Published on November 28th, 2013 | by Dedee W0
Night Surfing with Beach Pigs
Back in August Presence Zine took a look behind the scenes at Beach Pigs’ multiple video shoots. Now a few months on and nearing completion, we take a look back at how these guys work to capture the essence of grom parties, in true Auckland style.
‘Night Surfing’ is about getting round the city any way you can. On your night missions, from party to party, from the gig to the lock-in, to the all night house party hang outs. Til you meet the dawn, and crash wherever your head hits the pillow.
It’s also the name of Beach Pigs’ new music video, one of three funded by NZ on Air grants, through their Making Tracks video funding. Is that a lot for one band? Perhaps, but personally I think they deserve it. They always make mean music videos.
We climb the darkened stairs to the flat, where the cast and crew are getting ready to shoot. Producer Bob Frisbee’s just put the jug on so we make a cup of tea and take a look around.
There’s a warm red glow from the lights and extra lamps covered in red cellophane. The stereo’s playing Tame Impala and the odd Beach Pigs track in the main bedroom.
Singer and frontman Dahnu introduces the team –
“There’s Adam the producer, Lucky the lead of night surfing (Dahnu’s younger brother), Sean who’s our cameraman and DOP, and Bonsai and Richie, who pretty much saved our whole mish here.”
The shoot seems very calm and is running smoothly despite some last minute changes. Their two skaters pulled out just hours beforehand and were replaced by Lucky’s ex-flatmates Richie and Bonsai, (who are also one half of HDSPNs). The scenes on a train can’t happen because trains aren’t running from New Lynn this weekend, so they opt for a bus ride instead. They’re playing it by ear, taking what comes naturally and putting it on film.
We discuss the overall concept of ‘Night Surfing’ as a song and a video.
“It’s relating to different scenes, but not in a cliquey way’ says Dahnu.
“It’s a collage of what happens in a night..” adds Lucky.
“We’re just re-enacting what we’d normally do at the flat” says Richie, as they sit around eating takeaways, drinking cans of V and smoking in the lounge. They then film a scene when the three of them walk into the bedroom to wake up Lucky and start out on the mish.
From here, they’ll eventually end up at their first party on Upper Queen st. None of these parties have been set up for the shoot, they’re all real parties.
“So, how many parties?” I ask.
“Three parties tonight. Well, it’s parties and catch-ups,” says Dahnu,
“It’s like pre-parties, and then a party, and then an afterparty that’s kind of like a pre-drink before the booti* party..”
“By the end of this video we’re hoping to be flying in helicopters ,” adds Bonsai.
“With Kim Dotcom and everyone” says Dahnu.
“We do our mishes round town, and you can make wrong choices, but when you do, you still go with it,” he adds.
There are other words for this freewheeling, nightsurfing lifestyle, like ‘spontane’ (short for spontaneous) and ‘buckwild’. Dahnu’s been called a buckwild angel a few times, which is quite fitting. He’s one of the friendliest guys around, with that big beaming smile on his face, always ready to bring the party.
“We’re all general grom, Samaritans,’ he says.
General grom? It’s a simple phrase, almost self explanatory – but I grab a translation just in case.
”The groups of friends that we have, they have their friends that they bring also, who are part of other circles. So going to a grom party, it’s like, we’re there, but there’s also people that aren’t necessarily under that whole tag of being ‘grom’. Grom is a huge term. Grommet actually comes from the surfer term for young surfers, from around about 20 to 23 or younger,” he suggests.
“So ‘grommet’ is pretty much the youth of Auckland, cos in a sense we’re all groms in Auckland. Young indie kids – sure, but y’know we bring friends that are quoted under ‘jock’ or whatever, they’re still a grom. Models – they’re still groms,”
“Models?” I ask.
“Yeah, especially models, they’re more grom than anyone. I mean, do you see the whole picture we’re painting?”
“Yeah sure, the term kinda covers everyone. It’s not exclusive.”
“A big extended family,” adds Richie.
“I don’t really like the whole exclusiveness of things,” continues Dahnu,
“It pays to almost encompass as much love around all the people around Auckland, cos there’s no doubt you’re gonna meet them in the street, or meet them in a random situation where they could possibly help you or fuck you over.’’
I couldn’t agree more.
Surveying the room, everything’s pretty relaxed. The oregano on a plate on the coffee table looks very realistic.
“We’re gonna get high just from being in here” says Greta, as she helps Rabie set up a shot of Lucky sitting pensively in an armchair.
“What, really? Nah, I can hardly smell It,” I say, glancing round the flat’s roomy interior.
Rabie gets a few shots of Lucky and Dahnu together. They’re such naturals. It makes me laugh, how much the camera loves them. But then Beach Pigs aren’t just about looking good – their shows have an awesome live energy. Their songs are short sharp and punchy; they’re one of those bands that can lift any party, always sounding super fresh.
From here the shoot moves outdoors. It’s a clear winter’s night and there’s a bracing chill in the air as they stride and skateboard through Lynn Mall car park, then wander up past the train station through a glass walled walkway.
I feel like I’m watching some sort of nature documentary while they muck around at a bus stop, occasionally doing tricks on their skateboards. These are our groms in their ‘natural habitat’.
To me, this video is about those many nights out with your friends, having freedom to roam.
Dahnu agrees, “Yes, freedom to roam. That’s the world that you’ve given yourself, when you start encompassing all these people, because you’re able to go to all these different places because you have these relationships – from these parties and meeting people in the night.
I kind of think of it as travelling. Not travelling overseas, but travelling through your own city.”
*’booti’ – (rhymes with footy) meaning big, fat or substantial in size
Photography by Rabie Alburaiky