Interview: Matty Matheson, Culinary Kingpin and Host of VICELAND's Dead Set On Life


Interview-with-Matty-Matheson-Culinary-Kingpin-and-Host-of-VICELAND’S-Dead-Set-On-Life Simply put, Matty Matheson is great. After fifteen years of killing it in Toronto with an ever-growing food-focused empire, and over three years with a Midas touch on every video he’s made for Vice’s online channels – here comes Matty with Dead Set on Life. This new venture is set for the silver screen on VICELAND, the new television channel by Vice Media. Premiered yesterday.

This week, I caught up with Matty over the phone for Shedoesthecity to talk about life, love, Vice, bodies, eats and posi vibes.

Danielle Finestone: How did this relationship with Vice start?

Matty Matheson: I’ve been friends with people there for many years, going back to when Vice had a store on Queen Street and I worked at Le Select. About three years ago, they started doing stuff with food and I kept bugging them until finally they said okay. We did Hangover Cures, but then a bunch of shit happened. I stopped drinking. I thought, I can’t do this anymore, but I want to continue making shows. So we did Keep it Canada, and that became a cult classic/weird Internet video thing. Then the “How To” videos blew the fuck up. Then with VICELAND starting, we thought, “Do we want to make a TV show?” It’s been an awesome, gradual, slow build where everything feels natural. It’s not like a flash in the pan.

How is Keep it Canada different from Dead Set on Life? Why the name change? We switched the name because it wasn’t Keep it Canada anymore. The first season is still completely in Canada. Season two, we leave and go all over, but there are still some episodes in Canada. But for television, if we wanted this thing to have legs for multiple seasons, it couldn’t be called that. It’s too exclusive, just Canada. I love Canada, but we’ve already done about sixteen episodes.

What is the significance of the name Dead Set on Life? How did you land on that? A few of us have got it tattooed but when we opened Oddfellows, I said, “No bars in Toronto are fucking cool. Let’s make the gnarliest, craziest bar.” We were going to call it Dead Set on Destruction, which is a Hüsker Dü song and really depressing. But when I had my heart attack, a bunch of friends and I were all making jokes like, “Guess you can’t open up a bar called Dead Set on Destruction.” And my buddy Wade later said to me, “You are dead set on living.” And then the band Cancer Bats wrote a whole album called Dead Set on Living. Those are my best friends – I used to tour with them. And even the theme song [for Dead Set on Life], Liam [Cormier, from Cancer Bats] wrote that in the hospital parking lot about me. And I didn’t want a stupid travel show title. Dead Set on Life is kinda vague – what does it fucking mean? I love that and it’s a real story. I am dead set on life. I want to live life, meet people, be positive, stoked on shit and have a really good time. It’s as simple as that.

To get away from the more stock questions, I really wanted to ask you this for Shedoesthecity, because women get this certain line of questioning all the time: Now that you have a kid, how is life different? How do you balance it? So, you’re a dude. How do you keep work-life balance now that you’re a dad?Everything has changed, and I literally could not live my life without Trish [Matty’s wife]. She’s phenomenal, gone above and beyond any expectations. We have that understanding that we have to support each other 100% on everything. She could have been like, “No, you can’t do this,” and I would say okay. But instead she’s like, “No, go do this. Go kill it.” Both of us are ambitious. She’s running LoversLand with her partners and only took six months off. And then we’re going to have to get a nanny or daycare.

The core of it is having a strong team. When I’m home, I help out as much as I can. But at the end of the day, Trish is the boss. She’s fucking supermom. Seeing Trish turn into this instant provider is a very inspiring thing for me. What’s happening with me is happening, and I can’t stop it. Maybe Vice would have found someone else. I did take three months off from travelling before and after Mac was born. The second I got back, it was back to a pretty crazy schedule. But at the end of the day, it’s all for the greater good of our unit.

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