VIPER’s editor Victor Davies spoke to TikToker and dancer, Ethan Matthews on the set of the JD King of the Game Christmas campaign. We’ve got interviews with the stars of the advert dropping on site every day until Christmas, stay tuned for chats with Amaria BB, PK Humble and more…
So how are you finding the JD campaign?
It’s a completely new experience, I haven’t done anything like this since I was a kid. Unreal. It’s hard to believe that I’m now working with a name as big as JD. I feel slightly out of my depth, but it’s exciting.
What’s your earliest memory of JD?
I used to always go there and shop for new trainers, I still do that today! I might not even need to go shopping but I like to see what’s there and have a look about to see what’s new.
If you could pick one thing from JD under the tree this year, what would it be?
There’s two pairs of Dunks in the JD near [where I live]. They are cold, yeah!
What are you wearing for the campaign?
I’m wearing a Supply and Demand tracksuit and some Adidas kicks.
What’s your favourite Christmas song?
‘Mistletoe’ by Justin Bieber — such a tune.
What is your funniest memory of Christmas?
One Christmas during dinner, my brother came down the stairs in a Santa-themed mankini which surprised everyone but was hilarious.
Do you have any Christmas traditions?
Every morning on Christmas, everyone has a glass of Prosecco. I’m not a fan myself, but everyone has one without fail. Prosecco and orange juice. My brother’s and niece’s birthday is Christmas Eve and so we have a celebration for them too.
How competitive would you describe yourself?
About an eight or nine out of 10. I have a very competitive family.
Are there games that you’d confidently take on your whole family at?
Just Dance. Any Just Dance game and it’s on.
What about arcade games?
Mario Kart. I’d reckon I’d win at that too.
What has been the highlight of your year so far?
Probably this campaign!
What is on the top of your bucket list?
I really want to dance on the West End. A lead role in theatre would be unreal.
What is your most treasure possession?
My gold chain which I never take off, it was a gift from my grandfather about two years ago. As someone who loses things easily, this chain has never left me.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
Just to always be myself and throw myself into things whether or not I’m nervous — throw myself in the deep end.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?
Drake. He’s the GOAT. Imagine Dave being there too? I’d be buzzing… Unreal! And probably Ashley Banjo or Perry from Diversity and try and get them to impart some knowledge on me.
When it comes to dance, who is your inspiration?
My dance teacher, I’ve been with him for about ten years and have looked up to him since I was 7. I would attend his dance classes 3-4 times a week he’s a really strong figure in my life. I got into dance because I didn’t [particularly] enjoy football as a kid, I still don’t. It’s just not something I’d watch. As a kid, I watched Diversity on Britain’s Got Talent and Ruff Diamond on Got To Dance. Ruff diamond dance academy was about 30 minutes from my house, so my Mam took me there to join and I’ve danced there ever since.
Have you ever competed?
Yeah we do competitions all the time. There’s a big show in London called MOVE IT that we are always on. In the realm of dance, I’m at my most comfortable.
If you were a trainer from JD, what would be your style?
I love the simplicity and shape of the Jordan 3’s, but the Jordan 4’s top it off. They best describes me I think.
What are three of your most essential style items?
Cargos. Dunks or Jordan and a graphic tee for sure.
What makes TikTok different from other social media platforms?
I think it’s great for building your own platform because it can help you grow your other platforms from it. You’ve got a better chance of getting known on TikTok than the likes of YouTube, Instagram. Everyone’s on TikTok — [people love] authentic short-form content.
What’s been the best thing about being a TikTok influencer?
It’s given me a platform for people to know me. I’d have girls in London come up to me in the street asking for photos because they’ve seen my videos, which is crazy. I get recognised everywhere I go, it’s given me a [level of] recognition that I would never have had before.
How do you stand out from other creators on TikTok?
I don’t know the recipe really, I’m just myself and hope people like me for me.
What tips could you provide to other creators to stay current?
You’ve got to be on the app a lot! Just be on the lookout for trends and stay up to date with the algorithm.
How do you discover the next best thing?
You can research other people’s pages based on what comes up on your feed; however sometimes you find it doesn’t actually work to find what you’re looking for.
What advice would you offer someone who has never used TikTok but wants to create?
Put hashtags in your videos! It’s embedded in my brain these days.
What common mistakes do creates make?
Inconsistency. If you don’t post all the time, you find that your content isn’t picked up and you won’t become relevant. I post about once a day whilst others post multiple times a day I find that my posting content once a day works for me.
What would you have done differently when you first started creating content?
Be myself from the start, my old videos are so cringe! No one ever loves their content at first, and it was obvious that I was trying too hard to impress but now I’m so much more comfortable just being myself.
Do you ever get nervous when posting content?
When I first start, absolutely. As I was still at school, I was nervous that people would make fun of me but after a while, it became easy. I post a video today and no one bats an eyelid!
How do you make content that works for TikTok which can also be used across other platforms?
It’s difficult because it’s pretty subjective. You’d maybe have to add in audio and actually speak, which I rarely do.
Finally, what does the future hold for Ethan Matthews?
I just want to see where this whole thing takes me and hopefully I do well for myself.
Interview by Lily Mercer