Sebastien as an Explorer

Craig: My saying explorer in the introduction, is a bit loaded. Most people would expect me to say many other things where they know you from and I want to first talk about why you consider yourself an explorer. What’s your journey?

Sebastien: Why I might consider myself as an explorer is because it’s the conclusion of a long process, which started when I was kids supposedly [00:01:30] and leads me to be known as one of the founder of a global phenomenon, a movement called Parkour, L’art du Deplacement, or freerunning. People can hear more about Parkour and freerunning. I’m the guy who is responsible for almost all the name because the original name is [00:02:00] Parcours, which is the French word for an obstacle course. When I started with my friend, as far as I’m concerned we were just doing child play. We’re just playing around and we never had any idea that would come up with something.

Craig: Who wants to go play in trees? And out the door everybody went.

Sebastien: Yes. That’s it. But along the way I was trying to understand what I was doing, so we call it Parcours, then it become L’art du Deplacement where we came [00:02:30] as a group. David call it Parkour. David Bell is known as a founder of Parkour in form of a legacy for his father. Then me being by myself, I say, “Okay, I want to develop my own thing,” and I take the name freerunning and freerunning becomes something else because for me, I keep on going on my journey as an explorer. Now I know I’m an explorer.

Who are you?

Craig: All right, Max. You are definitely unique. And I mean that in a good way. And one thing that stands out is your clean, cleaner, clean-ish image. Clean-ish maybe it’s not actually clean. So you manage to be charming, just quite simply charming without promoting a bad-boy persona. [00:02:00] And right away, my first question is, is that a conscious decision? Or I’m guessing that’s just who you are?

Max: Yeah, I mean. I don’t know. I’m pretty boring outside of Parkour.

Craig: Boring is not what I would say, but okay.

Max: I’m … Yeah … I guess that’s my ideal way of spending time is like reading and going to bed at 11:00 at night. So I’m not much of a …

Craig: I go to bed before 11:00, Max. So, okay. But when you see people doing … And then there [00:02:30] was a comment … I don’t know if I saw it in your book or in a video. There was a comment that you made about, “Wow. The cinematography on some particular video works really well for the bad boy image that that person was putting forward.”

Max: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Craig: And then of course we can go into that side story of, do people do that bad boy image intentionally or unintentionally or whatever. But I’m guessing that you see that bad boy image in a lot of the Parkour videos?

Max: Yeah, I mean, I think most sports you see people kind of have … Everybody kind of has a character that they play out, whether [00:03:00] it’s conscious or subconscious. You know, we’re just all our own people and I think in Parkour you have a couple people that … You know, they’re running around, doing awesome stuff, maybe being a little bit more adamant about trespassing and kind of making that into a part of their videos.

Craig: Yeah, roof culture is a perfect example of that.

Max: Yeah, yeah. And like the Storror guys are really good friends of mine. Awesome people. Like, I’ve had them all in my house for like a week when they were visiting in the US. And they are … They’re just really fun dudes [00:03:30] that are crazy and adventuring all the time.

Craig: Yeah, it’s not an act.

Max: It’s like … Yeah, it’s just who they are.

Craig: And that’s why it works. If you had to fake it, it wouldn’t function.

Max: Yeah, and I think for me, just who I am is like … I don’t know. I’m just kind of me.

Craig: A product of your mom and dad.

Max: Yeah, yeah.

Craig: That’s … So am I.

Max: Yeah, anybody that stayed at my house and met my family is like, “Oh, yeah. You make perfect sense as a human being now.” Or seen my interests and what I read.

Craig: Yeah, I have to say. I’ve now seen your record collection and CD’s [00:04:00] and I’m like, “Oh, never mind. Skip the interview. Where’s the record player?” [crosstalk 00:04:04] How did you get into music like that? Did that come from your family or was it something you picked up young or … ?

Max: Yeah, basically my entire family are musicians. So my dad’s a trumpet player and teacher, my mom is a vocalist and teacher, my sister does acting and off-Broadway musicals.

Craig: And voice. So she does voice …

Max: Yeah, she’s voice also.

Craig: Well, that explains that.

Max: My grandfather … My other grandmother. Like, all, were [00:04:30] musicians. My grandfather played french horn on a bunch of original Broadway recordings like Man of La Mancha in the ’60’s, he was out here playing on Broadway.

Craig: That’s amazing. [crosstalk 00:04:40] Cannot see where we are. We are in Long Island.

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Who are you?

I am someone who wants everyone to realize that parkour is not something only the strong/athletic people can do but it is something that everyone did before as a kid. I want them to realize that parkour is natural, it is used by our ancestors to move. I am someone who encourages everyone to relearn how to move.


Who are you?

I am a student, an artist, a teacher, and a traceuse. Each separate piece informs and affects all of the other pieces, and each of these things has become an important part of who I am, as well as who I am becoming.