Matt is a legend. He has produced one of the best flatland videos of all time and has an amazing amount of talent on a bike. This will be the first interview with a flatlander on this site, which is really good because I have been meaning to do some with the flat guys. Leave Matt some love in the comments!
Hoffman Bikes, Dan’s Comp, Adio Footwear
What was it that originally got your attention towards BMX and did you ever expect to be doing it still years later?
It was just something that everybody did in my neighborhood when you were a kid. The culture in this neighborhood just bred a lot of good bike riders and skaters for some reason.
How are things going with your sponsors? Any new signature products from any of them? Video parts? anything cool like that?
I just got hooked up with Hoffman Bikes this year, which is awesome. I always wanted to ride for them since the Big Daddy frame came out.
If I remember right you were originally a racer of all things on a BMX. How long did you do that for and when did you eventually jump over to flatland?
I called myself a racer, but I never officially entered a race. I was into that for about a year or two, and I could clear some pretty decent jumps for my age. Doing tricks was looked down on unless it was something like a tabletop. That all changed when somebody wanted to beat me up at the jumps. I still wanted to ride my bike, but I couldn’t go to the trails, so I started riding “Freestyle.”
Did you or do you ever mess around with street, park, or trails at all or is it strictly flatland for you these days?
Now it is just flatland. I used to do some pretty wuss grinds and jumps, but I really just enjoy riding flat. I think that last ramp tricks I learned were no-foot can cans and double barspins.
You have had the chance to travel all over the world because of what you do, where are some of your favorite places?
Japan is obviously a great place to go. The riders are not afraid to take you into their homes and let you be a part of their lives. If it weren’t for the hospitality of the Japanese riders then Japan would be just like almost any other place I go. I also love sushi, so that is a pretty big benefit.
Where are some places you would like to go? and do you ever find it crazy to think you get to travel all over to ride on a flat surface?
I would like to go to Australia or New Zealand. I heard that they are beautiful places to visit. I also would like to visit some historical areas like Athens and Rome.
I feel like you have invented a few tricks in your day? Any you care to share and maybe explain?
Tricks are so hard to explain these days because it is beyond just the positions of the tricks. A few that I am proud of are the 360-body-varial caboose, and obviously the blender bike flip, which I think really took me from an average rider to a real pro.
You have the reputation as the fastest spinner on BMX, what is it like when you really get going and how do you keep yourself from getting dizzy?
I still get dizzy every time. It is all about the feel of the trick and knowing where your body and bike are positioned. I don’t really look at anything specific like a reference point, but I can’t do it with my eyes closed.
On average about how much time do you put in on your bike in a week just practicing and going over runs and such?
I usually ride about three hours per day on average and about six times a week. I want to ride more, but my body just can’t take it. The tricks that I do these days are very physical, and I am exhausted after I am done. I miss the old days where you could ride all day and the tricks weren’t so intense on your body.
What is your contest schedule looking like? Are you organizing any at all?
I competed at the Voodoo Jam this year, the BMX Masters in Cologne, and I will be at the KOG finals in Tokyo. There just aren’t a whole lot of flatland contests these days, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Flatland has really progressed over the past few years, since the focus has moved away from competition. I put a little time toward organizing one, but I am just too busy, and I don’t want to do it halfway.
Do you ever expect to see flatland back in the x games or get into the dew tour? It seems like that side of BMX has really been catching on again?
I am sure that it will not be back in the X Games. That has gone from a skill competition to a TV show. The Dew Tour seems to have good credibility and would seem like a good fit for flatland. I wish that some of the sport organizers for these competitions could see how good a flatland contest is like the Voodoo Jam. We have really reinvented the flatland competition in the past few years. I wish there were more events like the BMX Masters where flatland ramp riding are side by side.
Who are the guys you typically ride with?
Ron Monis, Todd Gully, Ed Egawa, and Dave Petrin. Believe it or not our best sessions are in the winter when we have to ride jam circle style in my warehouse.
What gives you the most motivation when it comes to your riding?
I know that I have been given some pretty good talents, and I don’t want to waste them. I just want to see how good I can be, and when I look back to know that I gave it everything I had.
You have a really good dvd that you made a few years back, do you have any plans on making any more anytime soon?
I initially planned on making “Ground Rules” a two DVD set, but I just ran out of time to work on part two. Making volume one took almost a year, and it isn’t just like dropping video clips on a timeline and putting a music track in the background. I had to animate the drawings for each how-to trick, which takes a long time.
If you could change anything about BMX what would it be and why?
I wish riders would appreciate each others riding more. Sometimes it seems like riders aren’t clapping for each other as much (even during practice). I don’t care if you have been doing the same trick for 10 years. If it is hard it is hard, and I am going to show you respect.
What do you think you would be doing if you never picked up a bike?
I would definitely be doing something musical. I wish that there was more time now, so I could focus on music too.
Outside of BMX what are you into?
Music production, web design, and video production.
What is one of the craziest things you have ever seen/experienced in your life?
I saw a fight in my parking lot and there were guns involved. Not cool.
Did you ever go to college at all? If so what for and how do you feel about school?
I attend college on a music scholarship and graduated with a 3.75 GPA. I kind of have mixed feelings about college. It basically teaches you how to learn, which is great. However, I don’t think that having that piece of paper makes you a better person, and there are some idiots I graduated with who are proof of that.
With the elections coming up, how do you feel about all that? Any plans on voting?
I will definitely vote. People fought for years to get the right to vote, and it would be disrespectful for me not to. I think that local politics play a bigger role in your everyday life though.
What are some of your favorite movies of all time?
The Hurricane, Ground Hog Day, and that’s about it. I don’t really watch many movies.
What kinds of music are you into?
My tastes are very eclectic, and I listen to anything from John Coltrane to Lupe Fiasco. I did take a trip to the crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi where bluesman Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil.
If you could be capable of doing anything at all, what would you want to do the most?
Live a long, happy, and healthy life. You can’t ask for too much more.
What are some things you would like to accomplish in the next few years?
Travel to some new places and learn new tricks,
What is something about yourself people have a hard time believing?
I guess people always think that I am younger than I really am. The main one is that people really can’t believe that I make a living riding a bike.
Do you spend much time on the computer? Any favorite websites?
I don’t know if I should admit this or not, but I am kind of into the whole fantasy football and baseball thing. I like building the teams, and it makes the games more exciting to watch too.
Who or what are the biggest influences on your life?
My parents for sure. In addition to being great people they have an outstanding work ethic, which I have to tried to pick up.
If you were given 3 wishes, what would you ask for and why?
I would ask for tires that don’t wear out, health for those that I know, and with the third wish I would ask for three more wishes.
What is some of the best advice you have ever received?
The past has already happened, the future hasn’t happened yet, and the present is all we have.
What kinds of advice do you have for kids getting into BMX?
I encourage them to practice and not give up when you are frustrated. So many kids think that they can’t do the tricks because their bikes are too heavy. I learned most of my tricks on a 40-pound Standard Shorty. There is no substitute for practice.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Thanks to those who have supported me throughout my riding career, such as my parents, wife, sponsors, Hoffman Bikes, Dan’s Comp, and people who I have ridden with.
Anything else you would like to say?
Pick up a bike and ride.