Our latest ‘Sound Biscuits’ playlist features an extensive variety of sounds and energies combed from a deep collection of favorites via Thomas Campbell. Tune in and read our full catch up with TC below.
Hey Thomas, what's goin on?
Just… everything. But, can’t complain too much. Just working on stuff like winding up my exhibition in Utah and working on editing a piece from my Utah show for Juxtapoz and yeah, all kind of, all of the above.
You definitely have a knack for coming up with obscure yet descriptive names for things.. like this series ‘Sound Biscuits’ or ‘Shape Shiftings & Other Collected Linted Matters’. Is it just more fun when things have weird names?
Um, I don’t know man. I just like playing around with words and I like making myself laugh and that’s probably the whole kit and caboodle. But I mean at the end of the day it’s also just like, words can be funny and they can give you some kind of dimension of thought or expansiveness of thought and be funny at the same time. So, not that I always achieve that, but I like to aim towards that.
You just wrapped up a major exhibition at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City. How did it go?
Yeah! My exhibition at the UMOCA in Salt Lake City went probably as good as any of them have gone. The people that worked there were really cool and made it seamless to make something that I wanted to make. I find that a lot of times doing shows in the not so obvious markets like Salt lake, unlike LA, New York or San Francisco, Chicago or something, that people are just so stoked. You know? The people in Salt Lake were just so thankful and like ‘I’m so happy that we get to experience this’ and just the general vibe was really cool and positive. So that was really epic. Yeah, I think it was probably in total one of the better things that I’ve done in kind of like a holistic sense of all the things that I work on.
For anyone who hasn’t heard much about YiWo yet, can you tell us about the film or talk about the theme or tone for this film?
Um, well… it’s a surf film. And it’s probably a bit different and a bit more poetic than my other films... a little less obviously in the normal surf film genre. I mean I think my other films Seedling, Sprout and Present are kind of in the traditional surf movie structure of like Bruce Brown and Macgillivray Freeman, stuff like that, somewhat. This one’s maybe a little bit more abstract and it has all the people that I like watching surf in it, like Ryan Burch, Al Knost, Jared Mell, Craig Anderson, Karina Rozunko Joel Tudor, Nick Melanson, Dave Rastovich, Bryce Young, Lauren Hill, Trevor Gordon, Ozzy Wright.
You’ve shared with me some of the original music you’re making for the film — how has that process been?
Well, I guess we started out making some music for the soundtrack, but actually, I’m a pretty shitty musician, like I could play the guitar, the bass, sing, maybe play the synthesizer and, I don’t know. Even, maybe even the violin or the viola but like, really horribly, like really badly. But, I produced music for years, and I know what I want to hear I’m just not very good, personally, at making the sounds happen but luckily I have some friends that are good at that stuff, so I started making some music for the film, and then it kind of eventuated into it becoming more of a project or maybe even, possibly a band and it’s called Cone Cinq, that’s kind of the name of the thing and we probably have more music than we need for a record now but we’re gonna record some more on the later this month with my friend Monte Vallier at his Ruminator studio in San Francisco. It might not ever end actually like, just keep on recording, it’s just a really fun thing to do. I have a little recording set up at my house, so I can record stuff here too. So, I think in the movie we did one song that is the music for a part, I played some stuff and my friend Monty is probably the main other person. It’s like me and Monty and my other friend Caleb are the main three people and Damon Way too, he’s played on some stuff. But this song was me and Monty and then Tommy (Guerrero) played drums on the track. Tommy doesn’t really know how to play drums but that was perfect for our band because it’s just like perfectly fucked enough to sound right. But yeah anyway it’s super fun! We probably only have like one full song in the movie and then all of the transition parts in the whole movie is music we made.
Any boards or things in particular you’re excited about in surfing lately?
You know, I put like a lot, a lot, a lot of time and effort into developing surfboards and trying to find the right surfboards, especially at my elder, 54 year-old age, that will help me surf better. I have five boards in my car that are really good, there is a 10’10 Josh Hall glider called "The Le Sliviar" that I worked on with him for like 17 years, developing the shape. It really works so good. and then I have a 9’7 log from Tanner Prairie. I think it’s called the Dash and that one’s just surfs really well in a traditional pivotal kind of approach. Tanner’s an amazing surfer and shaper. And then I have like a 8’5 single fin from Travis Reynolds that does alot for you, it’s kind of inspired by a board that Burch made me like 10 years ago, that he actually made at Travis’s and that one worked super amazing. And then a 7’10 Bonzer that's very good. I feel like the longer Bonzer work better for me, like the Russ Short model, I feel like the longer rail line kind of interacts and balances with the fin cluster pretty well for that one to work really good. You can kind of ride that on anything, like you could ride it in chest high waves to like whatever, triple overhead probably… And that’s a really good all around board and then probably my smallest board is like a 6’6 Caddywhompus, and that one works great, that’s like an asymmetrical tri-fin, fishy thing, that me and Travis Reynolds developed over the years. Actually, I have one other board that I haven’t ridden, that I just got, well we just kind of made at the Vissla meet-up, I made it with Nick Melanson and Derrick Disney, the Diz, that one’s basically one of Derrick’s kind of twinzer shapes. I think it’s about 6’7 and I haven’t ridden it yet and it looks really cool. I’m a huge fan of the Diz and to say that I actually shaped it is maybe an over exaggeration but I did hack at the blank at the least dangerous moments.
We recently launched our STYLE MATTERS series + contest. As one of the judges on the panel, how do you identify good style in someone’s surfing - whether they’re riding a 12’ glider, a standard shortboard, or anything in between?
Mm… you know, I would say one of the main things that I look for in this is, is like people engaging the design that they’re riding in a dynamic way. Like fully using the rails to project and really accentuate the powers of the vehicle. And also have heavy critiques when it’s (rail) is not used, but yeah, looking at someone, like Craig Anderson or someone like that where it’s just like, that looks fucking incredible. I remember the first time I ever saw Alex Knost surf and he was about 13 or 14, and I was at Malibu, and I remember, specifically, exactly where I was sitting and looking at him ride like a waist high wave and I was like ‘whoa, who’s that? ‘Cause it was like an different energy, like a totally unique dancing style.
You went big with this playlist - what’s the energy like in this one?
I started off and I wasn’t going to make it very long, I was just going to make it like 12 or 14 songs or something. Like a normal kind of playlist length, like an hour, an hour and ten or something. And then I just thought about it, I was like, you know what I’m just going to put all of the things I love the most and it’s kind of almost like a greatest hits from all my playlists and so that is the kind of vibe. So its most of the musicians I like the most and I just worked on it a while. So yeah, anyway, I’m into it and with it being this long people can just take in the experience in a relaxed way. I think there’s a lot of cool stuff there and probably a lot of stuff that people haven’t heard, some stuff that they maybe have you know? Depends how much you are into music. People that are like serious, gnar, about music may think it’s easy listening and whack but… people that are not like crazily psycho into music might be like ‘I don’t know anything on here’ you know? And then the people that might be in the middle might be like ‘I know some of this or I don’t know some of this’. Personally, I don’t care about being super exclusive about the music I like, but I feel like some people get into music and they want to like stuff just because people don’t know about it. I don’t give a shit, I like what I like and I like it because it makes me feel good and and sets off some cool emotional rides and I do search out things that are maybe not as known. But like whatever, there’s actually a killer track on here of Marvin Gaye, from a soundtrack to this movie called Troubleman and it’s called ‘T Plays it Cool’ and Marvin Gaye was an insane drummer and people don’t know that. It’s an instrumental track and he’s just murdering it. But uh, anyways, there’s some stuff on there, hopefully people enjoy it and have a good experience and learn to like some new stuff or hopefully not hate too much stuff.
Is the playlist meant to be listened to in order or can it be shuffled too?
No. Don’t shuffle that shit. Don’t even get close to the shuffle button.
Haha, fair enough. Well thanks, Thomas.