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'It's Time to Skate or Die' — New '97 MAG' to Shine Spotlight on Area Skaters

(EDITOR’S NOTES — DIY content creators play an integral role in shaping a scene, helping to build community through a passion for shared interests. That’s why we were psyched to interview photographer, designer and musician Matt Sledziewski, who will soon be launching the skateboarding magazine, ‘97 MAG.’ We hope you’ll embrace Matt’s publication when it drops later this month.  Please read our story below.)


1120 PRESS: Thank you for speaking with us and congratulations on 97 MAG! Tell us about the inspiration behind this idea and what moved you to create this publication.

MATT SLEDZIEWSKI: Well I’ve been a massive skateboarding fan since I was around 4 years old. I’ve tried to skate at different points throughout my life, but I came to realize that I just can’t. Since I can’t really skate well myself, I decided to merge my love for skateboarding and photography/video/design work to create something that I can use to contribute to the skateboarding community. 

1120: Can you give us a peak behind the scenes in terms of the work you've been doing to prepare for the launch of the publication? 


MS: It’s been a lot of time on my phone designing the logo and possible designs for merch, including skateboard decks that I’d eventually like to make to give to local shops. I’ve also visited a couple local shops to get an idea of what they would like to see in a magazine for the local skateboarding community. Since I’ve come up with 97MAG, I’ve reached out to a few people for interviews but those are all in the beginning stages. 


1120: What is your goal with 97 MAG — in other words: what’s happening that you

believe deserves a spotlight, so to speak. Who are the people you want to feature?


MS: I think that the community here is growing immensely. It seems to me that there are more and more skateparks popping up which is really cool to see. Because the community is growing, it would be great to interview some of the older generations to see their perspective on the rise of skateboarding in Buffalo. I have plans to speak to local skate brands about how they got their start, and their thoughts on how skateboarding can grow even bigger in this area. There’s a lot of younger skaters that you can just see, who have that drive and passion for it and I want to use this magazine to showcase their skills through more of the digital side of it, including photos and full videos. 


1120: There's always been this mutual relationship between skating and DIY music and culture. Why do you think that relationship exists? Where does skating fit into the overall picture of 'The Scene'?


MS: Skateboarding, for me, was always seen as a reject sort of sport, if that makes sense. Something that you can do to get out of the house, blow off some steam, and do some crazy shit with your friends. More of a punk lifestyle, so to speak. DIY music can be seen as almost the same exact thing. You go to local rock shows to get out of the house, blow off some steam, and do some crazy shit with your friends. I think the two are forever attached at the hip. Two badass “if-I-get-hurt, I’ll-love-it-and-keep-coming-back” situations. If I’m watching a skate video from one of these big brands and a really-crunchy, sounds-like-it-was-recorded-through-the-engine-of-a-’04-Toyota-Corolla song comes on, I’m so hyped and it sets the tone for these insane tricks and bails I’m about to watch. 


1120: Where would you eventually like to take this endeavor?


MS: I would be completely happy if my goal of growing the sport, and giving the skaters and brands here a voice to get themselves out there, shines through. I know that there are a lot of people in Buffalo that don’t skate but are big fans of it and maybe this will help them get on a board and try again!


1120: Is there anything else you’d like to say that we haven’t touched on?


MS: Think we covered it all!



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