The morning after the Emerica MADE 2 video premiere in London we headed along to the team's hotel to catch up with Justin Figueroa. With a screwdriver in hand and sunglasses on to avoid the welcome September sunshine, Figgy pointed to a patch of sick signalling the previous night’s festivities - we chatted about MADE 2, what it means to ride for a skater owned shoe company, how much of a legend Nuge is and more besides. Read on for the full lowdown, and keep your eyes open for a MADE 2 premiere near you soon.
Interview: Matt Broadley | Photos: Atiba Jefferson courtesy of Emerica
How has the reaction to the video been so far?
The premiere last night was the funniest one, the audience were shouting out all sorts of shit, it was tight!
Do you get different reactions at each premiere?
I went to the L.A one which for me was the best so far, all my friends were there, Collin ripped my chair out from under me after my part, flat backed me and broke all chairs in our vicinity. The Argentina one, they’re just psyched on whatever. But yeah, last night was fun.
How long were you filming for?
Three years. After MADE Chapter One it took me about a year to get ankle surgery. This one had it’s own unique injuries too.
"Stuff like dislocated elbows, ribs, and all that shit - I don’t give a fuck if I go back for those, they weren’t even that gnarly"
Was there much you couldn’t film because of injury?
Not really, I think I got everything done that I got hurt on. Or the shit I got hurt on, it wasn’t like I was dying to go back. If something like that happens usually I’ll just call it, depending on the trick. Stuff like dislocated elbows, ribs, and all that shit - I don’t give a fuck if I go back for those, they weren’t even that gnarly, more like a freak accident.
Were there any tricks in the video you had to battle for more than others?
All of them! The last crook yank was probably the longest that I’ve ever tried a trick. Just because I was scared and being a bitch. I tried that for about 4 hours in the dead heat, it was so fucking gnarly, I was so done. It was my third time at the spot - the first time I went I couldn’t pull the trigger, it was there but I couldn’t take it into the bank. The second time there was school so we couldn’t skate it, then the third time it just worked. I feel bad for the filmer and photographers sometimes for having to go out with me, they must be like “oh here we go again!"
Do you have a process when approaching a project like this, or do you just wing it?
I take it trick by trick. With Bake and Destroy and those kind of videos we just go out and skate and see what happens, but for the Emerica video every trick is something that I’ve thought about and wanted to do.
Whose footage in the video are you most hyped on?
Dickson and Collin! Dickson for days always, he has the first part and comes out swinging!
You must be happy having him on the team? One of your boys...
He’s been sleeping on my couch and mooching my shit for fucking years! He’s one of my best friends.
"Rob and Eniz fucking shred! Those guys are gnarly!"
What did you think of Rob Maatman and Eniz Fazliov’s stuff?
They fucking shred! Those guys are gnarly, going out skating with them in person - just going to a park or whatever, they’re both gnarly. Way better than me!
Eniz’s last trick is insane
Yeah, killed it! So rad.
Is there anything you’d say sets MADE Chapter 2 apart from other skate videos?
All the videos that have come out, everyone works hard. Now that I’m done with this one, and looking at other people’s parts - dude, it is fucking hard! Everyone that comes out with a part, it’s a lot of work. So compared to the others, I don’t know I just put myself through the process.
To other people skating isn’t a real job, which it isn’t I love skating, but there’s a point where you’ve done it for so fucking long, and you’re putting your shit on the line still, it’s hard to live with someone like that. So, whatever that’s a whole other thing. Compared to all the other vids, I think there’s a bunch of older dudes on Emerica who’ve been killing it for fucking ages and people just want to see that.
"Emerica’s still on it and keeping me fucking psyched!"
Yeah definitely, Heath and Reynolds got big cheers last night
And Jerry and Spanky - they’ve been doing it for 15 years, over 15 years, I think people just want to see them shred
Do you think the continuity of having Jon Miner making the last three videos is important?
It’s hard for him to come out with something wack, he’s really good at piecing everything together and making it flow, it has this distinct identity. I like his whole vibe. I have a bunch of slams in my part and that was his idea, let’s just throw them all in! It shows how hard you work.
What’s the best part of riding for a skater owned shoe company?
I’ve been buying Emerica’s since before I was riding for them, over 15 years ago. I’m stoked it’s still core as fuck and still going. With adidas and Nike and all that it’s hard, I feel like it’s hard for a lot of companies right now to survive. Emerica’s still on it and keeping me fucking psyched!
If you could pick anyone to be on Emerica who would you choose?
Just because he’s in a pretty heavy place right now I’d say Slash, Brian Hansen. For sure.
How do these premiere tours compare to the Skate Rock tours you’ve done?
This is the first day of this one, but if you’re with the right posse it will happen - things will get broken and you’ll get kicked out of places. Which is fun, but it depends on who you’re with. There’s absolutely no comparison to a Skate Rock trip. Those are shows, fighting, a bunch of shit - it’s fun.
"He just took the hit, the whole front windshield just caved in on Nuge."
Tell us a wild story from one of the Skate Rock trips
We were driving in a transit van, there were 16 people in this van in a place called the Land of a Thousand Hills, 300ft cliffs everywhere. We lost control and instead of going off the cliff, Nuge ran the van into a house - he saved Grant Taylor, Jake Phelps, Raven, Tony Trujillo, Trixie, Rowan Zorilla, P Stone, saved everyone!
He just took the hit, the whole front windshield just caved in on Nuge. Shit like that. Every single trip there’s something stupid that wouldn’t happen on any other trip, almost somehow fucking dying. Nuge forever! Actually, I’ll take Slash and Nuge on Emerica, my bad!
What’s coming up for you now?
I haven’t really skated in about three weeks, I’m definitely out of shape as of right now. But compared to other video parts, I’m ready to go right now, Baker 4 is definitely in the works as of last week! Just psyched to go skating, I feel good. After Stay Gold I couldn’t skate for 3 months, Bake & Destroy I had ankle surgeries and was out for a year. I feel happy drinking this screwdriver right now!
Nice one Figgy, all the best!