Riley Hawk may be best known as a pro skater, but he also has a psychedelic rock band called Petyr that just finished laying down a heavy self-titled record. Hailing from San Diego, California, the group summons influences from some of their favorite local acts such as Earthless, Sacri Monti and Harsh Toke — mood-altering jam bands fully immersed in skate culture. Below, Petyr — which, in addition to Hawk (guitar, vocals), features Holland "Smokey" Redd (guitar, vocals, keys), Luke "Slurk" Devigny (bass) and Nick "Juice" McDonnell (drums) — have premiered "Stairway to Attic," a jocularly-named single off the full-length, set for release on June 9th via Outer Battery Records.
Speaking of humorous song titles, Juice explains, "All of our song titles have their own meanings." When called out on "Texas Igloo," Juice fesses up to fornicating in a homemade igloo while on a skateboarding tour during a snowstorm in Texas. (For the full story, read on.)
Sub-zero sex aside, the new record spews fertile riffs and sage spooky vibes in a manner that would make Saruman the White proud. "We played shows for almost two years before we put anything out," says Hawk, who found the process to be more nerve-racking than putting out footage for a new skate video. "If people are like, 'This fucking sucks,' it hurts more, because you spent a lot of time and poured your soul writing into the songs." But with robust and cosmic tracks like "Kraft" and "Satori III" — coupled with exponentially lenient weed laws — Hawk and Co. needn't worry.
Revolver visited Hawk's house to watch Petyr jam and talk about the new record. While the guys were a little worse for wear, after an all-night bender at pubs they can barely recall being at, it definitely didn't affect their ability to deliver the goods — both musically and in the following hilarious interview.
REVOLVER So you guys were just telling me you only write songs when you're hungover?
RILEY HAWK Or lack of sleep, or both. I swear, I think when we wrote "Old and Creepy" I didn't sleep that night. I just drove straight home from L.A. at like 4 a.m. and then I was playing guitar. But I don't know, I guess everyone's different.
The last time I interviewed you, you weren't in a band. How do you balance your skate career and music?
HAWK I think I was just more caught up doing other stuff then, plus I had major injuries — I had surgeries on both of my ankles. But now I can just skate and then jam later in the day. We just kick it and write songs. Plus, I had a girlfriend back then that took up a lot of my time. I don't have a girlfriend anymore — maybe that's why it works.
NICK "JUICE" McDONNELL Let's make that very public. Petyr is single. [Laughs]
You guys have this psychedelic doomy sound. Is that kind of music what you guys mainly listen to?
HAWK I wanted the vocals to have a specific vintage sound, kind of like Witch or Sacri Monti. We double all the vocals — it sounds cool and it's way less scary when someone is singing next to you. We're not, like, master singers or anything and we aren't trying to fake the funk. We're mainly about riffs. Earthless is one of our favorite bands, so we're obviously not opposed to sitting and listening to a riff for 30 minutes.
You guys recorded this record in Los Angeles?
HAWK Yeah, and we stayed at an Airbnb right across from Barney's Beanery in Hollywood, where Janis Joplin had her last drinks. It was super fucking hot out. We have this little air conditioning unit in our jam room in San Diego. So I told my roommate Jacob that I would buy his train ticket if he brought that thing to Los Angeles. I didn't think he would, but when we picked him up, he came off the train with this R2-D2-looking thing with him. And we plugged it into the living room of the Airbnb and close all the doors and we all slept in the living room and turned it into an icebox. He said people weren't even shocked seeing him toting around an AC unit because it was so fucking hot out.
What was it like for you to record your first full album?
HAWK With skating, it's so different — you feel way more exposed when you're putting out music for some reason. A lot of people said they like it, and I'm fucking stoked — so that's cool. I'm sure other people will hate it. I guess that's just how it goes.
You guys are going out on tour soon right?
HAWK We are going out with Radio Moscow and there will probably be zero skateboarding involved, because they're a real-deal band with a schedule. Usually, when we go out, if we find a spot and skate it too late, we just show up late for the show. But on this tour, we gotta be on it. They hit us with this fucking PowerPoint presentation of all the dates, cities, set times and sound checks. But it's cool 'cause we don't have to do anything on our end, just get there. It's cool because they're one of our favorite bands — weird how it's come full circle like that. I had no idea that I'd be in a band and now we're touring with them.
San Diego has a massive scene of skateboarding and music partying. Is that the place to be right now?
HAWK Pretty much. Juice finds himself in the middle of that Venn diagram — the partying, the skating, the jamming, and then Juice is overlapped in the center. [Laughs]
JUICE Just stick me in the middle with a bunch of chicks.
And Juice, you're playing in several bands, right?
JUICE Yeah, more or less. I just went on tour with Harsh Toke as a fill-in. But I play with Pharlee, too. Sometimes both bands play together and it's like I just jumped in a fucking swimming pool. I'm so wrecked, just sweating out all the booze. But the catch for me is I get double the drink tickets. That's my shit.
Holland, I heard Petyr kidnapped you from Salt Lake City.
HOLLAND "SMOKEY" REDD I used to skate with Riley in Salt Lake City, and jam with Luke in my old band UFO TV. So I was just gonna come out for a skate trip and basically never went home.
Tell me about the song you've shared with us — "Stairway to Attic."
HAWK Holy shit — we played this Red Bull contest aftershow and it was actually the bar where Houdini gave his final performance and collapsed before he died. We didn't know that until after. I lad left my Flying V at the bar — they said I could leave it overnight and it would be safe in the basement. It's spooky down there, with all these tunnels and shit. After I grabbed my guitar, we were just sitting in the bar and I came up with the riff that became "Stairway to Attic."
What does "Stairway to Attic" refer to?
HAWK A lot of our songs have dumb names about inside jokes and weird sex stories and shit. The lyrics actually don't have anything to do with the title. Because most of these songs started out as jams without lyrics so we just called it fucking whatever. Technically, "Stairway to Attic" was called that because Juice lived up in the attic at Figgy's [pro-skater Justin Figueroa] house. You had to pull the stairs down from the ceiling and it was the last thing girls saw before they went up into his dungeon. It has nothing to do with "Stairway to Heaven," other than it's funny. And then we have this little song called "Middle Room," which is sort of this friendly peaceful room before the creepy ladder comes down leading up to Juice's lair.
JUICE A lot of our song titles have their own meanings.
I'm game — what does "Texas Igloo" mean?
JUICE I was on a skate trip in Texas a while ago and they had a straight-up fucking snowstorm — super random. So we met these chicks at a bar and fucking MacGyver'd our way over to their house — they let us stay there. And they had built a full-on igloo in their backyard. I wanted to sleep in that thing, so I grabbed some couch cushions and went out there and partied in it, just putting beers in the walls. And then this chick fucking cruised in there — you know what happens next. But the cherry on top is that I woke up and found out that she was fucking married. She bolted in the morning and I went inside and told all the guys, because it was fucking crazy. And then she strolls back in the house later with said husband. He didn't know, but it was like — fucking Christ.
HAWK So listeners can leave the rest of the song titles to their imaginations. They're like little secret codes. Wait — actually, the song "Kraft" [everyone laughs] — we changed the title while in the studio, because the original title was too retarded. "Ballcuzzi" just wasn't subtle enough.
LUKE "SLURK" DEVIGNY I had my ex-girlfriend do that for me. I had her microwave some water, get a straw, and then I put my junk in there and let her blow away. I was seriously bored-as-fuck one day at my house and just said, "Let's do this, babe."
She sounds like a keeper.
JUICE None of us have girlfriends. Let's make sure everyone knows that Petyr is very fucking single.