Joseph Biais – Issue 26 Interview


After appreciating Joseph Biais’ part in Rassvet’s new video ‘BLUE‘, it reminded us of this ever productive man’s Vague interview from Issue 26, so we’ve decided to pop it online for you to read in its entirety. Get stuck in below!

Joseph Biais ~ Photo: Dave Van Laere

Introduction & Interview by: Abraham De Cleen

Photography by: Dave Van Laere, Clément Le Gall & Chris Pfanner



Another interview with Joseph Biais

You’ve probably been interviewed a couple of times in your life already, how many would you say you’ve done?

Probably around seven.


Do you still have something left to say to the worldwide skate community?

Not much.


Okay. Bye bye then.———————-Words and their meaning change over time. Today, in skateboarding, we use the word amateur for someone who is trying to become a professional (when that is not the case, we leave the amateur part out and just say skateboarder.) We call people pro when they make a living from skateboarding and have their name on a board. Taking those words with the meaning they hold today, neither one fits Joseph. Both, however, fit when we look at their origins; “amateur” stemming from the Latin “amare”, to love, and the word “professional” finding its origin in the past participle “professus”, used to describe someone who has “professed” their skills and vowed to perform their trade to the highest standard.

Joseph Biais – Switch Backside Wallride ~ Photo: Dave Van Laere

You’ve been working on a Vans video, could you tell us a bit about that?

Two years ago, Alex Forbes from Vans contacted some of the Parisian Vans skaters and some guys riding for Vans in London with the idea of doing a video that focused on the two cities. We had originally planned a couple of trips where the London guys would come to Paris and vice versa, but unfortunately those got cancelled due to Covid – so, instead, filmers were booked in both cities and both crews got the chance to film in their respective cities for about a year and a half.

I have to say I’ve been pretty stoked to get this opportunity, it’s the dream scenario. You get to skate your own city that you already know, explore its spot potential to the max, skate those spots with your actual daily crew, re-visit some spots and have somebody available to film you anytime. Those are very good conditions to film something that is really going to represent your skating well. I haven’t seen the final result yet, but I think it’s supposed to come out in a month or so. I’m not sure, it’s been postponed a couple of times already.

Joseph Biais – Gap To Backside Lipslide ~ Photo: Clément Le Gall

When’s the last time you had a full video part come out?

I don’t know if I’ll have a full part in this. I’m not sure how the video is going to be structured. But the last part I had – it wasn’t quite a full part, more like a minute of footage – I shared a section with Val and Pepe in one of the last Vans projects. I guess I haven’t had an actual part in quite a while, more a couple of tricks here and there. The last proper one was probably in ‘J’aime les Filles’, Guillaume Périmony’s video.


You did the Wavy project in between, as well?

You’re right, we did Wavy as well.

Joseph Biais – Gap To Frontside 50-50 Grind ~ Photo: Clément Le Gall

That was more of a concept part, though. I’m looking forward to seeing what you came up with without spot restrictions in Paris. You’re going to do another Wavy too, right?

I’ve been talking about it with Vans for a while, they supported the first one. I just really like the look of wavy spots and they’re usually really fun to skate. Riding or grinding something that has the shape of a curve always feels a little bit more sexy. That’s how we ended up doing that first video. I still find new wavy spots all the time so I figured, “Why not do another one?” I don’t want to do it alone this time around though, it’s hard coming up with new trick ideas all by yourself, so the next one will be with some of my friends. That way I’ll be able to go to different cities, find more spots and skate with people I like to skate with. I’m not sure when it’s going to happen but it definitely will at some point.


I know you’re pretty organised with spot lists and photo albums and such. How many wavy spots do you have in your film roll already?

I don’t have an album yet, just an Instagram collection of stuff I come across. Romain Batard always sends me spots as well. Let me check… it’s not fully organised yet. I only have six spots in ‘Wavy II’ at this point.

Joseph Biais – Backside Nosegrind ~ Photo: Dave Van Laere

You just finished Inside Out, a full length video for Carhartt WIP, not only as a skater but in a managing role as well. How would you describe your role, actually? People always say you’re the TM, but I know you do more than just that.

Team managing probably only takes up 20% of my time at this point. I would say I’m the skateboarding marketing manager. I take care of all things that are related to skateboarding for Carhartt WIP.


Are you satisfied with how the video came out?

Of course, I mean you’re never really fully satisfied. But I’m very happy with how it came out.

Joseph Biais – Backside Nosebluntslide Into The Bank ~ Photo: Chris Pfanner

How was it to work on a full length video?

It was a long process, which can be a bit draining sometimes. Especially in this era, where you’re expected to have a continuous flow of content for social media, it wasn’t easy to convince everybody of the value of a full length video. Covid hit when we started filming as well, so for more than six months we weren’t able to do anything, which was hard. We couldn’t do any trips, people were in lockdown and had to film by themselves, which made it a bit harder to get the group energy that you get when you go on a few trips together. On both sides, towards the brand and the skaters, a big part of my job was keeping everybody involved excited and convinced that their effort was going to be worth it in the end and that the result would be special.


You skate a lot yourself and you work in skateboarding. Do you get sick of it sometimes?

I have to say I don’t really get the overdose effect. Sometimes it’s a bit much, but I don’t find it very difficult to dissociate the work side of it and my personal side. Even when I am overwhelmed with skateboarding work, I can still go skate for myself and get the release and pleasure that I need. So no, I’ve never had a skateboarding burnout where I don’t want to see it or talk about it for a month. When it happens, it never lasts longer than a day or two.

Joseph Biais – Wallie ~ Photo: Dave Van Laere

I see this childlike enthusiasm in you every time you skate. We’ve had this conversation in private already but I’d like to ask you again here; what would you say are the type of moments that you love most about skateboarding?

I think our conversation started with this one; learning a new trick without really trying hard, just randomly getting lucky and all of a sudden understanding the move. That’s a special one. I really like the moment when you’ve discovered a good spot and then figure out what could work there, or the other way around, finding a spot that is going to work perfectly for a trick you’ve had in mind for a while. Even before you’ve done the trick, finding something and knowing it’s there is really exciting.

Get back Issues of Vague and subscribe here or click below!