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Books – Tweak Magazine

Matteo Matriche started his own skatemag called Tweak when he was 14. Now he's 15 and already had features with guys like Fred Mortagne, Jarne Verbruggen or Davy van Laere in his mag. Because we had a 15 year old intern for a while, we thought it would be a good idea, if he contacts Matteo for an interview. They talked about his magazine, school, skating in Belgium and his future plans.

Matteo, how did you get into starting your own skatemag?

Well, I started it last year because I didn’t really know what to do during summer and my dad came up with the idea of making a magazine. He did it himself when he was younger. So I started it and it grew and now it’s okay.

Where do you get the photos for your mag from?

I started with sending mails to photographers I like and with some luck they started answering my mails and finally I got their photos. I got them for free and they were really cool with me.

Do you have any help making the mag or do you make it all alone?

I make it all alone but, at the end, my dad starts checking how I did it ’cause he is a graphic designer. So he can check if everything is just put right and besides that I do everything by myself.

Besides that do your parents also support you with this project?

Well yeah, because they really encouraged me to do it at the beginning. They're always behind me for every financial problem and everything. So yeah they really help me with that. They completely support me.

What about all the paperwork, writing bills and shipping the mag and your shirts and hoodies?

I started with my own money and then I made the second mag where I had more adverts so I could pay the other one. I have some extra money and benefit so I can make some hoodies and that’s cool, yeah.

You’re only fifteen, how is it handling a business like that at such a young age?

I thought it was going to be harder at the beginning and then get easier but I think it was easier in the first place, now every brand is asking me: “When is the magazine coming?” and it’s like a real job and besides school it’s getting hard. But I think you can make it, if you really want it and I really want it, so it’s cool.

With the aspect of school, how is the magazine affecting your grades?

I already spoke some English when I started the magazine, but it kind of helps me with the English courses. It helps me more with art and everything.

The magazine is for free but has some ads from big companies. Do you get money out of it or do you put it right back into the magazine?

Well the first issue was not that expensive and I put my money in it. Then I got some ads because I went to Brussel where there were some people helping me because they’d seen my magazine. I sent the first issue to shops and everything, so people saw my magazine and contacted me and I tried to contact some other people and then the ads payed the magazine completely and I have a little extra money for sweatshirts and everything so that’s cool.

"I'd really like it to be even bigger. As big as I can."

You print thousand copies of every issue. Do you want to increase the amount and produce more and more or do you want to keep it a thousand copies? 

I try to make it more and more and I started with a thousand copies and now I still make a thousand but I’d like to make it a little thicker and have more pages in the mag and then I will start making more and more. I wait for other distributors to contact me and for the moment I keep it one thousand but I’d really like it to be even bigger. As big as I can.

You featured some big names like Youness Amrani and Fred Mortagne in the mag, how did you get in contact with them?

Well, with skateboarders it’s harder to get them by mail because they aren’t really that active on mails and everything. It takes a lot of time. I got the interview of Youness by going to Hasselt, his local park and I saw him there and asked him and like after three months I got a small interview with him. Most of the time I get in contact with the brands, which help me to interview the skateboarders. 

How do you get the ads in the mag? 

It’s the distributors that give me the ads. If you would ask someone from the brands in America, he would not say: ”Oh yeah, Tweak!”. I don’t think they know about it.

For how long do you want to keep producing the mag?

I’d like to make it as long as I can and my dream is to make it my job. As long as I can, I’ll do it.

Do you have any future plans for the magazine?

Well first I’d like to make it bigger and thicker and distribute it to more countries. Besides that, I don’t really have that much plans but I’d like to go to more events outside of Belgium if I can. Maybe do a little change, evaluate in style and get more experience I guess.

Do you skate less since you started the magazine?

The mag doesn’t keep me from skating. I skate as much as I can. During the weekdays, I skate maybe one time but at the weekends I skate as much as I can. The Fridays, when I leave school, I go skate with my friends and Saturday, it’s the whole day skating.

Where exactly do you live in Belgium and is there a good scene?

I live in Liege, it’s a little city but in Belgium it’s one of the biggest ones. We don’t have that much skaters or parks. We have like three parks and it’s a really small scene. In a way it’s cool and in a way it could be better. 

What can we expect from the new issue and when is it coming out?

I’d like to do it before April because I’m going on a trip to California. I’d like to do the magazine before that. It should be around March or April.

Any features you can talk about already?

I really don’t know what I’m going to put in this one but I already have a photographer, not a big one, he contacted me by mail and he’d like to have a little feature in the mag so I maybe make a little portfolio or something. I try to make an interview with a skateboarder but I don’t really know, what’s going to happen.

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