The blading world can rejoice! The legendary Mathieu Ledoux has returned from his leave of absence and teamed up with Pennon Pictures‘ Jonas Hansson to create a beautiful visual display of blading acrobatics that will surely leave you scratching your heads and promptly strapping up your skates afterwards. We were privileged to speak with Mathieu a little bit about what prompted his respite and we get to understand more about what fuels one of the most imaginative minds in blading’s history.
Mathieu, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. So to jump right into it, back in 2013 you were at the height of your popularity within the blading world. You had released some of the most innovative sections in years and you were even awarded a pro skate from USD and then you quietly slipped away. What was it that prompted you to take a step out of the limelight?
It wasn’t that I wanted to take a step out of the limelight. I just didn’t feel like skating at all. Back then I was going through some inner shifts that was affecting all aspects of my life.
We had seen sporadic clips from you over the last few years, so we knew that you were still skating, but what prompted you to come back & immediately jump into filming for a full VOD with one of the best videographers in the game?
To be honest, it took me by surprise! Many times, I asked myself that question. Even a few days before leaving I told my wife that I didn’t know why I was going to Arizona to film with Jonas. Part of me was very inspired and part of me was like; really? On the other hand, I always loved Jonas’ work. So, when the idea of making a VOD came to me, Jonas was somehow already linked to that idea.
One of my favorite sections from you was your “Arizona Sessions” that you filmed with Jon Jenkins for Kizer frames years ago. Now you have returned to Arizona with Jonas Hansson to film your new VOD “Desert”. Are you partly drawn to Arizona’s landscape because it is so vastly different than the conditions and architecture in your home country of Canada? What is it specifically about Arizona that you are drawn to?
After being in Arizona so many times I feel very comfortable there. I knew that my dear friend James Johnson was going the help us with spots and I also wanted to see him again. The weather in February there is beautiful and we only had 12-13 days to shoot so we wanted to make sure that rain would not be an issue. It was also easy for Robert Guerrero to meet us there. I also love Sedona. Every time I go to Arizona I make a trip up there.
Do you feel surrounding yourself in vastly different terrain brings out the best in your skating?
It for sure brings more possibilities and inspirations.
Did working on “Desert” & seeing the completed project inspire you to create more blading content in the future?
Definitely! I would love to come up with a full section this next fall. But time will tell. Jonas did an amazing job with that one! He truly captured the feeling I had in mind.
If you had the opportunity to make a follow up to “Desert” with Jonas, where would you like to go film for the sequel?
I would probably do it in Montreal. Fall looks beautiful here in Quebec and there are many spots that has never been seen. Toronto is not too far as well and has a ton of spots.
You have blended various different forms of physical expression including parkour and gymnastics into your skating. Is there any other sports or individuals that have influenced your skating or that you have drawn inspiration from over the years?
I also love skiing. Phil Casabon has definitely influenced my skating. I feel that skating and skiing has so much in common, that both sports can gain a lot by influencing each other.
I know that you were doing stunt work for some time. How did you initially get involved in that profession & do you have any stunt work jobs lined up in the near future?
My first stunt work was on the movie Rollerball. They hired me for my skating skills. I became friends with the stunt coordinator and started training martial arts, gymnastics and stunts became my life for many years after that. It was 20 years ago.
Were you ever concerned that skating injuries might prevent you from fulfilling your stunt work obligations?
I used to be concerned about that, yes. Like I said, at one point my life was all about my stunt career. I still train 4-5 days a week for stunts and I still enjoy being on set with my fellow stunt bros but I am way more detached from it. I am not identifying myself with that anymore. In fact, I am not identifying myself with anything anymore lol. And it actually helps me to perform better.
The world has been in disarray lately with the recent spread of the Corona Virus. How has the outbreak affected you and your community and how are you staying positive despite the uncertain times ahead?
Well, my wife and I hold breath-work weekend retreats at our home, so we had to cancel them due to the government regulations. All the studios and productions are also shutting down so no stunt work for Mathieu. Times like these can bring many things to the surface, it also brings an opportunity to reflect on our own life. To take a step back and to inquire about the nature of who we truly are. What is truly important in one’s life?
Uncertain times? Certainty in this world is a fantasy. This world is impermanent, ever changing. So, to learn how to let go and be comfortable in that uncertainty is a beautiful process. Also sending prayers and blessings for all the people and nations of the earth during this challenging period.
I see that you are heavily involved in writing music these days. Are you pursuing making music as a profession or are you using it more therapeutically to help you in your everyday struggles? Or both?
I play music out of devotion. It is a way for me to pray and to give thanks. To express what lives in my heart in a way. I am not pursuing anything with it really, even though I take vocal classes every two weeks and play almost every morning.
You have been skating for quite some time and have taken your fair share of abuse over the years. Are there any words of wisdom you can give to keep your body strong and healthy to be able to skate in your later years?
After spending so many years training, I have learned to take care of my body. There is lots of room for improvements of course but this body feels very good for 38 years old one Hahaha. Learn to listen to your body. If you listen carefully with respect you will save lots of pain and aches. There is so much information online now on mobility work, strength work etc…
Do you have any parting words for our readers or the people who have supported you?
Thanks to you, who is reading these very words. May your life be filled with joy, peace and love. I feel so honored and blessed to be able to share my skating in this way. Thanks to Jonas for trusting his guts and coming on this trip with me. Thank you, Rob G, for all that you are for me and for so many. Thank you, Pat, for always being there for me. Thanks to my wife Alison for being such a joy in my life. James Johnson for your help and friendship. Shop-Task, Orange wheels for your support. Jon Julio for making dope ass skates that I am happy to pay for. Thank you Kevin for taking the time to write these questions. May all beings be happy!