Paul Sunderland is a skateboarder and musician who has been running punk and metal label Give Praise Records since 2005. You can see from his company’s collaborations with skate musicians and it’s skateboarding graphical output that he’s devoted to skating and includes it in everything he does but specifically the street skating thrash era of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Paul has released hundreds of albums through Give Praise whilst supporting musicians and skateboarders with representation, record production and clothing, so we hit him up to hear his views on skating and rock music in order to learn more about it.
We got stoked to hear his plans to get his label even more involved in skating, so we asked him to join the No Comply Network
Here’s that chat about his history in skateboarding, punk and metal music, how he started Give Praise Records, his artist roster, his daily experience running the label, his favourite recent additions to the label, his music, products and future plans for the brand, collaborations, and his favourite skateboarders, videos, styles and bands of all-time and much more.
Read The Paul Sunderland interview below to find it all out for yourself.
Where did you grow up Paul?
I grew up in Barnstable, Massachusetts on Cape Cod – I recently moved to a condo with my wife and 3 year old in Bourne, which is also in Cape Cod.
Cool. How did you discover skateboarding?
When I first started getting into punk music, when I was about 14-15 years old.
I saw all of these punk kids on the CD and Vinyl jackets standing and hanging around on skateboards.
A friend of mine, Paul from Dumpster Junkies, a local band at the time, his uncle owned a sporting goods store, and he had a small section in
the store selling skateboards and music. He started sponsoring skateboarders and I really started to get into it through hanging out there.
Cool, what was your first setup?
I got my first skateboard when I was 14 as a Christmas present.
It was a Alien Workshop ‘Sect’ deck, Spitfire wheels, and Venture trucks. I was totally naive and just chose it based on how cool it all looked.
I remember it was snowing and I went out anyhow, probably wrecking my griptape, with my entire family.
Where did you first learn to skate and who was in your crew?
I basically learned by going out into my driveway and skating. I lived in a very rural area and my dad had a friend build me a skate ramp.
My crew was basically a few friends who I hung out with at school, we would hang out skate for a few hours and usually play video games after that.
It wasn’t until I was about 17 or so I started to hit skateparks and get more serious about skating with my friend Chris, who lived in Plymouth, MA.
Why did you start Give Praise?
I first started doing a record label in 2004 called Teacore Records, I started a zine at the same time called Praise To All.
It basically just meant, everyone should be praised for what they are doing.
I quit Teacore, because it was mostly home dubbed cassettes and CDRs and started Give Praise Records, this was the more ‘professional’ label.
What does the name mean?
The name is basically a way of saying, everything, everyone, does matter and deserves some attention.
How many artists are on your roster?
I have over 150 releases on Give Praise – it started out with fast hardcore music, punk, and that kind of stuff. Hardcore music mostly.
I started out really into ‘fastcore’ and then kind of branched into other areas, like grind, death metal, etc.
I have been keeping it on those certain genres for years, but have recently started to get involved in other genres for some upcoming stuff, that will be a little different.
Who creates all of the art for Give Praise?
So, the logo thing: It’s kind of a joke, I have various labels all the time.
About 99% of the graphics are worked on with either Mark Reategui, based in California or Lobo Ramirez who does Escoria Comix, based in Brazil.
I work very closely with those two and usually give them ideas and then work on changing it up and adding some of my own work into it.
How can musicians join the roster?
Demos, and sending digital streams, downloads, that kind of thing. I usually like to work with bands that tour heavily and do work on their own, but in these times, that is a lot more difficult.
I like working with bands that do a lot of their own work, as that way we can both support each other and it takes the weight off of just one person.
In the past I would have usually seen bands at shows and ask about working with them after the show.
Which artists have you signed recently that you are stoked on?
Yes, we recently signed with Chadhel. They are based in Canada, and were recently on PRC Music, and now will be working with us.
They play a very heavy style of grindcore/hardcore and they are very, very hard working.
In the past, touring all over and really getting themselves out there. So I am really looking forward to working with them.
Do you produce all the vinyl for all your artists?
I use pressing plants, and I usually will print inserts and all of the other physical album music detail right into the albums myself.
I assemble all of the CDs, and Vinyl myself into the jackets with the inserts and the covers.
What’s a day to day like for you running Give Praise?
A normal day, is basically doing e-mails, making sure the newest releases have a good amount of promo and that everyone knows about them, and then finally assembling the music and making sure my distributor and mail-order house get them on time.
You make shirts and hats. How can people purchase them?
Just by checking out our website – givepraiserecords.com – through that, you can get to the store and grab everything we have available.
What other kinds of products do you make?
We just started working on getting more stuff out for the skate scene, as we are slowly trying to combine our label with a skateboarding brand.
I’ll get my first batch of Give Praise ‘Grim’ griptape delivered in a few weeks. I’m very excited to start pushing that and make new skate hardware!
What’s the key connection between rock and skating for you?
I think the connection is very strong and will hopefully get stronger!
I think a lot of people as kids who grew up with punk rock ended up getting into skateboarding. I think the two go hand, in hand.
Both massively involve hanging out, doing your own thing and your own self expression and hopefully the connection continues to grow!
Which skaters making music do you respect and listen to?
Man, I really look up to Mike Vallely who is the singer for Black Flag. He has so much going on, and can maintain singing for a punk band.
There is also Matt Hensley in Flogging Molly, they are a little bigger then the normal stuff connected to me but it is really good music.
What kinds of music are you into personally?
I really like fast hardcore, straightedge hardcore. One of my all time favorite bands are Spazz from California and Good Clean Fun, out of Washington.
Also I really like Shelter, who were a Krishna band, I was never too into the religious side but always liked the music.
Then I mostly listen to a range of punk, and even some hip-hop, one of my favorites on the hip-hop end are the Jungle Brothers.
Are you looking to collaborate with musicians who skate?
I would love to work with more bands that are into skateboarding! Many, many years ago I did a compilation called ‘Skate Attack’ on cassette with To Live A Lie Records. We worked with another one of my favorite bands – ANS, who all skated!
I would love to do more like that, make some skateboarding comps. That, to me, is really the best way to connect the two worlds.
You also make music, how did you get into making music?
I used to sing in a band, called The Fiends and then Plug Your Ears, nothing really ever happened with those two. I sang, did vocals, we made some
cassettes in a basement, but never really got any further then that.
What’s been your most recent artist release out of Give Praise?
I would love to talk about my new LPs that are being pressed right now.
There are Two LPs, one from Keitzer and one from BruceXCampbell, both play a very excellent version of grind, in their own rights, and both LPs will be very excellent!
Which piece of Give Praise art are you most stoked on?
There really are two, that I am most happy with.
Our new skull logo who I worked on with Mark Reategui and that is because it really is the new look for the skateboard and music crossover.
The other one is Zeke, a character Lobo Ramirez and I did.
It is a vinyl LP person basically, standing on a skateboard, who again, pushes the connection between punk and skateboarding.
Any other upcoming projects?
Yes, the Chadhel project will be very good, the two LPs: BruceXCampbell and Keitzer and finally, the To Dust CD, we will be working on – we did the To Dust split with Bent Sea on LP and will be working on their new CD.
Cool. What’s your favourite Steve Alba part and why?
I think, I most recently watched ‘Right To Exist’ on my phone.
Steve Alba is just cool man, he kills it. I love the way he hits the pools, it just flows well.
They are two brands that basically do whatever they want when it comes to branding and design.
I love seeing their new ads, so much freedom in their art and layout work,
Who’s your favourite band and why?
My favourite band would be Good Clean Fun – so tongue in cheek, so fun.
They never take themselves too seriously, which I think is super important if you want to succeed in life and in music.
What’s your favourite style of rock music and why?
Fast hardcore, I have always loved What Happens Next?, they played really fast and fun hardcore.
They coined the term ‘Bandana Thrash’ ,to my knowledge anyhow and I love that style, fast and fuelled by bandanas and skateboarding.
Do you have a favourite skate photo of all-time?
Hhmmm, I don’t really have a favourite, but I always love the older skate photos, where people were doing slappys on a curb, when tricks weren’t so technical. I love watching and checking out pictures of Ryan Maddox, always hitting the curbs.
What’s your favourite skate video ever and why?
I would have to say, Powell Peralta’s Public Domain – I have watched the part – so many, many times – where Mike V. says ‘So you want to go skating,’ and he just jumps on the handrail outside of his house and goes as fast as he can through the streets, dodging in and out of people.
Who’s your favourite skater?
Ed Templeton, hands down. He was the first skater I recognised was doing his own thing.
Tight and high pants, I loved his style. A lot of slams, but always got up and set the trick right. Always, great design work, awesome graphics and art.
Who has your favourite style on a board and why?
I love the skaters that just hit the curbs, give me a slappy anyday.
I have always been way more into skating streets, curbs, parking blocks, then park skating.
I never really got into skating at parks. It just didn’t appeal to me.
Do you have a favourite artist?
His artwork is amazing. When I was in high school, I would always draw the Toy Machine monster on my notebooks.
It is just a fun, free style. Whatever he can think, he draws.
What do you think about The No Comply Network?
I love it! I think it is something we need, and something that will help the scene, and give it so much support. It is connecting everything we love.
Any last words Paul?
Thank you SO MUCH for this opportunity.
I have always been trying to bridge the gap with my label and skateboarding and this is one of the biggest steps I can make.