Action Band: ((Sounder))

[Pictured: Steve Stratton and Mike Aho]

SOUNDS LIKE: Sebadoh and Robert Pollard home-taping under a skate ramp.

PAPER: What is the best folk song to skate to?

Mike Aho: If I was ever good enough to do a skate-part in a video, I would skate to the Palace song "The Brute Choir" -- it would go well with my slow, ungraceful style.

PAPER: You recorded your first album underneath a mini-ramp -- what sort of atmosphere does that add?

MA: We kind of just had a place to play music under a mini-ramp at the time. I started recording our stuff under there out of necessity -- if it added anything to the atmosphere of the record, it would only be that the recordings came off natural and unforced. Years ago, when I started listening to the Drag City and K Records stuff and self-produced music in general, I realized that it was important to never put the recording process into anything forced -- even if the "technical quality" of the recording was jeopardized, at least the performance felt natural.

PAPER: You said your daughter is "re-teaching" you the idea of beauty. What sort of things do you learn about beauty from your work as an artist and from your involvement in skateboarding?

MA: I try and tell stories that reveal a bit more about me, using personal experience as a muse rather than just trying to be clever, which I think I relied on a lot as a younger artist. Skateboarding has a long history of creativity. These days individuality and expression aren't as encouraged as they were when I was young, but I still think that they perpetuate a lot of great things, musicians and artists -- skating is the backbone in a lot of ways. There's a whole generation of people brought up on Shel Silverstein and skateboarding that are the creative tastemakers in American culture. You can see it everywhere.

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