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Editorial

The Parade Franky Villani Interview

 The Parade Franky Villani Interview
Posted by Matt Broadley6 min read
Friday, June 04, 2021

Off the back of Franky recently dropping his vegan-friendly New Balance 255 shoe, we caught up with him one afternoon, threw a few questions at him and joined him as he hit up a local park. 

To kick this off, I’d figure we’ll get straight into it - it’s kinda hard to pin down your skating, you’ll go from a quirky, 50-50 to hippy fence-hop to a gnarly fs flip over a rail the hard way! This must mirror your outlook on skateboarding in general, do you just want to mix it all up and do a range of styles? 

I think that growing up next to a skatepark helped introduce me to many different styles, all of which I liked for different reasons. So I guess subconsciously incorporated the parts I liked into my own skating. 

Do you feel any sort of need to skate ‘different’ just to differentiate yourself? It’s interesting these days, cause anyone can throw a no-comply into a tech line, but when it’s not done in a natural way you can totally tell. I don’t think that is the case with you.

Umm. I wouldn’t say so, I just like to do tricks that feel good to me and look cool to me. I guess sometimes they are conventional. But most tricks I guess come with a spot and figuring out what works there. 

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How did you find coming up in skateboarding, you come from an area of California with many many amazing skaters, would you say it was tough, or you got some lucky breaks? 

Growing up in California has its privileges but at the same time not really. Everyone is really good, every spot is blown out here, for the most part, so it can be hard at times to find new things to skate. I’d give California 6/10. 

From a pro skater standpoint, how tough has the last year or so been with Covid restrictions, obviously, no overseas skate trips but have you felt your ‘job’ was hard to do, or found comfort in the more relaxed time?

Skating is mostly mentally draining for me, with all the time travelling and meeting so many people. So Covid was a welcome break from this part of skating. So I mostly enjoyed the Covid time, besides the actual virus itself.

Now that you’re quite an established professional, with solid sponsors in New Balance, Primitive and Dickies, do you feel in any way like you can relax, or you feel a constant need to improve and produce?

No, I don’t feel like I can chill ever. I often don’t feel like I deserve to be on these teams so I want to try my best so I can stick around a bit longer.

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Tell us about your shop sponsor, Garage Skate Shop? 

Garage has been my shop sponsor for a long time now and they have helped me out a lot along the way. They are mostly an online shop until recently where they just opened a storefront in Huntington Beach. 

How important is your local store and being connected to that community? 

I do feel a sense of community is important, I would stop by Pawn Shop in West Covina if I ever needed anything. They have a very rare skate community that I feel you don’t see too often these days. So I like to support when I can

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Speaking of community, it was amazing to see the money raised towards your father’s recent ill health, how is he doing and the support must have touched you? 

My dad is doing well lately. I’m so touched by everyone that helped out in any way. If anyone is reading this and did help out, I just wanted to say thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and I’ll never forget the kindness and support everyone showed us. Thanks so much. 

Do you have a preferred New Balance model, maybe one that works best for certain styles of skating or more simply one that works well with the style of your pants?

I don’t have a favorite model, I tend to jump around shoes based on colorways that I like. All the shoes are really good to skate so it doesn’t give me too much trouble switching around. 

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Your new 255 model is animal friendly, which is something that is still rare in all shoes, not just skate shoes, is this a strong belief from you to tell this side of your character? 

Actually, the idea started out as me wanting a canvas shoe because I really enjoy how they skate. I think it was Jeff [Mikut], the NB shoe designers idea to make the rest of the shoe using no animal products. I was down because since I do think vegans should have more options available to them.

Given this is your 4th NB colorway, does it still trip you out and I’m sure you have a good design process going now?  Na, it doesn’t really trip me out, I enjoy going in the office and brainstorming ideas with Jeff. We just go back and forth until we both end up with something we’re stoked about.

How crazy are you about pants, I’ve been with some pro’s where the right pants are life and death, or more precisely if they can skate that day or not that day. Do you share this?

I just like to have my pants loose and baggy with minimal restrictions, luckily Dickies makes double knees so I have a fit I like and can wear whenever. 

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Any other weird quirks that you must do or have down before going skating or committing to a trick? 

Just self-loathing, lol. 

Tell us about Eyedress, you’ve used their music in a few parts now and you featuring in their recent animated video? 

Eyedress is a super cool down to earth dude and makes really cool music and he skates too, so it was pretty mellow to chat with him. I wish him all the success the music world has to offer.

You also share a strong passion for drawing I believe? 

Yeah, I like to draw, it relaxes me. If I don’t get some drawing time in during the week I become quite grouchy, lol. 

Finally, if you could fly anywhere in the world right now to skate, where would it be? And where would you go to purely chill?

I would go to Italy, a beautiful place with my favorite food. Can’t go wrong with that. I would skate but maybe I’d be more hyped to relax out there.  

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