[Mixtape] Triple Threat Mermaid, Kassia Meador

Kassia. Photo: Dane Peterson

Nose-riding queen, aquatic apparel entrepreneur and sound therapy explorer Kassia Meador is an artist in and out of the water. California born and bred, Kassia has parlayed a successful 17-year career as one of the top longboarders in the world into the launch of her own environmentally-conscious brand, KASSIA+SURF, worn by the coolest ladies in the lineup. She describes the collection as “future flavor with a classic twist” and the same could be said of her taste in tunes.

We caught up with Kassia in between surf trips to Mexico and Japan to talk music moments and sound therapy. As is the usual with any Kassia hang, we learned some very cool things. For instance, now we know what a gamelan is (just don’t ask us to play it for you).

Read on + listen in to the custom playlist that DJ Glen Walsh created based on our conversation as part of our ongoing music interview series in conjunction with AllSwell.

What’s your go-to first listen of the day?

It really depends on my mood but usually nothing with vocals since I’m just getting going. I’ve done some reading about how piano music stimulates learning. It gets your brain firing at a different octave. So lately I’ve been listening to a lot of classical piano in the morning.

Do you listen to music while you create or do you consider that a distraction?

I always listen to music while I am working on an art project or designing because that is what helps to get me in the flow. My go-to is Reverberation Radio, a sweet podcast that has eclectic stuff. The kids from the Allah La’s make it and they know their shit. Super stimulating and you don’t have to overthink it. I can get lost in my work and don’t have to keep looking for something new to put on. It takes me on a ride without too much distraction, autopilot for getting in the mood to create.

The exception is when I’m working on a sound therapy project. Any other music would be a distraction because you’re creating vibrational therapy with sound.

Sound therapy? Sign us up. First concert you went to?

Pink Floyd. My friends’ dad took us when we were really young, 11 or 12. He was an old hippie.

Most recent live show?

Ani Difranco. It was epic. I went with my friend Sadie [Adams]. Like Bob Dylan Ani is a prolific songwriter and speaks to what’s on the pulse politically and energetically. She’s got to be my favorite songwriter.

Old school question. What were you listening to in junior high?

Violent Femmes was the first tape I ever bought for myself. I loved the name and the girl in the white dress on the cover. It was a visual thing. That album was a huge eye opener for me and it is still one of my favorites.

Who are your current musical muses? Who inspires you/influences your work?

When it comes to my sound work ambient music like Stars of The Lid or Brian Eno put me in a cool space. Expansive sounds not in tune with the music mainstream, showing different ways of putting sounds together. I’m really into Tibetan Music and anything gamelan, which is basically a giant xylophone.

We had to Google that one. Trippy and very cool. Okay, next question. We love a good road trip. What musical memories do you have from road trips past?

When I finally had a car and would drive through the canyons on my way to surf I listened to Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. All three on rotation. Classic stuff with a bit of radness.

Can’t go wrong with those three. Top live music moment?

Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl, front and center box seats.

We had a dream like that once. Quick: vinyl, cassette or digital? Don’t think just answer.


Favorite music venue?

The Greek. It’s super cozy, intimate. A beautiful old venue. It’s a classic.

Let’s get real. What’s a date deal breaker in terms of music? AKA: If they own the T-shirt from the tour, you’re out.

Anything pop.

Thanks, Kassia. Check out the new collection from KASSIA+SURF and her collaboration of kicks for Vans, or join her mermaid tribe by following her at @kassiasurf.