Oil in the blood x Pagnol
This month is the 4th year anniversary for Pagnol and its mighty modern classic, the M1 moto jacket which started with a bang with this Bike Exif feature 4 years ago and who better to feature in conjunction with this than former Bike Shed member and filmmaker, Gareth Roberts from the UK.
We first connected with Gareth in 2015 while he featured his M2 moto jacket in the LE dirty cream color on Bike Shed. After he left the BS to focus more on his fulltime job, filmmaking.
Since then, we stayed connected as friends and caught up with him at last year's One Moto Show while he was already starting what we think will be one of the most important and interesting moto documentaries ever, "Oil in the blood".
It was awesome that Gareth wanted to include Pagnol as an interview for the film! But this time we have turned the tables for his Pagnol feature with this insightful interview with him, photos gallery by Tom Horna of @autohouselondon with Gareth's M1 jacket and his awesome looking Yamaha build by @debolexengineering, enjoy!
What made you get into motorcycles?
GR: I grew up with them. The first motorcycle I ever remember was the Norton Commando, I must have been six or seven years old. They’ve had a magical allure ever since, even though they were really a utility bike they’ve always been exotic to me. I finally got one four years ago and I love it. We used to mess about as kids on my mate’s Honda C90 in the fields, and then when I was finally sixteen I got a 1971 Vespa 50 Special, as I’d just seen Quadrophenia and considered myself a Mod. That was followed by a Lambretta LD and then a GP, until my mate had to do three months at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for selling weed, his mum was so angry she threatened to sell his Yamaha RD250LC, so he asked me to look after it whilst he was away. That was it, a love for two-stroke hooligan machines was born. I’ve been riding bikes ever since, many years on sports bikes, a few seasons club racing 2 stroke GP bikes, and in recent years classics and customs.
How is the moto scene in the UK or even Europe compared to the USA?
GR: the bike scene in the UK is a little more tribal, people tend to stick their own subculture, whether it be adventure bikes, sports bikes, scooters, choppers or cafe racers. I find this a little frustrating as I see something interesting in most styles of bikes..
I know in general, for the USA it is more of a leisure activity and over there is used way more as a means to everyday transportation etc, so does this plays into the custom scene?
GR: People ride a lot here, everyday riding in all conditions, so the custom bikes here whilst often can be more creatively modest, function well.
How was your experience working at the BS and how did it happen?
GR: I just got involved in the very early days when it was just a bunch of mates blogging about bikes they liked. It was a lot of fun, but when it turned into a business the emphasis changed, and it became a professional endeavour. I have a day job I like, so I took a step back to concentrate on my own projects.
So after you continued your film day job, and you focused to make, possibly the best or one of the best films about the current moto scene? Oil in the blood! Why do this?
GR: I hadn’t directed anything in a while, and had been concentrating on producing. An opportunity came up to make a passion project, so I jumped on this. The custom world is something I am heavily vested in, something I like and have some knowledge about, and a culture I feel deserved serious examination.
How do you see gear brands in the mix of all this new wave moto scene?
GR: it’s a double edged sword. The new wave scene is a lifestyle scene, so there is room for interesting gear to cater to a more discerning customer. The more successful creatively are small brands that have emerged from inside the culture fired by individuals who have been frustrated by a lack of a specific product. Pagnol are a good example of this, providing durable technical gear that has a strong sense of design with a refreshing lack of overt branding, incorporating lines and its that fit with the styling cues of the contemporary custom scene. Hedon helmets are another good example. It works less successfully where big established motorcycle brands bring out their ‘urban’ ‘retro’ lines, which are often way off the design mark, and come across as contrived and cynical.
Paulo: "One" of the reasons Pagnol started was because 5-6 years ago when this was starting to pick up, I did not see "the gear to match" these retro yet modern new generation customs bike, I think only RSD is similar in that we are the only brands that steamed from this movement, as opposed to the big brands that "followed the scene"
Being a creative, what relationship do you see in creativity and riding a motorcycle?
GR: being a creative can be a hugely frustrating process, and can often involve colossal battles of will, having to navigate huge egos, and having to endure constant criticism, so riding a motorcycle is an anecdote to this. A time for contemplation, concentration, singularity of purpose, focus, and deep joy.
Being an entrepreneur, what relationship do you see with this and riding a motorcycle?
GR: Taking calculated risks, discarding the safe option, operating at the edge of one’s capabilities, and going a little quicker than you probably should.
When is your film scheduled to be released!? Where will we see it?
GR: The film will be released in Q4 of this year
What have you learned about the scene by making this film!? you must have a unique perspective
GR the scene is flourishing and mutating. It has matured since it's anarchic youth of ten years ago, somethings have been lost, and many gains have been made. It has triggered a renaissance in motorcycling, and been a triumph of individuals over the corporate machine. It’s crossed generations, gender, genres, and geographical location.