The idea for this one was to take a look at this Parisian crew’s group dynamic and show how they interact with each other. It’s not the easiest thing to get across in an interview, especially when it has to be conducted in another language and the subjects have their own rare dialect of that said language (I’m not fluent in Blobys), but we thought it was worth a shot.
As skateboarders they’re obviously all pretty unique, but to us it’s the way they’ve grown to feed off each other’s energy that really makes them stand out. It’s rad to see how a group of childhood friends have come to be recognised for their own individual merits by drawing inspiration from each other. We’re not saying that you’ll see Karl (Salah) do early grab wallrides any time soon but being around one another is what keeps them motivated. It’s what keeps them bouncing around ideas for new tricks and it’s certainly part of what’s led their popularity (particularly on social media) to spiral out of control.
Anyway a couple of months ago we managed to get them all to meet at their favourite bar for a chat. It was loud, it was a little messy, but hopefully it’ll give you an idea of what the Blobys are actually like.
Interview by Arthur Derrien
All photos in Paris by Alex Pires
Arthur: I know you guys have been asked this a few times but let’s get it straight once and for all. Why are you called the Blobys?
Greg Cuadrado and Vincent Touzery: Kev’s good at explaining that one!
Kevin Rodrigues: Wait what? My version’s not a lie is it? I swear we did used to do that.
Greg and Hadrien Buhannic: No it’s not haha, you’re actually good at telling that one.
Kevin: Ah okay haha. Well it comes from when we were kids… We were between 12 and 14 right?
Vincent: I dunno it depends… Val (Valentin Julant) was probably at least 18 already, haha.
Kevin: Anyway we’d always sleep over at Hadrien’s house and sometimes we’d do this thing where we’d wrap ourselves up in our sleeping bags and fight. We called them Bloby wars.
Greg: Yeah and around then we all took part in this French video contest thing called ‘La Rue Est Vers L’image’ for which we needed a team name and we gave that. I guess it just stuck…
Arthur: Who were the initial members of the crew?
Val: I guess us (Greg, Roman, Kevin, Hadrien, Vincent) minus Karl.
Hadrian: Plus Salim (aka Croco) and Mathias (Labelle) right?
Greg: No, no, no, let’s get this straight: it started off with just me.
Arthur: Which is why you are now the leader haha.
Greg: Which is why it’s still more or less is just me. They surrendered the name to me.
Arthur: What about you Val? You are from Paris originally right?
Val Yeah but not from the centre. From La Défence…
Val: Oh wait the way I met them is actually quite funny!
Everyone: Oh yeah the beanie story! Haha!
Val: Ok so every weekend I’d skate this stair spot at La Défence with the guys from my area. This one time we get to the spot and I wanted to skate the 7-stair but there was a massive shit at the bottom. Like it was huge. So I look around to see if there’s anything I can use to clean it up and I notice a beanie on the stairs so I’m like ‘fuck it I’ll just use this’. So I do, but as I start jumping down them I see a load of skaters heading towards the spot. It was Hadrien, Greg and a bunch of others guys. Maybe even Kev? Fuck I don’t remember… Anyway they show up and ask my crew: ‘Who used this beanie to clean up that shit?!’ After overhearing the conversation I man up and say that it was me. Only it was loads of them, some even quite famous in Paris and all pretty intimidating… I was convinced they were gonna beat me up or something haha.
Arthur: Nothing happened though?
Val: Nah I confessed and they were like ‘okay you told us the truth’ and it was fine.
Arthur: And you even ended up becoming best friends with some of them… Cute. What about that Thomas Leclerc kid? He was a bit younger but he killed it in your first video (Blobysation – look it up!). Does he not really skate anymore or something?
Hadrien: I think he’s just more into music and graphic design these days.
Greg: Thomas is one of those guys that’ll just be the best at whatever he tries though. I heard he’s killing it with what he’s doing at moment. He’s selling quite a lot of work and stuff.
Arthur: What about Croco (Salim)?
Hadrien: He’s a locksmith and lives in Brest now.
Arthur: Okay and what point did Karl enter the picture?
Karl Salah: I arrived in Paris like two years after you guys did that video competition thing didn’t I?
Val: I just remember Karl doing switch flip back tails.
Kevin: Yeah I just remember seeing him skate and being like: ‘who the fuck is this guy?!’
Roman Gonzalez: We met him through Damien Bulle when he used to work at Nozbone.
Arthur: You were skating loads when you were in Lyon, but barely at all when you were in Paris right Karl?
Karl: Yeah when I got to Paris I actually wasn’t skating at all.
Arthur: That’s why you were saying that stuff about the cruiser board that’s in the Hélas office Hadrien?
Hadrien: Yeah, one of the first times we met Karl he stepped on that thing and did a knee-high nollie flip first try outside a party. I didn’t really know he skated and remember being like: ‘wow, okay, so that’s how it is…’
Arthur: Did these guys kind of get you back into skating then Karl?
Karl: I don’t know… I’d skate with Damien every now and then and they’d be around often. Slowly I started linking up with them, then Luidgi started giving me Cons shoes and little by little I’d start skating more. After that I started going on some Converse trips with them…
Arthur: Funny how you went from not skating at all when you moved here to being the first one at the spot and skating every single day.
Roman: Yeah it’s weird, the first few times we saw him we knew he used to be sick at skating but he didn’t look like a skater at all. As in his clothes and stuff…
Karl: That must have been at least like seven years ago or something though because it’s when Damien first started working at Nozbone.
Arthur: I bet you all worked at Nozbone at one point or another right?
Val: Probably… I think even Vincent did two days there once.
Vincent: Shut up! I was there for way longer than that. It was like two months or something!
Val: Yeah two months during which you took a shitload of days off ha!
Kevin: Oh yeah I remember! You even thought you liked it a one point.
Vincent: I did! From 10 to 12 you’ve got shit to do so time flies, then at one everyone arrives and you’re stoked because you get to hang out with them and after that well… Yeah I guess you’re bummed because you see them all head out for a skate…
Greg: So you’re bummed from half one to seven, haha.
Arthur: And right now which ones of you work and which ones get to just skate?
Karl: I help Clément (Brunel) out with Hélas at the office a bit…
Hadrian: I do a bit non-skate video stuff.
Arthur: And you work at the Supreme shop Val?
Roman: I do some work with my dad.
Arthur: And Kev, Greg and Vincent you guys make enough from skating to just do that. What about this Bloby language you guys have? Can you explain what the deal is with that?
Roman: What do you mean? It’s normal. Everyone has their own words that they make up.
Arthur: I’ve known some of you for almost ten years but I still don’t understand some of the words you use. I don’t know how normal that is…
Greg: Yeah I guess we do take it quite far sometimes.
Roman: But it just comes naturally.
Karl: Yeah basically if one of us mispronounces a word then often we’ll be like: ‘wow the way you pronounced that is hilarious’ and then we will all say it that way until it then mutates into something else and so on.
Kev: Or someone like Paul (Grund) will take one of our words, go back to Bordeaux, come back, say it differently and then we’ll start saying it like him…
Arthur: Can you guys give me an example and explain it?
Greg: Okay let’s look at the etymology of the word ‘jasooon’, haha. It means ‘I’m hungry’. Slang for ‘I’m hungry’ in French is ‘j’ai une dalle’ and we said it enough times quickly for it to start sounding like our pronunciation of ‘Jason Dill’. From then on it just became ‘jasooon’.
Kevin: That one’s logical.
Greg: In fact I’m surprised that nobody else came up with it, haha.
Arthur: Similar deal with ‘marku’ then?
Greg: Yeah. When we say ‘on se marku’ it means ‘lets go’. It started from the expression ‘on se pète’ (French slang for ‘let’s go’) and went through a bunch of transformations until we were saying something similar to ‘Mark Suciu’ that we then contracted into ‘marku’.
Karl: That one went very far…
Kevin: It usually just comes from us simplifying the words to make them easier to pronounce.
Karl: Yeah saying these ones feels better than saying normal words.
Val: The problem is that you then end up using way less words…
Kevin: It’s pretty useful though, like if you’re trying to talk shit on someone. I wonder if when we’re 30 we’ll still be speaking like this… It would be pretty funny.
Val: Easy guys, 30 is in three years for me…
Arthur: For how long have you been filming all of these dudes Hadrien?
Hadrien: Fuck I don’t even know… Ages. Like everyone we just started off with one of those tiny cameras and I slowly got more and more into it.
Arthur: But you didn’t film that first Blobys edit that was submitted for that video competition thing we mentioned earlier (La Rue Est Vers L’image)?
Hadrien: No I was skating in that one. But right after that we skated and filmed at Austerlitz (stair/ledge spot by Bercy) every day for about three years.
Vincent: Ah those were the days… We even built ourselves a little hut there.
Vincent: Yeah it used to get really windy there so we built a place for us to chill, haha. It was sick, we used to all huddle up under that thing.
Arthur: What did you build it out of?
Greg: Just bits of wood and crap we’d find on the spot. We had to pretty much rebuild it every time we wanted to use it…
Val: I bet the people working in the offices opposite the spot used to trip out on us…
Roman: We also found a way from the spot into this secret corridor bit underground in the metro station. There wasn’t really anything to skate in there but we’d go when it would get too cold/windy…
Kev: Wasn’t there footage of Youcef (one of their mates) skating naked down there?
Val: Yeah that was for that ‘King of tro-mé’ thing. Skating naked underground was one of the challenges. It was like a King Of The Road but just in the city’s metro stations and four crews participated. We had loads of weird challenges to do; it was so much fun! Rémy Taveira’s brother organised it…
Roman: Oh yeah and in the end they self-proclaimed themselves winners because they were the only ones that actually made a video! Haha.
Arthur: What’s the deal with those Blobys t-shirts? Who drew that logo? It’s sick.
Val: Kev did.
Kev: Yeah I drew it on my iPhone, haha.
Arthur: What, with just your finger?
Kev: Yeah. Then I walked to the top of my road and got it printed on a jumper. Then we stuck it on a load of t-shirts… We want to do more but we don’t really know where to begin.
Arthur: Can you tell us a little bit about this edit that’s coming out on our site? I could have sworn at first it was supposed to just be a short clip and it’s turned into a half hour mini-video.
Hadrian: Yeah we were planning on putting it out sooner but didn’t and then went to Barcelona and couldn’t not put that footage in there. We basically got a bit carried away with it. I think I might take some stuff out but it’s tough…
Val: You can probably start by taking out all of Greg’s footage, haha!
Arthur: Have you guys been getting stuff with the HD Camera since you finished working on that?
Arthur: What’s that going to be for?
Hadrian: We don’t know yet… We still need to get all this VX footage out so we won’t be releasing the HD stuff for a bit.
Arthur: All right I’m gonna go for a piss.
(Greg picks up the phone that’s still recording and speaks into it)
Greg: Fucking hell he’s really doing our heads in with his stupid interview isn’t he boys?
(Everyone bursts out laughing)
Greg: So stoked that I just thought of doing that, haha. It’s a joke Arthur don’t worry.
Arthur: Anyone got anything they’d like to add?
Alex Pires: Do you guys ever trip out when you see ‘The Blobys’ written everywhere? It must be weird seeing it being mentioned on the Transworld site and stuff?
Vincent: I don’t know… So many skate videos come out every day that it doesn’t really feel like that much of a big deal.
Kevin: Well I tripped out when I saw Maxime Géronzi use it on his Instagram to describe a trick. I think it was like a 50-50 to rainbow rail or something and he called it a ‘50-50 Bloby out’ because it was a bit unconventional. That was sick.