How to Be More Creative: An Interview with B-Mack

By: Ethan Stone March 06, 2018

I first met B-Mack, aka Maximilliam Smith, several summers ago at Mt. Hood, where he was spending his summer as many other ski bums have done before: living in the woods and skiing the Palmer Snowfield every day. Some friends and I had built a jump up high on the mountain, and I invited him to come hit it with our crew. I was looking forward to a pretty standard sunset session: sun goes down, skiers hit jump, nice photos ensue. But B-Mack had different ideas. He built a little side hit on the jump, then started buttering the line of the ridge we were using as a landing—a creative approach that I hadn’t seen before, and honestly had no idea how to take a photo of.

B-Mack Maximilliam Smith hits a jump at sunset on the Hogsback at Mt. Hood, Oregon. Photo Ethan Stone

B-Mack, being conventional back in 2014.

B-Mack, being less conventional back in 2014.

Back in 2014, B-Mack's approach was something of a revelation for me. Nowadays, with the onset of the "new wave" and the "Bunch style" in skiing, that kind of buttering and swerving around has become more commonplace. Even so, B-Mack's unique approach to skiing is no less revelatory now in 2018 than it was when he first blew my mind a few years ago. Whatever everyone else is doing, he’s going to do his own thing. And if it doesn’t look cool to you now, just wait—because in a year or two, it’ll probably look like the most progressive shit out. Whatever you do, don’t assume that just because he’s doing some weird, wiggly thing you’ve never seen before, that B-Mack can’t throw down in the park with the best of them, because he can. He just chooses not to.

What up B-Mack? According to your Instagram you’ve been skiing a lot of city streets lately. What have you been up to so far this winter?

Hello, just got back home from a day of ski teaching, going make some dank dinner then out to hit some more streets tonight. And that’s pretty much my deal and what I’ve been up to. Living in Oslo, working as a ski teacher and trying to ski the streets when I have time. We’ve had a good season here in Oslo with a lot of snow. And I love the spots and the vibe and the dank Scandinavian youth culture here.

Where are you living these days? Who are you skiing with?

Oslo city, downtown. All the Oslo homies, Trashparty, ratnation, kitboys. My ski teaching colleagues and whoever I end up on the chair with. Been skiing a lot with @Krypto_skier Eirik Moberg. Dank dude and a really good skier, follow him.

Describe the evolution of your style. Looking at your earlier videos, you were heavy into tech park tricks before you started swerving around. What happened?

Yeah that was mad fun. I still bust out some switch-ups every now and then. But I guess that’s not that trendy anymore. Like everything else in life, you get tired of stuff and move on looking for new stuff. I wanted to challenge myself and my creativity more. When it comes to doing a lot of switch-ups and spins and stuff, it’s not actually that hard; it’s more a matter of tries. For a while I felt like I could do almost any switch-up combination I could think of, if I just put the time and work in to it. So I started trying to do stuff that challenges my mind, creativity and skill level more, and develops me more as a skier and as a person, kind of. I was already skiing very creatively and uniquely at this time, but I did mainstream tricks too. I started actively thinking and pushing myself in that direction really early, when I was seventeen.

When we first met, you described your style to me as “rich hobo,” which I still don’t know what that means. Is that still the look or have you moved on to something new?

Yo, rich hobo is like that “low-key fly af you can’t even see it if you ain't got no juice yourself though” style. It’s that “got rich and didn't even try” shit. It’s that “swerve swerve, swerve, supa swerve, almost outta control but still lace I up real clean.” Now my style is more like “I just got back from ACL surgery so keep it real real low-key.” Tech out on small spots, but try to keep it classy and sassy. It’s more cleaned up, like you can see I want to know exactly what’s going on all the time, compared to before when I couldn’t care less. My style now, it’s more of that “upperclass got money for a long time so I stay low-key flexing.” Like, that "upper-class old-money gay-ass posh British private school swag, masculine-man-with-feminine-body-language" swag.

You know how when British men get so classy and are so much of a true gentleman that they start repping that dank sensitive gay vibe? That’s me. I always thought my skiing has been kinda feminine, but a lot of people can’t spot that. But I think you can see that clearer now more than ever, ‘cause I’m way comfier with how I am now, and I grew up a lot the last couple of years. I’ve been trying to settle down a little and give myself time to really work on myself, and spend some serious time wandering around the the universe inside myself, finding new doors I haven’t seen before, opening them and exploring brand new worlds inside of me. I think that reflected back on my style a bit, compared to before when I was super confused and swerved out in all directions. Now I don’t really see that confusion in my style. Now, I think my style can be described well with the term “gently aggressive.”

I think it’s fair to say that nobody is skiing quite the way that you are. Got any tips for the kids on how to ski differently?

First of all, just ski different. Try to do stuff not a lot of other people do, or try to do something new. It can be any little tweak or shifty or revert or whatever. That’s the short answer. The long answer is more about how you on a deeper level can become a more creative person, and develop yourself in directions you didn’t know exist.

- First of all, keep being you: stay true to your heart, listen to it. Accept that it could easily change its mind, accept that it could like shit that is not cool at all to like. Like, I love super commercial pop music, and all my friends think I’m a moron for it, but fuck it! Keep exploring yourself.

- Try to live out your full potential. I feel like I see a lot of people trying to live up to their full potential, and they set goals that are easy to figure out how to achieve and well-adapted to today’s society: easy to describe, a clear straight path where you can see the whole thing. And that’s cool, but I don’t want to forget that life is a lot about living out your full potential. Stay weird. Dare to set weird goals of how you want to grow as a person. Try to find sides of yourself that you want to explore. You know that feeling, like when you’re starting to listen to some new kind of music you never thought you would like? Like, you always hated commercial wack-ass poppy pop music, but then you meet that really cool person who slowly introduces it to you without you even knowing about it, because she’s showing you the back door, and you start liking it without even knowing about it. That feeling! That feeling when you’re out exploring in your own head, and you find the door you haven’t seen before; you open it and now you have a whole new world inside your head to explore. I love that feeling. I try to get that a lot. This is happening to me right now with corny commercial rock, Blink-182 music. I never liked that. But then I got into Lil Peep (if you don’t know Lil Peep, stop reading this and start Googling!!!), and I’d say its easy to tell that his main sources of inspiration are that kind of Green Day rock and new wave trap, and then he just mixes it up real well. I haven’t dared to try to listen to proper Green Day or Blink-182 yet, but I’ve started liking more ILoveMakonnen and Busu songs, and they are really on that tip, the Green Day trap tip I call it. This keeps happening to me all the time, it even happens to my sexuality.

  • - Take two or more different things you like and try to mix them up. Like Green Day rock and trap, house music and new wave rap, B&E skiing and Max Hill—those are two of of the roots I can think of now that I used to mix back in the days. Or B-Mack style and LSM style—and everyone else in The Bunch obviously, but I picked me and LSM because I feel like we are two very opposite components in style of skiing, and together with everyone in The Bunch we shape “the “Bunch style.” Some people speak about the Bunch style as one style sometimes, which fucking blows my mind. To me The Bunch is a stew, with A LOT of different tastes going on at the same time. Lil Peep is really good at this, and you can see it easily in his music and especially fashion. He takes a lot of really mainstream commercially famous styles and mixes them together into his own very unique thing.

  • - Inspiration, man. I see a lot of people who don’t take their inspiration gathering very seriously. They be like, “Aw what a waste of a day, I haven’t done anything. I just spent three hours straight scrolling the ‘gram and watching shit on Youtube.” I call that inspiration gathering sessions, they are the most important shit and I take it very seriously. If you gather wack inspiration, like if your ‘gram feed is wack, you will most likely produce wack shit. Inspiration gathering is the number-one most truthful source of motivation, too. You can get motivation because you want money, or recognition, or other human needs. But the most true, genuine and beautiful motivation comes from just simply wanting to express yourself, because you’ve got all these dank feelings from this inspiration you just gathered when you were scrolling the feed on Instagram.

  • When I hurt my knee, one of my biggest priorities and goals was to talk to people. That’s why I moved back to Gothenburg, where I’m from: to have interesting, giving conversations, gather inspiration and let people open my mind for me. To try to understand the world from their view, their opinions, their life. One time I ended up at a party with a bunch of racists. An old classmate of mine invited me to his birthday party, and unfortunately he (or maybe mostly his friends, I don’t really know) have become “I’m-not-racist-but” people. So I sat down at the kitchen table with this one guy who wasn’t down with Muslims kicking it in Sweden, and we had a conversation, mostly me asking him a bunch of questions about his opinions. And I mean, that was great—we had a nice, grown-up, giving conversation where I learned a lot. There was a lot of disagreement of course, because obviously I’m not a racist, (or more correctly, I’m trying to be as much non-racist I can, even if I am also a victim of the structures of society.) But even if I don’t agree with his opinions, I wanted to try to understand them, and understand how and why this guy could think and feel like he doesn’t want Muslims kicking it in Sweden.

- Another good tip if you want to ski differently or become more creative as a person is just to try. Don’t be afraid of doing something corny or wack-looking, just toss yourself out there. You have to dare to embarrass yourself and do uncool stuff. A lot of times when some friends and I are at a spot, my friends will say, "I can’t film, I don’t know what to do on this spot, I’m not that good at skiing small benches and stuff.” I never say that, even though I never know what to do. Most of the time when I’m skiing benches and small jibs, I have no idea of what do to—I just know I’ll have to start skiing and start trying. Jamming, having a goofy-ass session when I’m doing a bunch of stuff that’s not cool at all, and then I like fall in a certain way, or something happens and all of a sudden I get the vision: I can just see that dank-ass trick right there, and then I go and do it. I have like four different Instagram accounts where I post stuff because I want to try and practice and develop my style before I post on my official (follow me 😃). If you can see the whole path clearly to the goal, it’s too easy. Try to take the less traveled, curvy and swervy path instead.

- Also try to stay diverse. Skiing off-piste will make you better at skiing street, park, pipe and piste. Skiing street also, and park too and so on. The other week I skipped work and skiing for a week to do a poetry vernissage, because I know that will make me a better, more creative, inspired and motivated skier. It will develop me as a human being, and give me a lot of new inspiration to feed off.

Okay, kinda went nuts on that question, it became like a guidebook on how to get more creative. I should actually write that and sell it, because this is really valuable information, especially since the value of creativity is increasing so drastically in today’s society. I think that will be the last thing that the computers will be better than us at. But that will happen too of course. Shout out the the next generation. Our children that we will raise, the computers. Just as we are an extension and better version of the monkeys, they will be an extension of us. And hopefully they’ll have manners, if we raise them to. Don’t be scared 🙂

What skiers (or other sports) are you watching? Where does B-Mack get his inspiration?
SLVSH, Phil [Casabon], Keegan [Kilbride], The Bunch, Keeshlife, The Hood Crew, the people I ski with, @krypto_skier,, everyone on the ON3P team, especially @m1sta_mango, @skrtskrtswerve, @skimanguy @fostermeeks, every dank skier I forgot. Skateboarding, conversations. Night life, music, underground raves. Like what I was talking about earlier. Inspiration is to be found everywhere and in everybody. It could be the color of a wall.

You were out for a while last year, what happened?

I tore my ACL, so I did some studies in my recovery time, which was dank. I love studying and am definitely gonna keep doing that. I did a summer course in modern economic history, which I failed miserably. But it was mad fun and I learned a lot, so that was dank. I also did an introduction course to social anthropology in the fall which I did pass, and that was more my thing and super interesting and fun. Definitely gonna keep studying anthropology in the future.

How come you weren’t in the latest Bunch film Interpretation? Were you just too busy doing your own thing?

I tore my ACL pretty early last season and wasn’t able to get any shots for it unfortunately. I was supposed to be in it and would have really loved to, especially after I saw it. If I would try to describe how good i thought it was, it would take the rest of the interview. But I fucking loved it. A true masterpiece.

Thoughts on the state of skiing today?
Skiing is danker today than it ever been. It’s really wide and cool and diverse and all over the place, and it keeps growing as more people start freestyle skiing and realizing it’s the shit. I couldn’t be more proud of where skiing is today. Skiing is also very dank if you think about how big and commercial mainstream skiing is, and how cheap it is for like a normal family from England to go the Alps and have a amazing skiing experience today. It’s cheaper than ever. Skiing is super available to more people now! The only thing I can complain about is that I feel like some few people are getting all the money, and the rest ain’t getting none. If you’re not a competition skier, it’s really really hard to make a living out of skiing and you have to work unbelievably hard. And I don’t know if this is going in the right way or not.

Are you repping any sponsors these days?
Yes I do! ON3P, best skis on earth!!! And 10 Peaks Gloves, dank-ass gloves with this zipper that lets you flip off your glove really quick and easy, and you don’t have to hold it while swiping your dating apps in the lift. It’s kinda hard to describe, but check their website and you will get it!

Swerving. Photo: Harry Fleminger

Is Maximilliam really a name in Sweden? Or did someone screw up when they were making your birth certificate?

Maximilian is a name, a German name. People are named that in Sweden. Maximilliam is not though. My dad was stressed sitting in the car when he was filling in the paperwork, and couldn’t Google the spelling back then.

You spent the past few summers shaping the park in Zermatt, are you going to keep up with that?
Yeah, actually I lived there for a year and a half. They’re open all year around and have a really fun park and 300 days of sun a year, so it’s a really really good place to ski. The park in the summer is the best in the world. But the shaping is hard work on the body. I can’t work there during the summer and ski the way I want unfortunately, it’s just gonna run my body down in the long term. But I wanna work and ski somewhere this summer. I don’t know where yet. Anybody got a job for me? Hit me up! I would love to coach at a summer camp.

Under the ropes. Photo: Harry Fleminger

You’ve been dropping some freestyle rap tracks lately… got a new career on your hands?
Yes!! I’ve been freestyling and rapping quite a bit lately, and it’s so much fun! I fucking love it. I’m definitely gonna keep doing it as much music as I can find time for, don’t really care if people fuck with it or not. People have been hitting me up in my DMs and telling me to stick to skiing and that I should stop rapping, that I’m wack, that I appropriate black culture and so on. But I don’t care, I don’t do it for anyone else besides me anyway. I’ll keep posting rap in my skiing videos on my ‘gram and Youtube channel. (Subscribe to my Youtube channel "Maximilliam Smith for dank-ass skiing and music inspiration). If you don’t like it, you can hit the unfollow button. I’m really happy I didn’t get those comments a year ago though, because then I was more insecure with my rap. But I got a lot of good feedback too, and now I really like my own music and I feel like there’s a drought of what I’m doing, so I’m gonna fill that waterhole up.

Final thoughts?
No not really, I’m gonna go and help my roommates clean the kitchen now.
But if you want to, you can follow me on Instagram ( and subscribe to my Youtube channel, Maximilliam Smith.

Thanks!! And please, for your own and the whole world’s sake, KEEP EXPLORING YOURSELF!!!