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Cigars: Matty Rock Inc One of the Cigar Industry’s Most Brilliant Minds

The Disco Ball Rules! Didn’t you know?

*Matty Rock, CEO of Matty Rock Inc, and a Drew Estate Icon, sits down with SGDGmagazine to share his extraordinary relationship with the cigar sub-culture, as well as shed some insight on the man beyond the eccentric suits, lattes and cigars!

Please enjoy the following Interview:

Several years ago, I saw a photo on Facebook of a quirky bearded man wearing a patterned suit with playing cards on the fabric. There was a cigar in his hand, which had silver rings depicting the Drew Estate cigar brand logo, and one of the funniest expressions on his face. He was posing in the picture with someone at a cigar event. I was amused yet fascinated and thought, “Who is this guy”. I soon found out that this character I had seen was Matty Rock! Matty left an unforgettable impression on me in a matter of seconds as well as a smile on my face for the entirety of the day. Immediately, I sent him a Facebook friend request- and the rest was history.

Throughout the years I realized there was much more to Matty Rock, the cigar event marketing genius and Drew Estate Icon, than what I had initially seen on the surface. Eventually I had the ability to peel back the layers of his personality and found a truly brilliant and inspiring mind. On top of being a businessman, an entrepreneur, and someone who is at the forefront of cigar sub-culture, Matty embodies the heart and soul of the Drew Estate movement. And lucky for us, there’s a whole lot more.

SGDG: Matty, thank you for spending time with me and sharing your journey with our SGDG family. You’re an impressive figure in cigar culture and in this interview, we will explore your life beyond the industry. However, share with us your history with tobacco and cigars. When and where did it all begin for you?

Matty: It’s almost as if the path was already there. I started out in the tech world when I was seventeen years old and I was going to school at night. I was working for a fortune 500 company learning computers at seventeen. I was around sophisticated people and I use that term loosely, I started out with a delicious White Owl and when I wanted to be classy I would light up one of those Robert Burn cigars thinking hey I can be sophisticated! Look at me now!

I was introduced to the cigar culture at a young age. From there it was a natural progression. I always knew that it would be a hobby of mine and something that I loved and enjoyed. What most people don’t know about me is that I don’t drink. I’m already out of my mind! The world is much happier about that fact! There’s no alcohol. This is an all-natural crazy! Twenty-seven years of being around tobacco and doing shows. Suited up in corporate America, meeting a lot people. From there it was a natural progression and a blessing. I’m used to being around a lot people and promotions companies from doing Battle of the Bands in New Jersey back in the day. Cigars were always around and a great bridge into just about anything.

SGDG: That’s the wonderful thing about the cigars and the cigar culture. Cigars tend to bring people together. How do you feel about that?

Matty: Oh yeah! One hundred percent! It can be an introverted thing or an extraverted thing. That’s part of the beauty of it. You can sit down with your cigar for an hour or two and dream and scheme about how to rule the world.

SGDG: Speaking of ruling the world. One of the reasons why you’re so fascinating is that there is so much more to you than what people see on the surface. You are a Brother of the Leaf. We see this character, that isn’t really a character at all, it’s just who you are. But you do have a public persona. When you’re taking care of business are you the character that we see or do you change into a more conservative corporate guy?

Matty: For the most part, I’ve always had the unique opportunity and I’ve been blessed to always be myself. I do tone it down a bit when I’m meeting a new client. I’m usually well behaved as not to scare the Hell out of new prospective business. I wouldn’t want to scare them off with a fuzzy dice suit! They might look at my resume and then scratch their heads a little bit. I’m generally myself and I’m approachable for the most part.

SGDG: You’re brilliant when it comes to marketing. Your personality is strong and genuine. From a branding perspective, you are naturally what most people try very hard to create. You tend to flow with positive energy that is magnetic and contagious. How do you maintain that authentic positive flow of energy?

Matty: It’s just easier for me to be who I am. I’m blessed with the opportunity to do what I love. As long as your work speaks for itself, people will give you the room to be yourself. You will always find people who don’t like you or that have issues with your character. You can’t do much about haters or people that feed on negative energy. If you’re happy with who you are and you feel good about who you are, you will find your niche and your grove. I think its most important to be comfortable in your own skin. People feel it when you’re confident and genuine. I feel that in order to stay successful, you have to get rid of the negativity and the negative people. Don’t get caught up with what the media throws at you. The media pits people against each other with politics and the like. They take the negative and blow it up and keep people in the dark. I don’t have the time or the patience for that. I just stay positive in my life and in everything that I do.

SGDG: You travel a lot for business and you do a fair amount of cigar events, however, I’ve noticed that there is much more to your travels. Besides your work within the cigar industry, do you own your own business?

Matty: I own several businesses and work within several industries. I have a promotions company called Rock to Galaxy working with talent and I have a staffing agency where I manage recruitment and hiring for companies. I’m a computer programmer with global contracts and I train fighters. I also own a jewelry company. If you ask most people…hey what does Matty do? They will probably say meh he smokes cigars, eats food and goes to cigar events. I used to be part owner of a night club but I’ll never do that again. When I travel it has to do with mixture of all of my business.

SGDG: Do you work exclusively with Drew Estate Cigars or do you work with other cigar manufacturers?

Matty: Yes, I’m exclusive to Drew Estate. When it comes to Jon (Jonathan Drew), outside of actual blood, he’s my brother. Jon’s my brother and I’m going to always be loyal to my brother. Loyalty is the most important character trait a person can have and the brand (Drew Estate Cigars) speaks for itself. The people who come into the organization, they become family. That’s what makes Drew Estate so unique. Drew Estate is 100% a sub-culture. When you come to one of Jon’s events, you see art, culture, music, passion, love. There are people painting live, not men dressed in suits. There’s nothing cookie cutter about the man (Jon) or the organization. Everything Jon does is done with love passion and devotion. When you put your heart and soul into something, that’s what makes the difference. We are a family and it’s nice to be in a family where we can all be ourselves. We love and respect each other.

SGDG: Do you all get together outside of work as a family?

Matty: Yes, we always find time to spend as a family outside of work. Whenever one of us in town we hang out. It’s a beautiful thing.

SGDG: Let’s talk about your suits and the Kagol hats! When did the eccentric suits and collection of Kangol’s come about?

Matty: I’ve been dressing like a maniac for years. I’m a little bit more out in the open about it. I have a Kagol collection of more than 60 hats that are over 25 years old and from different countries around the world. When you see me in a regular suit, I feel iffy about how I look. I’m happy with the craziness and I have well over 50 suits. When people tag me to show me suits on Facebook, the sad part of that is, chances are I have the suit already. I think a lot of people tend to take themselves too seriously. No one should take themselves that serious. You’ll always have detractors. Do your job, have fun, and live your life light heartedly and people will support you for being yourself.

SGDG: You wear some of the most amazing jewelry. Is it custom made?

Matty: I own the jewelry company that sells most of the pieces that I wear. We do make custom pieces. The Drew Estate rings are made by someone else, but everything else is made by my company.

SGDG: The cigar industry has grown over the past six years with regards to its use of social media. You have a major social presence with a very active fanbase. Are you aware this? And which social media tool is your favorite to use?

Matty: That’s very flattering and I realize that there are a lot of people who are interested in the next stupid thing that I do. It’s great that people take time out of their day to find out how much sushi I eat in one sitting and how many burgers I polished off, that’s flattering and I appreciate it. I’ve had people remind me of some crazy thing that I did on Facebook a year ago. It’s like a history lesson and I’m beginning to realize that I’m my own historian! I enjoy talking to people and interacting with people so the 140-character limit of Twitter doesn’t work for me. I think that Facebook is best and allows me more of a connection with people in diverse ways. Instagram is fun with pictures and good for promotions but Facebook reaches a biggest audience.

SGDG: People connect with the energy that you exude. They admire you and value what you say; they trust you. You leave an indelible impression and have an incredible influence. How do you feel about that?

Matty: I appreciate that and its very flattering. I like to detract from negativity. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. I choose to be a part of the solution. In society today, when you take a stand, there seems to be only one direction to take with no compromise. I believe in compromise. I’m respectful of how other people feel, and when it comes to social media I will very rarely write something negative or divisive. I like to leave subtle reminders that we don’t have to be hurtful. We don’t have to be influenced by the media and be lead around like sheep. I don’t want to be a part of negativity because it spreads like cancer. Business, personal, negative energy influences every part of your life. There are a lot of things to be happy about and being happy is how I choose to live. No man is an island and everyone has their issues. Each person would do themselves good by getting out of the habit of thinking that they’re the only one with issues. You can see the happiest child who won’t see their next birthday yet there are still people who will choose to complain. Perspective. Perspective is the most important word in life for me. If you keep everything in perspective it will make your life and everyone else’s life better. I never really get upset. I encourage people to choose to be happy, to compromise and to keep everything in its proper perspective.

SGDG: You are a survivor of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. Would you mind sharing your experience with us?

Matty: Yes, I am a 911 survivor and I lost a lot of brothers and sisters that day. I went to get a latte and I missed my ferry that morning so I was late. I say that I was “saved by latte”. That tragedy taught me to never take life for granted. Live each day to its fullest because life isn’t promised to anyone. I learned to be incredibly thankful and to always give something back. People need to be reminded of those things. I was working on two projects. Both projects were in the Towers. One was on the 97th floor of the North Tower and the other was on the 81st Floor of the South Tower. Unfortunately, I was there when both planes hit. I watched each plane hit the Towers. Where I was located, it would have been a direct hit had I been in either Tower. You put that into perspective. You can learn something from this and be kind to people and be helpful. Imagine what our military is going through every day, dodging IED’s and ducking bullets. We went through a horrible time and it always brings us back to choices and perspective. You wake up every morning and decide who you will choose to be. Choices and Perspective.

SGDG: After having had such a life changing experience, would you say that you are a spiritual man, religious, or a bit of both?

Matty: I would say that I’m more spiritual and I have a lot of faith. The problem that I have with religion is that its mixed with politics. Religion will cloud your judgement so I try to stay away from that. Faith and spirituality describes me best. Everyone has their own truth and facts can be manipulated. I stay far away from religion.

SGDG: Let’s talk about your cigar preferences. Do you have a favorite cigar, region, and/or strength?

Matty: That’s a tough one because I’ve been smoking for a better part of two decades and smoking as much as I do. Your palate changes over time and your go to sticks will change but the Liga L-40 and the Chateau Riel Maduro are what comes to mind. Back in the day I thought I was a fancy fellow when I first started smoking so it was the Robert Burn cigar in a tube. Then I graduated to a Don Diego and I was the Man!

SGDG: Most smokers have a preference when it comes to cigar cutters. What is your preferred cigar cutter?

Matty: I like to use a guided cutter but lately I’ve been enjoying the V-cut.

SGDG: How extensive is your cigar collection?

Matty: I have about 14,000 cigars in my collection. I’ve been collecting cigars since I was 17 years old.

SGDG: I’ve noticed that many cigar manufactures are becoming global with their distribution. How do you feel about the global expansion of the American cigar industry?

Matty: I think is great! I love it on a global level because the world gets a little bit smaller. There was a guy who was a web developer that knew me and he came to visit New Jersey from Shanghai just to smoke cigars with me. He said, “we know of you in Shanghai.” There’s been a lot of that. There was a woman who was an artist from Japan, who saw me on social media and traveled to the U.S., there we were smoking a cigar on the Hudson River.

SGDG: You are so active. What do you do to relax?

Matty: My mind never really shuts off but I love my cigars. I smoke cigars and drink root beer! I have about 45 different cold root beers. I love music. Music is a passion for me. I did Battle of the Bands back in the day. You’ve seen the disco ball, haven’t you? That disco ball has more miles on it than most flights. It talks and says, “oh this guy just took me to Vegas”. Have you seen the Boom Box? It weighs about 40 pounds and it travels too! That thing is a monster!

 

SGDG: What is an admirable character trait that you are most proud of?

Matty: That I keep things positive and I’m able to stay grounded while still having fun. I don’t take myself too serious. I’m accepting of everyone’s opinion whether I agree or disagree. I have fun with life. I believe in just being myself and being happy. I’m a genuine guy who enjoys life. Remember that you can’t fix everything and if you can’t fix it, don’t break it or make it worse. It goes back to my two favorite words, choices and perspective.

SGDG: There are so many layers to you. What would you like people to know about you that you haven’t already shared?

Matty: That I’m a fantastic dancer! I’m transparent. What you see is what you get. I let people peek in and see me with my family and see me working. People think the only thing I’m about is cigars, but there’s so much more. I’m a software engineer who develops software for global companies, and I own my own staffing company that I’m in the process of expanding. I’m a Mui Thai Fighter and I train fighters. I own a jewelry company and I’m old school when it comes to music and rap. Only the people very close to me tend to know these things.

SGDG: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Matty: You have to be 100% passionate and invested in whatever it is you are doing. It won’t always be fun and there will be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. You have to know what making a living means to you. You need to ascertain what being wealthy means to you because it means different things to different people. To some people it means quality of life and to others it means being able to pay their bills. Set goals and develop a plan to meet them. Once you can answer these questions and be honest with yourself it will give you a better idea of what to expect.

SGDG: Matty, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your epic journey with our readers from around the globe. Remember to always Smokegood cigars and Drinkgood spirits. SGDG…It’s a Lifestyle!

 

Follow Matty Rock at:

Instagram: @mattyrock2k
Twitter: @mattyrock2k
Facebook: Matty Rock

 

 

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