„There’s only one way not be scared of something and that’s when you run and do it your own way.“ says David Lombard, longtime poolrat and Cream Magazine employee from Montpellier, France. Read the whole interview here, or if you like it translated, wait for freedom #54.
„The david photo collection: The first things that comes to my mind when I think of David is all the good photos I took with him and the stock I still have of him. I think he’s overexposed in the printed media so I try not to take too many photos of him and more of others riders. But still I end up with a few good David photo. Why is that?
First because he’s not so bad at riding a bike. He’s actually „The Local“ from Montpellier’s bowl, even with all the young riders coming up, he’s still flowing and flying around. A real bowl rider: carving, pumping, changing direction, fullspeed carving manuals almost slipping out, alleyoops airs … etc. Always a treat to watch him in the bowl!
Then, he’s really active when it comes to look out for new spots and he often comes up with something different: like riding across a small river just before hitting a wallride with wet tires or doing a vertical icepick fakie on a the side of a tree at the trails To make it worse, I often travel and ride with him. In fact we used to be neighbours for years, even when moving from Bordeaux to Montpellier we were still leaving in the same area.
What can I do? I can’t fight. He’ll always come up with something good and I’ll have to grab the camera…“ -manu sanzWhen people first meet you, what do you think they think of you?
I don’t really know but I guess an unshaven old guy on a kids bike.Can we start with pretty middle of the road questions? Tell us a little about the place that you’re living? Can you recommend a take-away there?
Ask Kay Clauberg about the best take away place in the South France.Do you have a ’normal‘ day? can you tell us what you’re involved in at the moment.
Wake up, work on Cream ads and give few calls, go out and walk to the marchet (Ed.Note. market) to buy some good oranges, see few good looking girls and maybe get a phone number (not so often!).
Make a quick stop a the cyber-café to check e-mail and by luck get some report or good news from foreign friends. Go back to my place eat and work on the Cream contents and go riding hopefully with the sun. Then not so much because of the lack of money…
It’s not so long, maybe 4 years. I’ve to give a big up to Alain, Manu & Daniel who works on the mag from the beginning.
Zines are like everything in the real word: entertainment and consumption. Young riders are lucky enough to have plenty mags to witness other countries scene without even moving. They can open their eyes ,learn and even feel the need to travel because of a good report. I guess the only difference is that the first time you go somewhere if you don’t know anything about the spot, it’s not travelling anymore but adventure …Would you consider that much of our motivation comes from questioning, and from that point of view the magazines play an unconscious role whether we like them or not?
When you work on a mag , you really create something: an atmosphere, a direction , a spirit through the reports and thanks to the people who’ve been involved. We don’t act, at least we try to make it interesting and try to find a good balance for each type of riders. But what’s sure is that we put into Cream what’s seems to us to be really interesting because of different/various things; like how involved is this guy in bmx, how cool was this jam and try to keep criticism when it’s necessary but no easy shits talking and naked women or stuff to make the mag looks cool or hype (except fashion pages). I’m kind of proud about the contents because we’d never try to run an
interview because a guy was a x-gamer and really well known, but more because he was creating his own riding and deserved to have a real itw – like martti for example. Or for other reasons such as a persons spirit, or because an oldschool rider deserved to talk about old good days and explains to the new generations what bmx was before … if we’re excited on reports i hope readers are, but everybody is different so …
We just do it the way we like it and wish that people like the way we run it.Is there anything about the en-mass media involvement that annoys you?
Copy cat and big sports like football.Is there a particular photographer’s work that you like?
I like the fact that Joe Rich showed everybody what most of the bmx photographers are, riders. A lot of his photos from their world tour was really beautiful thanks to the scenery but some black & white was really talking to me; like you’ve this particular feeling when you see the photos: you just wish to be there.
But i can’t talk to much about photos because everybody say that I’ve some special taste – Manu Sanz is the nr.1 for me because he can do the clearest photo ever without using any light meter and always try to question himself.
Is there one photo that you remember particularly?
I’ve a pretty bad memory but in a ride UK issue ten years ago there was a shot of Keith Duly doing a great invert (already new school!) , you could see is face in the wheel plus there was snow everywhere. I’m also in love with old school photos like the ‚Go‘ (Ed. Note: magazine from the archives for those not old enough to remember) cover of the condor first Flip in Paris-Bercy or the one where he’s doing an invert and pushing a button on his handlebar to shoot the photo.Are you able to define what makes a good photo for you? Is it all technical and a good spot?
As I said before, I’ve my special point of view. For me it’ll be something that makes the photos just different from others: maybe a gay position on the bike.Do the same rules apply to the way a magazine is put together?
I can only answer that question thanks to little experience in Cream. We try to find the best balance in each issue (or compare each to the one before) about flat, dirt , street, how many turndowns, whips & inverts, whose rider has already get some coverage compare to another – it’s like cooking : you put a bit of portrait , a bit of burly street for spice, some nice trees at the trails for the vegans, some goodies for the brands and if it tastes good it doesn’t mean that your a chef but it’s just a good menu.Name two magazines that you respect.
Hustler and any fanzines.How do you think that the French scene compares with others?
Fewer sponsors, not so many good parks and a lot more good looking girls than in Germany.There exists a common perspective that French riding has a strong street and trails scene in much the same way Japan has a strong Flat scene, do you find this a true perspective?
Just depends where you go. In Montpellier, there are guys who only ride their trails, some only ride street. There’s no real big speciality in France; just depends who you are and where you are.Do you have the impression that the French riding scene promotes a positive attitude?
The same as question 20 but in general, i think riders in France are still down to earth.The contests organised in France attract a lot of people, including many world renowned riders. Do they only come because they can ride places like Marseille or because the Money at FISE is good?
You better ask them but i’m sure they come for Marseille curves.Do you like the contest scene?
I’m a pretty good fan of contests, i like to see big trick, new manoeuvres and sometimes feel like i could ride for fun or even push myself.
It’s really good for bmx promotion but i can’t go there too often or i get bored because it’s such big organisation with so many riders. For sure I’d rather friendly jam or contest.
Metro Jam & La revolution.What makes a good contest, and are these things the same as what makes a good jam in your opinion?
Riding and vibrations.If you could only visit one jam and one contest in the year … where are you going?
Probably to Japan and Scotland: those are the more roots, funny and down to earth for me.I saw that you went to the Bmx Open in Berlin. It’s a long drive from Montpellier … did you go just for the weekend?
We were on a trip to Prague.Have you been there before?
First time.What highlight can you remember from the weekend?
All these really good kids who are ten years old and shredding & our ride back to mellow park from Berlin centre at 3 o’clock in the morning, approximately 30 kilometres!What things inspire you?
Travelling and when something positive happened in my day.How do you feel when you’re inspired, how do you know?
When i think „damn, life is good …“Would you change anything about bmx now?
I’m human being as i don’t have the power to do it, i’d rather not think about it because wherever you are or do, there’s always something that you wish better.Do you feel that bmx pushes you further? Has it in anyway changed how you are?
I totally believe that if i didn’t enjoy riding as much, i couldn’t make a normal living in the real life. I would have probably get crazy and kill myself … or it’s just bmx that has put me in this unsocial position. I was young, nearly clever and good looking and look at me: it took me 10 years to find my way.What interests you outside of riding?
Everything life’s to offer but i’ve really move my ass for Cream so i guess it’s my main interest beside riding. I had a lot of time & effort to waste this past ten years, i was kind of Gypsy : working sometimes, no place to stay half of the time. now that i’ve found a way to express myself outside of riding, i feel really motivated.Does riding form your primary interest?
Each sunny day is a riding call, i know that i’m on my last decade of riding so no time to waste.Has there ever been a time in your life when things changed quite radically? Did it change you as a person?
Love can make you change, i was ready for a baby and to jump into a real job but i’m thankful it didn’t happen. I believe that we have a lot of things to live on your own before get married and have big obligations.Everyone has good and bad things in their life, how do you take these … as a positive or a negative?
I do my best to get the positive from the negative but mind is a pretty good printer.Is that also your most memorable incident?
First fuck is like when you born, your body and soul can’t forget it. It’s like first joint, first time are always memorable. I remember my first real bmx contest, I thought a guy named Shogun was the Condor because he had a Hoffman „head first“ flaming helmet. I was young so that’s a feeling i won’t forget.Do you consider yourself religious?
A bit superstitious. When somebody crashes in the bowl, i always do airs without fear to avoid this bad luck.Have you based your life around any other kind of theme, things that you want to stay true to?
Never think that you’re hundred percent right or wrong.Do you believe in regret?
Nobody has an heart of ice.How much do you like to be on your own … would you be a good hermit?
Just enough not to be a hermit.Are you into reading books?
Thrillers, space story and a lot of comics.Could you suggest one book you have read that you think others would get something from?
It’s a American professor who talks about sexual relation ship between men and woman. I think it’s really important to understand what’s it’s all about, even if we all know the rules but don’t apply them. Thanks to my good memory i can’t remember his name.What is the most number of people that you have lived with?
2 guys.How much does technology feature in your daily life?
Web is so good to keep in touch with people who lives far away but are friends.You’ve travelled a bit, can you recall a time when you found a real cultural difference from home?
La reunion is a small French island on the way down to Africa and Madagascar. Largest mix of culture, best scenery, best food and nice people who don’t know what the word „racist“ means.When you think about your home, what’s on your mind?
Summer, beach and a simple bowl.I think it is still true, that the french radio stations are only allowed to play music of non-french origin … at first i thought that this was a bit heavy … but actually it’s not a bad idea. E.g. I’m english but in germany, sometimes i work for a clothes distributor and when i work the radio there is always this ‚Eins Live‘ station – you never heard such shit! and 90% is English! How do you feel about it?
There’s a radio called „Skyrock“ who only play shady commercial rap music and French radio is a lot about the crappiest French commercial variety. London radio is a lot better.Tell me something about your local riding spots, where do you go when you want a short session?
For ten or probably fifteen years of my life, I’ve driven fast to the bowl (Ed.Note Monpellier bowls), got my shot and gone back home satisfied and tired.Who are the people you like riding with?
I don’t really ride with anybody, just the people who’ll show up. But i’ve my close friends who have moved a lot lately that gives me the most pleasure session.
It’s a long times since we didn’t have a good session all together.
We’ve lived together, we’ve share part of our life, travels together, i’ve cooked them food, we’ve share good and bad moments, we’ve share many beds, we’ve all moved to different place, we’ve evolved thanks to each other. I’ve notice that the more time you spend with somebody doesn’t mean it’s your friend. It’s all about quality and evolution. I’ve spend six months in Florida and met really cool guys but i didn’t heard of them anymore since i’ve moved back. I’ve spend two days with riders and we’re still in touch for years.When you pack a bag to go away, what’s the first thing you pack?
Depends on the trip. Good food for the first day and kneepads.Are you a light traveller or do you need a lot of stuff with you?
Even when you only take a bike and a small backpack, it’s already too much sometimes. When i take my camera, i don’t use it and when i want to use it but a good walkman and a book is always useful.Have you, or when did you realize that there was an appreciation from someone else about your riding?
It was kind of funny for me but once, at one of the recent Backyard jams: Robbo showed up and told me „Lombard, i like your style!“. It was nice from him but i still wonder where he saw me ride?Do you have an opinion on whether riding is like another sport in terms of attitude or people?
Racing could be so much fun if they really jumped.How do you think that the scene should deal with it’s fears?
There’s only one way not be scared of something, it’s when you run and do it your way. It’s a lot of work, but lots of riders get involved nowadays in bike companies, events. i’m really happy that several guys have started bmx shoe companies. Buy Inopia & Orchid!Has your riding ever changed direction, more than just developed or improved?
When i fucked up my knee. I always thought i was a rough guy but i’m a real pussy, my riding evolved on a „no crash direction“ but anyway i still have a lot of fun even if it’s longer to learn a trick and that i don’t do anymore big tricks on big jumps.Do you have admiration for others or is it something else you see?
Self-taught and passionate people who follow their own way. My parents never believed that it was possible to make a living with bmx. If there’s one thing that I’ll be proud of, it’ll be that point.This is the part when you can say anything you like without a question reference?
I always believe in the path that i’d rather have free adolescence and when i’ll be 30 or 35, i’ll found my own way and work my ass to be where i wanted to be. Riding here and riding there, i finally realised that contributing to a bmx mag was a really good way to preach bmx and express my passion in a different way. I’m 29, and for about a year i’ve put time, effort and money in the not so far off dream that we could generate a great bmx mag on our own and make a living out of it. But circumstances, luck, pain, opportunities shake you around – faith, conviction, dedication, passion help you trust in yourself. During my short life, it’s not so often that I’ve felt confident. I do believe that nothing took me where I am, except that little bike under my bollocks and I’m the one who’s holding the handlebars.
Die Übersetzung erschien in Freedom #54
Text: Rob Harrison | fotos: Kay Clauberg und Manu Sanz