James Perez: From Up & Coming to NYC All-Star Interview

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Photo by Austin Paz

James Perez is the man. He is like a little brother to me. And I really mean that. The kid is so inspiring in all aspects of Life that I feel fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him. His love for NYC and blading is helping to guide the scene to the future. And with him being one of the passengers in the the vehicle the East Coast is on the right road.

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Photo by Chris Kolodziej

SUAS: There is no longer a need for an introduction. Since your 1st feature in ShutupandSKATE in the “Up & Coming” profile ( https://shutupandsk8.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/up-coming-all-star-james-perez/) you have become a household name when it comes to the NYC blading scene. How does it feel to get the recognition for your blading that has been coming your way lately?
JP:
Hey LB, let me start off by paying my respects and say rest in peace Brian “Cozmik” Scott, and rest in peace Alex Nunez, we will never forget ya. Miss ya and love ya.

Thank you for the kind words LB. Honestly, I appreciate everything that comes my way. I’m glad that there’s people out there who admire my skating and show me love. If you know me you know how humble I can be about things. I appreciate the love and recognition, and I’m glad to be representing New York City, it’s def a cool but cruel city and I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York… I am New York City haha.. I’m glad to represent a city that many bladers have put in effort and work to be put on the map..and I’m more than grateful to keep that alive and representing.

SUAS: You went from having no boot sponsor and riding for Frequency Apparel & Tri-State Skate to having Valos arriving at your doorstep from the Boss himself Mr. Julio. How did that come about and who are your current sponsors these days?
JP:
Well LB, thats a good question, I want to take this opportunity to thank the ones who support my skating from Craig B., and everyone else in New York City and world wide. I’d like to thank Jon Julio as well. Now that you asked that, I want to thank Jon Julio for showing me love and supporting my skating. I support Valo to the fullest.

Well, it all started a while ago, Craig from IRollNY always filmed projects with me and would sent them out. He has helped me in a major way, but Jon Julio does something different, he supports anything that has to do with skating or Valo. He would support my skate photos I would snap and post them up and I would be grateful, he does that regardless. So, I randomly reached out and thanked him for supporting me and what I do and that it meant a lot to me…Btw there’s so many kids out there that skate for that sponsorship and the attitude towards blading isn’t the same one I share. I never skated to be sponsored but I’m thankful for the opportunity. So, back to the story, I emailed Jon and we talked and he randomly asked if I need new gear, new blades, I told him honestly my skates have life but if you want to bless me I would appreciate that and put out an edit for Valo. I’m thankful LB, you know.

Also, Craig and Ivan Narez set up a Valo 5 premier in New York when the video was dropping. So, when the Valo team was out here in the Big Apple, I got the chance to meet everyone and build a relationship with some of the best bladers out. Ivan sends me a text saying to pick something up because he had something for me. When I arrived at the place they were staying at he hands me a Razors box, when I opened it there was a fresh pair of JJ Lights and it made my day. It’s a memory I’ll cherish. So, that helped me out with getting Valo’s support. And I’d like to thank my girl because she receives my packages.

SUAS: You are so dedicated to blading that you even go out to blade by yourself at times with nothing but your blades and your earphones. Why in the world would nobody come out to session with you?
JP:
Haha, that’s a great question. You’re on point with that, I do skate alone at times. Well LB, I’m not antisocial, I’ll skate with whoever is around from groms to pros, they get treated the same. I like to show love to everyone. If you know me, then you know that’s accurate. I come correct with my attitude, but don’t get it twisted if your attitude isn’t on point, you will get checked…I skate with a good friend of mine Craig from IRollNY, or Sebastian, or with my brother Steven. If you don’t catch me with them then you’ll catch me and my iPod skating a rugged spot somewhere in a random corner haha..

Idk why no one wouldn’t want to skate with me, you’ll have to ask them, I’m not saying that I have haters out there , but I’m not saying that I “DONT”. There’s a few good people that always hit me up to skate, Austin Paz and I blade frequently whenever we can, we filmed together for a while always a pleasure and as a matter fact, Lonnie G., Chris farmer and Rob G, were in New York filming for Feet3 and Lonnie reached out. I hung out with them while they were in New York City, and Lonnie gave me the opportunity to be in his new film F33T, so watch out for that and get it kids, and watch out for your man JP reppin New York to the fullest.

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Representing for Alex Nuñez at the Alex Nuñez Memorial Session. Photo by Craig Benabu

SUAS: Keeping an eye on NYC from Cali I have been seeing a bit of segregation when it comes to sessions. It seems like some bladers only come out in mass when there’s a contest or when Pros come to town. After that, it’s back to ghost sessions or blading with strictly your crew…what’s your opinion on the current scene?
JP:
Segregation is too harsh of a word to describe the New York scene…Well, to me segregation isnt the right term to use. It’s more like different cliques, different kids from each of the five boroughs, we all have different styles, different ways of being on and off blades. The reason there’s many individual clicks out here in the scene is because I’m not going to hangout with people I don’t know. It’s New York if your attitude isn’t correct you will get checked. So, people hang with the people they’re comfortable with, so segregation isn’t the right term, it’s more of an environmental and social thing.

SUAS: Your answer reminds me or Ryan Jacklone’s words from Hoax 2…”You skate with your boys and that’s all you skate with” haha. With clips in F33T to now look forward to are there any other edits or projects that you are filming for?
JP:
You can catch me on BG Worldwide, you can catch me on projects Craig and I have been working on and putting together for the public eye. I’ve been so busy with school and work that anytime I skate I try to take advantage of time. Don’t worry you’ll see a lot of ya boy JP haha.

SUAS: I peeped you in Blader Gang Worldwide, it was a pleasant surprise 😉 Why is NYC kind of being slept on eventhough it is a Mecca for street skating?
JP:
That’s a good question, I didn’t know NYC was being slept on. If people are sleeping on NYC you would have to ask them, but in retrospect, New York City is a vivid landscape for many arts, including rollerblading. If people sleep on New York why is that so many professional rollerbladers, bladers around the globe in general come down to skate with everyone here in the NYC skate scene. No one should sleep on the city I was raised at and currently reside at, it should all be love. We share the same passion for what we do. It keeps me sane, so to me it’s not about sleeping or underestimating anyone, it’s about loving this sport beyond anything else. I’m fortunate enough to keep our city on the map, along with others that are some of the best.

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Photo by Austin Paz

SUAS: I knew those questions would showcase your passion! Let’s take a detour into your blading history a bit. When did you first get the itch to blade and who were some of your earliest influences?
JP:
I started skating when I was fourteen years young ha. Everyone has a story to tell. I got into skating through luck and because of god. Haha, it’s like God knew what was going to keep the kid sane. My early influences are many, some still are, some I became real good friends with. Crazy how it all works out.
To name drop some, of course I have to start of with the new York heads,
Alex Nunez, (rest in peace) was a major influence for me growing up, I’m glad I got to know him a bit better in due time. Franco Cammayo, he’s a cool homie, Austin Paz, dude kills and does it so stylish. Billy O’Neill , Jon Julio, Chris Farmer, Murda, Alex Broskow, and the Haffey Man, are major influences, but there’s way more honestly. I just like watching skating sections period ha!

SUAS: Do you have any plans to travel out of state this Summer to film or compete?
JP:
Ahh, you had to ask me that, haha…Honestly LB, I wish I could. I’ve been busy with school and work, and having obligations outside of rollerblading that I have a hard time trying to plan trips. Also, because of the mild recession, and being that it’s expensive to live in New York I sometimes don’t have the proper funds for a trip. I wish a company would hook that up, I’ll give them my life, any company want to do that, call meeee shawtyyy haha just playing. One day LB I’m going to travel with those dearest to me and see many different scenes. I promise you that.

SUAS: Don’t forget to visit Long Beach! You are a responsible individual who takes his schooling seriously. What are you going to school for and what career path you would like to take if given the chance?
JP:
Thank you for the kind words brother. I try to stay on point and stay grounded. I’m in the nurse program at Borough of Manhattan Community College. I’ve always been interested in that field. I’m happy to have the support of my family and my girlfriend Stephanie.

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Photo by Craig Benabu

SUAS: Interesting fact…did you know that legendary Cali hammer dropper Ranier Piramide is also a nurse as well?
JP:
No.I didn’t know that. Thats very interesting.

SUAS: Here’s a throwback question, I remember you used to blade while listening to Bachata I think…what are you currently listening to when you plug in the good ol’ earbuds?
JP:
Haha, I never listened to Bachata, I can’t stand that music, I could put up with it only when I’m getting a haircut haha but I remember I use to pretend to dance salsa, bachata, and all that when we use to hang out randomly to be a clown. I listen to many things, rap, rock, so many.. whatever sounds good to the ear.

SUAS: My Americanized Dominican/Puerto Rican ass would say Bachata haha! Anyways, this is easily one of my most favorite interviews that I have ever done. Thank you immensely for the great answers. Any last words or shout outs?
JP:
Yes you’re welcome. Thank you for taking your time off and interviewing me. Before I go, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me and my skating in any way. I’d like to thank my brother for always keeping me on point and for believing I’m good at something I have a major passion for. I’ll like to thank one of my friends closest to me. His name is Craig Benabu, he has supported me since day one, he has been a great friend of mine for a while now, he has blessed me with many things, exposure, money, transportation, he has done most of my skate edits, if not all of them, and he had been keeping the New York scene alive through the IRollNY website. Keep doing your thing brother. I love all of you, peace!! New York City stand up!!

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Photo by Shardy Nieves

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