PARIS INSIDER: YOAN PRAT
Yoan Prat is, with Tom Brunet, one of the founders of Yard – Paris’ newest, and hottest, creative agency. We caught up with Yoan to know more about what will be the next big thing in Paris.
Interview by Gino Delmas
Tell us about Yard
Ok, first thing to know : It all started when the whole team jumped ship from the Ofive agency and the idea was to quickly launch our new project. Yard was to be an agency, with event production, video production, consulting AND media. Digital with a website, and two magazines: one, a free quarterly in French and one paid bi-annual in English to reach more people internationally.
How would you define the Yard DNA?
It's quite broad, of course, the urban trend, without any boundaries. It means hip-hop, electro, fashion, high fashion, streetwear. At the Zero Issue fanzine launch event, in March, for example, we did a high-fashion shoot in Bondy, a popular Parisian suburb. That's the kind of interactions we want to set up. There’s always this idea to push boundaries, to make something cross-cutting that will reach a whole generation. In the balance, music represents around a 50% share, since it's our starting point, and the rest is about fashion, lifestyle, society, art and sport, too.
What are the short-term projects?
The first issue of our French language magazine is being released in June. The English version will come in September. The next big night is planned in June, and we are (re)launching our summer parties at Wanderlust every Tuesday . We have big party plans for September, December and something huge for June 2015.
Tell us about your background.
I was born in the South of France. Then I lived in Africa. I moved 11 times before my 12th birthday. I saw many different things and blended with many different worlds before landing in Paris at 14 in the southeastern suburbs. My studies did not have anything to do with what I do now. My first job was in Human Resources. I recruited engineers for a headhunter. Not fun at all, with the suit-stuff and everything. It was well paid but I quit. The true story began with few pals. It was the early beginning of the 5D and 7D, some tools that allowed anybody to make images. Producing websites, videos or graphics was becoming more and more accessible. So we launched a small creative studio, Roucréation. We did web design and development, videos ... It lasted a year and half, focusing on small projects here and there. After that I was hired on the Ofive project, and I co-founded the TV channel and developed the editorial channel and the strategy behind it. After three years, and a slightly painful split, here we are with Yard.
During all these times, I always played a lot of sports. Football first -my dad played semi-pro- until 14, and then basketball because it was too cold in the winter outside. I came to music quite naturally. I always listened to music and step by step it ended up being the most important part of my job. I'm a melting pot of the suburbs, of Paris, the South of France, of Africa, and it that sense I represent the Yard team, which is the result of a true melting pot, too.
Why is Paris so special to you ?
First of all, Paris is hugely respected internationally. Then, as Parisians we get excited when Paris is at the center of something, like the fashion weeks, but between, you know it's not that crazy. In terms of architecture, the city is undoubtedly the most beautiful city in the world. It's amazing. We tend to forget it sometimes, but each ride in a cab reminds us. It makes the city so unique. Talking about pure energy, I think other European cities are better equipped, like London or Berlin. New York has a great energy, too, of course. LA is one of my favorites. The feeling of freedom is bigger; when you ride in London, Berlin or Paris, it's always more or less the same people you ride with, the same communities. LA has something very fresh and new to me.
But Paris is this international rallying point that gathers stuff and people at the same place at some specific crazy moments of the year.