Matt Rodriguez’s skateboarding, music and art is flowing, fluid and fast. He’s got a unique, loose style on a board and a diverse trick selection and his spontaneous approach to skating on all-terrain oozes with creativity. So it’s no surprise he takes the same energy to the canvas and to his drumming.
But behind Matt’s carefree skate style, humour and charisma, is an inquisitive mind. He’s driven to question authority and explore alternatives to see the world differently and find the fuel he needs to feed his urge to create new forms of art, music and skateboarding that reflect his views and experiences.
Matt runs his own conceptual board brand called Es La Boom a skate company dedicated to honouring creative skateboarders and the artists who inspire them and himself. He was pro for Stereo Skateboards in the 90s and was one of the three instrumental creators behind the iPath Shoe brand.
Since Matt first stood up on a skateboard, he’s constantly kept pushing in a creative direction.
We are stoked to say that Matt is now a No Comply Network member, so we caught up with him to find out what it was like growing up in Sacramento, California, how he first discovered skateboarding, music and art, meeting the Gonz and Tommy Guererro, skating with Jason Lee and Chris Pastras, getting sponsored by Stereo, filming for Tincan Folklore and the iPath promo, his own skate brand Es La Boom, his latest musical releases with Ray Barbee in his band Blktop and his other outfit, The Sacto Storytellers and his favourite skaters, spots, videos and photos of all-time.
What was it like growing up in Sacramento?
I was born and raised in San Jose, California which is right down the road from the Bay Area.
I came to Sac when I was eleven and half and when it comes to skateboarding, music and art, this is basically the home base where I honed all these creative crafts and expressed them from and where I still do to this day.
Sac’s my home and home? That’s where the heart it at. You know what I mean?
How did growing up there influence you?
Whether it is skateboarding, or art and definitely music. Sacramento has a rich history, filled with inspiring people who did all of these things.
A lot of skaters have always been coming out of Sac.
Omar Salazar, Brandon Biebel, Stefan Janoski and before them, John Cardiel, Sam Cunningham, Rick Winsor, Jim Colen, so many.
I never stacked it like that, in every generation, Sacto skaters have been in the mix.
Plenty of skaters have come from out here and musicians too. All different kinds of genre, whether it be like Rock, like Deftones, Filibuster, or Cake or all the other bands who maybe I guess that didn’t make it so big but nonetheless left a big impression, there’s a huge music scene round here.
But unfortunately, slowly and more slowly, the venues are getting smaller and smaller, as in places to play. Especially after this quarantine shit show shutdown you know?
Yeah, it must be impossible to organise events because of the new laws. As a kid , was there a particular show that got you hyped?
The Cesar Chavez down here, it’s a little park right across from our City Hall, in our main downtown area, they’ve always had music shows here, throughout the years, over the decades.
I remember being young, when I was more focused on skating and I remember seeing the band Filibuster in an outdoor show. Some of the guys in the band were skaters and I’d seen them skating around. But their show was huge, they had horns, drums, bass, a big line-up of musicians, big bands, they had a mini orchestra, they were a Ska Punk music group and they were just killing it.
I remember just dancing and vibing and thinking I’ve got to do more with music! I’ve got to get on drumming! I’ve got to take drumming more seriously and start making beats.
So then I got my drum set and then I just started jamming with my friends that I grew up skating with around here downtown. And ever since then I’ve been playing music in the scene with my friends and the bands that we play in as much as I can do for the last twenty years now.
That’s sick there was a skate influence in there. So when’d you get your first board?
My first skateboard?
Well I was rummaging in my grandpa’s closet, we lived in San Jose, I was ten and a half at the time, and it had a bunch of random shit in it. I was digging and digging in it because there was a bunch of random shit in there and I went to the bottom at the back right corner and I see this little blue point sticking out.
I was like what is that?
What was it?
All I could see was this little blue point, so I pulled it out and it was a little slasher, a pointed nose Goodyear board from Sears. I had actually never seen a skateboard before.
I was like what the fuck is this thing? The first thing I thought was like, it had wheels like a roller skate but you can’t ride it like a roller skate…
But I knew somehow you had to be able to ride on it. The board turned out to be my older brother’s but I’d never seen him ride it. He’d probably ridden it a few times, ate shit and put it into the closet. I found it and I was like this is sick.
I started riding around on it on my knee. I was a straight kneeboarder from the get-go.
I was just amazed by it. I didn’t want to do anything else. I used to draw, BMX, break dance, do graffiti, listen to music, play soccer, but when I found that board, that was it!
There’s a chance you could not have found it…
I could have seen a different board at a different point of time and it would never have given me the same effect for sure.
Yeah, so that moment was unique to you.
Yeah. I went around on my neighbourhood on my knees for months and months. The first time I saw somebody on a board, I’ll never forget what I saw.
I was two blocks away from my house, there was this park where we used to play ball and goof around and I was just kneeboarding down the street to go there to that park.
I rode my board to this park and I get to the corner of the sixth block away from this park from where I used to live. I was looking both ways to cross the street to get to the side where the park was and I was making sure there were no cars and I looked to my left and I see this guy is skating on a board too but he’s skating whilst standing up..
Who was he?
He was probably a teenager like 14/15 but I was tripping that he was pushing on the street and not on his knees right?
So in my head I was like oh! That’s another way to do it!
Yeah, like he’s alternative kneeboarding!
I got blown away just watching him push, I’m mesmerised as he’s full control on his feet and he comes up to a bus bench and I’m just watching him push and all of a sudden as I think he’s going to keep pushing past the bus bench, this fucking guy, this guy pops up a bench and Ollies off!
That guy right there, he’ll never know that I saw him and I’ll never know who he was but that right there I was like oh fuck, that’s amazing! I want to learn how to do that right there. I don’t know who that guy was, I’ve never see him again but he definitely left an impression.
Yeah bet that left an impact
I was like 10 and half and I was probably about four months away from turning 11. So after seeing that I kept trying to push on my feet. I would eat shit but I would just keep trying and trying but once I got that down it was just one thing after another.
When did you realise skateboarding was this bigger thing?
It was probably about a month to two months after I seen that guy. My brother was in junior high school and I was still in elementary. He said I want you to meet my friend Paul, he’s in my class and he’s a proper skate rat punker guy right? So he introduced me to Paul and later he said he would take me round to this guy’s house at some point.
So one day, he takes me around to Paul’s house, he was such an 80s anarchy punk, alternative kind of dude. Even his parents were stoners. He was like: “You like skateboarding? Come through, come to my room I’ll show you some skate mags!”.
So I go up to his room and the walls were plastered with skate photos out of Thrasher. There were photos of Natas Kaupas, Jesse Martinez, Gonz, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, you name it right but the best thing was, he was a big Gonz fan, a straight Gonz freak!
He’d seen my board and was like what is this piece of shit you’re riding? By this time I had moved on from my original kneeboard from Sears and I had this flea market board, it was a really cheap quality shitty Karate Kamikaze board. The first board I had was actually better but I was trying to upgrade but he was like dude you’ve got to get rid of this!
Did he give you a board?
I was like I don’t have anything…but then he showed me that he had tonnes of old boards he had saved. So he set me up with the exact same setup that Gonz rode. The first Gonz Vision board, the setup was totally thrashed but it was a real board, Venture trucks and Vision wheels.He was like here you go dude, you get to ride the real shit and after that, it was a wrap.
That sounds like a great hookup. As if you remember everything he gave you at the time.
He showed me that skateboarding was a fucking thing. His wall was plastered with Cab blasting, Christian Hosoi, Tommy Guerrero, Gonz, Natas Kaupas, he told me these are the dudes! He’s like, you’ve got to pay attention to these dudes and said here go home and look at these and then he sent me home with a big stack of Thrasher magazines!
What did you think after giving them a look?
I looked at them and thought wow this is a whole, thing, skateboarding isn’t just a thing that’s around because there’s nothing else to do. You saw skaters blasting on vert, doing crazy shit on the street, riding on the walls, skating everything, just a sick “fuck everything you thought you’d ever seen and go skate attitude”. It was sick.
What do you remember most from those Thrasher magazines he gave you?
Pictures of Gonz and Tommy Guerrero launching off ramps. Photos of skaters doing bonelesses in ditches. Jeff Hartsell, the Alva crew.
Thrasher back then it covered many people who were really doing it as much as possible, all the Venice guys, the Frisco scene, all the guys at Santa Cruz. Not just the ads, the actual filler content of who was hot and who was coming up. I was just mesmerised.
Also all of the characters in those magazines. This wasn’t just like you’ve got to dress this way or you’ve got to be this colour you’ve got to come from this background. Right away I knew that without being able to break into down into words. I was able to see that skateboarding was something that’s for everybody. You know?
Yeah, of course
That’s the beauty of skating, that’s what still relevant till today. Fuck your politics, your religion, fuck your race. Fucking skate and shut up and build bridges not walls.
The end all be all for me, is you’ve always got to look into yourself. Skateboarding didn’t ask for permission as a totality, we didn’t ask authorities out there is it clinically, mentally sane to ride on the walls, are we clinically sane, if we ride a pool ride a ditch. Are we alright society? Do you favour us? We did not give a fuck!
We did not give a fuck, we were doing something right and something creative, that transcended everything else the mainstream world has to offer.
Skateboarding keeps your mind on good stuff
Unfortunately as much as we wish that things were different in the world we still have to worry about our own sanity. Not in a selfish way but to make sure we don’t lose all our minds during this chaos.
Art, music, writing, anything that puts you in a good psychological environment are great things to do right now.
We are living in a time where there is a lot of panic, stress, fear and anxiety and you know what does all that cost? So it’s just people taking it in.
You don’t think those people are shitting brick in their heads?
Fear and control is on everybody’s minds right now. How have you passed the time during lockdown?
We’re going to play music, meet up with friends, paint and draw. Life has to go on. That’s what I’ve been doing.
Every Sunday in Sacramento, the day after St Patricks, March 18th in Sacramento, and around here, they shut all the non–essential business down and so that following Sunday, that bank holiday Sunday, is when we started our open Sunday skate jam.
We did it all last spring and summer. So right when this shit went down and everything shut down and everybody was told to go live in a bubble .
Me? Personally? I thought fuck that and this! I thought it was the perfect time to start the Sunday Jam for the season!
Since March this year, every Sunday I’ve been having an open jam in the alleyway in the parking lot where I live. It’s totally empty on the weekend and we pull out of all these ramps and it really becomes a pop-up skatepark and people come from all over Sac and some from other towns and they skate. This last Sunday we did it again but this time we had live music, my band music, and a few friends’ band played.
Have you had any backlash?
Yeah this was the first time we had live bands playing throughout the day with a DJ. This was amidst all of the riots. It was fine as far as Sacramento goes.
There’s many ways to protest…We just chose to protest with life and creativity and we’d like to stay away from all this bullshit in this country and around the world, people trying to hijack the planet for their own greed and to leave us to be their little working bees so we can just do all the work and live and die.
Yeah, it’s an odd moment in history. How do you stay level-headed right now?
When I first met Gonz and Tommy, they were cool and they were always humble. It’s one of the first rules of skating, no matter how much skating may do for you and how people may look at you, don’t be a kook, and remember to be a human being. I always get stoked when people show appreciation to things I’ve done.
How’d you first meet The Gonz?
I was in 5th or 6th grade. Here in Sacramento, they had a big mini ramp contest called Sacramento Burnout and I went with my friend George. We hung out at the contest and we stayed all day and night watching the pros skate and take their runs.
After that, we snuck around to where the pros were hanging out at night time because we were like we’ve got to meet Gonz.
Somehow we got back there, we got past the lines, they were hanging out by some cars, most of the people were going home already but they were all back there.We found him but he didn’t see us sneaking around then.Then I saw him, and I turned to George and I said should we do it?
We agreed we had to do it, as we may never get another chance, so we tippy toed over there and he was like 50 feet away from where we were, hiding behind the car.
I had a blue Coca Cola hat on and we get up to him and I say Mark?And Gonz looks at me with these crazy eyes and he looks at me and says yeah?
I said hey man, I just wanted to say hi, I Iove your skating and thanks for the inspiration and thanks for your skating and also can you sign my hat?
So he was signing my hat and he was talking to me as he signed it and he was all like what’s your name?
He’s like “cool…Matt what?
“Cool, how long had you been skating?”
“A few years I don’t know, I just try to skate but you do shit nobody else does!”
Gonz was like “you’ll get there, right on dude, don’t stop!”
I was just hyped, I could have quit skating and walked away right there.I was like fuck yeah! Gonz told me to keep it up and not quit. No way!
Was Video Days out at that time?
Oh I remember watching that, that was several years later, that was amazing. That whole video, all Mark’s stuff, that’s Mark Gonzales.
Yeah, it’s still fucked. So what about meeting Tommy Guerrero?
First time I met Tommy, he appeared at a contest at Sacramento, I was skating for Mike McGill’s company Chapter 7 at the time?
Okay, was Chapter 7 your first board sponsor?
Yeah that was my first major sponsor, Chapter 7, Spitfire and Thunder. Steve Rouge, he was the TM of Spitfire and Thunder, he stoked me out and he was stoked on my skating and wanted to hook me up. I was like hell yeah and that started happening and I was on Chapter 7.
So a year later Tommy Guerrero came with a bunch of hats for the am team at Deluxe. I guess he had seen me skating and talked to somebody and they were like who’s that kid and somebody was like that’s Matt who skates for McGill and Tommy was like nah, nah, he needs to skate for us!
Deluxe was totally down and was like I think it’s a great idea and I think you guys should do it and you two should be the two main guys behind it. So we need to get some pros and a few more ams for the team.
J-Lee and Dune were like do you guys have any suggestions…
Tommy was like ah yeah I’ve got Matt Rodriguez!
Next thing I know, I was planning on going out skating with Shawn Mandoli. Shawn, I, Edward Devere and Salman Agah, skated together a lot in San Jose, when I moved back there for a few years as a Sophomore Junior. Shawn called me and he said let’s go skate and meet up.
He was like also dude you’ve got to call Dune, they’re starting a new skate company, and they want you to ride for it. So I was just like this is bullshit but he said, look just write this number down and give it a call, its Chris Pastras, its Dune!
I was like dude I thought it was a prank and I just thought, If I call that number and its bogus, I’m going to fuck him up! But then I gave it a think and thought I’ll give it a try. So I called him up and it was Dune. I was like this is Matt, Shawn Mandoli gave me your number, and he said you wanted to talk to me.
He told me all about what he and Jason were doing with Stereo and was like do you want to ride?I was like fuck yeah!
Was Jason Lee’s Video Days Part already out at the time?
Yeah it had come out five years before that but that video was legendary at the time and to this day.
Did you know much about Stereo at the time?
No, not more than what they said but as soon as I said I was down to do it, I was! A few days later I after that phone call I got a fat box. So it was all good after that. That was an exciting time for sure.
Sick. Did you skate much with Dune and Jason?
Yeah Dune and Jason would come up to San Francisco, we’d go session, go to Embarcadero and skate the Safeway curbs, Fort Miley, go to the hills. It was just super cool to roll around in a van and skate with Mike Dare, Ethan Fowler, Greg Hunt and Carl Shipman. When Carl would come into town, we’d always try to make a point of meeting up as a team and get everyone together.
What was it like skating with Jason Lee?
It was kind of frightening. I was always like what if he thinks I suck. You know? He’d never seen me skate he’d just taken Tommy’s word for it.
When was the first time you skated with him?
The first time I’d skated in front of Jason Lee, it was me and Lavar McBride, they flew us down to LA and then they picked us up and we got to Dune’s house and were already tripping out, he lives in this little apartment somewhere out in LA and we were like we can’t believe this is going down!
We were sitting there playing video games and he comes in and says alright, Jason’s on his way. Lavar and I were still tripping out, in a state of semi disbelief, so the next thing we know, we hear the doorbell and his familiar face comes up on the TV screen because there’s a camera downstairs.
Was it Jason?
It was Jason Lee. Looking like he was straight out of the Blind Video. Scrappy hair, big ass sideburns. Lavar and I are like wtf!?
We go down there, get in the car, introduce ourselves and Dune pops out and was like let’s get in the car and go skate. We all pile into the car and I sat there in the back seat next to Lavar shitting myself!
What happened then?
We get to this random carpark with a bunch of curbs and me and Lavar started skating and we looked at each other and we looked at Dune and Jason and we were like they’re not skating…they’re just looking at us!?
Were like ok they want to see it?And then so me and Lavar started to kill it as best we could and after about 20 minutes of having fun and trying different stuff they were like are you guys done? We were like yeah?
They were like let’s go eat and at that point we were like ah shit, I guess this means we’re on now!
What’s your favourite trick by Jason Lee?
I think one of my favourite clips of Jason is the Blind Video Days line where he does Backside 180 nosebonk over the ledge 180 out. He does the 180 manual quick and pivots out and the next trick in the line he does is a Backside Flip.
In Tincan Folklore you do a BS 180 land in switch and do instant SW FS 180 out. Was that inspired by Jason?
Probably subconsciously. I remember filming that a decade after the Blind video came out. That was something I was spontaneously doing. I was trying to do it in a line but that was just a trick that kind of came out of me that day.
When I went to edit my part I was like Hell yeah it looks cool, put that in, run it. I bet it was subconsciously because it was something out of the Blind video from Jason. He does a lot of tricks on benches that put a stamp on my brain right.
I think the technique is similar but doing it on the floor is probably harder
It was just something my body could do at the time. It felt good. Sometimes, things can look cool but sometimes it will look better than it felt and vice versa. I’m always one to say whatever it takes to do a different route or line, I like the one that looks more natural, even if it’s more sketchy.
A lot of people do it pretzel but the way you did it flows and looks stylish. Is making music and art your go-to when you’ve got free time?
It changes, sometimes, I feel burnt on skating, so I’ll fill my time with music, then I’ll be burnt on music and skating and maybe if I sit down and I’ll take the time something will come out to make some art. I’m always looking for inspiration but it’s hard to keep tapping new information from the same thing, I just go with the flow, so I can’t force it.
I’d love to be painting, skating and making music everyday but some days I have more creative push to go into either one of those. Of course for many years primarily I’ve been skating but underneath that I am playing music or making art, trying not to get burnt out on one thing. Just exploring different ways to be creative.
When did you start making art and what did you draw?
I definitely got into making art at High School. My friend RB, we’d always vibe on each other, he’s a great artist, he’s still around to this day, we’d always be drawing characters.
We’d always be super inspired by this street artist called Barry McGee, who used to go by Twist, he used to crush the city back in the 90s with his two-tone spray can stuff, have you ever heard of him?
I’ve heard the name Twist but how did he inspire you?
Back in the early 90s’s, he’d crush it with his unique rad characters. He’d do all this two tone stuf,. He inspired me to get into art and do abstract stuff. After a few years, I broke into more of a mold of expressing my own visual art. Everyone has to be inspired by somebody and even if you’re inspired by yourself, people can feed off that too.
You’ve got multiple styles, what inspires you to be so diverse?
The subjects I focus on inspire me to paint a different way. They bring out a different person in me.
Do you have a favourite piece of art you’ve created?
Yeah, I have a few things I have these four hands and what they represent is the human race, coming together as one and my family emblem which has four doves in unison. It’s something that humanity has yet to rise to.
You use the colour blue in your work a lot, why do you like blue?
When I see a certain piece of art, with a little boom roller, I always tend to like the colour blue and electric blue because it’s like writing in a wave. It’s a kind of oceanic theme. Like water, like flowing like waves, being cool like water. Even though water is clear; it can be identified by the colour.
Yeah it’s a spiritual colour
Yeah, it’s fizzy. Every colour has its own psychological effect on the viewer.
I think it’s been scientifically proven, the reason that McDonald’s use red and yellow in their branding is because they create hunger and it invokes people to feel hungry and that’s how far these architects of control have their eyes on the human soul.
Yeah, it’s pretty subliminal a lot of brands use red. On your site, looking at the photo of this sick car door wallride, the caption reads ‘Opening creative doors, where many close them’. Did you write that?
As far as everything on the site I do all of the writing on the site.
Who is that in the photo?
A sick skater from LA called Mario Relegano; I’ve been hooking him up with Boom gear ever since he started out. He’s a sick cat, so I help him out wherever I can.
How did you come up with Es La Boom and what’s the ethos of the company?
No matter where you come from, or who you skate for, every person who skates and love skating. Either way, skateboarding in general is the boom you know?
Es La Boom is the soul ride revolution meaning the soul is in the ride and the revolution is in the wheels turning.
So you design all of the artwork for guest boards and for Quim Cardona and Fred Gall as well? How did you come up with the idea to display all your work and do the guest boards?
As far as the art goes, I’m trying to incorporate other skaters art, skaters who people know from their skateboarding but that people didn’t know also made art too.
The first board was my art and the second board I put out was by a rad skater called Li Wuan, he’s an artist from Brazil.
Li created the second series with Steve Cunningham and the Ricky Winsor boards.
The Third Guest Art board series of Fred Gall and Quim Cardona was created by Matt Pailes.
How do you decide who gets a graphic?
Every series is a skater’s art that people may or may not know that made art, so that people will find out they do and also get a board dedicated to those skaters. So every board has double impact that gives two skaters the chance to shine, it’s not just the skater who makes the art but also the one who it is dedicated to.
It gives each board triple the amount of impact coming from your brand too
I want the products to be special. I don’t just want to turn one dollar into two. I’m not trying to get rich off skateboarding. I’m trying to enrich skateboarding anyway I can.
All you can do
Some people look at skateboarding as a sport but sport can be about way more than making money. Sport can be about money to be self-sustainable but what’s most important is you can always, for rich or for poor, enrichen your sport. But in our case, skating is a worldwide culture and we can use it as an instrument to turn over money and make a profit or we can prioritise how we can enrich it with art and soul and the rest will follow.
And even if the rest doesn’t follow you know that you didn’t put any bullshit out there.
We just missed out on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, what’s your thoughts on that?
It’s kind of cool. As a culture, it’s not always going to stay in one way and there are many ways a sport or a culture can keep thriving and growing. Nonetheless there will always be people who will have a choice of what skating they want to support.
Some people are like I hate parks and just want to do it for DIY and then other people are looking for the next park that the local city built for us. Some people don’t care about either and just want to skate the streets.
True, everybody wants something else.
Skateboarding is going to grow because growth is going to happen. As a culture you’ve got to stay tuned to your craft. Sponsors and money will come and go, you’ve got to stay true to what you love whether there’s money to be made or not I always say to people that I skate make art and music to keep my sanity, how about that?
If you took those things away for me in this chaotic world it’s going to be hard for me. I need skateboarding, art and music, let alone my friends and family. I need all of those things.
I mean the Olympics!? We’re living in a different time of skateboarding, that new generation. That new generation, that’s going to be in it, it might fire up some kid who sees someone else from around the world and he goes I want to skate and maybe he’ll never be in the Olympics but that kid who sees it in the Olympics could become some gnarly shredder who inspires a load of people. Who knows whether he ends up in the X Games or The Olympics.
Yeah there’s a lot of people who rip on their board and see skating is their art form.
Everybody has talent they just need to put time into it, some people find their gifts and get tapped in but everyone learns at a different speed but you can’t expect immediate results. Keep wood shedding! Keep exploring then again I’m 44, sometimes I look at my old video parts and I think how did my body use to do that?
You get wiser with age and accept what you can’t do physically anymore, sometimes you’re like I don’t even care to do that anymore. Sometimes I like just to skate a ditch and do a Frontside 5-0.
Yeah for sure
But sometimes you grow out of that. Miles Davis when he came out with the album that was all Blues and super simple and mellow and it wasn’t really choppy like his previous work that people were used to and when it came out people were like what is this?
However Miles as a personal artist was like, all I did was that crazy shit, it was the same thing for skating. He was like I got all I can out of it now I’m doing this and I think the same goes for skating.
For sure skateboarding leads you down a path to learning new things. So I was going to ask you, if you have a favourite part that you filmed?
Yeah I would say it was the Tincan Folklore part and definitely the iPath 2005 promo video yeah.
If I had to boil it down to just one it would be the iPath one. As far as my best of my ability and my forte, that part is probably the best description of my skating.
Yeah you skate to the beat of your own drum in that part, how did that go down?
Dan Wolfe came up to Sac so we could get some footy of me playing some percussion. I was like yeah I’m down. I wanted it for my part, no matter how long it is. I didn’t know how long my part was going to be, nonetheless the last part. I was just filming as much as I could and stacking clips when I could.
So he was like OK, well, I’ll film it for you and I was like, yeah I want to do live music for you. I wanted to keep it as organic as I can. He was down. He brought up some microphones and the rest was history.
Tell me about the Frontside Wallride Powerslide on that whippy natural transition. How did that go down?
It’s one of my favourite spots in Sacramento but it’s been skatestopped now. I like how they left it, it’s still there but they totally took out the transition at the bottom and just left the rest of it there. They just put stones around it and just left the statue, like yeah …here you go, here’s your spot. That spot was also in my Tincan Folklore part.
That’s a famous spot around here in Sacramento; we used to call it The Twin Towers.
Was the statute the only think to skate at the spot?
That whole place is cool to skate. When I was a kid we used to skate there a lot. There were loads of transitions, loads of wallrides, stairs, a small straight rail we always used to skate and some other spot but yeah that one place Twin Towers was amazing.
Why was it called Twin Towers?
There are two buildings in the middle of that statue, they’re like 16-17 storeys, they looked exactly the same but they were nowhere near as big as the actual Twin Towers, we just came to call it that.
What about the Nollie 360 to 5-0 Grind you did, how‘d you come up with that twisted trick?
That was me trying to see a UFO. I call that one the UFO.
That trick was so gnarly, how did it feel?
Nah, I was just skating there and I haven’t done it before. Joe Brook was there, he was shooting for Slap and Dan Wolfe happened to be there. It was just another session where we were trying to get clips for the iPath promo and I thought of it, gave it a few tries and I ended up nailing it and it felt amazing man.
What about that FS Boardslide 270 out at Universitat ledges?
I think that trick might have been on my mind for a bit and then when we got to the spot and I just thought, these ledges are butter, everything just worked for everything I wanted to do and so I just started trying it and one worked out.
Where is your favourite place to skate in the world?
Barcelona and Japan. I would say as far as places I’ve been a lot of spots in one area. Barcelona and Japan for sure.
Where’s your favourite place to skate in Japan?
That’s hard because there are so many rad cities there.
I really liked Osaka and Tokyo. Sapporo area in Tokyo has a lot of spots. The whole country is smaller than California but everywhere you go it’s just gnarly architecture everywhere. You look around and you think don’t these guys’ know what they’re doing? Sometimes Japan just looks like a natural skatepark.
Is there a specific trick from your iPath promo part that you were really proud of doing?
I wouldn’t say a particular trick, just the combination of all the stuff, I was able to get, all of the tricks and the effect it gave being all put together. I wouldn’t be able to say which particular tricks made the part; otherwise the part would not have been as effective. All the things that made that part, made that part what it was.
Yeah it was a sum off all its parts.
If there was anything different it would not have the same effect and the same vibe, but if there was something that made that part what it was, if anything was the music. But that song was an instrumental and the tempo and the overall vibe and the organic sound added to it.
What’s your favourite skate photo?
One of my favourites, is the one of Gonz doing one of his stalefishes, over the ramp he had at the Sacto Burnout contest.
He later had a photo that came out in Thrasher of the Stalefish over this hip and everything about it. His face, the grab, everything.
There’s also one of Tommy G, doing a Crossbone off a launch ramp and that one always stuck in my head and then those two and then, wow, there’s so many.
There’s one of Jason Lee doing that Pivot to Fakie on that quarterpipe on a spine, yeah he’s so relaxed on it, like yeah I’m just going to hang on here, with my big ol’ sideburns.
He’s so relaxed in the photo.
Sick. Do you have a favourite skate video to watch?
That’s a hard on but to this day I used to watch the first Savannah Slammah. Everyday for a year I watched that back in the day. Sam Cunningham Tommy Guerrero, John Lucero, Cab, Hosoi. I used to watch the whole thing.
For all those kids who’ve never seen it check it out on YouTube.
What was your favourite iPath Shoe?
My favourite iPath shoe was always The Cat. Straight out the box and you could go and skate.
Did you have any other favourite iPath shoes?
Definitely the first Karl Watson Panther. That shoe was good to ride.
Do you have a favourite trick by all the other Matts who started iPath?
Matt Field had the craziest Nollies. I saw him do some super high raw Nollies going fast just mashing. I was like goddamn where did he get that snap from! Fuck! He could Nollie over everything in sight
Matt Pailes always had a sick back lip down a rail. He could smash a rail, all scraggly and loose and stick it. It was rad to see Matt do some fatties.
Do you have a favourite trick by Kenny?
Kenny Reed has a super Ollie pop, effortless style on a board.
What about Karl?
Karl was always sick he always doing some crazy shuffle Nose Manual combos.
I saw a clip of him doing a Nose Manual 360 pivot in the manual. What’s the most twisted trick you’ve seen Karl Watson do?
Probably the Nollie Front 180 to Pivot Grind to Backside Halfcab out. I was like oh man, that’s twisted, I think that’s why everyone calls it ‘The Pretzel’.
Yeah he made tricks like that look so smooth. Do you have a favourite song that you’ve produced?
The latest Blktop project that we did, I forgot the name of the song, there is one on there it’s super groovy and with everyone on there. The last blacktop album was killer, listen to the whole thing.
What’s one of your favourite songs of all-time?
Definitely Miles Davis. The album Kinda Blue that album is like oh man, it’s some other stuff.
There’s a song on there, it’s called All Blues, it’s on that album and I think other people should definitely listen to that.
Is there another tune from a skate video that influenced you in anyway?
Definitely the song in the Blind Video, Coltrane in Video Days, it went perfectly with his skating. Gonz and Coltrane, Coltrane is such an eccentric and Gonz is such an eccentric, but hearing Gonz’s part in that Blind video I was like ah this is sick what is that!?
Do you have a favourite song by Tommy Guerrero?
One of my favourite ones I play it live when I jam with him here. It’s called Soul Blue off his first album. It’s off his album, Loose Grooves and Bastard Blues, it’s called Soul Blue. I love that song.
What about playing with Ray Barbee?
Anytime we do the Blktop, Ray Barbee is involved in that. Ray brings a lot of rad energy to it.
He’s a super humble, rad happy, guy who wants to have fun and be creative and make the most of bad times.
Do you have a favourite trick by Ray Barbee?
I think Backside ballerina, the Backside 360 step off, I don’t know what you call it but we call it a ballerina down here!
Do you have a favourite album that you’ve made?
The reggae ska punk band that I am in called the Sacto Storytellers we just finished an album.
Our older one is online on our Soundcloud but we have another we just finished that we put on to our YouTube; this one is called Rhythm and Rhyme.
We just finished it and we just put it on YouTube so people can check it out. It’s just what I regularly create here with my homies in Sac.
What’s the song about?
It’s all about how we are the 99 percent, we have the power, when we are ready to roll, and make the changes to the things that we all know what we’re sick and tired of. People never forget we have the numbers. They have the control but we can always take ourselves out of their paths of power.
For sure when people come together great things happen. Any last words for the people out there Matt?
Every time, anytime, this time, we have to, look out for each other, share ideas, share inspiration, remind each other, hey whether we like it or not, we may have different, political, philosophical or spiritual views but no matter what, this is one planet and we need to learn how to share it.
We need to learn to coexist with each other or we can’t exist at all and we are everyday people and the powers that be will abide, they can’t control us.
Never forget, we are the people, we have the power to create and to show what is equal at anytime.