Former surf instructor Richard Morris has been revisiting his old haunts by trawling surf camps across Europe with his band and special guest George Holroyd.
We had a moment to catch him when he came up for air to talk about boobs, Noah’s f*****g Ark and wiff-waff…
Was there such thing as a standard day on tour?
The only thing “standard” about our time on tour was that wherever we went it absolutely pissed it down. Living and working in SW France I knew how quickly the Atlantic can change her mind and how the sky can suddenly let go with spectacular fashion. Considering that 80% of our venues were outside it wasn’t really until a week before the tour that I quickly started asking the question “What if it rains?”. It just so turns out that I had managed to handpick the wettest week of the summer which saw us dodging in and out of truly biblical lightning storms.
Noah was building a f*****g great big Ark and we were ready to call off the show in fear of damaging our equipment
The weather albeit not on our side made for some very memorable moments and in particular our second show in Spain was anything but ‘standard’. I’m still not entirely sure what happened that night but as per usual Noah was building a f*****g great big Ark and we were ready to call off the show in fear of damaging our equipment. Without warning and out of no-where, 50 cross-dressing dutch children descended upon us like a well planned military operation. WTF? The show must go on! It wasn’t our biggest turn out but it was certainly the best! Things only got better and almost as soon as our amazing support act George Holroyd kicked off his set, the rain stopped and by the time we took to the stage the good people of Cantabria turned out in their hundreds! We still have no idea where those children came from or why they were dressed in wetsuits, tacky lipstick and enough glow sticks to light a small ship but I thank them from the bottom of my British heart for turning up in the rain like true champions! #dutchfandom
Oh! I totally forgot to mention that we also played a show on a skate ramp!
How has the tour and music been received?
I signed eight pairs of boobs over the tour so I guess you could say it was a success?!
Boobs aside, it’s always a little bit nerve wracking playing to a new audience who firstly don’t know your songs and secondly don’t speak the same language as you! Fortunately, the language barrier was never an issue and we found ourselves playing to a really wide and varied international audience. The tour was sponsored by Star Surf Camps and without them the tour would have been a logistical nightmare and completely impossible! I’ve worked for Star for the last two years and one of the main reasons I love working from them is that I get to meet people from all walks of life!
Leading up to the tour Star had been promoting the shows at each destination which provided an abundance of surf camps from across the world turning up to our shows. It was awesome to play to so many nationalities of like-minded people and on the day of the EP release our iTunes figures showed sales in the UK, Ireland, Spain, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Estonia, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, France and Sweden! We also managed to shift 180 CD’s over six shows which I was super stoked about!
How are you finding the change from Surf Instructor to Singer/Songwriter?
The hardest struggle I’ve had this summer has not been transitioning from one to another but in fact trying to juggle both simultaneously. After eight hours of teaching at the beach I just wanted to go for a free surf or play ping-pong, rather than sending 100 press releases and knuckling down to business! In the past I’ve always felt like I had to make the decision between surfing or music. Especially when I was choosing Universities, I chose Plymouth to study BSc (Hons) Applied Marine Sports Science over Music at ACM. Even now that is not a decision I regret nor would I change. At the time I really appreciated being surrounded by like minded people who wanted to surf and for the first time I found my academic feet applying science to something I loved. Fortunately, I had a pretty monumental and epic split with a girlfriend and I say fortunately because my songwriting went into overdrive and most of the songs you can hear on the EP stemmed from that time! However, after university my goals were clear, I wanted to surf and travel. I spent eight months working at Talalla Surf Camp in Sri Lanka. For the entire time I was content with life and barely looked at a guitar or thought about writing.
The tour was an absolute pipe dream and if it’s a glimpse of the future it’s one I’m prepared to work long and hard for
It was only last summer when I started to play a few acoustic shows to the guests at Star Surf Camps that I realised how silly I’d been letting music fade to a point where I was struggling to remember my own lyrics. The feedback and response I was getting enthused me to finally take my music seriously and record the EP in November. Things have escalated faster than I could ever have imagined. I have a fantastic band, a record I’m proud of and for once I feel totally engulfed and passionate about my music. I will always love surfing, but for now I’m ready to take a step back and throw all I have into songwriting and playing more shows to everyone who has supported me so far. The tour was an absolute pipe dream and if it’s a glimpse of the future it’s one I’m prepared to work long and hard for.
How has the EP launch gone?
Incredibly well! After shooting to the 22 spot on the UK album chart, iTunes have featured the EP for 3 consecutive weeks on their Singer/Songwriter page amongst the likes of Frank Turner and Iron and Wine. The kind chaps at Apple also placed us 4th on the New Music page and added us to Apple Music’s (UK) Singer/Songwriter page!
The EP has sold copies in over 14 different countries, won ‘Record of the Week’ on BBC Isle of Wight Radio and has been featured by the hugely popular ‘London’ Instagram with over 1.3 million followers for a promotional video they produced for Eurostar and the new connection line between London and Marseille.
Whose idea was the surf camp tour?
I was initially planning to release the EP independently in April however after signing to a distribution company the release was pushed back until August. I had always wanted to do a big party to celebrate the arrival of the EP however I had already committed to going back to France to work as a Surf Instructor with Star Surf for the summer. That’s when the legend that is Joe (co-owner of Star Surf) proposed the idea of doing a tour across all of their camps. Naturally, I jumped at the chance and after a few logistical coffee’s, 2000 miles and six epic shows the tour was over before I knew it! Notably without Joe’s support and all round radness the tour wouldn’t have been possible! So a massive thank you to my #starsurffamily!
Check out Richard’s music right here, right now…
What is next on the Richard Morris Bucketlist?
Lots! I’ll be playing my first show back in the UK on 19 September at the Seafront Sessions in Portsmouth (tickets £5 in adv / £7 otd) and I’ll also be hosting my very first official video premiere for my single ‘What is Love’ on 24 October! For now though, I’m going to watch Jurassic 5 at Bestival and look forward to spending my first Christmas at home in four years with my sisters!