarding to see shops order our stuff, like, these guys all the way in Australia want to order our shit. At the same time, it is our crew from when we were kids, it’s not a brand. It was nice to do it and see it could work and we could’ve made it bigger, but at the same time, it’s just a couple of friends hanging out and that’s what it should be.
I was pretty much the guy in charge, but everyone was giving their opinion. I personally never did anything that not everyone would agree on. Either everyone agrees or we don’t do shit. The people that were producing the clothing were the same people that were producing for Polar, so it was through a friend. We actually went to Portugal and visited the factory and it was fun times but never actually a business. We never made any money off of it.
We still have a bit of stock left, it’s in a basement somewhere, let’s see what happens, probably hand it out to some guys at the spot.
Not in this basement.
You should see the storage under the roof. I’m the kind of guy, especially when it comes to my friends, if I like someone’s first board, I’ll buy two, so that I can skate one and keep one forever. Some of these things, I only have one of and never skated them. It’s more important to have it even if I only look at it every three years rather than actually using it. Lots of memories in here. It takes space, all this stuff. Same with the cameras, I still have all the VX I ever filmed with.
I moved to the US in 2014 for a year. I finished school and then I wanted to take a year off, do some stuff. I had a green card because my dad was living in the US and I was about to lose it if I didn’t go and spend some time there. I knew SF was a sick place to skate. I moved with my girl, just for fun. When we got there, we realized it was fucking expensive. We had an apartment that was pretty nice, but it was like $1,600 a month. It was a studio apartment, we slept in the main room and that was it. It was in the perfect spot, I think, 12th and Market, right in the center, and not far from the new skatepark. It’s not so new anymore, but when I was there, it was getting built. I skated it once, it was opened a week before I left. Then we did a 40-day trip around the US, and by the end, I felt the US was a sick place to be, but I’d rather be in France. I like the vibe better.
I started when I was 14 or 15 and then filmed for almost 5 years before doing anything with the footage. I had a shit ton of stuff put on the side, but everything was filmed super shitty. The worst camera, clip-on fisheye, the worst stuff. Then I actually bought a real camera. When I got a VX2100, I was like, “I’m going to start doing something with this.” Two to three years later, we did the Blobys video. 50 minutes, everyone had parts. We did a premiere in Paris, everyone was there. We were all hyped. It was in SF probably 3 years later that I actually got my hands on a VX1000 and I was like, “Okay, this is how it should be.” It’s not that I didn’t like the first video, we were all hyped, but it wasn’t the look I was looking for. I filmed with the VX for a little over ten years and started filming for different projects, and more and more, it was important to have HD. So I bought a DSLR with a fisheye. It was the shittiest thing I could get my hands on. Super shaky, the colors weren’t good. At one point, I was like, “If I want to keep doing this, I need to buy something I’m hyped on.” So I bought an HPX with a fisheye and I’ve been using it for five or six years. It’s similar to the VX, like an HD-VX pretty much, except it weighs a ton.
Back in the days, when you had a camera, you were the only one able to capture all of this. Nowadays, kids get filmed with different iPhones, HVXs everywhere. No one really cares about the footage. If we said, we’ll go skate this spot with the camera, we would skate it for real because we weren’t going to go back; and it wasn’t like another camera was going to point at us anytime soon. Not that we would pressure ourselves, but we were going to do something, we wouldn’t just go there. That’s the main difference. Nowadays, we film for a project, and back in the days, we would just do it to it, without a real reason.
After I came back from SF, I worked some different non-skate related stuff. I worked at a bank doing the register, counting 60 grand every night, it was crazy. I worked for a restaurant for a year. At one point, I was like, “If I want to keep filming and do all this, I might as well see if there’s a position anywhere.” I sent out a résumé to ten different people, pretty much the only ten people I knew in skating. I didn’t get an answer for a year or something. I heard through Joseph Biais that Adidas was trying to hire a new TM because Vivien Feil, who did it at the time, started working full-time for Magenta. I knew the guy that used to be the Euro TM, Neil Chester, from the Converse days because all the guys were riding for Converse. I sent him a résumé – maybe it was even Kevin that sent him my résumé. I remember going to the interviews. I was so stressed because I thought the image of Adidas was pretty weird in France. In my opinion, I wasn't the best guy to represent it and I kind of went all in and told them I wasn't really a big fan of all of this. This could be done this or that way. Not that I would know everything nor was I the one guys who knows all. In the skating that I liked, it didn’t really fit in. I remember coming back from the second or third interview thinking maybe I was a little too harsh. I was really down to have a job in skating. I was out filming one day and I get this call from the guy who used to do marketing over there, Alex Rist. He was like, “We’re down for you working with us.” I was so hyped. So I started from there six, seven years ago.
"If you ask kids these days what videos they’re looking forward to, it’s their homies’."
There is no good way to do it, or no exact way anyway. There’s a skill set and that’s knowing about skateboarding in general. For me, I’m TM in France, so I know how the French scene is, but I don’t really know how the German, the English, or the Spanish scene is. In Paris, I know everyone, so it’s easy to have an overview of everything. And then filming for eleven years, I had filmed with most of the people in France and known a lot of these guys as friends. I think there’s no real skill set, it’s just about choosing people that go together well. If you just grab random guys everywhere that don’t want to skate together, it’s not a team, it’s just a couple of individuals. The goal is to, outside of their level, have people that want to skate together and show something together. If you go on a trip with five guys that don’t know each other, it either clicks or it explodes. There’s a real risk factor. In the beginning, we just grabbed a lot of the kids from Republique. They liked skating together and it clicked.
It’s at an early stage, so it’s the same thing: trying to find people that are down to do projects together, that need some help in terms of product, and a way of conveying their skating. These guys already skate well, but by putting them together, mixing them up, and putting the strong points of everyone together, it makes something way better than if they all went all-in as a single person. It’s always better as a mix. For me at least, I think parts are kind of old-fashioned. Even when I do parts now, I ask for people to have friends come in and mix up their footage. One guy is not boring, but it’s not relevant today. For me, skating is about skating with your friends, it’s not showing the hardest trick or biggest rail.
It’s just so easy to create content these days. The kids I film with, they don’t watch a video that’s 40 minutes long, that’s just it. I would watch it and enjoy it if it’s well put together, if there’s a feel to the whole thing. Even a part is already pretty long. I remember when the first single skate part came out. It was a Shane O’Neill part for three bucks. I was super hyped on watching it and I remember the Berrics website crashed because there were too many people going on it to buy it. It was good because a percentage would go to the skater and the filmer. Three bucks is not expensive, anyone could afford it. However, I remember thinking if it goes out like this, that’s kind of the end of it because the hardest part is getting everyone together and aligned. But yeah, single parts kind of fucked it up. That’s why I like edits with everyone mixed. To me, that is like a full-length in today’s standards. If it’s less than ten minutes, most people will hopefully still watch it, and at least, you get to see the best of everything. It makes sense that kids don’t pay attention to it anymore, they have new videos coming out every day, sometimes five in a day. Of course they will not see everything and analyze it the way we did. I watched Menikmati 500 times when I was a kid. Nowadays, no video stands out. Every video is a video. If you ask kids these days what videos they’re looking forward to, it’s their homies’.
Yeah, cause when you can relate to a skater, that’s when you like it. That’s why I like the old videos I made with all of us together. Not because I made them or filmed most of it, but it’s because it’s all my homies. You can relate a lot more to people you know and have skated with than a random guy that skates a 20-stair handrail like it’s a ledge. That’s impressive, but now there are hundreds of these guys.
There’s so much stuff. There’s one I really liked, the Pop Trading video. I thought the HD 4:3 was really good in this one, the way they put it all together. It was single parts, but it wasn’t too long of a part every time. During the past year, I think it’s the one I’ve enjoyed the most. A huge portion of the video is filmed fisheye, that’s what I like too, because these days, it’s pretty rare to have a full video with almost only fisheye.
The legit filmers do, but most of the kids don’t. It makes sense when you see that the HPX fisheye is getting more expensive and being sold like a collectible Dunk or some shit. But at the same time, there are a lot of other setups that maybe don’t appeal to them as much as the HPX, but that they could afford with a fisheye for maybe less money than just the HPX by itself. A TRV with a fisheye looks dope, it’s maybe not the camera of today, but it still looks insanely good, is very good to use, very reliable, and super good in low light. People are used to the HPX look, so they buy one and it’s four to six grand for the fisheye, so they end up buying a weird Opteka fisheye that doesn’t really do the camera justice. If you buy a high-end camera, of course you’ll have to put in big bucks for the fisheye. It’s crazy that all these guys that film 98% long lens or have been filming skateboarding for however long have never owned a fisheye. Especially when you film skating. When I grew up, the videos were almost fisheye only, except when you skated the biggest rail and it didn’t fit.
I’ve been into gardening for quite some years now. My first year of really doing it was 2014 or 2015. I’ve always had an indoor plant in my house, but it was more getting smoked on than anything else. When I actually started doing it, I bought this tiny piece of land for almost no money outside of Paris. I just wanted a place to chill during the weekends, have some chill time with my girl. We we’re like, “Let’s plant some potatoes, let’s do this…” and then we realized the good feeling it brings. It takes a lot of time and effort, but when it’s done, it’s really rewarding. This is something you started with a seed that’s a millimeter long and now it’s producing a kilo of tomatoes. The potatoes I fed my kid earlier are like the sixth generation. Every year, we keep some and we put them back in the ground the year after. I would say gardening is the biggest passion of my life after my family. Skateboarding is insane, but gardening is what humans should be doing. Us skateboarders, we’re locked in this little bubble and we don’t realize it. Having a family definitely changes your view on things, it puts everything in the right order. I’ve been filming for 15 years only focusing on this, and then you realize nothing will ever be more important than raising this child.
He’s definitely going to try at one point. Is he going to like it? It’s up to him. Hopefully he likes gardening, that’s one thing I’ll be pretty hard with him about. At least he’ll know how everything grows. When the world turns to shit, he’ll be able to grow everything for himself.
"When the world turns to shit, he’ll be able to grow everything for himself."