Professional skateboarder, MTV star, endurance runner and entrepreneur Matthew Pritchard, owner of Sleep When You’re Dead Tattoo and Barber Shop (known as SWYD), has done it all.
“I have fond memories of coming here as a kid and going to City Surf for my skateboards and stuff, probably getting told off for skateboarding in the arcade,” says Pritchard, with a smile, “I decided to open a business after Dirty Sanchez finished and thought what better place to have it, as I’ve spent most of my life here. This used to be Catapult Record store and the iconic film Human Traffic was filmed here.”
Decorated with memorabilia from his own travels with Dirty Sanchez and the Gumball Rally, Pritchard knew the style of barbers and tattoo parlours, he loved visiting around the world would work well in his home town of Cardiff. “We’re the whole package,” explains Miles O’Keefe, one of the store’s award-winning barbers, “People can come in, have a beer, get their hair done or sit for a tattoo or piercing, and then buy the products in the shop.”
The look of the shop has evolved over the five years, in which time Pritchard became vegan. “When we first opened, I used to have cow hides, cow skulls everywhere. Then three years ago I turned vegan and got rid of it all. My chairs are fake leather now,” he laughs.
Alongside a string of awards, the television links continue, with tattooist John Smith starring on MTV’s Just Tattoo of Us whilst the store itself is developing somewhat of a cult following, with some dedicated clients travelling from as far afield as Norway and America just to visit the store, as well as playing host to the All Blacks rugby team, rock stars and most recently, Welsh football star, Joe Ledley.
“For anyone living outside of Cardiff, come and explore the arcades, they are so different to what you find elsewhere. I love the New York Deli, opposite us, which sells New York style subs – amazing food, with amazing people running it,” says Pritchard, “They do a banging Vegan Grinder, it’s huge and you have to eat it with a knife and fork it’s so big. You could try eating it with your hands but it’s too big, you’d get sauce everywhere and look like an idiot.”