After listening to Seth Pettersen’s latest EP, Skate Away, our stoke-meter went off the charts and landed on “Freakin’ Sweet!” We’ve never had the opportunity of doing an article with a musician before, but since we were so inspired by Seth’s hypnotic and flowing rock ‘n roll stylee—as well as his soulful skate vibe—we dropped him a line and asked if he would like to share some more of his Radness with us via a Wheelbase Interview. He agreed.
Seth is a magical musician, a shralpin’ skateboarder, and a soulful surfer—three things we are totally down for here at Wheelbase. Please enjoy his Wheelbase Interview.
Dude, we are lovin’ your jams so much! Skate Away and Ride it Out are definitely on repeat over here at the Wheelbase office. Well, it’s clear that you and your music have been influenced and inspired by surfing and skateboarding. Can you speak on your personal history and connection to skateboarding specifically?
Skateboarding has always been part of my life, since I was an infant. My older brother was part of the banana board generation and he had his old boards lying around the garage. I learned how to ride a skateboard before I learned how to ride a bike. I can remember getting hurt so many times. There used to be a ditch near my house where the older kids would skate and smoke potand listen to punk cassettes on their boombox. I would sneak down to the ditch and if no one was there I would try to drop in and juice it. I got a ‘proper’ trick deck when I was 12 or so. As a young teen I helped get the Camarillo Skate Park built. A few of my friends and I attended City Hall meetings and pleaded for a skatepark, and they actually listened to us.
For the most part, when I think of skate rock I think of punk, or at least some sort of aggro element. Your sound is something very different from that. Your music has a more soulful and somewhat playful vibe to it. There is definitely an element in skateboarding that is moving in this soulful and playful direction. What are your thoughts about such a shift in the culture and how your sound connects to it?
I think that surfing is somewhat responsible for any “soulful” influence on skating. Surfing and skateboarding are always going back and forth influencing each other. Now-a-days when I go for a skate, in my mind I am surfing. Usually I approach the way I like to skate with the way I like to surf and the same way I like to make music. I just try to be free and feel the moment and any momentum that I might be riding on. For me surf/skate/music/art are all similar forms of expression. What makes them rad is it’s a completely individual trip. As for the genre of music, I listen to a lot of different stuff, so it all kind of blends together in my mind. If you can dance to it, you can skate to it.
I noticed you like riding really small boards—some of which you’ve reappropriated from old beaten-up decks. How long have you been making these decks and what is it about these little shredsleds that get you so hyped?
I just like the way they feel. When I get bored of a board its fun to mangle something up and put some trucks on it. It gets my imagination going. When I was a kid we would put trucks on anything (wood pallets, trash cans, etc.) and see who could ride it the best. Last year, the first really small board I shaped was definetly an experiment, to put really huge wheels with small trucks and a small deck, I ended riding it everywhere. Its really fun to turn and the thing flies! The shorter wheelbase allows for faster turns and pushes off turns for more speed. A small board also forces you to skate with your feet very close together, which feels great. It draws inspiration from the old banana boards, displacement hull surfboards, and the legendary Skip Frye.
Have you ever tried downhill skateboarding? If not, we are going to take you.
I have some really fun cruising hills around my neighborhood. If we had chairlifts it would be a skate resort. I haven’t done the full on THRASHIN’ hills, speed wobbles scare the shit out of me. I am more of a 25-35 mph kind of guy. I think with the right equipment I would give it a go for sure.
These days, “longboarding” is a term used way too much to describe any form of skateboarding that is not being done on a traditional street deck. That said, many of our readers ride a range of different skateboards and terrain. What are your thoughts on this current growth of a more diverse skateboard culture?
Skateboarding is about freedom and expression. Its about having fun. We do it for the feeling it gives us in our guts. Tech skating can get boring real fast, and it’s a great way to get hurt. Tight trucks and small wheels make it hard to get momentum. When you are on a board that’s set up for speed and smooth turns, it can make you feel like a kid again. You can remember why you started skating in the first place.
Lets rap music again for a bit; Who are some artist that have influenced you the most over the years?
I go through phases of influences. Sometimes it’s a single note, or a chord that I saw someone use. I really admire these artist’s style: Neil Young, Ramones, Joao Gilberto, Paul Simon, CCR, A Tribe Called Quest, Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Black Sabbath, Tame Impala, the Spits, Kings of Convenience. It all depends on the mood.
Being that you are a musician yourself you probably listen, and thus are made privy, to a lot more rad music than most. Are there any other sick bands or artists that you can suggest we check out?
Tall Tales and the Silver Lining, Davila 666, Stunt Rock (the movie), Mattson 2, Babies on Acid, Fela Kuti, Evan apRoberts, the Fucking Wrath.
Here’s a standard Wheelbase question, with a twist: Who is your favorite skater, your favorite surfer, and favorite musician?
Favorite Skater: Ed Tempelton
Surfer: Miki Dora
Musician: Neil Young
Radical! So what’s next for you? Any tours planned for 2112? And where should we go to keep updated?
Working on a new full-length album. Working on my winter tan lines. I am sure I will be touring somewhere in 2012. You can check www.sethpettersen.com for all the updates.
Thanks for taking the time to hang with us here at Wheelbase. We look forward to seeing your show in LA next month—we’ll be bringing a bunch of skater homies. Please feel free to use this space to drop some “shout –outs” to the peeps.
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