They had dirt on their faces and adventure in their eyes. Alex and Koa Smith are sitting across from me in a weirdly trendy breakfast café in Bali. They'd just gotten back from a three-day-run of surfing perfect Deserts and hiking volcanoes in gas-masks — looking for blue flames or something — which was on the tail end of a three-month run of experiencing every slice of life that Indonesia has to offer. There was a certain kind enthusiasm about them both. It was the contagious kind.
In between bites of egg somethings, Alex told me about what it was like filming for Last Name First’s latest project: Spice Island, which launches on surfingmagazine.com later this month. And below, you’ll learn why that should excite you. –Beau Flemister
Tell us about your upcoming project.
Alex Smith: Koa and I love Indonesia — this place just calls us. It’s magical. So we can here for this video project with the goal to share that feeling for everyone to experience. The focus was more on innovative filming techniques and hitting locations within Indonesia that grabbed our attention. Then a one month trip turned into three months, and we had to extend our visas and basically move in.
But there's a concept, right?
Yeah, about two months into the trip we came up with the direction. We wanted to experience Indonesia in a multi-dimensional way and follow everything that interested us without too much hesitation. Long story short, the goal with this edit is to capture a sense of curiosity in the world and inspire people to tune into it. Our plan was to have no plan, and then act on the callings that felt right…which ended up leading us into having the best trip of our lives. At the pinnacle of the trip, we went from pumping Deserts on Lombok, to a ‘What So Not’ pool-party in Kuta, then drove to Java for an all-night hike up to Mt. Ijin Volcano, then snorkeled on Menjangan Island after that — all within a few days.
Um…wow. So Spice Island is about following that bliss, huh?
It's about bringing to life our shared inner-voice for adventure into the unknown. The video follows us through Indonesia until we are fully immersed in Spice Island, which is a figment of our imagination, a place that hosts our simplest but most powerful desires: perfect waves in a the most tropical paradise imaginable.
Last Name First edits always have babes. What are we to expect in Spice Island?
I cringe at the thought of LNF being put into that category. I realize that’s how it started when we were young, but I want our future projects to show more beauty rather than just the racy stuff. That said, we want to shine light on the “wow” moments in life, and girls are a big part of creating that experience for us. Yes, Spice Island will have a babe, but not like our edits in the past.
Koa Smith. Music by Ekali.
Interesting. On another note, you and Koa seem to spend a whole lot of time with each other. That cool, or do you brothers ever wanna kill each other?
[laughs] Yeah, only when we get into each other's hair too much. As long as we have our own time to live, everything is healthy. I’m more into dreaming up concepts and he’s about living them; it’s a good balance. We’re great partners for a trip like this. If any idea made sense, we’d go do it, no excuses. We push each other a lot in that sense. Our goal is to break down limits, consciousness, sub-consciousness and physical limits.
Gnarliest thing you saw outside the water over there…
Well, the scariest moment was getting within a few feet of Mt. Ijen volcano's 'blue flame' at 4 in the morning, then getting engulfed by poisonous sulfur on the edge of a cliff while filming it all and getting yelled at by everyone for getting too close. The shot was sick though. DTrean killed it!
F–king awesome. You guys are like young surf adventurists. Not huge into the contest-thing, but more into churning out high quality work that everyone enjoys. What’s your philosophy that path?
It’s driving us to live life to the fullest. The goal is to dream up big concepts, go live them, then recreate it for everyone to experience. We want to inspire everyone to go out and enjoy what this world has to offer. Spice Island was a journey in two ways: experiencing the place and experiencing ourselves. I learned more in those three months than I did in the last three years of my life. Everything came together and when we finally made it back to America, everything had changed.