Riding with your crew, pushing each other and having a blast is one of the cornerstones of this fun old experience we call snowboarding. Now, since the democratisation of videography, more and more crews are producing edits from their exploits and some of them have gone beyond the traditional ‘bro-cam’ cuts to produce entertaining, imaginative, or just downright hammer heavy video content. We’re stoked on that, so over the season we’ll be throwing the virtual Shakas to some of our favourite Euro crews. In the spotlight this time is the BangingBees – a collective of Frenchies with deep roots in the scene who felt the need to try bring something different to the table. We hit up Julien Mounier for the BB lowdown...
Who’s in the crew? How long have you all been snowboarding together?
We don’t really consider ourselves like a crew since we are supposed to be a media. Originally BangingBees was created by Yann Dechatrette (Designer and owner of the brand Advita) and yours truly, Julien Mounier (ex-editor of Snowsurf Magazine) three years ago. But along the way, our entourage started to be part of regular projects so naturally there was kind of a non-official BangingBees crew, like the riders doing the Workers movie (Antho Brotto, Pierre Scafidi…) with whom we have been riding for years. Let’s say that our main filmer is Lionel Simon and we have an extended crew for producing videos, like the Pyrenean collective Matière Blanche and other crews like Sneaky Snails, Weekly Moves or our friends from Les Arcs. So I guess we are a French media with a crew vibe, but our will is to collaborate with a lot of different riders.
Where are you all from?
I am from Monaco and started riding in the south alps of France as a kid, then I moved to Grenoble in 2008 in order to work for Snowsurf Magazine. Most of the crew live in Grenoble or around the Haute-Savoie. This part of France is pretty central, close to the mountains and it’s easy to go to the different resorts. We even have the glacier of Les 2 Alpes pretty close for summer boarding.
Where do you ride? Where’s your local mountain?
Since we started BangingBees we have a love story and a good relationship with Chamrousse, a medium-sized resort 40 minutes from Grenoble who have probably the funnest snowpark in France. We did our first BangingBees session there and it has been the fourth edition last year and it’s getting quite popular. People enjoy having a full run with lot of small features and that’s the goal of our Top To Bottom session - this year's session will be on the 25th March. The resort hook us up with season passes and we can invite some riders when we want to film. We also regularly collaborate with Avoriaz, Val d’Isère and Les 2 Alpes in order to shoot video there. But again our goal is to make edits in many different resorts but we have to deal with the opportunities and the budget. We had the chance to go to California, Laax, Innsbruck, Ruka, Slovenia and we are looking forward to make new trips.
When did you decide that you could make regular edits? Or was it always just to spend time, learn and get creative?
Since the beginning the point was to create some video content with our own vibe. We were more tripping about edits like the Sunday in The Park, Markass Mondays or House Of 1817 who don’t necessarily show the biggest bangers but some fun vibe, creative, stylish snowboarding with some assumed tastes and choices. So we wanted to bring this kind of edit in the French media. We were fed up of the same clichéd snowboard videos with some electro pop and a voiceover saying how much snowboarders have crazy lives since they travel all the time and they are in love with it and it’s not a sport but a lifestyle, blahblah…
So we wanted to make some park shredding edit where we have fun with the kind of music, editing and tricks we like. We noticed that people started to like them since they can identify with it and it makes them hype to go shredding with their homies. I guess it looks genuine because we didn’t fake the fun. We are really enjoying riding like this. We might get some shit from haters who think the level is sometimes too low, but we decided to focus on that kind of accessible creative fun riding, even if we also like watching the big movies full of bangers, like the Videograss stuff for example. But I guess it’s like for skateboarding. Watching a Magenta edit with guys cruising the street gives us more motivation to go skate than a Nyjah Huston part where everything is huge.
Who does what within BangingBees?
Lionel Simon is doing most of the big edits from our session, trip or brand colabs. But we worked with a few talented videographers like Rémy Barreyat, Jon Vital, Florent Marot, Alexis De Tarade, Damien Rousse… We also have Theo Duparc coming up. I am doing the production, taking care of all the deals, logistics and making the social network content. We think it’s important that everybody still rides a bit even when we are shooting, so we still manage to find some free time. Maybe too much sometimes!
What do you think about social media in snowboarding? Is it easier to make an impact now, or harder?
I think that social media is great for snowboarding specially when you are a media. I am a big fan of the 1-minute Instagram video format. I think it’s perfect to make some good, nearly live content and easy to do with a good smartphone.
What was the main goal of putting your videos online?
The main goal was to make people want to snowboard and creating our own identity, not just trying to copy the American webisodes that we like.
What is it that motivates you guys?
Having people we know that were a bit done with snowboarding that get interested again because they think that our edits are fun and that we post some interesting content in our blogging part. Seeing some new kids being inspired by our edits like we were when we watched snowboard movies growing up. We are glad when the other big snowboard medias like Onboard or the US magazine repost our videos and seem to appreciate it.
Who inspired you dudes when you were younger? Which crews or movie productions where you looking at?
I started snowboarding in the 90s so I grew up watching the Mack Dawg and Kingpin movies and every single tape I could catch. In France, there were some Why Not Fims movies in the 90s with Franck Screm and Nico Droz who were a big influence, then Advita and Psykopit released some great movies in the 2000s. I was a true fan of the golden age of the Forum 8, deeply influenced by the Wildcats for their partyboard style, loved the way FODT brought some hip-hop vibe in snowboarding, fell in love with Kids Know and their little brother company Videograss, which is – in our BangingBees crew opinion – the best production over the last years. Think Thank is also still doing a good job. I am missing the Givin movies. Last year the good surprise was the Chicken Meat movie, Rendered Useless. Some internet-only productions are a huge influence nowadays with crews like Yawgoons, Markass Mondays, Warp Wave, Lungie Land, Strange Brew, Lick The Cat, DOPE, Atagge… I am usually more hyped by the release of a new Yawgoon edit than a Brain Farm blockbuster movie.
Whose stuff inspires you now?
Apart from snowboarding inspirational web edits, I guess our inspiration comes of lot from music, fashion and skateboarding. We keep on sharing links for some new or old sounds that could work well on some snowboard edits. We try hard to find new genres because we could only use French rap but I guess that it would bore people. Trend watching is a also a true hobby even if it can be a bit ridiculous sometimes. And I guess it’s always good to watch the latest skate videos to know about the next trends in snowboarding. We could have predicted the VHS, vintage mash up and full white outfit trends in snowboarding by watching the Palace, Bronze and Supreme vids.
Does Jah pay the bills? Or snowboarding?
Jah or any other god don't pay the bills, but we keep on being active, trying to find deals and partnership, making events, posting daily and producing good content is starting to pay. For the riders I guess it’s pretty hard nowadays to pay bills with snowboarding. Even the talented youngster won’t know the days where you could actually make a living with snowboarding, unless you’re Victor Daviet or Arthur Longo.
What are your plans for this coming winter?
Continue to make our own content and events. Also try to be a bit more organised and less DIY.
What one piece of advice would you give to a crew just starting out?
Don’t think too much about theory, business plan, annual planning… Start filming with your friends and try to find your own identity. And don’t make the edits too long, that’s a current mistake.
Finally, where did that name come from?
BangingBees doesn’t really mean anything. We just wanted a name that doesn’t sound like a snowboard media and we wanted a mascot kind of US University/NBA team-style in order to have a strong visual identity. We wanted the mascot to be part fun and tough at the same time so we tried a bit of different animals and we thought the bee looked cool. As a big Wu-Tang fan, I also like the Killa Bees link. And the football team where I used to play as a kid also as has a black and yellow jersey with a bee logo! Long and weird story for a name so when I don’t have time to answer I just say that it has no meaning...