Matt Rodriguez’s iPath Preview section is a classic that’s completely soundtracked by his own music and it has always been one of our favourite sections since we first watched it.
So we had to hit up Matt to ask him some questions about the making of the part to take a deep dive into it and find out what went into his skating for it from his perspective.
Read it below to find out how it all came together from his lens and the stories behind every standout clip, trick by trick.
How did you end up playing the music for your section, it’s a really free flowing spontaneous piece of music, with some woodwind sounds and some percussive stuff. But what instruments were you playing for it?
Yeah, some blocks , a little flute, a shaker and just congas you know.
Has that been your main instrument, percussion type drums like Congas?
No, I’ve always played a drum kit too. Percussion, congas, is just another outlet on a whole different spectrum than the drum kit. I like it because it’s just raw you know, it’s just your hands.
You’ve really got to dig into it to get the tone of it and iPath was all about Roots, culture and being down to earth. So congas and just percussion were a good fit. So I was like I’ll just let it rip to the skating. It doesn’t get more Earthier than that you know?
For sure. You skate to your own beat and this part totally captured that. So were you aiming to complement the iPath brand or to capture the rhythm of your own skating if that makes sense?
I would say both. I was just trying to convey first hand through any creative ability that skaters can do a lot more than skate, and that we can play music too.
And as far as the brand goes, its like iPath, was always about planting a seed and carving a drum, playing that drum and by planting that seed and nurturing that seed and watching it grow and hanging out with nature and skating the concrete jungle of the modern landscape.
It’s like keeping some Earth force in modern day society you know. Because everything is growing more and more less away from ground nation and earth force frequency.
For sure, everything is so standardised these days. A lot of our energy is misdirected these days into negative stuff. As skaters we’re lucky to have an outlet for that. Not everybody has that.
So how did your Frontside Tailslide go down in Japan and who is doing that doubles with you who nails the Boardslide?
Yeah, that’s Joey Tershay who does Ace.
He used to ride hard with all of us on the iPath crew and that’s back when he was team captain of Indy and I rode for Indy. But then he started Ace and as soon as he started up Ace, I was like yeah I’m down!
I think Julien Stranger and I were the first riders.
Matt, Tailslide, Japan shot for @ipathfootwear
Right, ok. That’s interesting to know. So how did that ditch line go down with the Ollie in to Backlip Fakie?
That was in Texas. It has that elevator going down and then you hit that main ditch?
First I Ollie in, then I do a Backflip Fakie. And then in the next clip I do the Tailslide and then I do the Blunt 270 In.
That 270 Blunt In was gnarly. What was that like to skate and how did you find that spot and how long did it take to get those clips?
We were on tour in Texas and the locals were like you’ve got to come skate this ditch and I was like yeah because I love to skate ditches. It’s one of my fortes. They insisted that we had to check this ditch out.
So we went there and I was super stoked on it and I was like what the fuck!? This is fucking sick! So I was able to get those two little lines, so I was stoked.
I was like yeah yeah I got another chip, I got another chip. That’s what we called clips at the time. So I got two more chips there. I was really stoked on that ditch, it’s a really famous ditch, it’s still there. I think they even hold contests there but yeah it’s super sick.
Yeah, it almost looks like a skatepark with the attention to detail they’ve done in upgrading the spot. So what about the gap out the sloping concrete bank to Frontside Lipslide on the curb in the next clip?
That was Texas too. That spot was in a little alleyway. Frontside Lipslide and come in, not sure where that was in Texas but that was on the same tour. That was a cool little hit.
After that there’s the skate park clip where you get a Tailslide on that one steep side. Then you do that Nollie BS 360 5-0 over the hip, so dope. Spinning blind into that is next level. How did it go down and were you scared of hitting the coping or hanging up on that one?
That’s always a chance. That’s at a place here that’s really close to my home, it’s about 40 minutes away. It’s a skatepark called Ripon.
Cardiel and I used to go skate there all the time when it first opened. I think he may have been there that day I don’t know.
We were just there and Joe Brook of Slap was there and he was shooting and it just came to me.
Back Nollie Gazelle, and it’s like that was one of my favourite tricks and I was like yeah just pop it up a little bit more and hit it to 5-0 and I tried it a few times and I got that one I was like yeah I’ll take that!
Joe Brook got a sequence of it. It was in an old Slap Magazine and I wanted to just flow and it came out. I was stoked to try it because I’d never seen it before.
That’s always inspiring when you are trying to do something and you’re getting close and you’re like ah it’s right there and you know nobody has ever done it, it gets you more stoked to want to land it you know.
For sure, as a spontaneous trick in the session, you fully connected the dots on that one.
Yeah, it was fun. I tell people all the time when we’re talking about skating and what can be done.
Like, I went through a big phase with Switch Stance. I was all about it. I did some time doing stuff Switch but as I got older, I just wanted to do shit that has not been done either way.
I was like yeah Switch is cool its the ambidextrous approach, both ways but like what about things that have not been done, period. So that’s what I focused on later in my years.
I still do that. I got shit in my head right now. I just have to find the right spot and it’s going down.
Yeah for sure, you’re still doing tricks we have never seen before.
I think that in my younger years I never really went big. I never did like fucking Jaws shit. Going fucking crazy. Here and there I went big. But it was not my forte.
I would just be trying to do weird shit. I would be doing my best to be like what would Gonz do?
Gonz would do some fucked up shit out of nowhere so that was always on my mind, what would Gonz do at this spot?
He would probably do something fucking crazy and out of the box and that was always my approach. That’s how Gonz was, he was always innovating shit and we’d all be like what the fuck was that!? Gonz was all about doing that stuff.
Yeah, in the early 90s I heard it was like he was from the future, the stuff he did did not make sense at the time
Yeah. It’s like Gonz was like born on acid or something. A natural Willy Wonka, his mind was just open. His ability was fucking gnarly. He’s done some crazy burly shit.
And he’s still doing it
So what about the Kickflip over the gap in Barcelona to Hillbomb and the Wallie Tailslide?
Oh yeah, that’s definitely in Barcelona. I was like that’s a cool spot. Nobody’s ever hit this? What the fuck is wrong with these people!? I was like this is right here in plain sight. I’ve never seen any footage of that spot, let alone any trick so I was like I have got to get it.
Yeah. All the architecture there is great. So continuing with tricks you’d never seen before, what about all of those Frontside Boardslide Nollie 270 combos that you do on the Universitat ledges, how did they go down and did they all go down in the same session?
No, they were two different days.
The second day I went back and I was like wait a minute. I was like I’ve just got to do a 5-0 and not a 50-50 and I got it to 5-0.
One day I might try to do it all the way around back to Frontside Lipslide.
That would be sick
It’s right there but maybe it’s like a little bit of a half of a turn more and I could get into it.
Yeah for sure. It’s such a rhythmic trick the way you do it you can tell you kinda dance through it. Each part of the trick has an energy to it, the way you were whipping out and then really grinding the 5-0
The way that skating is like music to me is like that music has rhythm right? Music has melody?
When it comes to skating someone’s style, just like you can hear when someone is playing an instrument fluently you can hear it when they are not playing not so fluently.
So body language and your skating is going to reveal how comfortable you are on your board and how fluent something is that you’re doing as opposed to something sketchy, rigid or stiff.
So for me that’s the melody. The body language is the melody. It’s either going to be soothing to look at or soothing to do it or it’s going to be rigid to do and rigid to look at.
The rhythm part of it is staying balanced, staying focused, finding that groove. But within that groove, that rhythm that you’re trying to find, you’ve got to be relaxed and you’ve got to be as fluent as you can be.
Skating is like you do what you can to make it happen. It’s part effort and the other half is surrender. You’ve just gotta let it happen.
Yeah for sure, it’s like the blackout moment that people experience when they land a trick and they can’t remember anything but the rollaway.
I know a lot of people focus on foot position but you’ve just got to go with what feels good. Do what you know you can do and get into it. But also you have to let go and let it happen.
When you do that and transfer the flow, that’s when your body language is the most loose.
Definitely. You’ve just got to go for it and trust yourself.So what about the warehouse section with the kicker to ledge and the mini ramp. How did those clips go down?
That’s my hometown, Sacramento park. It’s a little indoor skatepark that we have here.
That mini ramp was fun. That skatepark kinda had its time, it was like ah that old shit, build something new! But it was fun and it’s cool that it’s there.
What was that building?
It is an old warehouse hangar that the city turned into a skatepark.
Right okay, why did they choose that location?
We forced them. We had a DIY park that we built with concrete but the city was forced to get behind it. But it was on Post Office property.
So when the Post Office sold that property, about a year after we’d already been there, we had to basically wrap it up.
But then we were like okay, what are you going to do to compensate us?
So that’s what the city gave us, that hangar and they let us build our own ramps there.
It’s cool, it’s not free you have to pay to get in there but at least it creates jobs for young kids. It’s just a couple of bucks.
That’s cool. It’s rad how that DIY started it all. So after that DIY footage you nail that rad Frontside Powerslide Wallride at Twin Towers. Looking back, were you trying to go as high on the bank as possible?
That bank was in between our miniature twin towers here in Sacramento. That’s an old school spot I used to skate that back when I was 11. Just a little grommet trying to get something on it.
What went down the day you did that Frontside Wallride?
I remember that day. I was there and I was like wait a minute, we had a crew, I was like let’s build a plan.
Then I thought of that spot and so I was like let’s head there something’s bound to happen. So we went there and I thought of that slide and doing it going really fast and I was like I can dig it, I’ll take it.
Yeah, it was super surfed out. How long did it take to do that and did you only land that one?
I did a few. I was mainly trying to slide as as far as I could go before I had to let my board fall back into the transition. Because that’s a little tight tranny at the bottom.
Yeah it’s super compact. You have to come at it sideways otherwise your nose is just going to dig into the tranny wall. I had fun with that one. I was just trying to get as long a slide as I possibly could and elongate it.
That’s funny because I thought you were going for height but you were trying to go as far as you could and Powerslide it as much as you could.
Yeah I was just trying to get that crrrr sounding slide for as long as possible. I was like shit right before I started going Fakie, I don’t have any more speed to keep going so I have to come down. That was fun.
Then you did the the Varial Heelflip to Fakie on the bank travelling blindside on the bank. Where is that bank? It looks perfect.
Yeah that crusty black bank. That’s here in Sac. At City College. Cardiel did a Kickflip on it in his Sight Unseen part. That was just another spontaneous one. I’d never seen it. I like Body Varial stuff, so that was super fun. That one kinda just flowed. That spot is super crusty. Like super crusty. It gets crustier every year.
But yeah, that is an old, old bank. I think I have something on that bank in an old Supernaut video. That bank goes back! It’s an oldie but a goodie.
Yeah, it looked fucked up back then! So your last two tricks are on that parking lot barrier that’s tilted on its side so you can slide up it. How did that session go down with the Half Cab Boardslide 270 Out and The Boardslide Nollie Shuvit out?
That was another spot where I was like, what the hell where is that spot.
So my brain just started working on it. At first I got the Boardslide with the Shuvit underneath me over to the other side. Then I was oh shit, I was like why don’t I try Fakie, roll up to it, get the Half Cab Boardslide and then try and whip it all the way around over to the other side with the 270. Got a few tries on that
That was just spontaneous. The spot calls the tricks out, do you know what I mean?
For me, I’ve been spoiled over all my years. I don’t train. I’m not like ‘I gotta keep my Kickflips sharp!’. If my legs feel it, my legs feel it.
I pay attention to my body. My mind might want it and think oh that could be sick but then I’ll think Where are your legs at? Are you there legs? Ha
So if I see a certain spot and I’m stoked and the spot is just talking to me, it’s talking to my legs and the spot invokes what I see and what I imagine, that’s just how it works for me.
I can’t skate mediocre shit. I’m never going to be like ‘Ah, I’ve got to keep on with my Back Smith Grinds!’ Or ‘I’m going to keep up with my Nosebluntslides!’. If the spot is not cool I could give a fuck ha, you know because if I could get hurt, which is bound to happen, at least I know that spot was sick and that I’m going to come back and get that shit, fuck that!
Yeah for sure
Rather than getting broke off and thinking that spot was hella weak and I got hella broke off? I’m like fuck that.
But yeah I’ll roll around but when I’m really trying to get it, get it? It’s got to be a sick spot.
Then I’m down to roll around and eat shit whether I land it or not. But at least I’m like ah that spot is fucking sick, yeah I’ve got to come back when I’ve got the chance and get that or something else. It’s all about the spots for me.