Yves Marchon is a skater and filmmaker based in Switzerland. He’s worked for a series of top skate brands and was Element Europe’s main filmer and editor for over a decade. He’s captured some of the most banging clips to come out of Europe, produced several full-lengths and short edits, whilst also getting into the mix on sessions with pros when he can and putting down sick tricks himself.
So we had to hit him up to join and were stoked to find that Yves was down to become a No Comply Network Member.
Read his interview to find out what it was like growing up as a skater in Switzerland, making his first ever skate film, the skate videos that inspired and influenced him, how he got his job with Element Europe, making the Rise Up video, shooting Janne Saario, Michael Mackrodt, Bas Jannsen, Jo Lorenz, his favourite thing about filming with Madars Apse, capturing Lucien Clarke’s Mag Minute, hanging and filming with Bam and Kerry Getz, his production company Beauregard Films, filming Jeremy Wray’s epic Backside 180 in Barcelona, the behind the scenes stories of some of his most standout clips – in front of and behind the lens and much more.
Read the Yves Marchon interview below to find it all out for yourself.
I grew up in Fribourg in Switzerland, a city located in-between Geneva and Zurich. I now live in a village few minutes outside of town. It is nearby the lakes, it’s nice.
When did you first see skateboarding and think I want to do that?
At first I was interested in BMX and my mom bought me a French magazine called “BICROSS & Skate Magazine “ – it was the precursor to No Way Magazine. Most of the mags had BMX content but there were a few skate pages with the Bones Brigade, Hosoi and French skaters mostly.
I thought skateboarding was way cooler than BMX and a skateboard was something I could afford. It was in 1988. I was hooked instantly.
When did you first get a skateboard and what was it?
My first setup was a generic skateboard from the mall with a plastic cap on the nose and tail. I quickly removed them and actually learned to skate with it which was far from ideal. I rode that board to death and ended up breaking it. I didn’t have the money for a new one and I think I had to even stop skating for a little bit.
Then my first real setup was a 3rd hand Schmitt Stix Andy Howell deck with Gullwing Phoenix fluorescent green trucks and Schmitt Stix black wheels. I bought it for 30 bucks. I was 12 years old.
Where did you learn to skate and who was in your crew?
I learned the basics on the curb in front of my house. There was a hill too so I bombed it. I skated on my own for the first couple of months. My dad and I built a jump ramp but we did not knew how to bend it so we made a bank instead and I learnt how to jump off of it and other basic stuff.
My first crew were the skaters from up the street. They had a proper jump ramp and one day one of them invited me to skate it. I remember I had to show them what I could do on the jump ramp in order to get accepted.
I was actually not too bad and got in the crew, haha. It was rad, we ended up building some jumps ramps, quarter pipes, rail slide bars and stuff.
It lasted maybe a year until they all stopped skating. I was on my own again until I started to go skate in the city and formed another crew. It was the end of ’91- early ’92. That’s when Video Days came out, well, at least when I got to see it.
I was pretending I was in LA but in my hometown…
Then Questionable came out which had a huge impact on me, then Virtual Reality which solidified it. At that point I knew skateboarding was going to be my life. Then in 1994 I got sponsored by the local shop and eventually by a Swiss distributor that same year.
What trick have you been the most proud to do in front of lens?
Maybe that 15 stair 50-50 I did that’s at the end of Rise Up in the credits?
So there I was in Moscow with the Element European team filming them for the first time. We went to that spot with two handrails: a 7 stair and a 15 stair.
Nobody was really into it, it was crusty. We looked at the 15 stair and they were like “wow that’s a sketchy one “.
So I claimed it and said: “If all you guys do a trick on the 7 stair rail I will 50-50 the 15.”
Needless to say they all did their tricks quickly and returned to me like: ok, now your turn, haha!
First try I frontflipped over the rail, almost died right there, second try grinded it, third try landed it. I might have done it twice.
How did you become the Element Europe filmer?
After that Moscow trip in 2003 basically
What was your favourite thing about filming Janne Saario for Rise Up?
The fact that Janne Saario had such an original view on spots and tricks at the time made it really memorable.
At the time, 99% of the skaters were doing the same tricks at the same spots. It was pretty formatted but he was doing stuff nobody was doing at the time and also looked at things differently. He was truly ahead. It is more common now.
Janne Saario’s Cab Flip Manual in Rise Up was amazing. How long did it take and what was it like to film?
Oh I think this came out fairly easy for him… maybe 20 tries? I need to look it up… It was in Brussels. I remember though basically when he was trying that trick the others were sitting down and watched Janne.
Janne does some of the most tech manual reverts in that part. Which was your favourite to film?
Maybe the Switch 180 Manual 360 spin Manual 180 out in Athens.I feel those tricks were hard to shoot and frame in a way that felt right.
They take place on such a distance that you are forced to pan the camera which I am not a big fan of. On this particular one I was able to roll long lens next to him, I enjoyed that.
What’s your favourite trick you’ve shot of Janne Saario
His ender in Rise Up, the Fakie 5-0 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
It is still talked about to this day. The fact he is able to hold on that rounded and curved ledge still blows my mind plus he did it under 20 tries. They knobbed the ledge shortly after it… hypocrites.
What’s your favourite trick you’ve filmed of Jo Lorenz?
The first line in his part in Rise Up. That Nollie Noseblunt slide at the end is no joke. it’s pretty insane to me. I really miss Jo, he lives in San Francisco now.
What was it like filming Michael Mackrodt for Rise Up?
Unlike filming with most other skaters who really only focus on getting clips and that’s it, filming with him involves many other activities: hanging out with friends and family, partying, going on adventures, sightseeing and other extravaganzas. But he is also getting the clips too! Michael is one epic human being.
Favourite trick you filmed of Michael for Rise Up?
I like lines. There is this one line where he does four flawless tricks that we filmed in Athens that I really like. It really shows his energetic style.
How’d Michael end up skating to Martha and the Muffins’ song ‘Ecco Beach’? Did he pick the song or did you?
Philippe Lalemant was the Element Europe TM at the time and in charge of the production of the video. He proposed a few songs, this one was maybe one of his. He might have proposed Martha and the Muffins and I picked up Ecco. Not sure.
On that note, the soundtrack to Rise Up was sick. How did you go about selecting the music for each of the sections?
Phil and I worked together on that. I came up with some, he proposed some other. We had a music licenser and a budget so it was fairly easy at the time.
Any other Rise Up parts you were stoked on?
Bas Janssen’s part is actually the one I look back to the most because I got to film almost all of it and had the most control on. It has some 16mm footage in there too which I think is rad and I think the music fits well.
Bas and I were on the same program. Good times.
You filmed Lucien Clarke’s Mag Minute when he was on Element. What was your favourite trick from that edit?
The Mag Minute happened right when Lucien and Element parted ways. I was so bummed! It was towards the end of filming for Get Busy Living in 2009 I think .We had filmed bunch of good stuff with Lucien and I was really looking forward to put it in the video but they decided otherwise.
I ended up editing that footage together and making a Mag Minute for the Skateboard Mag. I like the stuff we shot in the UK the most. Some of my favourite skate trips were in the UK. Lucien is a genuinely nice guy. He is so talented.
You’ve filmed a lot with Madars, what’s been your favourite section of his to film and why?
I filmed a lot with Madars when we both lived in Barcelona, he was actually living in my apartment for a month or two when I moved in but eventually he had to go, haha sorry mate.
We did many solo missions in Barcelona with just him and a photographer and many times just me and him.
He was already next level and he skated big spots on his own. I like that Kickflip into the bank he did in the outskirts of Barcelona, it felt good, it was a good day, Sem Rubio drove us there.
What’s your favourite thing about filming with Madars?
Madars is so good. Filming with him was always a treat.
What was it like filming Bam and Kerry Getz?
There was this memorable week in Barcelona filming with Bam Margera and Kerry Getz. I was a bit reluctant at first about filming Bam because all I wanted was filming skating really and I was not really into all the crazy stuff he does.
Bam was this huge rockstar at the time and people were chasing him for a photos or an autographs, it was crazy. It turned out that Bam was the sweetest guy with our crew and was skating his ass off with us. It was sick and we filmed a bunch together. I am a fan of his ever since.
Then I filmed with Kerry Getz who is known for is hockey temper. First session, first spot, where we barely have talked before, I am filming this line with him… and he started freaking out, yelling ,throwing his board, yelling some more.
I did not know what to say and after a while it was getting embarrassing for to this guy I don’t know who is freaking out… so I go ‘Next one Kerry!’ out loud and he looked at me all angry and goes ‘I fucking HOPE SO!!!’ Bam and the rest of the crew where laughing so hard. It was so funny. He did his line and we were cool.
Levi Brown’s Tre over that handrail in Barcelona is epic. What was it like to film it and how long did it take?
Levi is hands down of my favorite American skater I have met and got the chance to film.
What was it like filming Jeremy Wray’s legendary Backside 180 Ollie in Barcelona over that huge stage gap?
Stressful because my VX was malfunctioning. It was at the end of a 3 week filming mission in Barcelona with the Element US guys and my camera started to have this recording problem as the trip went on.
Towards the end Jeremy decided to check this spot out. I thought nothing would happened because Diego Bucchieri had just Ollied it and it was a big deal.
It was a Sunday afternoon, we went there to check it out. So Jeremy decided to Ollie it even if it was ABD, kind of for fun… it was crazy.
He had a hard time getting the right speed for it but he ended up Ollieing it within a couple of tries, no big deal… I was blown away.
I remember my camera was glitching but since the Ollie was ABD I did not stress too much and thought we would leave that spot after it.
But then he started to talk about trying Backside 180 it and I honestly thought it was not possible. I mean The Butcher Ollied it… J Wray Ollied it, that’s it.
I did not tell him my camera had problem because I did not want to be that guy… he did it within 4 or 5 tries, the camera recorded it, I shot it. I was so relieved and I bet him too.
That’s sick. How have you passed time over lockdown?
I was born and grew up in a district named Beauregard so that’s where it comes from. I do mostly corporate videos.
What’s the ethos of the company?
Making videos outside of skateboarding made me realise that many people are in it for the money or fame or reasons that seems wrong to me.
I am trying to apply the skateboarding mentality in all the projects I do. Work hard but have a good time doing it.
Look forward to it. Any other new projects on the way?
I have been shooting cars lately and actually enjoy it a lot. These people are passionate as much as skateboarders.
As I said it’s mostly corporate stuff but I always have a skate project going on. Lately I have been working on a skate film entirely shot on 16mm film. I have been shooting on 16mm film a lot and I’m looking for people interested in working on things in film.
Glad to get the word out. Any shout outs?
I would like to thank everybody that believed in me and gave me opportunities to travel the world, skate and film.
Skateboarding-wise I would like to thank Bruno Gujer, Zoe Telfer, Pat and Mike Vermeulen for guiding me and sponsoring me when I was 15 years old. It really meant the world to me and I will be forever grateful.
As far as skateboard filmmaking goes I would like to thank Oli Buergin for giving me the opportunity to film professionally for Sole Tech Europe back in 2002 and also Philippe Lalemant for the opportunity to work for Element in 2003.