Matlok Bennett-Jones’ interview from Issue 1 of Vague Mag is now available to read online in full! Read what this lej has to say below!
With ego’s and a general defensive nature being so rife in the realm of wooden plank riding, characters like Mr Bennett-Jones are a 10x stronger lasting febreeze in the smoggyness of shit chat and arrogance. Shite metaphors aside, Matlok’s legitimacy shines through every aspect of his character. You can introduce him to your mum, or your mate who shouts obsenities off buses after 4 cans before lunch and they’ll love him, just like us. To you Schmatty!
Yes Matlok, so what do you want the world to know about you, what do you want out of this interview?
I want people to think I’m the biggest dick ever, I want everyone to fucking hate me.
Did Timmy Garbett pay you to say that?
Yeah I thought I’d say what Timmy would say, he’s a huge role model for me.
That’s something I’ve noticed, that since you came on the scene you always hung around people a good 7 years older than you, like Timmy and the Ratz Crew. Do you think growing up this way helped you mature quicker?
It definitely did, Timmy always talks about this, I only skated street shit when I was younger like skating around car parks or whatever, then once I went to Dev Green, that’s where I first saw Timmy Garbett, Gordo, Darren Daggers, Fisher, Henry Stables. The full on Ratz crew!
Henry was weirding me out from the off, he’d act proper paedo to me and shit, (laughs), he’s done that to a lot of other kids as well actually. I tagged along and went street skating with them like “Oh fuck I’m skating with all the older guys.” Little did I know what they were actually like (laughs).
We went to St James, 4 stair to 7 stair, a classic Sheffield spot, we went there and immediately saw all the weird shit they get up to! Shitting everywhere, being unashamedly themselves and I thought it was so cool! Back to the present day and nothing’s really changed. We hang out all the time. Recently we’ve been doing this thing where we go to Timmy’s house have a few beers then things naturally get strange, last time we ended up getting naked and doing karaoke in his living room.
No inhibitions whatsoever in that scenario! What karaoke songs do you like?
We’re listening to The Boss right now, Dancing in the Dark is always good. You can never go wrong with Bruce Springsteen for karaoke. Ahh, a good karaoke story was in New York with all the Pass-port guys.
Oh aye, was that your first time meeting those lot out there?
Yeah I went on my own, the whole basis of that trip was to meet all of them. I had spoken to them all through email and met Geoff Campbell once in Sheffield. Because I met Geoff I thought I had a grasp on what Australians were like because I’d never met any… Not the case (laughs). I was so nervous knowing what Callum (Paul) is like, “Fuck, he’s going to fuck with me so bad, I’ve been invited just to get fucked with.”
I mean off the videos alone of Callum Paul, you’d be mad not to have some fear.
I got the flight by myself from Manchester and realised half way through that I forgot my contact lenses, I was wearing my glasses to travel in.
We all thought you were going for a more sophisticated image when the edit came out, reiterating your British USP in the team.
(Laughs) Yeah repping this new image, of course I’m going to pull it off (laughs). I told Trent and all the Pass-Port boys that I’d be in glasses so they could recognise me when I turned up, they’d never met me before this. Co-incidentally Joe Paget was also in New York and I arranged to meet him at the same spot as the Pass-port dudes. He turned up a minute or two before me and because he was wearing glasses arriving at the time I said I’d meet them they thought he was me at first (laughs). It was rad meeting them all, they’re the best dudes ever.
Get any good Aussie slang off of them?
Yeah “Cop’a’scrape” is a good one, it basically means trying to get laid, trying to cop’a’scrape. That’s a nice one. “Sinking piss”, for drinking beer is another, they’re my favourite ones, I fucking loved hanging with them, the vocab was infectious. I came home with some mad accent just from hanging round with them for 2 weeks.
Did any of your vernacular rub off on them? City of steel slang down under would be dope!
I was saying reyt a lot, that weirded them out a bit. If I didn’t hear what they said I’d say “You what?” which is a normal thing for me to say, but for someone who isn’t familiar it sounds really rude, so they started saying it taking the piss.
It’ll have hit New Zealand by now. What was the karaoke story?
We went to a karaoke bar when we were out there and it was so gnarly. Callum was just bubbling outside the karaoke bar in a phone booth (laughs), he does the bubbler on the regs (a bubbler is where you urinate into your own mouth), I was surprised. We went in and dominated the place so much, there were 6/7 of us in there and it wasn’t even that busy, but the people who where there were locals. Callum kept nicking the mic off of people, I forget which songs he did but he went so falsetto, loud and obnoxious and at one point he grabbed the mic off this woman who was hez-ing (hesitating) too much about singing and started doing the American National Anthem, shouting and getting it so wrong (laughs).
Everyone was so bummed on it, everyone was like get the fuck off the mic. He kept shouting “Welcome to Brooklyn, fuck you!” even though we were in Manhattan, people were like “We’re not in Brooklyn”. He’d respond in a Limp Bizkit voice “Nah we’re in Brooklyn, fuck you!” (laughs). It was so good. We eventually left and he kept shouting it around Manhattan, almost got us getting beaten up, it was so sketchy (laughs).
It was so sick, I’m going to try and get out to Australia soon and hang out with those boys, it was such a good 2 weeks.
Growing up with the Ratz Crew must have also strengthened your ability to take/ not take shit, which is ideal training I imagine for those rowdy Aussies.
Yeah for sure, one night I was talking about maybe shaving my head because my hair was so long at the time, just saying it, not decided at all, then one morning I woke up to Callum stood over me with a razor. I literally had to run to the other side of the room and stand there so he wouldn’t have shaved my head. If I hadn’t woken up in time I would have just had a bic’d head (laughs).
Maybe he was jealous that he wasn’t going to be the fella with the longest hair on the team.
Yeah maybe he got tenched out about that. It was fucking jokes. I think being around Timmy, Henry and that definitely made me immune to weird things people say or do.
What are some of the things you’ve seen Timmy do?
I’ve seen Timmy set off firecrackers in the smoking area of Corp.. Corp is this hanging club in Sheffield that does quad vodka irn bru’s and coloured pints. We watched somebody else get searched and blamed for it whilst the whole time Timmy just had the firecrackers in his hand, continuing to set them off. We’ve been kicked out so many times.
I bet! It seems fairly lax, making it a challenge to push their tolerance as far as possible.
One night it was pretty fucked up, Timmy, me and Ellis (Jerome Campbell’s cousin) went to Corp on a Wednesday night, this evening is notorious for the school disco, so basically all the students in Sheffield go. You get in cheaper if you go in school uniform, white shirts, ties and that. We were just skating in the day so we went with our boards just fucking about and that. Ellis got to the stage of pouring his own pints from behind the bar, at first there was 2 bouncers trying to get him out, Ellis is a big dude, strong as fuck, so he was just ragging these bouncers about, knocking them into other people trying to dance, knocking people’s drinks off, causing the biggest ruckus, me and Timmy just watched with our drinks thinkin, “What the fuck”. I’m not exaggerating it took 5 bouncers that had to bear hug him and haul him out. The best thing was he was trying to fight them off just to stay and chill in Corp the rest of the night, he thought he could stay if he shook them off (laughs).
Jesus, when Timmy is comparatively the mellow dude it must be wild (laughs).
He is obviously no angel. Timmy’s got this trademark move at house parties where he shits in the toilet cistern, you’ve got the toilet then you lift the lid and there it goes (an upperdecker). He’s done it and sometimes the shit would just stay there for weeks.
I’ve been to a party where he’s done that actually, then top Aussie Matt Beck shat himself. Definitely a relief not to host that one!
He does that in quite a few houses, one was in my friend Jack’s girlfriend’s student accommodation, and no-one really invited Timmy, I finally persuaded them to let Timmy come round, to which he came and shit in the toilet cistern. A few weeks later my mates who were there for it were at Corp and Timmy tried to fight my mates because they didn’t agree with it (laughs). “Ah that kinda sucked you did that, you should maybe apologise” “What, you want to fucking go?!” Straight away all guns blazing! But that’s why he’s the best he doesn’t care, he’s so funny.
the group, whatever they do it won’t be as disgusting.
It’s true, Henry and Dave, there’s not a lot of excrement involved with what they do, they’re just really odd. In fact they’ll love it if I mention this, Dave and Henry made a full film in the DIY in Millhouses (Sheffield) where the abandoned building was, they got a camera and filmed themselves playing 3 different characters each in offices. Mimicking stereotypical people they will never be. “Hey Susan can you get me that report” and shit. They told me it was 20 minutes long and they had it on a memory stick but no-one could ever see it because it was so awful. They ended up destroying the memory stick so no-one could ever see this film that they made, I was so gutted (laughs).
On the other side of the spectrum, Sheffield does have some more pleasant locations, particularly regarding the DIY music scene. Could you tell us a bit about that?
Two main venues are The Lughole and The Audacious Art Experiment across the road from the Sheffield United ground. They have sick bands on, bring your own beers, pay a donation, there’s a good group of people who go to these shows, it’s so different to just going to the same bars week after week. You see bands you’ve never heard of before and they’re always rad and on the same page, it’s that kind of venue.
Another solid community within these venues?
Yeah that’s why it’s so sick, everyone who goes are like minded people, the whole thing is done by the bands as well, they use the donations to pay for the practice areas and putting shows on so it stays in the community. There’s a lot of good bands in Sheffield, reyt good music scene, the DIY scene is so good, there’s so much going on. It’s sick getting familiar with the people in this scene, a different environment from skating but so similar as well.
You also work at Size, this type of retail generally attracts morons and those of a more bizarre nature, got any customer stories?
This one’s pretty nice, one day on a busy Saturday I was on display list, you scan every shoe in the shop, then it adds up to see what isn’t out, it’s so boring there’s hundreds of them. At the start of my shift, this guy wearing a JD Sports bag, this stinking 30 year old dude who just looked fucked walks in and says “You’re not old enough to work here” I said “What?” I turned around and didn’t really know who he was speaking to. He was by himself “You look about 12, there’s no way you’re meant to be working here” I was like, “Okay, are you alright?” and he just said “I’m only taking piss mate” then walked off. There was no-one else there to see it so it was just for his own satisfaction or my dissatisfaction. I was like “Ah fuck” (laughs) it got me super bummed for the rest of the shift.
I bet he’d been planning that for months as well.
Yeah, just building up the nerve to tell me.
We used to get “Prove a pube” in Liverpool.
I definitely have some pubes I swear, there’s not a lot they’re just really long (laughs).
(Laughs) On the retail tip, you’ve definitely been rocking the ‘forever in blue jeans’ look as long as I’ve known you. Is this a scam to make it look like you’ve filmed an entire part in a day or a homage to the working class?
It takes me a while to find jeans I like to skate in, so when I get a pair I’lI wear them until they’re completely fucked, like 2 years. I wore them more and more as I became conscious about Springsteen’s working class ethics (laughs). Really though he’s just the best dude ever, the more I got into it, “This is the shit” if I wear blue jeans it’s for the people. Double denim and an American bandanna, it’s inspiring for sure. When I was at Jamie Platt’s a couple of days ago, we were showing each other footage of ourselves when we were fetuses; age 11/12 and still in those clips I’m wearing blue jeans (laughs). The reason I can’t wear trousers is because I sweat profusely out of my shins, if I wear anything remotely lightly coloured I get two massive sweat patches down there.
You have been wearing trousers that are a little wavier as of late, is this through hanging out with Jamie Platt? His trow are next level!
He wears elasticated denim that is fucking huge, it’s gnarly. Jamie’s found a brand called Bolt London, he’s got these massive black cords, I tried them on and the hem was past my shoe, like those cyber goths who look like they’re hovering, so swishy, but he can pull it off because he’s about 8 foot. I can’t do that shit otherwise I look like a cube (laughs).
One of my favourite stories is when you convinced Rooney, then all of London AM that you were on acid unintentionally. Want to give us the lowdown on this story?
It’s going to be annoying because he still thinks I took acid, maybe I should just let it loose.
Basically we were at London AM, me, Mike Arnold, Ollie Lock and Jamie Platt all went that year. They don’t normally like comps, not that I particularly do, but it’s just funny. Obviously if you go in with the mindset of “Ohhh everyone’s looking at me, and judging me, shit” it’s not fun. But if you go in with “Fuck it I’ll go and fuck about, have the park to myself for a bit” it’s sick.
We had a mellow one after the first day, didn’t get too pissed, which is rare for any skate event, then headed back to the hotel. Me and Mike Arnold wanted to be in a room together, but we were in rooms with different people. This will make me sound like a dick now (laughs) but we really wanted to be in the same room as each other.
Just like swapping seats on a train to let a family sit together.
Exactly. We hadn’t really planned it, so when we got to the hotel we saw Rooney and a couple of other people. Then Mike just goes “Matlok’s fucked he’s had loads of acid, he’s never had it before so he’s kind of tripping out a bit, I’m going to have to stay with him tonight.” They were like “Yeah, yeah that’s fine”. Rooney was looking at me deep in the eyes saying, “You look fucked man” (laughs) I was like “Yeah I don’t know what’s going on dude” because Mike had given me no warning prior to this, I had to pretend that I was on acid even though I’d never had it before. “Fuck, right, time to put on the performance of a lifetime.” I had to go with Rooney to get my stuff out the hotel room, just me and him. There was a big mirror in the lift, my mind was racing to blag this “Fuck, what can I do to look like I’m on acid.” I turned around and stared at my own reflection quite intensely. It seemed to work as Rooney shouted “Ah! You’re fucked!” (laughs). We went in and I got my shit. Me and Mike were cracking up! The whole time people were coming up to us nagging us for acid “Can you get me some” Mike was saying “Nah, don’t think the guys going to come out at this time” putting on so many lies. Everyone there was under the impression that I was tripping, the next day Rooney must have told everyone that I’d taken acid.
I went to the park and was just fucking about not really skating. Ben Powell was filming the comp and Rooney had told him “Film Matlok man, he’s fucking tripping still” because I was just fucking about. Powell told us that he was zooming in on my face saying “You don’t look like you’re tripping”. Then it was good, I didn’t even think about it consciously, fuck it, there’s people who are here who are way too gnarly trying too hard, it was around the period when I was sessioning double heels a lot. I tried to do it on every single thing I could, I spent the whole run trying it on the hip until the end when I landed on one, then they just worked after that.
So because Rooney had told everyone I was tripping on acid and my run consisted of me trying to double heelflip a hip for a minute and a half, everyone was like yeah he’s fucked, definitely on acid. It wasn’t until later on, people were asking if I took it “Fuck no, I was just chilling”. It all worked out because me and Mike stayed in the same room for the next couple of days we were there and it was all fine (laughs). I guess he doesn’t know but Rooney, I’m sorry I didn’t take acid.
I’ve got here that Shank made you slam on purpose for 8mm footage, is there any truth to that?
Complete truth to that. It was when he made Blend and he used lots of super 8 footage. He didn’t have a mic but wanted to add sounds to a lot of the clips. Most of them I helped him out to do the sounds, both being in Sheffield. Doing a kickturn, ollie stationary just to take the noise. There was a bit he filmed of me super 8, 180-ing over this rail into a bank then slamming, dead stopping. He was really keen to get the sound of the slam. We went to the spot and decided that to get the noise I would tail ollie off the rail onto the floor and stack it on purpose (laughs). The worst part is that we had 6 goes at it because Shank was not liking the sound, “Yeah do it again but try not to go too over the top” I was getting a bit theatrical so toned it down to a modest grunt, it’s so bad (laughs). Continuously pretending to slam whilst actually slamming. The sound is kind of believable with the super 8 watching it back now so I guess it was worth it (laughs).
What better way to end this interview than on an inside joke only we will get, that’ll teach the public! Do you remember that hill?
I remember that hill and in fact today when we were out skating towards the Wandsworth roundabout I didn’t know where I was and looked around “Fuck are we near the hill? Does anyone remember the hill?”
Cheers Matlok, we love you very much!