S4YL Interview / Alain Massabova takes A.R.T. BMX Mag into the digital world
With Sparks for your life, givin’ you sparkers the best, I have to say that I only rarely do collaborations, because I somehow like to control the level of quality that goes into your eyes, ears and souls. And you might have noticed that since last year, the only magazine I have talked about is, A.R.T. BMX standing for Attitude, Riding and Travel, which to my standards is the best printed BMX magazine in the world. Behind this magazine released in 20 countries, the Don of French flatland riders Alain Massabova. Well guys, for all u fans of A.R.T. and for the whole of you not knowing about it yet, you are all going to be happy to know that A.R.T. BMX has recently taken a new direction by releasing a web version on their mag ! For the occasion I thought it was about time to catch up with Mr Massabova. Read more…
So Alain, how have you been ?
Well I have been good man, you know I am over 40 and living the life I have always dreamed of. I am still riding and I have a great family, I don’t see why things would not be great!
My first obvious question on the topic of BMX might sound naive but, what pushed you to release a web version of it?
I have been a publisher of BMX magazines since 1995 (BMXicos, Cream then A.R.T.) so I am part of the old school thing. You know I have always printed magazines. I have fought over the years to keep A.R.T. BMX alive since it had never been a profitable experience but more of a passion without a business plan. Still you have to live with your time, and today a printed magazine is not part of our modern tool kit. It hurts to say it but I know the world is going digital. So that is how I came to try to release a first edition of it with an “ART BMX #0” to see how readers would react. After more than 60K readers over the first month the answer was simple: Lets release a free HD edition of the magazine, keeping a Best of printed version twice a year , because I am never going to let go my precious…
How frequently are you going to release the web version of ART BMX ?
It is almost a monthly release, with 10 releases a year, and 3 already online The 9 last printed magazines have also an online version!
When is the next one ?
Now man! The #2 just got release check it !
What are readers going to discover in ART BMX webmag ?
BMX under all it shapes and forms. Park, street, dirt, flat, racing and old school, as well as the culture around the BMX lifestyle. The most import thing for me s not to neglect any discipline and to make sure that the readers travels. When you read about BMX, you travel, you dream , go on a journey, you know…
Is the magazine still an exciting part of your life ?
Less than before it is true, but ever new number is a birth …I love each magazine like if they were my children….
Did it help you to built project over time ?
Not really actually. The mag has always been a parallel “activity ” . It might have helped a little for a few events (Flat Ring, Paris Race, Fise Flat0 but I earn my life on my on my bike, doing shows and teaching, but no one really gets in touch with me because of the mag. For me riding and writing the magazine is the same thing, the same passion so that is wher I do the link.
What is your next project?
My goal is to develop a the BMX school by teaming with different association around paris (PSC, T2R, H2G0). I also start to work with a agency dealing with the public profile of riders. I am close to retirement and try to anticipate what is next. My 40 years old video had more than 270k viewers and I have been contacted by a lot of agencies, so I have a few projects in that direction as well.
When can we see you on a bike again as the video you just talked about was one of the must seen of 2011 ?
Well after the success of that video, I am working again with the same movie maker, JC Pieri but not in Paris. But If you do walk around Paris there is a big chance to walk into me and my bike.
Did this BMX life bring you everything you had wish for ?
It sounds crazy, but yes, I have everything I have ever dreamt of. It is not all related to BMX but it is here, BMX tought me how to be the man that I am today, it is the same man that has built a family. So the influence is always around. BMX also allowed me to travel a lot, which was my dream all along to be able to travel the world discover other cultures. Would I have done all of this without the BMX ? I don’t know but it is the fact that I am passionate about it that helped me to open doors that would have stayed closed.
What is your perception of the younger generation ?
Kids today are stupid, naive and want to change the world. Exactly what I was. We always have this feeling of kids being stupids but we are only getting older and less curious…. I am not sure I like getting older. I will always be rider so hopefully I will always live with a certain amount of wildness inside. When I am on my bike I am 15 and I am the master of the world.
What is your perception of today’s branding attitude in the BMX world ?
The world has definitely changed with the presence of medias and brands. Today riders ride for sponsors and not because of simple passion. That’s the way the wold goes, there is not much to say about it really. I started riding in the 80’s where sponsors and brands almost did not exist in the BMX world. we would not talk about it or even dream about it. My first sponsor pro ( with salary) was GT Bikes, which I left a month later because I did not like the bike. I think there is a limit between passion and money, and you have to know where it is. I think that today it is the brands who do or undo riders.
When are you coming to London ?
I am often there with my wife to shop but never to rider, which is a shame really. A lot of top riders are in London. I am back when you want !
Thank you Alain
Thank you Alice and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people that have helped me to do this magazine: Patrick Guimez, Christian Vanhanja, Moana Moo Caille, Chris Dietschy, Manu Sanz, Luis Elias Benavides, JC Pieri, Peka Devé, Chase Gouin, Maureen, Yasuyuki Takeo, Seb Ronjon, Franck Belliot, Mark Gray and of course my wife and my Joe!!!
photography by Peka Deve