I’m going to start this one off by admitting a personal bias: any musician who’s also a skateboarder gets immediate cool points in my book. As a teenage skate-rat that became an adult music obsessive, I’m hotwired to appreciate anyone else playing both sides of this particular field. Obviously, for every Duane Pitre, there’s a J. Casanova, and those clips of Lil Wayne skating are almost as bad as his guitar playing. But one perfect example of this crossover phenomenon is Toronto’s Ken Reaume (a.k.a. Black Walls). His new album Acedia is a soft-psych masterpiece of tangled guitar lines, subtle electronics, and whispered vocals that will worm their way into your brain. Since we have the aforementioned obsessions in common, I asked him to share his top five skateboarding and musical heroes.
Ken Reaume's Five Favorite Skate Sections
1. Brian Lotti - Now And Later
Brian Lotti is the most underrated pro skater. This came out in 1991, and at the time, it was incredibly advanced. I watched this so many times growing up, and even put a tape recorder against the speaker of my TV just to get the music, “Not The Same.” His commentary about going to school was awesome, and we got to know a little about him. I wrote a little instrumental called “Brian Lotti” on Acedia. I am always intrigued by skaters who became artists or musicians.
2. Ethan Fowler - A Visual Sound
Ethan’s section in Tincan Folklore is also incredible, but this is my favorite. The skating speaks for itself. Huge and fast. That 360 flip over the street gap at mock speed is insane. At the time, it was all skating slow in baggy clothes and tiny wheels, so this was a revelation. His Dickies, shaved head, and dress shirt are classic. The Super 8 filming and the whole feel of this video should make it part of the Criterion Collection.
3. Jason Lee - Video Days
Best backside 180 flips in skate history. Milk’s “The Knife Song” is epic. The footage of San Fran seemed like another planet to us skaters from Canada. We all dubbed videos off each other back then and we’d cram four videos on one VHS on EP, which made it look horrible. No one had a good copy of this.
4. Ali Boulala - Sorry
This is one of my favorite skate sections on YouTube. Fun to watch and totally punk. The Gray Matter song rules so unbelievably hard, and some of these tricks are very scary. The John Lydon intro is also great.
5. Guy Mariano - Fully Flared
The bad times Guy overcame (as depicted in the Epicly Later'd series) are a feat of human adversity. I think that's why I like this so much—because he hit rock bottom and overcame addiction, but came out with this section that blew everyone away.
Five Artists Ken Reaume Is Into Right Now
1. Bert Jansch
I have gone on Bert Jansch phases where I listen to him for weeks. Listen to Jack Orion with headphones and you'll understand. This footage is amazing: Recording one of his best albums that Drag City thankfully reissued. R.I.P. Bert.
Mystique is underrated and Void is the epitome of it. Their original output was largely contained to one side of a split 12”, but it left a legacy. I remember hearing them on the Dischord comp Flex Your Head years ago, and they intrigued me from the beginning. They also had the best band logo of all time. I put that logo on the cover of Acedia.
3. Sun Kil Moon/Mark Kozelek
Mark Kozelek’s guitar playing and music is like a Tarkovsky film: slow and beautiful, but requiring an attention span. I can never get bored of listening to him. It envelops and comforts you (I listen to Six Organs of Admittance for the same reasons) and I go back it time and time again. It's unpretentious without being cliché.
4. King Crimson
I’m fascinated by this band and by Robert Fripp. The first two King Crimson albums are stunning visually, conceptually, and emotionally. I had a bit of an obsession with The Doors as a teen, but had I heard Court Of The Crimson King that might’ve changed, as I discovered them much later in life.
5. Black Sabbath
There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said. Their music was both heavy and sad, but had metaphysical and existential themes. It’s music for the outcast. I’ve always wondered what it would’ve been like seeing them in the early 70's. Were people falling over themselves?
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