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Q+A with Matt Pritchard (SWYD - Sleep When Your Dead, Dirty Vegan, Dirty Sanchez)


Matt Pritchard is an ex professional skateboarder, chef, TV host, stunt man, dad of Lemmy (Matt's beautiful springer spaniel), business man, endurance athlete and much, much more.

I've known Matt since the early 00's when Dirty Sanchez was at it's peak. Matt and the boys were regulars at the club I used to DJ at in Cardiff and we enjoyed a party or two back in the day to say the least!.

Since then alot has changed, last year saw the start of two TV shows on the BBC. The first, Wildman to Iron man showed Matt's transition from Dirty Sanchez wildman into a legit endurance athlete. In the show Matt shared his battles with mental health, drugs and alcohol as well as the demise of Dirty Sanchez which left him at rock bottom. This eventually lead to him taking positive action and over the past decade Matt has become a succesful businessman, endurance athlete, and of course the 'Dirty Vegan'.

The second TV show, Dirty Vegan came with an accompanying, best selling book. This took Matt back to his roots as a chef (Matt trained as chef before Dirty Sanchez). Sharing his passion for cooking and his vegan diet. The series was a huge success and the second book / series has just started this weekDirty Vegan on BBC iPlayer


Matt and Lemmy, there is no stronger bond.

The verdict on veganism is almost as divided as politics at the moment. Alongside his success, Matt has taken a fair bit of shit from the keyboard warriors and luddites who have taken offence to Matt's choice as a grown man to choose what he wants to eat. We all have our reasons for what we do in life and Matt is certainly not a vegan 'preacher'. Since becoming vegan, Matt and his brother Adam (also vegan) have completed some of the hardest, most gruelling endurance events on the planet. Last summer both Matt and Adam took on the Brutal Events Decathon UK. An iron man (2.4 mile swim, 114 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run) every day for 10 days!.

There's no denying that these types of events require a ridiculous amount of dedication and training but there is more and more evidence surfacing about the health and performance benefits of veganism in sports.

So, while the trolls can continue to bash the vegan diet Matt's Dirty Vegan series alongside other notable documentaries like The Game Changers, What the Health and Cowspiracy are opening up peoples minds to the health, environmental and animal welfare benefits of veganism.

Last year also saw the 15 year anniversary of Dirty Sanchez which was marked by two sell out live shows in Cardiff and Sheffield. The four lads were back together on stage for the first time in 10 years, carefully hosted and orchestrated by Matt StocksLife in the Stocks Podcastthere was really no doubting that both shows would sell out in a few days. But will there be more? I speak to Matt about all of this and more..



The boys back together.

Bonjour Mathew, there’s no need for introductions here so I’ll get this out the way first. This week saw two sell out shows in Cardiff and Sheffield to celebrate 15 years of Dirty Sanchez. Matt Stocks played an absolute blinder in his role of firstly getting you all to tell your own personal stories on his podcast which ultimately lead to the reunion gigs which sold out in days. The love for Sanchez will never die that’s for sure. How did it feel for you personally, and can the fans expect anymore of these reunion gigs in 2020?


Those Sanchez shows were great and I really enjoyed them. After doing a tour the year before with Daint and Stocks it was clear that people loved the format so we went in and sold the full crew especially now that Matt Stocks had interviewed the 4 of us so it sort of made sense really.

I’ll be honest, I knew there would be interest but I didn’t expect the shows to sell out that quick. Stocks is great at hosting and it was good to have him there to sort of be our headmaster so it was a well controlled show without any of us talking over one another haha.

 

It felt like time had rewound and it took me back to that Sanchez place my head was at many years ago back stage with the other 3 getting ready to go on stage albeit a bit more chilled than what it was back in the day haha.

 

The Sanchez love will never die I suppose, we created something many years ago that clearly touched people and from experience in meeting fans over the years a lot have told us we got them through some tough times. If ever they felt down they’d whack on Sanchez and I guess it was instant laughter like taking a happy pill. There has been talk of 2020 shows but I haven't spoken to the boys yet.


You ownSWYD (Sleep When Your Dead) Tattoo and Barber Parlourin both Cardiff and Bargoed which really have set the standard for top quality barbering and tattoos in Wales, with your staff winning several awards in their respective fields. Can we expect more shops to pop up in the future or are you just focussing on keeping things as they are?


Yeh we are into our 6th year now and the brands building and at the moment we have such a good team pushing the brand / shop into the future. Like most businesses it takes a long time to build a business and an even longer time to build a brand.

At the moment I’m really happy with the 2 shops and having Adrian Rooke and Miles O’Keefe as business partners it's all going in the right direction. I’m not a very good people person so I find it hard to manage a team but Adrian does it perfectly. He’s fair with all of our staff and they all respect him as they do Miles.

Respect, trust and loyalty are big things for me and I think they are key to a good business which is why I’m so grateful to have them by my side. As for more shops, nah that’s it for the near future. We’ll put more effort into building what we have to give our staff and customers a better experience moving forward.


SWYD Tattoo and Barber Shop, High Street Arcade, Cardiff.


Lemmy's Chop Shop.

In addition to SWYD, Lemmy has recently opened his very own shopLemmy's Chop Shopfor like minded, suave canines. How did that come about and can you tell us a bit more about that please?


Lemmy's was a no brainier really. I started taking him to one of my neighbours shops for him to be groomed and he always came back looking and smelling great. It then ticked in my head that considering he had a big following on Instagram and the fact that I bloody love dogs. I thought about opening a groomers of his own. I talked to Adrian about it and we got the ball rolling. Adrian’s my business partner in Lemmy’s Chop Shop too, plus he oversaw the building of it all too.

 

My friend Lyndsey who at the time looked after Lemmy when I used to go away for work or holidays and worked as a firefighter said that she was opening an Action Petz franchise so it then clicked in my head that what a great place to have a dog groomers than inside a huge warehouse full of dogs. I put it to her and she agreed to let me have the groomers in and unit inside her business which was amazing.

I then wanted a name for the business so I put it out there on our family text group and my fiancé came up with Lemmys Chop Shop and it stuck. Adrian said that one of his mates Alicia would love to be the groomer in the shop so I paid to have Alicia trained up and we opened the doors at the end of last year. It was a slow start but now its picking up nicely. It's like finding a new barber, once you’ve found the one you trust you pretty much stick with him / her and it's exactly the same with dog grooming. Alicia’s building up a nice client base already going into 2020.



Dirty Vegan Series 2 - On BBC Wales / iPlayer now..

Veganism, it seems to divide people almost as much as politics at the moment. You have been vegan for several years now and have inspired many people to at least dabble with it (myself included) and have been spreading the word, educating people on the health, animal welfare and environmental benefits of veganism.


Your book was an amazon best seller and the BBC series a huge hit. I believe the second book was released last week and the second show in January. Were you surprised at the success of the book / series, and can you give us a little hint of what to expect in the next series?


Right, veganism is like Brexit and marmite.............you either love it or hate it or that’s how it comes across on social media anyway. It gets on my tits, but I guess it's something I have to deal with as I am vegan so expect to be bashed by meat eaters even though I don’t do the preachy thing.


I’ll admit every now and again I’ll put something on my social channels as a little educational or a reminder to why I’m vegan and I always know the outcome which normally consists of hate etc but I put it up in the hope someone else may look into changing their ways and in turn reduces another animals life.

 

I advertised my second book on Facebook at the start of January using the words “If anyone out there’s doing veganuary here’s a book full of easy recipes to help you”. No preaching at all just an advert to help those that may need a good cookbook and the onslaught of hate by meat eaters was alarming especially from the welsh farming community who may I add I’ve never attacked at all or told anyone not to buy from them but one or two really went in on me but hey ho, its just what it is. I’ll continue to be vegan no matter what others say and I’ll continue to educate what I’ve learnt from turning vegan 4 years ago.

Dirty Vegan kicked off veganuary 2019 and I couldn’t believe how well the show was received along with the book which became an amazon best seller. I finished filming the second show in November which I really enjoyed and it's now currently on BBC Wales and iPlayer plus the second book “another bite” is also available to buy at all good bookshops and on Amazon.

I’m extremely grateful to all that have been a part of Dirty Vegan whether it was the TV show or books it's been great. Let's just say a lot has happened “back stage” so I’m looking forward to 2020. Big up to those who continue to support me in the plant based community. 


Dirty Vegan - Another Bite in all good book stores / Amazon now.


Matt flying high in Dubai...

Endurance - In addition to all of these things you’ve got going on. Last July you completed the brutal events continuous Deca Event (which is 10 iron man’s in 10 days), an absolutely incredible achievement. I’ve supported you and Adam (Matt’s brother) a few times in these endurance events, and seen you both literally put it all on the line.


I think from my perspective, when people ask me about it I can only ever say you really have to see it to believe it. The Deca is well up there as one of the ‘ultimate’ challenges in endurance races. I know you well enough to know you aren’t quite ready to slow down yet, so what’s next? Can anything really compare to completing a Deca?


At the moment I’ve got a fucked back after fracturing it falling skateboarding in Dubai which highly pissed me off. It was day 2 of the trip and I really started getting back into skateboarding.

I could feel it in my bones and mind. I hadn’t been on a skate trip for years and I was surrounded by skateboarders, Daint being one of them who I’ve been on numerous skate trips over the years along with the Forty’s skate co crew and Kris Markovich of all people............mental.

Anyway, my head was in a good place, skateboarding, mates, sunshine, unbelievable skateparks and a few beers at night with everyone and then i fucked it on day 2 so spent the rest of the trip at these ridiculous skateparks sat on my arse unable to do anything. I don’t do sitting down so i was chewing myself up inside although it was great seeing the others ripping especially Mark Burrows who is a 24/7 skate monster and all round lovely bloke.


The Deca was unbelievable and it was everything I expected it to be and more and I mean that in pain value haha. Like you said, when people ask what’s it like it's pretty hard to put into words. I’ve done a few interviews on my experience of it after I finished it and I find it hard to explain to anyone so I did my best to do what I did. All i can say is that from half way into the swim on day one it’s excruciating pain until you finish 10 days later.

You learn to deal with being uncomfortable, you have to or you wont be finishing it its as simple as that. Luckily I’ve build my experience up over the years with double and triple iron distances so I had a little insight into what to expect but it was worse haha. I cant put into words how I felt when I completed it either apart from it was extremely emotional, excited and relieved that I managed to get my body and mind through it all. I’ve never been so fucked in all my life but that was the start of a very slow 2 months + recovery schedule.



Matt during the swim at the Brutal Events Deca UK 2019.

You know, that look when you've just ridden 1,120 miles with a 262 mile run up next...

 

Not much exercise was done after it for obvious reasons then I fucked my back so at the moment I’m pretty much dealing with my demons. I’m playing a recovery waiting game but lack of exercise is drilling my mind and exercise is my medicine but it is what it is.

I have an appointment with a spine specialist on Jan 15th so I’ll know more of where I’m at then and I can plan from there. I had a 200 mile tunnel run planned for March but that isn’t happening now so I have my eye on the Brutal Quin which is a continuous 5 iron distance triathlons in a row but in Snowdonia so the elevation of it will be ridiculous haha.

A load of the deca entrants are going to be doing it to along with my brother so it will be a great reunion. I have something in mind going into the future but I ain’t told anyone yet so I’ll keep it to myself until i know I’m ready for it.I cant stop, I have to keep going because stopping will put me that much closer to a straight jacket haha.

Finally, in one sentence, can you describe how it felt when you crossed the finish line please?


I think I pretty much answered that above but I will say I was really gutted for my brother that he got an illness that meant he had to pull out of the event (Adam was struck down with gastroenteritis and heat stroke around half way through the event) I think we would have been the first brothers to finish a deca together. Seeing him greet me at the finish line then give him a hug set the tears rolling. He doesn’t give up though, so he’ll be back to get his deca under his belt.


What an achievement...Deca UK completed.

Matt thanks for taking the time to speak to me, I'm looking forward to seeing both you and Adam back to it later on this year. All the best with the recovery.


You can follow Matt on:


Instagram

Facebook

SWYD on Facebook

Dirty Vegan on BBC iPlayer

Lemmy's Chop Shop on Facebook

Lemmy Pritchard on Instagram


The Freesoul Project 2019 - Made in Wales