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Music: Taking a Hardline, out of necessity

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Ken Seaton

Hardline Entertainment’s Ken Seaton.

Hermosa Beach resident Ken Seaton has been a man deeply seated behind South Bay’s music scene for decades. Over the years, he’s worked with bands across the board, enduring the fluctuating volatility of the music industry while proactively conjuring ever progressive strategies and methods to assist bands through the treacherous tides.

This Saturday, at Waterman’s, Seaton will host CD release party for Lionize, one of a dozen bands on his Hardline Entertainment roster.

Lionize is a rock-reggae band, featuring guest vocals from Reggae legends David Hinds and Selwyn Brown of Steel Pulse, as well as guitar work from Tim Sult. The band is currently on world tour, which will include the entire Vans Warped tour this summer.

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“I have been living in Hermosa Beach over 30 years, and one of the first people I met was Fletcher from Pennywise,” says Ken Seaton of Hardline Entertainment. “Shortly after, he and Jason Thirsk decided to form a band that later became Pennywise… Around that same time, I had started Beachfront Printing… We built a practice space for the band at my shop… I did their first tees, stickers, flyers, and printed their first EP covers… The band started traveling abroad and I would come out for the adventure.”

Seaton’s “adventures” with Pennywise facilitated connections and cemented networks that would eventually allow him to develop his own entertainment and record labels.

Seaton explains, “Younger bands from Hermosa started coming up such as Deviates and 1208… I realized that the relationships formed from the years in the mix with Pennywise would be helpful for these bands and would be a way to help them to possibly have some of the same success and experiences that myself and PW have been lucky enough to experience over the last 20 years.  So behold, Hardline entertainment was formed.”

“I have managed many bands, some of which have been signed to Indie label staples Epitaph, Hellcat, Fat, and Victory,” Seaton continues. “I began to shoot videos for my bands as record sales plummeted due to downloading… and budgets started to disappear… which has now led to building a recording studio.”

With the unfavorable sales trends in the music and recording industry, instead of defeat and discouragement, Seaton saw opportunity for Hardline Entertainment and his newest offshoot Viking Funeral Records.

“Now we are pretty much a full service label,” Seaton says. “In a nutshell, I have grown Hardline Entertainment from a management company into a full service DIY record label. We are now able to shoot bands’ videos, press photos, record their records and release them world wide. People like South Bay indie labels SST and Theologian have been my main inspiration.”

“We just signed a distribution deal with INgrooves and will have several releases this year.”

The 2011 release roster, in addition to Lionize, includes albums by the South Bay band Musket (consisting of members from South Bay’s Havoc TV, Everest, and Surfing Hall of Famer Brad Gerlach), another South Bay band Allura, and Orange County band Neo Geo (featuring Byron from Pennywise’s cousin on drums), LA band Thousand Watt Stare (consisting of members from Unwritten Law, The Dee Dee Ramone Band, Black President, and the Chelsea Smiles), and another LA band Phathom.


“The intention is to give some great bands a stepping stone that will hopefully help them realize their musical dreams in a music business that is in it’s worst state in history,” Seaton said.

For further information on Hardline Entertainment and Viking Funeral Records go to hardlineent.com. Lionize record release show is on Jan 29 at Watermans in Hermosa Beach. ER

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