Juan Virues Interview

Kickflip, Terciera, Azores Islands. Ph. Gerard Riera

Like many of our Spanish heroes, including Juan ‘Jura’ Algora that we roped into doing this interview, Viru is someone we’ve grown to love watching skate Madrid’s plazas. He’s one of those guys that’s so naturally gifted when it comes to flatground and ledges that if he decided to film every single clip in his next part at Congreso, nobody would complain. But he does the exact opposite. This year alone he’s been to New Orleans, Atlanta, Philly, Paris, London, the Azores and too many other places to list, and has applied that very ‘classic’ set of skills to spots of every shape, size and colour. Have a read of what he has to say about all this travelling, enjoy the fact that he’s flying over weird porch driveways rather shooting ultra-tech sequences and keep an eye out for his Free part that should be up on the site by the time you get your hands on this.
-Arthur Derrien

Interview by Juan ‘Jura’ Algora

What up Viru? Where you at now?
Juan Virues: What’s good! I just came back home from Tenerife. I’m in Chiclana, my hometown. I was shooting some last minute photos with Gerard (Riera) and I was with Pali (Negrin) too. I think I have enough photos now. It’s been fun!

You were in New York a few weeks ago. How was it out there?
It’s been so sick. I went there for three weeks to skate and film with Nick (from Hotel Blue). I went a long time without going to NY and I wanted to go and try to get some clips for the brand. It’s the third time I’ve gone and I feel more confident now that I know more people there.

You came to Philly for a few days too!
Yes, Philly was sick. I always love to go there. New York is a bigger city and more hectic; I feel like Philly is more welcoming because the scene is more condensed. I’d say New York is like Barcelona and Philly is like Madrid.

Backside 50-50 wallie out, Tenerife. Ph. Gerard Riera

The first time you went to the States in 2016 you were tripping about everything. What made you want to fly there?
To me it was very impressive. I had the idea of going there but I didn’t really know who to go with. I could just go by myself but then I had the opportunity of going with you, so it was perfect. To go with somebody who’s already been there and knows how things worked pushed me to really save money and do it.
I remember getting out of the airport and seeing downtown Philly from the car felt pretty crazy. Everything was so different from the cars, food, people, etc.… It kind of felt like in a movie.

You are riding for Hotel Blue now. How did it happen? Wasn’t it during that NYC Villains trip?
Yeah! We went to New York with Villains Conspiracy (a clothing brand from Valencia) last year.
We were skating that spot, I think it’s called Seaport ledges and some of the Lurknyc guys were there. So a few days after they asked me if I had a board sponsor. I was riding for Louw (Enrique Lorenzo’s brand) at the time, but I felt like I wanted to try something new from outside Spain and I took the opportunity.

Switch ollie, New Orleans. Ph. Jon Coulthard

So you travelled a lot this year. Cons took you on that world tour as well right? Where did you go with them and which place was your favourite?
That tour had five destinations: Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta, Paris and London. It was amazing, a really good experience. Some of those places are not too common so I’m glad I had the chance to go. It was all of a sudden too, I was filming with Felix (Bollain) for the Free Skate Mag video part that is coming with this interview and they asked me if I wanted to go on that trip like a week before, so I was definitely down. My friend Felipe (Bartolomé) was going too so I was stoked.
My favourite place was New Orleans I would say. You (Jura) told me about it a while ago and it didn’t disappoint me at all. I would love to go back soon. I was thinking about it a week ago, I was like damn I don’t know if I’m going to have another amazing year like this one! I really wanted to start travelling a few years ago and it just happened this year.

Hippie jump, Tenerife. Ph. Gerard Riera

I remember you telling me that sometimes you can get a bit tired when you come back from a trip. Like it starts getting hard at some point.…
Yeah… You feel it more at certain times than others though. I realised that there is a point when you start taking things differently. You are on a trip and you know you have to try your best but sometimes you’re not feeling the pressure. If I take it less serious and skate like when I’m skating with my friends it works better for me.
But sometimes pressure helps too (laughs). Also, if you don’t stop moving around and taking road trips and all that it can become tiring too. I think it happens to everybody. But at the end of the day, when I think about it, I feel like I want to do it again.

Halfcab kickflip, Madrid. Ph. Clément Le Gall

I feel you! Sometimes you miss your home too. You are from Chiclana, a little coastal town located in the south of Spain. What are the pros and cons of being born and raised in a place like that?
The bad part about it is just the limitations. I mean, not only in skating. Chiclana is a super small town and it doesn’t offer as much as a big city. There is also not much coverage. If you want to see and learn new things you have to save money and go to other places. That’s the only bad thing about it but I love my hometown. The good thing about being born and raised here is the way of life, you grow up differently from a big city, and you can go out and play with other kids at anytime in the street. It’s not as hostile or dangerous as a big city. Like, everything is cosier and people are more humble. But yeah I think it’s harder to achieve goals in a small place like this…
The weather is pretty good too; I like going to the beach.

You used to skate that local skatepark you always show on your Instagram right?
Before they built that skatepark I used to skate a little park that only had two ramps. Then they built the skatepark, and I started learning more stuff, making more friends and I loved it. I was always trying to skate street too, but it was kind of hard because most of the time I had to go by myself and try to find new spots. There were not too many spots.

Ollie transfer, Tenerife. Ph. Gerard Riera

Then you moved to Madrid some years ago right? Why did you choose Madrid and not Barcelona, like most people?
Yes, I moved there to study Audiovisuals (TV, Cinema, Video, Sound, etc.). I wanted to learn about video production, storyboards, and the basic stuff. I visited both cities (Madrid and Barcelona) before deciding where to move, and I felt like people in Madrid were friendlier and I really liked the vibe out there. Somehow it reminded me of Chiclana. The scene in Madrid is more united. I liked the plazas and the spots too. Barcelona is also sick but I thought it was kind of played out.

Of course, Barcelona has pretty much the best spots in the world…
Yeah for sure. I wasn’t only thinking about skating though. I need to do other stuff too; I like to learn new things. I don’t like doing just one thing.
So you are the most ‘international’ guy in your hometown! I remember we’d always joke about people cheering you when you’d come back from a trip, like in the movies, you know?
(Laughs). Is not that crazy. Yeah you were always joking about that! At the end of the day it’s a small town and not everyone has the same opportunities. There is not even an airport or a train station here. But yeah, when I come back of course a lot of friends ask me a lot of things about the trips and all that…

I know you are into fashion, nice clothes, etc. Do you think it’s important to think about what you wear when you’re skating? Where does this interest in fashion come from?
I think it all comes from my mother and sister. I always liked clothes and the many possibilities you have to can combine them. I think it’s low key important in skating too. You know how a spot can make footage look better? I think clothes can too. There are people that they don’t care about it and there’s nothing wrong with that but for me it matters and I like it when people skate in some fresh outfits (laughs).

Backside 180 kickflip, Alcorcon. Ph. Clément Le Gall

Have you seen these guys skating strictly in designer clothes on Instagram? Is it ok to you or is too much?
Yeah I’ve seen them! Some people from L.A wearing Balenciaga and pink camo and stuff like that. It can get out of control (laughs). Sometimes it’s okay. But I’ve seen people skating $300 shoes; that might be too much. But at the end of the day we all do what we feel like doing; I’m sure there’s a big audience for that.

What about music? Are you intro trap music? How do you find new artists? Sometimes I feel like most of those new artists they sound the same.
I’m definitely into trap music but to be honest I try to listen to more stuff because sometimes I get tired of it. I’ve been listening to a type of trap that sounds more melodic lately. I like Young Thug and Lil Baby.
I’ve also been listening to some Jazz, Techno, Erykah Badu… It all depends on the moment. I always find some new stuff that I like. Even flamenco I’m starting to appreciate. I feel bad being from where I’m from and not knowing much about flamenco. I think you just start appreciating more of these things as you get older.
I went to a Kodak Black show in New York. I always say all shows are interesting, even if you are not into the group or the music. So imagine if it’s something that you are really into! He wasn’t really putting much effort into his show but it was still sick just to see him live. People went crazy!

Don’t you think that trap music is fucking up the youth?
Yeah, definitely. Especially if they start listening to it when they are too young and want to be like their idols or something. Lots of kids are losing it (laughs).

Boardslide, Barcelona. Ph. Gerard Riera

Were you a gamer back in the days? I’ve heard you had a YouTube channel and everything.
(Laughs). I was really addicted to this video game for like a year or two. I think I was 17 years old. I started playing Call of Duty. My friends and I became good as fuck at it. We got to the point that we were playing like pros. So we started doing compilations of our best moves with the sniper, editing them and posting it on YouTube. It started to get addictive. The cool thing is that I learned a lot of English while I was playing with others. I also learned how to edit videos. I think that’s also why I got into video editing. A few years later somehow I stopped caring about that. By that time I had to study a lot and that was the main reason that made me start playing; I couldn’t really focus on anything with all the pressure from the exams. It was a hard year to handle. I was even skating less.

So you are not playing at all now?
Yeah I’m actually back in the game (laughs). I play Fortnite sometimes when I’m in my hometown. But it’s not that crazy now. I played with your boy Kris last night (Philly homie), people from my town, people from Barcelona, etc. I’ve never been the average weird video game player though. I just got addicted to that one, for some reason. Still weird to me thinking how many days I played it. My grades were so bad (laughs).

Noseslide pop-out, Madrid. Ph. Clément Le Gall

What is your time record playing the same video game?
I’d say a whole day, like nine hours.
I would just wake up, play the game, eat, and keep playing ‘til night with the homies.

Is that the reason you are wearing glasses?
(Laughs) Nah, I had this vision problem since I was a kid. I want to have surgery. I’m trying to save some money for it. I might hit up the Hotel Blue guy for it. Nah just kidding… But for real, it’s a problem from when I was two years old. I had to wear eye patches and everything.

What are your plans for 2019?
It would be sick to move somewhere else, like London or Paris. I’m pretty sure I will do that. I’m going to spend some time in my town (Chiclana) and think about what I really want. Paris might be too expensive for me. I skated it a lot this year and I love it. But it’s just too expensive. Well, London is expensive as well so I don’t know… Apart from that I just want to keep skating, get involved in a new project, learn some good stretching exercises, probably get a little gym routine. I want to work on something that I could learn and enjoy. I have a lot of footage that hasn’t been dropped yet, like the Free Mag video part. There’s a Hotel Blue edit coming too! I’d be cool to know a filmer wherever I’m trying to move. I will visit you soon in Madrid too! I just don’t want to stop.

Backside 50-50 to ollie over, Madrid Ph. Clément Le Gall