We found Tall Tales and The Silver Lining, and we loved them… Then we bumped into Franklin For Short at a show which we actually presented, and discovered that core members of Tall Tales were also in that band… And a core member of Franklin was none other than Seth Pettersen… Thus, we finally learned of Seth Pettersen and The Undertow.
Soon following, we were blessed to add the Ventura, CA-based Seth Pettersens’ debut LP “So Fully” to the mix on DHR — a psych-tinged, feel-good, jammy, catchy, rock-pop album destined for surf film soundtracks and replay after replay in the car on road trips.
As a gifted singer, and talented songwriter, Seth’s inspiring words and messages are brought to life with upbeat grooves, finger-tapping beats, and a bitchin’ backing band known as The Undertow (typically including Trevor Beld-Jiminez of Tall Tales).
Earlier this year, Seth slid the EP “Skate Away” our way, and we’re now stoked to be featuring the new video from the title track. The following is an interview we conducted regarding the crux of his album, as well as the nature of his music in general.
Skating Away with Seth Pettersen
DHR: Tell us a bit about the new EP Skate Away… What’s the driving force?
Seth: Skate Away is another therapeutic record for me. I started working on it a couple months after my mom passed away, after her 3 year battle with cancer. When I went into the studio I didn’t really have any set agenda, other than to record my latest songs. In hindsight, I’d say its about trying to find peace within yourself and the world around you.
The title track Skate Away is about losing my childhood home and coming to the realization that the only home I have is the ground/board beneath my feet. All the lyrical themes of the record deal with loss and learning how to cope with it.
DHR: Tell us about the vibe and/or feel of the record.
Seth: It’s kind of a “party like its 1999″ vibe. The world might be crashing down around you, but you should still party. As long as you have love in your heart, you can do no wrong. There is so much bullshit in this world, focus on what/who makes you happy.
DHR: And the core message behind the album?
Seth: Be yourself. Your mind is your castle. Disarm everything. Once in awhile, it is better to turn than to face your fears. You are not alone. Nature=King/Queen. Skate Away.
DHR: How would you describe the sound of your music and Seth Pettersen and The Undertow?
Seth: Well, we seem to always get pigeonholed into some sort of “surf” category; but I would say that the songs are pop/indie/garage, with different themes woven into each song. Some songs are more psych in nature while others can lean toward a dance vibe. I try to make each song unique. I can’t remember songs that don’t get stuck in my head, so they all have to be catchy for me to even be able to record them.
DHR: If you could compare your music to other artists, who would it be?
Seth: I would hope that people can hear some of my influences in the music: Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Harry Nilsson, Neil Young, Beach Boys, Soul Defenders.
While I might not quite sound like any of those legends, I definitely tip my hat to them musically, on occasion. Lately, I have been listening to more garage stuff, more lo-fi stuff. My favorite artist of late is a con
temporary L.A. cat named Joel Jerome (Dios, Babies on Acid). There are also great local bands in Ventura and LA which are also influences: the Spires, Tall Tales and the Silver Lining, Charman.
DHR: Have you performed any notable shows alongside popular acts or at prominent venues?
Seth: I recently did two California shows with Norway’s own Kings of Convenience. We played at the Music Box in LA and the Fillmore in San Francisco. They sold out both shows, and it was a very surreal experience. Last summer I toured the East Coast with Donavon Frankenreiter. It was a great trip because we surfed nearly every day of the tour. We played at the Brooklyn Bowl, and that venue is unreal.
Seth Pettersen will be performing a free gig in Irvine, Ca on Dec 9 at the Rhythm Livin’ HQ, and at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles on Jan 11. You can listen to both his albums “So Fully” and “Skate Away” here on DHR. For further information on Seth Pettersen, go to www.sethpettersen.com.