After we uploaded Edouard Depaz’s RAVE x Vague Part to the web last week we thought we’d treat you to a sneak peek of the latest mag by uploading Edouard’s full interview from issue 17. Read what DouDou had to say below! If you haven’t got a copy yet, support your local SOS shop right now during these tough times and hopefully they can chuck in a copy with your order! If this isn’t possible copies are also available here via our shop.
Big fan of man like Edouard Depaz. Love his skating, love his art (Delapaix) and from what I’ve been made aware of, a fan of everything in between. This is Edouard’s first feature in a European magazine so we’re honoured to have his lush photos as well as his lovely pen wielding outputs alongside an interview conducted by mag fave and long time pal Val Bauer. Thanks to all involved in this one!
Yo. How are you for real? Good isn’t an answer.
Well sorry, but I do feel good, despite the current situation where no one is able to live a ‘normal’ life and even more skating-wise going on trips etc… I feel fine, skating and drawing a lot, being around with the boys…
I feel fine too. It seems like we’ve been enjoying the season even more because of the quarantine ending. I don’t miss trips too much because we’ve had a good summer here.
True that, we were pretty lucky with that no-tourist Parisian summer, the city was empty.
How long have we known each other now?
Hmmmm… I’d say 2011/2012? I met you and the crew in Lille, but I knew you from magazines already… No wait, you slept at my place in Bordeaux years from that and stole my friend’s Lacoste hat hahaha.
Well true. But I feel like I’ve apologized 200 hundred times since and I was fifteen.
Haha yeah and we’ve forgiven you! It’s more a joke for us than anything now.
So let’s try to make this interview not too boring for each of us. But it’s also your first personal feature in a European magazine, am I wrong ?
I guess I never really searched it, and when it could’ve happened I didn’t take it too seriously so it didn’t work out, blame on me haha.
Ok so I guess you should start with telling people the basics. Can you talk a bit about your childhood and where you’re from.
I was born in Paris but grew up in Bordeaux, where I feel like I’m from, growing up in ‘smaller cities’ feels like a chance in some ways, being more able to do stuff without proper consequences.
What do you mean?
I mean that cops weren’t into us as much as they could in other bigger cities, and the fact that knowing a lot of people you could easily find parties to go to, meet up with people, cruise around and find spots without having to take the metro every time, the beach was 45 minutes bus ride, nothing really mattered at that time and everything was easy.
How did you start drawing? What did it bring you?
I can’t really remember when I started drawing, my father was a graphic designer and at the time I was a kid, MS paint was the most sophisticated software computers gave us, so we had to draw, draw, draw… Then after school I did a licence in graphic design, it felt like the right thing to do.
Would you do it again?
Definitely, but I would’ve been more assiduous… When you’re 19 you feel like being the king of the world, no adults should talk to you like a superior human being, and nothing really matters (or at least I felt like that) which it’s not.
How did you start tattooing then?
I started tattooing thanks to Tolia. He really hyped me up ! But I’ve always been interested in it, got my first one when I was pretty young and I think that the whole process is crazy, thinking that you’re going to mark someone and he/she is going to wear it until the end, it’s a pretty unique feeling but also a big responsibility…
Some of them might cover your tattoos at some point too man!
Then they can call me for some cover ups, I’d be glad to make that experience work.
How long have you been tattooing for now? And where are you at in this process? How do you actually see tattooing?
I’ve been tattooing for a year and a half more or less, and at this point I finally feel I’m having fun doing it haha! Before, every tattoo was a struggle. I had to be 1000% into it because like I said before, it’s marking someone for life. But yeah, I feel comfortable, I think you can see the evolution on your skin, from the first one to the 16th or 17th I’ve done on you.
Don’t worry I still like them all and don’t feel like covering any of them.
If you feel like covering them at some point, just think of them as memories, moments we shared and not as tattoos and the idea of covering them will go away. But yeah, my friend Fev is about to open a second-hand/concept store where I might have a proper room, to open my own private parlour… Really hyped on this!
You were talking about the responsibility of tattooing and the struggle when beginning. How do you handle the pressure on a 10 levels scale?
Hmmm… I’d say 6 or 7/10 now but I don’t think the pressure will ever leave. The level will decrease at some point with experience and the habit. But someone saying that they never felt pressure while tattooing is either a liar, someone who has always tattooed drunk, arrogant or the boss of them all. I know that at the beginning I could stress out in the middle of a tattoo because the machine wasn’t working right, I was too afraid to ask the person to move a bit on the left because I wasn’t comfortable in that position or even the lines weren’t as proper as they are now… But even now I’m always under pressure, from the moment I put on gloves until I cut the power and clean my setup. It wouldn’t feel the right way if I weren’t I guess. And that’s the least you can give to the customer. Even if you’re far from being pro, let them think you are and give your best!
I see tattooing not as much as a passion like skateboarding, but it’s still a passion and it’s growing and growing, I’m getting more and more knowledge about it, the artists, the history, the currents… It’s fascinating, really! And the fact that skateboarding and tattooing are so close makes me feel like it was kind of meant to be, plus the graphic design knowledge and I’m good to go!
You were telling me stuff the other day about comparing personality and style of skating. How would you describe yours?
Really? Well, I’d say without control over any situations and a bit brutal hahaha, like I prefer going straight into a wall and see what happens next rather than flipping in and out knowing exactly what’s going to happen next… We thought about that the other night and it feels like something real. You’re a good example as well, you have an obsessive personality and on your skateboard you would be able to go back on a spot 9 or 10 times to get that trick done. I think everyone can relate to it (on some level of course).
While I am at it, besides Brad Cromer, who are your main inspirations? Skating and non-skating wise.
Skating wise is so complicated but non-Euro would be Jake Johnson, Dela and Al Davis but Euro wise, that would be my friends, you guys rule!
Which Euros then?
The whole Yes boys I’d say, Remy, you, Joseph, Marca, Fev… And out of that circle there is Alex (Richard), Ibu, Felipe, Pepe, Matlok, Jamie…. I could continue that list for ever and ever, there are so many incredible skaters in Europe at the moment, and everyone of them is a source of inspiration. And I know that by the time I’ve finished telling you this, new names are going to pop out of my mind. Non-skating wise, there is no real list of artists that gives me inspiration, but currents. I absolutely love engravings from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, neoclassicism or graffiti. I couldn’t pick between Delacroix, Malevitch or Basquiat. Everything/everyone is an inspiration at its own level!
If you could pick a single word to describe your relationship with skating which one would it be?
Not possible so I’ll give you two, destructive and joyful haha. Destructive because it takes way too much time, if you’re really into it, you won’t be able to do anything around it, and it can cause serious nervous breakdowns, madness and other pretty lame behaviors and I guess I’m pretty well placed to say that haha. But also joyful because of all the incredible memories, cultures, times and human beings you’re able to meet and grow up with while skateboarding.
Lame. Why would you use that word?
Because it is! And thanks to my temper, I’ve already shouted at every one of you guys once at least, spent whole evenings in the corner of a room being ridiculously angry at myself or you guys for no reason and gave you guys bad vibes… But at least I’m aware of it now so a fault confessed is half-redressed?
Well, it might be subjective as I behave quite the same sometimes but I wouldn’t say being emotionally irrational about skateboarding is lame. Everything that goes up must go down too. I think it’s pretty normal. That said, yes of course, there is way more important stuff going in the world right now.
Yeah you may be right on this one, it’s just that feeling angry at myself and taking you guys into my dumb mood makes me even angrier at myself… Endless circle, until that good dopamine rush haha.
The good camera screen dopamine. A couple years ago you got to a point where you were making a good living out of skateboarding. How do you feel about it ?
I don’t know if it was a good living out of it but I could pay rent and live life, it felt like I was the luckiest dude on earth, it’s not like every kid could live from their passion at that time and still now I feel grateful and still saying thanks to everyone that helped me achieve that.
Why didn’t you just focus on this?
That’s where we go back to topics we’ve discussed already, no control over anything, and self-destructive… I couldn’t handle the situation and was in a pretty dark period at that time I guess. I don’t know how I would’ve managed it if I knew where it was going to lead me, but I’m fully happy with my life right now and that is thanks to all the mistakes I’ve made on the way. So I wouldn’t change anything.
Happy to hear that. I’m proud of you. How do you feel on your board these days? Do you skate a lot at the moment?
I’m feeling better! Some exciting projects are on the way despite the current world situation, I’m hyped on what’s coming!
So wanna tease only? Don’t want to talk more about those?
Yeah teasing is better, I’m not good under pressure and when no one really knows, no one is disappointed, it’s a win-win situation, but 2021 will be a good year for sure hahaha (that’s exactly what I said at the end of 2019, look how it went hahaha).
Good to hear. So you wanna talk about how shitty things have been?
We can, we were together on an Öctagon trip and on one of my last days of the trip I fell on a downhill and perforated my liver… A ten day trip ended up being a month long trip haha, I stayed at the hospital for two weeks, it was pretty scary, so much anecdotal things about it like throwing up on the only person talking English in the hospital, some weird sleepwalking angry Japanese guy in my room, etc etc, we could talk and talk and talk, but good thing is I’m fully healed, I had a week in Japan with my girl (the insurance company flew her over) and witnessed more of this incredible culture. But yeah I wasn’t able to drink alcohol, eat meat, no sport for five month, and then the confinement got me straight up, two more months without skating… So yeah I’m hyped to be back!
Have you been scared to die at some point? Or possible lifetime aftermath?
To be honest, I’ve always thought I wasn’t scared of death, but that’s another topic, but yeah I thought I could’ve, when they called my mother and my girlfriend telling them “Hey you should come over to Tokyo, your son/soon to be husband could die in the next couple of days, come give him strength”… The internal bleeding was about 23 cm of diameter and you operate it when it passes 25, a liver surgery is like 60/40 chance of making it out alive. All of this without anyone talking French or English… Shit was pretty scary (no one speaks foreign languages in Japanese hospitals except for translators and there is one for a couple hospitals so they’re never really there when you need them). But everything went well in the end, I still can’t drink like I was before but hey, that’s a good thing in the end, helped me find a balance.
You’re about to get married. How do you feel about it?
It feels like a giant leap and a lot of organisation for the d-day ! But it feels like the right thing to do, some may say I’m still young, but fuck it I’ll rather have the control over a situation for once.
Well congrats again then. That’s quite a nice happy ending for the interview. Love you.