If you have been involved in Blading over the last decade then you would have come across a lively character by the name of Mike Johnson, or as hes better known “Murda”. Mike’s involvement with the sport has taken him around the world ten times over and he has more than likely murdered your local spot, or skatepark. Recently, the New Yorker and former Razors Pro decided to officially hang up his blades and focus on a carear in Computer Graphics. Mike uprooted from NYC and is now working in LA for the highly decorated Blur Studios. He now spends his days working on Hollywood blockbusters like The Amazing Spiderman and Avatar.
Life is good man! Working in Venice creating VFX for some movies and lots of game cinematics! Still skating from time to time with the homies. Still trying to create good products for Jug. Nothing has changed other then me not having sponsors.
When did you decide that it was time to end your professional blading career and what was the reason for it?
When i got hurt skating for the last Razors movie. I tore cartilage in my knee and had to take a year off.. I realised i love skating but it’s not going to pay the bills, so i decided to do something else, money-wise, and keep skating for the pure pleasure of it.
Was it hard realising that blading won’t pay your bills forever, or was that something that was clear from the beginning?
Nah, it wasn’t hard at all. I’ve always realized skating wouldn’t be there forever as far as a job. So, it wasn’t hard at all to stop doing it for money. The job that i have now actually tried to hire me 3 years before i took it. But I thought me staying in the industry and skating was worth more at the time. And it was.
What was the best thing about being a Pro rider for one of the biggest companies in the industry and how many years were you Pro?
The best thing about being Pro was traveling around the world and having the oppourtunity to meet lots of new people, travel to new places, etc, etc. Ive been pro since i was 18; so about 10 years.
A few years back, you started up Jug Footwear; how did that come about and are you still involved with the company?
I was given the oppourtunity to start a company and I’m all about family. So, I had a chance to come out with good products and have my best friends on my team with me. Robert and I started collaborating on what we wanted to do and that’s how that started. I’m still involved with the company. Things are slow right now, but we’re just trying to really isolate a product that we 100% love, rather than come out with just bullshit.
Yes, I do my homework!
Always looking at sites and edits to see whats going on.
Top 5 countries you have visited through blading?
Australia was the shit! France is always fun… Russia for the women… Scotland was fun! (Shout out to the Skullfuck Crew); and England.
How often do you put on your blades nowadays and do you still have the drive to film tricks and put your name out there?
If i do skate, it’s only on the weekends because my job is very demanding. I always want to film and put out edits, but when you do it for so long you start to become very picky of what you put out on the internet. Hence why you rarely see me on the net these days. But there is shit coming… just wait.
We hear that you are pretty skilfull when it comes to computers. What is your field of expertise?
I create fully CG environments. I texture the environments, light them, integrate the characters in the scene and light them as well. Finally, I colour correct and polish the final shots that air on television.
Is it true that you taught yourself how to do all this stuff whilst touring, or did you go to school to study?
Yeah, I taught myself all these programs when i wasn’t skating. So, after a session it’ll be straight to the books. if im on tour I’d bring the books with me and just read while on the plane or something like that. Got to have balance.
My job description? Well, what they call it here is a “Scene Assembler”, which is all those jobs i described in one person. Usually, other studios would break my job into 4 different people and careers. Its fun working for my studio. You get massages every fortnight, someone to wash your car and to fill the fridge with beer every friday. So, that definitely helps you work a lot harder.
Was it a hard adjustment to get into a “normal routine” after years of globe trotting being a Pro?
Nah, not at all. I’ve always been a morning person so that aspect is not bad at all. Plus, when you have a job that you have fun at you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
What software do you use on a daily basis?
3d studio max; Vray for rendering; Fusion for compositing… Photoshop, illustrator, After effects, etc, etc… you know the usual shit.
Mac or PC?
PC! i know im gonna get shit for that.
You have worked on several big projects in the past with Blur, can you name a few?
Big projects? Just finished up on the new Spiderman movie, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Avatar. Those are pretty big ones i would think.
LA or NYC?
LA for the weather, NYC for friends and family.
What’s the best thing about LA life?
Being able to wake up and ride my bike to the beach, the weather, and yoga pants.
Thanks a lot for doing this Mike, much appreciated.
Thanks for contacting me Matt! I appreciate it, my dude!