July 28, 2021
Brady Perron is one of the unsung heroes of skiing. Those in the industry undoubtedly know his name, but his style centric approach to skiing led him on a path that didn’t include numerous podium finishes or sponsors battling to sign him to a contract. Still, the guy’s approach to life and skiing oozes with so much style that he’s been able to ski and film alongside legends such as Tanner Hall, Mike Hornbeck, Tom Wallisch, and countless others.
I first met Brady Perron while we were working at a ski shop out in Salt Lake City, UT back in 2012 (Shout out to Level 9 Sports). On slow days we’d take turns putting on throwback blues and soul tracks over the speakers, or if the shop was empty, hip hop Fast forward a few years and things have changed mightily. I moved back East and started Hemetic, while Brady began shifting his focus from being in front of the camera, to the guy behind it. While his style of skiing was never going to put him on top of an Olympic podium, it’s also exactly why he’s spent the last two years being the go-to guy for the B&E crew. If you’re unfamiliar, B&E is the home of Henrik Harlaut (who, incidentally, is an Olympian) as well as Phil Casabon, and they're the virtually unanimous style leaders of free skiing. From the effortless style and creativity of the skiing itself, to the relentlessly gritty and urban presentation put out by their films, even the most straight-laced textbook skiers can’t help but admire the originality of the crew. A big piece to that puzzle is Brady Perron’s work behind the lens and editing, which is why we couldn’t be more excited to have had the chance to sit down and get his thoughts on skiing, filming, music, and life. Enjoy this one:
What’s up Brady? How’ve you been lately?
Good, I’ve been bouncing around a lot but I’m posted in Utah still and doing a lot of freelance gigs, but mostly working on this two year flick with Phil and Henrik. We just finished recently- we shot about a month or so ago in Oregon, Henrik and I did, just to get one last clip. But mostly just did two stints of 7-8 months over the last two years. So, about 16 months with the boys and the flick is probably done as of today actually and will premier in two weeks.
It’s crazy how short the turnaround time is. You put the trailer out, the movie’s not even done yet so you finish that up, and like two weeks later it’s already premiering. It’s real quick, that’s not Hollywood-like at all.
Yeah, exactly. It’s literally in Phil’s house right now. He’s doing the finishing touches. All of the selects were pulled during the season.
Last time I saw you was probably back in the Spring of 2012 before I dipped back to Vermont. Have you basically been working with those boys ever since I left?
Yeah, so I did have a 9-5 video / photo position at the dot com that we were working at (Level 9 Sports). Then I had some freelance going but I pretty much got put on by the boys and now I’m fully invested into the visual arts stuff.
So your full time gig is with them? Or do you do freelance stuff on the side too?
Yeah so for the last two years it’s been like 8 months with them, then 4 months freelance. This year it’ll be less with them and more freelance but I might have another new project coming up that could be cool if I jump on board this team with a few other dudes who are really with it. I’m hoping to get that chemistry going. We all get along real well and could make something special.
That’s a real low key project right now?
Ha, well it’s low key in the sense that I just got an Email about it and now I’m all worked up thinking, “maybe this’ll work and I can get put on in this way now,” you know? So that’s kind of where I’m at right now.
Just kind of feeling out the opportunity?
Yeah, I mean, I’m definitely trying to get paid but I’m not only trying to get rich. So if I could make something special, then it’s probably going to happen with my friends. That’s what always shines through in the piece. Hopefully that’s what cracks off in Phil and Henrik’s thing. That it’s obvious that someone who made this was part of the team instead of someone who was just behind the camera being like, “Are. You. Ready?!”
Well I feel like that’s the purest form of inspiration. When if comes down to it, if you’re thinking about longevity, you want to keep putting out stuff that’s like, and no pun intended here, but inspired shit. You don’t want it to be like bland, boring, forced work. You want it to be something you feel- that’ll really be what boosts your portfolio and resume in the long run.
So how’d you first meet Henrik? When did that all come about?
I met Henrik back when I was 19 out in Utah. He came to film with 4bi9 and I was filming with them as well for this flick Slamina. He was 16, one of his first times in the States probably. We met skiing- he closed the movie and I opened it, so we were on the same kind of drive where we were thinking we had to prove something. So that was it really. Plus, I had the biggest love for his skiing.
At that point did you guys keep in touch at all?
Yeah, he was initially staying with all of my mutual friends, so that was fun hanging out and partying with them. Then his brother started staying with me so he’d come visit his brother over at my house. Eventually he started coming to Utah more and he’d stay with me, so we started skiing more and bonding over shit bigger than skiing. We figured we should keep that going.
What’s your role with B&E?
I got put on by Phil and Henrik to be the primary cinematographer for the crew- meaning Phil, Henrik, and friends depending on location. Like up in Quebec, Emile Bergeron was with us. But yeah, I’m the teammate that just travels and films the whole time. I provide all the video, and the photos I can keep but I usually link up with them for content. Maybe sell them to their sponsors if I can get a good deal.
You’re basically the third man of the group, making sure all the shots get got.
Yeah, mostly all of my shots are in the movie. It’s almost all action. There’s no story telling, there’s not that much lifestyle. It’s going to be all heat. It’s exciting to see what we pulled off over two years and what it’s going to condense into.
Right. So I’ve gotta ask, is there any kind of language barrier between you guys? You all have different native languages…
Nah, there’s not a barrier. More so there’s this rule of making fun of each other. It’s like a hybrid language between a Swedish accent, a Quebec accent, and my accent. I sound like a Russian guy when I’m mimicking Henrik, and Phil does too. But then we sound like shitty Frenchmen when we’re mimicking Phil. I’ve been working on my French though because I’ve been hanging with the boys you know? But nah, no real barriers, mostly just poking fun.
Yeah, I could imagine some pretty hilarious situations from that.
Mhm, inside jokes and all that.
One of the trademarks of anything that B&E puts out is definitely the soundtrack. You guys are always using deep deep hip hop and reggae cuts. Should people expect more of the same kind of vibe from BE Inspired?
Yeah, definitely. That’s all due to Eric Iberg. He was the main man for the soundtrack. He and his partner Walshy Fire from Major Lazer got an insane list of artists. It’s like Cormega, Sizzla, Raekwon, Dillon Cooper, Assassin- this dancehall dude that I’m into, and it’s all going to be original. The hope is that it’ll help the movie transcend beyond snow sports.
Solid. So are the lyrics about skiing?
No, it was more like, “we want to have a cold feel for this, so we’re going to get these cats to rap cold, and then we’ll have a warm feeling for this.” That’s basically what it was. I’m sure there’ll be some songs that won’t be in the movie that just couldn’t be used because they didn’t fit.
All of these artists knew they were writing a song for a ski movie though?
Yeah, they were all aware of it, but no one even mentions Phil or Henrik’s name. It’s more just that we’ve got a fire soundtrack.
In the process of making a two year ski movie, are you guys constantly reviewing footage or do you just stash it away and come back to it? How does that work?
We’re all excited to make the movie the whole time, so like in Quebec we shot for three weeks and caught a nice rhythm up there. We tried to shoot everything during the day there so we didn’t have lights and weren’t a nuisance to anyone. So at night from like eight until midnight we’re just sitting around on the computer, catching up with people, but none of us could help but to take the clips and put them into a timeline. So then my timeline is Quebec, Phil’s timeline is Quebec, and so is Henrik’s. Each day we’re just adding shots. I’m using my favorite songs, and he’s using his, and he’s using his and his favorite clips, beyond the skiing even. We really pulled all of the selects in Quebec, at the time, so that when I was done with the three weeks up there, I was almost showing someone the rough draft of the movie. Then I’m looking at Phil and Henrik’s across the way and I’m saying, “show me yours.” So they show me, and I’m like, “oh my god, you cut that so nice!” Everyone was just kind of vibing in that sense. That’s how the movie was made, even though there was still a ton of post [production] to do.
So are there a bunch of alternative takes just out there between your three computers then?
Yup, everyone’s got alternative takes. Mine are super extended because I’m the filmer type, so I’ve got like 30 different people from the streets just walking. Then Phil’s is so heater- there was no one except for those two going crazy. Phil’s cuts will be the movie in the sense that he just made a pornographic film. Straight heat.
What’re the odds that anyone will ever see those?
Uhh... I think that they won’t see them because by the time we finished that, we were on to the next location. The hope was that you were starting there on the next segment so with that in mind, I’m proud of it because of what we did, but I’m not proud of it in the sense of releasing it. So maybe I have to go back and re-up that or something. Like the audio on one shot is so sick, and then the next shot will have no audio when it needed it the most.
Well dude, that’s kind of dope. You should keep those in the vault and in like 5-10 years from now you can share it as alternate takes from BE Inspired.
Yeah for sure. That’s something we’ve been talking about a bit, so definitely that. We’ve also talked a bit about releasing some things that are behind the scenes after the movie comes out.
Sounds tight. So let’s switch gears for a second. You grew up skiing Mt. Sunapee in New Hampshire before moving out West to be more involved in the scene. What were your ambitions like as a skier at the time, and were you ever planning on trying to make a career out of skiing professionally?
Definitely. When I was 18 I moved to Utah. Maybe not to get looted, but to continue this opportunity I had with 4bi9. That was the main reason. I was going to try and move to Utah without going to college. But then I had a great opportunity to go to school for cheap so I took it. I’m glad I did though because I made some good ties and learned a lot about myself. I definitely went to Utah with the idea that I should get sponsors and I should try to be able to afford this crazy ski lifestyle. And, I just wanted to hang out with my crew and travel. It was never like, “I want to be the best skier ever.” It was more like, “I want to be one of those skiers, in this movie. Please let me be in the movie!”
When did you start getting behind the camera? Were you doing that in high school, or as a kid?
Yeah, I was a senior in high school. I had this cool mentor, he was my buddy’s dad, and he was like an F-1 racing photographer. We didn’t really connect on racing, we connected on the photos fully. But he showed me how to use cameras, like the old Nikons he had. Then when I moved away from home, I just kept cameras on me and I was obviously around a lot of them because I was being filmed as well. So then when we’d head out of town, like to Montana for three nights or something, I’d bring my camera and I’d get like 5 photos the whole trip. They were kind of like souvenirs. But then I was around the whizzes so I’d get all amped from them. Mostly the 4bi9 cats like AJ and Napes were the ones who got me into being with a camera. Then I started thinking, “I’m going to film this skier or my buddy while I’m not skiing,” and eventually I wasn’t even skiing. I was just shooting photos while everyone else was.
It just sort of evolved from there.
Yeah, it was honestly the easiest transition to be on the other side of the lens. It was the easiest choice. My creative juices… I’m so damn high when I’m filming Phil and Henrik. I’m getting the same exact high I get from doing something on my skis. There’s no difference for me.
"I’m so damn high when I’m filming Phil and Henrik. I’m getting the same exact high I get from doing something on my skis. There’s no difference for me."
What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far? The easy choice is obviously this one…
Ha, this one is the one for sure. I can’t wait to celebrate and share it. We’re in that mode where we’re all in touch right now, even more than we were a month ago. I’m really jazzed up about this one.
I mean, it seems sick dude. Last Iberg movie, original soundtrack, two year project, two of the best skiers in the game. It seems like everything’s lined up for this movie to be an absolute banger.
Yeah, it should be a good one. Hopefully it can stand for a while. Hopefully it could be released in 3 or 4 years and still be heat.
Other than that, I did do a piece recently that I was hyped on for Elaine Hersby, a designer out in Coppenhagen. Then I’m working on this other piece with Duncan Adams that’s maybe like a 3 minute segment which is kind of fun because Duncan was a pro skier in the pipe realm, but he’s kind of on a hiatus even though he’s crushing. I think Duncan’s going to be someone who know’s snow and is going to be able to do whatever he wants in the mountains. Right now he’s super playful in the mountains and the park. That’s what I’m really hyped on right now. Then the last thing is some stuff I shot with Tom Penny out in Coppenhagen.
I think one of my favorites from you was the “Meltdown” project you did with Hornbeck a few years back.
Ha, that was my jam! I’m glad you like that one! That was the start. Right when I thought, “ok, I’m going to tackle this whole editing thing.” I also did one Chile movie with Corey Stanton that was really fun. We did a lot of filming and editing together and that kind of sparked me. That guy’s a boss. Super creative, forward thinking, and really with it.
What advice do you have for a 15 year old Brady Perron?
Probably just to find balance between pleasure and business. Make sure that happiness comes first, but realize that happiness can come from finding a good balance between business and pleasure. Don’t just live to work.
Yeah, I hear that. That’s kind of what this whole series is trying to be about. Getting people to realize that if you’ve got a vision, if you’ve got an idea, then go after that shit. Don’t just shrug it off and say, “nah, I’m going to get a job and just settle down, make some money, and buy a house.” I mean, that’s all well and good, but if you’ve got an idea for yourself, then you should chase that shit because somebody else will if you don’t. Sometimes you’ve gotta be the person who goes for it, otherwise you’ll regret that in the future I think.
That reminds me of this Andy Reynolds bit. He’s talking about, yeah, you can find happiness in a home and a white picket fence and kids, and definitely some of my friends are finding possibly more happiness than I am within that. I know that for myself though, that if I’m chasing this and not ignoring it, that I’m going to find as much happiness as they are by going for it instead of chasing the standard routes. I know that someday I’ll change, because the balance changes as you get older, but for now, I’m eating. People ask me what I’ve been up to, and I’m just like, “dude, I’ve been spending and sending.”
Hell yeah man, sounds like you’re in a good place right now. One thing I want to touch on quick is our common connections through music. When we were out working the retail floor at Level 9, I remember going back and forth with you throwing tracks on over the speakers to pass the time. So who are you listening to now man? Put me on to someone.
Oh man, let’s see. Gabe ’Nandez, Townes Van Zandt, Westside Gunn, Little Simz, Jay Electronica, L’orange, Captain Beefheart… that’s probably enough to keep your ears busy for a while.
Word, so let’s wrap this up. Give me the rundown for the BE Inspired premier schedule. It kicks off in Quebec City then heads overseas to Europe right?
Yessir! So we did Quebec City last Saturday, then we’ve got: 9/16 - Stockholm, 9/17 - Oslo, 9/20 - St. Petersburg, Russia, 9/22 - Prague, 9/23 - Munich, 9/24 - Innsbruck, 9/27 - Milan, 9/28 - London, 9/29 - 10/2 -Annecy, 10/2 - 10/7 - Andorra, and wrapping up in Barcelona on 10/8!