“Take a dark and psychedelic voyage with Creed McTaggart as he messes with the hostile waters of Western Australia’s Indian Ocean, set to one mind bending 10 minute track by Sleepy Sun. Abyss sends you back in time as it unveils and transforms a grip of differing shapes, sounds and personalities.”
It started with a song. A composition called White Dove, written by Sleepy Sun, that shakes its way through various movements over 10 minutes. It’s this song that formed the basis for Jay Grant’s new film, Abyss, starring Creed McTaggart. You know Creed. He’s Epokhe’s newest (and first) band member. He doesn’t use a tailpad. He has the roundedness in his surfing that one gets from growing up in West Oz. Stab is very fond of Creed as a young man to drink beer with and also to watch in the water. And, the manoeuvre that begins at six minutes and forty-three seconds into Abyss is as cool as you’ll see in 2013. Stab sat down with Creed on the Gold Coast to discuss Abyss and WA and tailpads and other things like that.
Watch the film above and then read the interview below. Or, the other way around. Whatever blows your hair back. We live in an age of freedom!
Stab: What gave birth to this whole dance?
Creed: I’m good mates with the guys who run Soggy Bones magazine. They did an article on Sleepy Sun and I read it, as did Jay Grant. We started listening to their music and we found this one song, White Dove, that goes for 10 minutes. We thought it’d be cool to do a short film to it. Originally we were gonna do it with heaps of people, then Jay ended up coming over for a month (to WA) and staying with me. We got really good waves, and midway through it we thought, “Should we just do it all on me?” It was so cool, we’d wake up early in the morning, surf all day, then edit all night. Tom Jennings would come down from Perth and shoot water. Chris Bryan came over, too, and shot land, a couple of really nice silhouette shots of North Point.
As much as anything else, it seems like a real snapshot of the WA landscape. It is, definitely. We wanted to say, this is home and this is where I grew up. It’s such a beautiful place with so much wildlife. I love living there. The whole thing was shot in a month and the waves are so good. It’s a little taste of Margaret River. It’s so raw, so extreme, there’s flies and 30-knot seabreezes, then you wake up at 5am and it’s freezing cold, then by lunchtime it’s 40 degrees. It’s harder to go surfing three times a day there than it is on the east coast. You’ve gotta be real keen. Then there’s the sharks, which is sketchy and always on your mind. That scares the shit out of me. When we were filming, waking up early, it’s really hard to find people to come surfing with you. You don’t want to surf on your own.
The film is varied. Because Jay was staying close by, we’d constantly go through the footage and be like, we’ve got this and that, let’s work on getting more backhand stuff, or, let’s go hunt some barrels today. And living in West Oz you can kinda do that ’cause there’s such a wide variety of waves. You can wake up in the morning and go, I wanna get barrelled, so you go surf some little slab. Then you can go, I wanna surf a fun little beachie, and you can go do that. By the time it’s 10am it’s onshore, so there’s ramps galore everywhere.
Tell me about the song. It’s psychedelic rock and the song goes through so many highs and lows. There’s tapping sticks, it goes through a rock, grungy section, then it goes through a full drum solo, then it ends on an acoustic, chilled-out vibe. There’s this one section where it’s shot at good, barreling North Point, and it just goes through a drum solo, there’s hi-hats when the wave’s chandeliering, it’s sick. It fits really well with the surfing, especially the water footage and the landscape of Margaret River and West Oz.
Tailpads, or lack thereof. Discuss. Two or three years ago, I got a bunch of boards sent over to WA. I didn’t have any tailpads and the waves were meant to be pumping. I just waxed them up, went surfing and it felt heaps better. I didn’t think I’d be able to do an air, but then I got used to it and started using Fu Wax and a comb, now I’d much prefer it. I love picking up a board with no deckgrip and feeling the tail out, having all that freedom when you’re on the board. You can move your feet around and you’re not getting stuck in putting your foot right at the back all the time. Sometimes I’ve done a floater and come down and my back foot has slipped off, and I’ve done the full splits. But that’s rare. I fall off a lot, but I don’t blame it on not having a tailpad. It’s just my surfing capabilities.
Are we going to see more of these 10-15 minute online movies? I think so, f’sure. I really like them. For instance, when (skater) Dylan Rieder did that Dylan clip with Gravis, that was so smart ’cause it was just 10 minutes of banger after banger. There’s no fillers in there and people were just like, this is crazy. Because it’s shorter, it’s easier to work around a storyline or have more of a theme, and carry that theme for 10 minutes, rather than 40 minutes, where it gets a bit boring after a while. I really rate the short film, hopefully we see more of them.
So, did you go with more of an all-bangers formula? There’s a fair bit of lifestyle, it’s certainly not 10 minutes of surf porn. There’s some weird, trippy landscape shots. We only shot for a short amount of time and wanted to only put the best stuff we got in there. It’s not the craziest surfing you’ve ever seen but it’s pretty fun and hopefully people get psyched off it.
Scooped up by Epokhe, must’ve been like a golden ticket to someone of your generation? Yeah! I’m sponsored by Globe so I did a trip down to Cabo with them and Dion was there. We got on really well, he’s one of those people who’s loved by anyone that meets him, ’cause he’s such a fucking legend. I was riding for Arnette at the time, and my contract was nearly finishing at the end of the year. Dion and I had kept in touch and when my Arnette contract finished, Epokhe sent me a contract. It didn’t feel like you were riding for a company, it just felt like you were riding for mates. We did the sickest trip down the south coast in mid-January. Doing a trip with Dion and Mitch? I was losing it. I’ve looked up to them ever since I was young. They’re a real big inspiration for me, not just in their surfing but the way they’ve gone about things. They’re really nice, genuine people and they take chances. They’re full of ideas, Dion doesn’t have a day where he’s not coming up with crazy shit. It rubbed off and I’ve been coming up with bits and pieces, which is a little bit how Abyss came about. Y’know, trying to do something off your own back. – Elliot Struck