Matthew Deitch Interview: East Coast Shredder Joins Madrid
Scrolling my feed I couldn’t help but notice Madrid Skateboards dropped a sick new part with Matthew Deitch to welcome him to the team. Gnarly, switch and all kinds of east coast gross, none of the pristine pavement and golden light we seem to get so often. Especially as the weather gets worst. Matthew’s name has pop up more than a few times in over the past few months, so it was time to hit him up and see what was good.
Matt, congrats on Madrid. I’ve heard your name a bunch this season, but don’t know much about you really. Where you from? How old are you? What’s good?
Hey Les! Thanks, I’m really excited about it! I was born in England and have a French passport as well, though after living in North Carolina for 16 years, it’s where I call home. I live in Asheville, North Carolina and I’m 21 years old.
What’s a day in the life of Matt like? Is there a day job to help lubricate the skate life? On team parental unit? School and future plans?
I start everyday with an egg, cream cheese, arugula, and red onion bagel. I get the smoked salmon trimmings when they’re on sale for hella cheap and ball out on breakfast for the week sometimes. Then I step outside hit the ramp my roommates built on our walkway real quick before I skate to class. I’m a senior at UNC-Asheville finishing my History degree and I’m definitely getting lots of love from my parents with that! I’ve been bouncing around on jobs the past couple of years. Since quitting my last job at the carwash I’ve been running the after school skate club at a local charter school with my roommate. We’re trying to expand into other schools and programs and build up a private lesson clientele. Skating with kids beats detailing cars by a long shot. I’m graduating in May so I’m trying to get some sort of skate related career locked down by then or else I have to take whatever I can get.
What’s the deal with Madrid, how did that come about? Why Madrid?
I’ve been friends with most of the Madrid team for a while now. Max Dubler comes through to visit a couple times a year, Justin Rolo’s housed me in Colorado and gave me a tour with Zak Maytum, Grant Kiessling put me up at Catalina, and I see the all of the boys regularly at races. A lot of us are MIDS boys as well so it was a natural fit. Plus Madrid is a super OG skate company in general, I’ve been geeking over being on a team that provided stunt doubles for Thrashin’!
You’ve been at a bunch of events this summer, I think i remember Voss, Kozakov, Soldiers at the very least, can you tell us about what your season has been like?
I definitely got around this year! I started off in Puerto Rico in February, made it to North Carolina’s first sanctioned race at Mt. Jefferson followed by Catalina, then headed up North for the Vermont races. After that I went straight from Maryhill to Europe to race at Lillehammer and Kozakov with Garrett Creamer, Aaron Hampshire, Travis Morris and Daina Banks. We got to freeride some epic passes and we went hard in some insane European clubs! The two month Vermont-through-Europe rip was hectic to say the least. I finished the season off with Pike’s Peak and Soldiers of Downhill and ended up 33rd in the IDF. So many rad times with rad people! Not to mention all the dream parks I got to skate along the way, this year has been unreal! Action Board Shop and Sucrose Wheels have been helping me travel this year and keeping me stocked on gear as well, I can’t thank them enough.
What’s your take on racing vs freerides?
I really like both and it’s great that the option is available. Not everyone is into racing but still might want the opportunity to skate a closed road. Personally, I really enjoy the competitive aspect of racing which I feel is innate to gravity sports. What’s the first thing you do when you and your friends starting bombing hills in the neighborhood with bikes, skateboards, scooters, or whatever else you may have? At some point a race is going down.
How do you skate when you’re not at events?
I just do the best I can to scare myself. I am always looking for the next road or line that makes me question what I’m doing with my life. Once a road is familiar enough, I just skate it switch and it’s right back to being frightening. I have a few lined up I need to skate before the winter hits that have had me petrified for a while. I usually skate pretty strictly hands down but I’ve also decided in the past few weeks that I do standup slides now, so watch out for that. There are only a handful of downhill skaters here in Asheville and we all have our own schedules so I end up skating at the park a lot too which isn’t actually that big of a problem, I’m a transition fiend!
What’s your setup like? Do you have a race specific vs general setup?
Nope, I have one set up for that hills and one set up for the park. I’m a big fan of relatively flat top mounts with symmetrical trucks, I like riding switch so my setup has to be able to accommodate that. I ride a Madrid 50CAL with Gangster Grip on Cast Rogues and Sucrose Wheels. Other than the shape of the wheel my setup stays the same on and off course. Same bushings, same angles, same deck. Before the Rogues I was on the same Aeras since 2011 and would typically ride a deck for at least a year so it goes to say I’m not a big fan of change.
You’re welcome to video was gnarly and switch, a man of many talents! How’d you build the skills to slay it? or do you just send it and take what comes?
For sure, a big part of my skateboarding is simply throwing myself into gnarly situations and hanging on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There’s a few good slams in the video to prove that. I’ve only been skating switch in the past year or two. It started because of the imbalance I noticed in my body from only skating goofy for over a decade which manifested in my calves, quads, and back. At first I was just pushing to class switch but now I try to dedicate some time to skate switch every session. Physically, I feel much more balanced and it has opened a whole array of possibilities both on the hill and in the park.
Seems some people love the camera, some hate it. How do you feel about filming?
I’m a fan in moderation, it has to be something special. The majority of sessions go undocumented but when I’ve been working on something new or there’s a hill I want to capture, I really enjoy sharing that with people. I watch an inordinate amount of skateboarding videos and they get me SO HYPED to go skate and push myself to try new things. My goal when I do film something is to make people feel the same way and inspire them to push themselves too.
There’s also a love hate for sponsorship it seems and yet a bunch of new team announcements have been coming out. What does this sponsorship mean for you? Why join a team and rep a brand vs just skate?
For me sponsorship really is about having opportunities to take skateboarding in directions I wouldn’t have the means to otherwise. There’s no way I would be able to travel to the extent I have or thrash my gear as hard as I can without the support from sponsors. It also is nice that I have a great relationship with my sponsors. They’ve all come through pre-existing friendships and have approached me after that relationship had already been established, so they are people and brands I know fairly intimately and am proud to support. Sponsorship isn’t for everyone and while it can be incredibly rewarding it shouldn’t necessarily be a goal. If you’re out there getting gnarly on a skateboard and making positive contributions to the scene you will be noticed. Trust me, most companies ignore sponsorship requests unless there is some relationship already established.
How do you balance your time on and off your board?
I spend as much time on board as possible, skate everywhere I can, and when I can’t ignore them any longer, I take begrudgingly care of my responsibilities.
Adulting! Ha Ha. What do you have planned for the coming year on a skateboard?
I’m going to learn standup slides and inverts. Other than that I really haven’t made any plans other than Mt. Jefferson. It’s a mystery and I’ll just take it as it comes.
What’s your dream skate trip? Where to? With anyone?
Probably Fiji with Beyonce. I don’t know if there any hills or parks there but she could drive follow car if there are. That would be the dream.
On that note, thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Congrats again on Madrid and all the best for 2016. Any shout outs? Words to live by?
Absolutely, thank you! Thanks to my radical sponsors Madrid Skateboards, Action Board Shop, and Sucrose Initiative Wheels! Thanks to Mom and Dad for supporting me this far. Shout out to North Carolina Downhill and everyone I skate with here at home. Finally, I gotta give it up to the man downstairs: hail skatan!