Spirit of Akasha - Andrew Wessen (Grouplove)
We get all stoked out with Andrew from Grouplove about surfing and being involved in Spirit of Akasha.
Andrew Wessen is the guitarist from the band Grouplove, a mad surfer and a lord. He is currently touring around Australia with Big Day Out and surfing as much as he can. I caught up with him recently to talk about the band's involvement in Albe Falzon's new film Spirit of Akasha, what Morning of the Earth means to him and his love affiar with surfing.
You’re on the Big Day Out tour at the moment, how’s it all going?
It’s been unreal. In the history of our band touring I have never been on a festival tour or a general tour where the bands and people have been so good. The camaraderie has been great with all the bands and artists, everyone has been hanging out and getting wild each night. On a personal level Australia is the dreamland for me and has been since I came here for the first time as a 19 year old. The surf is insane, I’ve already surfed a bunch of world-class waves since I’ve been here and have more days off to do the same.
I hear your taking me surfing when I’m in Perth?
Yep, that’s what we are doing.
Cool, well please don’t get my ass eaten. HAHA.
We’ll be fine. We’re just going to beachie bash because of the time constraints so hopefully there are some waves. Let’s talk more surfing. You have a million interviews talking about the band and the new record ‘Spreading Rumours’ but let’s talk about your involvement in Spirit of Akasha. As a surfer I can only imagine your level of stoke at being involved. So where did the love affair with surfing start?
My dad used to surf back in the 60’s in LA and my brother always took me as well so I grew up embedded in the LA surf community and culture. I basically grew up on the beach at Malibu so I always gravitate towards right-handed point breaks. Surfing has been everything to me, I wanted to be a pro surfer when I was a kid, I had sponsors and used to compete but I faded out of that pretty quickly as I didn’t really identify with it or enjoy that much.
I had this great experience when I came to Australia the first time. My friends and I holed up with mates who had a place at Currumbin so we travelled around for three weeks scoring perfect waves. The first time I surfed the Superbank it was 5-7ft faces, offshore, raining and only five guys out and had the time of my life and now that I’ve surfed it a few times I know that it's not like that all the time, haha. I thought it was like that everyday. On this trip we took acid and watched Morning of the Earth for the first time and changed my perspective on surfing. Then we got into riding single fins and what not. The whole trip and seeing the film really opened up my eyes as to what surfing is really about and what is important when you surf, so I hold a special spot in my heart for that film.
Our manager was like “the label is wondering if you want to be involved in this surf film called something like Morning of the Earth” and I was like call them back right fucking now!!! And how long has this been on the table as I was super worried we were going to lose the opportunity but it's all worked out and it’s a dream come true for me.
When you have such a love for a film that would be such a great experience.
Well yeah, I could never be apart of the original and I never thought I would in any way be associated with the film so it means the world to me. Then when I looked at the soundtrack and saw our song was track two after the theme song I was like “fuck this is insane, it’s not stuck down at number 13 or something”. I was super stoked about that and then as well we get to play at the Opera House, which is insane.
That’s my next question. With the Sydney Opera House gig do you think it will go down as the Grouplove gig of the year or one of?
It’s the highlight of my life. Not only is it such a recongised building, it’s also the association with the film so it’s two great things together. The only thing I’m broken hearted about is that we have our own show later that night and we can’t stay and watch Spirit of Akasha we have to load in, play and then run off and play our own gig. It’s insane, I had so many heated arguments with our manager it, I was like “move the show, cancel it, I don’t care. Do you understand how much this means to me?”. Obviously there are other factors that our out of my control so we are running in and playing a few songs and then go and play our show which will still be heaps of fun, I just hope they give me a copy of the film. I can’t wait to meet Albe, he is a legend and Andrew Kidman will be cool too.
You’re in Melbourne at the moment and you have the day off tomorrow so I have to ask are you going to head down to Winkipop or Bells?
I’m trying to go there tomorrow, I’m just trying to get someone to take me. I don’t care if it’s 2ft and shitty I just need to surf Bells. It’s like when we landed in Auckland I had a kid meet me at the airport who I had never meet and had him and his friends drive me the two-and-a-half hours or whatever it is to Raglan but we totally scored. There was a contest on nearby so all the local pros were there, so we basically had this world class wave to ourselves.
So I’m trying so hard to get to Bells as I’ve never surfed it before, I’ll get a bus or fuck it I’ll get a cab worst case, haha.
You must love travelling the world in a band and then also living the life of a travelling surfer?
Yeah totally, I’m so grateful for all the great waves I have gotten to surf. I never thought it would happen.
I heard yesterday that you were hanging out with Occy and Mick Fanning at the Gold Coast BDO?
Yeah Mick is one of the dopest, most approachable, accommodating, nicest dudes I have ever meet and I had no idea what to expect of him. He was with Occy and I got to hang out with them so I reverted to my 15 year old self haha. Oh my God I’m around famous musicains and shit all day and seriously could not give a fuck and do not care, I realise that’s because I have been touring for a few years now but hanging with those dudes was insane.
Mick was like come surfing tomorrow and gave me his number, so I hit him up and he lent me one of his boards and made me jump off the rock at Snapper in 7-10ft cyclone surf with 10 wave sets. It was psycho, he was like “don’t worry I won’t kill you”. He jump’s off the rock and as I’m about to follow him this set rolls in with a rogue one that washes the whole rock and I almost dragged his new board across it along with my body until his mate saved my ass, haha. After that he was hooting me into set waves and watching me faceplant, but how do you not go when you have the world champ calling you into waves? It was all mixed up, stormy, mutant heavy ones, all cyclony and stuff but I got a few fun ones.
I feel like I’ve been rambling on.
Nah it’s cool.
Fuck this is what happens when I talk surf. The long and the short of it is that I get stoked out super easy.
For more information about Spirit of Akasha click HERE.
SPIRIT OF AKASHA SOUNDTRACK, MORNING OF THE EARTH REIMAGINED & MORNING OF THE EARTH COMPLETE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK REISSUE AVAILABLE FRIDAY 24 JANUARY.
SPIRIT OF AKASHA – CINEMA RELEASE
Thursday 30 January @ 7:00pm & Friday 31 January @ 7:00pm
NSW - Bondi Junction | Shellharbour | Cronulla |Newcastle
QLD - Pacific Fair |Coolangatta |Noosa
SA - Marion
WA – Innaloo
VIC – Jam Factory (South Yarra) | Geelong (Thursday 30 January screening only)
TAS – Hobart (Thursday 30 January screening only)
Stayed tuned to our Facebook as we will have a few tickets to give away in the coming days and also keep a look out for Andrew's and I's surfing adventures coming to you in the March edition of Pilerats.