straatosphere-matt-king-singapore
Community November 20, 2013

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Stunt Skater Matt King

Stunt skater Matt King has rolled into town to star as Trax in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock musical, Starlight Express. We caught up with him to talk about his love for hot wheels, speed and adrenaline.

By Daniel Loy

straatosphere_matt-king-singapore
Matt King, who plays Trax in the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock musical “Starlight Express”, was at the Somerset Skate Park to show off a trick or two

1. Skating is in his blood
“Everyone in my family skates. My mother’s not around anymore but my dad, sister, two brothers and uncle are all skaters. Whenever I’m anywhere, I’m always thinking about skating. That’s all I think about, it’s been in my life so much that every time I get somewhere, like when I got here today, I ran from the car because I was so excited to be here. I love going to a new skate park; every skate park in the world is different.”

2. He wanted to open a skate park at somewhere unimaginable
“I was going to open a skate park inside a church, but I couldn’t get permission. So I decided to open a skate shop with a skate ramp at the back. I paid for the skate shop with my sponsorship money; when I was 15 I was starting to get sponsored by a lot of companies.”


3. He’s the man behind Evian’s baby skating video
“I had to wear something like a wetsuit, with golf balls and stickers on it over my body. They wanted me to act like a baby on skates so I had to think what was it like when I first learnt to skate. I also did tricks like going up a ramp and doing a back flip. But I tried to do it as if a baby was back flipping. When the video came out the producers said it was going to be small, but while I was away on holiday it got massive and it had 21 million views on YouTube.”

4. Injuries can’t keep him down
“One time when I broke my ribs, I went to the hospital and got really good painkillers. I went back and I still did the skate competition with broken ribs. I got third place but I couldn’t feel anything. I’ve dislocated my shoulder, broken my collarbone, both my arms, wrists, fingers, toes. Stitches in several places, broken my nose four times, knocked out my teeth, everywhere, yeah.

straatosphere_matt-king-singapore-1
Students from SMU’s Skating Club also got to be part of a skating session led by Matt

5. The skating community is like family to him
“Back home we don’t say we skate, we say we are skaters. It’s not a sport, it’s a lifestyle. I love meeting other rollerbladers and skaters; random, interesting people. Skating is such a small community that I could go anywhere in the world and stay in somebody’s house with a pair of rollerblades. I’ve also had people from over the world staying at my house. I don’t even know them, but I know they rollerblade so they’re a family.”

6. In 2004, he took a chance and got into Starlight Express
“One day an audition came through the fax machine at my skate shop. They were looking for skaters for the Starlight Express. I really wanted to go for the audition but my uncle, who was a partner at the shop, was out playing golf and wouldn’t let me go. When he was out, I locked the shop and went anyway.”

straatosphere_matt-king-singapore-2
Matt took the opportunity to perform daredevil tricks from the hit musical

7. Matt roped his wife in to Starlight Express as well
“When I got the Starlight Express job, I told my wife that I got this really good job but I didn’t want to go without her and so I asked her to come along. She quit her job and came with me. She used to work in the movie and TV industry as a costume-maker for films, so when the Starlight Express people heard that she did that, they got her a job in the show. She started off as a dresser, helping everybody get changed during the show; there are 4 or 5 costume changes and you only have 5 minutes. As she got better, she rose through the ranks. Now, she works longer hours than me. (laughs)”

8. The world is his playground
“I won a few British skating competitions and won the world championships in Switzerland when I was 17 or 18. When I was on tour with Starlight Express from 2004 to 2009, we went all around England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, to lots of places. After that, I moved to Abu Dhabi in the Middle East for two years, to work for a theme park with a skate show. When I heard that Starlight Express was starting up again, they got me back on it and now we’re here.”

straatosphere_matt-king-singapore-3
Matt thrives on adrenaline, which has led to a few misadventures and injuries, but nothing can stop him

9. Aggressive/stunt skating is actually good for you
“The reason it’s called aggressive is because it’s about taking out negative energy and turning it into something possible. So you come to the skate park, you had a hard day at work and you feel stressed out. You put the power in your moves, you take out all the aggression and you turn that aggression into something nice. You do something good and let off some steam. Just like boxers going a few rounds with their punching bag.”

10. He thrives on adrenaline rushes
“I love skydiving and things like this. When I was younger I did so many stupid things. I used to love getting into cardboard boxes, wrapped in a blanket, and getting my brothers to push me down the stairs. Jumping from trees, trying to make a boat and going into a lake and then almost drowning. I went to Hyde Park in London, I tried to make a little boat with a bin bag and some planks. It sank, I ran out of the lake with leeches on me. I took off my boxer shorts, I was naked, and I was running down the park trying to get the leeches off me. It’s just in my nature to do stupid stuff. Once, as part of a publicity stunt, I skated down a hill and tried to see if I could set off a speed camera. And I did. I skated as fast as I could down the hill from the back of a car, let go and the camera went off. It was 56 miles an hour (90 kilometers an hour) so that’s the fastest I’ve known I’ve been.”

Starlight Express is showing at the Mastercard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands, till November 24th