Surf duo and their happy accident


Surf Friends’ funky electronic beats came about purely by accident – literally. 

Firstly, bass guitarist Pete Westmoreland broke his wrist in a skateboarding tumble just before a national tour with American indie rockers The Black Watch in December last year. 

Then drummer Kelly Davis from the original Surf Friends trio, which formed in early 2009, got seriously sick and couldn’t play. 

That left singer-guitarist Brad Coley, 24, and injured Westmoreland, 25, on their own and desperate to amp up their sound – and they ended up producing their best work yet. 

Westmoreland trained up on a keyboard and ran it through a guitar pedal to reproduce the bass while Coley explored other options. 

“That’s when I started doing some programming on the computer and got a drum machine and stuff and started using that – and we went electronic,” Coley explains. 

“Then we were like ‘s**t this actually sounds epic’,” he says. 

Surf Friend’s previous folksy feel was transformed into a two-piece “kind of electronic” sound similar to early tunes by British chart veterans New Order. 

Coley admits the “dancy electronic stuff with rock and roll, Dunedin-sounding guitars” is a crazy combo. 

“It’s weird that it works to be honest – it’s something that shouldn’t go together,” he says. 

Almost a year on, Coley, a builder and Westmore­land, an out-of-work trainee accountant who mows lawns for a living, aren’t in a hurry to change their act. 

“We just grew into this thing and we’ll stick with this. The way it all happened was a full accident and now we’re not just another drums, guitar and bass guitar band. Now we’re, like, something kind of different,” Coley says. 

Their debut album Confusion, released last Monday, follows the Surf Friends’ change in direction, he states. 

The Auckland-based surfing duo is on a whirlwind tour of the country, playing 18 gigs in the space of a month. 

They started last Friday in Hamilton and finish in Auckland on November 7. 

They’re stopping off in Queenstown – for the first time – for their midweek gig before continuing to bunny-hop their way around New Zealand. 

“I’ve never been down to Queenstown before, so I’m amping about that,” Coley says.