Groundswell lineup just gets better n’ better. Interview with Donavon Frankenreiter

Photos: Courtesy of Billabong

Donavon Frankenreiter Artist, musician, professional surfer, father, husband – Donavon Frankenreiter is all these things and more, and he’s bringing his unique act to Groundswell this summer.

What’s happening in your world right now Donavon?

I’ve just come off playing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, which was a bit of a lifelong dream. You know to look around and see these amazing artists and to be a part of it was amazing. Now I’m touring the East Coast of the States, so getting a few waves in and having a blast. That brings up a point of the mix of surfer and artist.

Where do you see yourself?

Look I’m just a surfer that somehow got lucky. Probably through my surfing I’ve been lucky to reach a wider audience playing my guitar and the style of music that I’ve played since high school. I don’t see art, or music and surfing as being two distinct things, for me they feed off each other, and keep each other powered up. And the cool thing is I tend to play my music at night, leaving me time to surf during the day.

So your surfing is major inspiration for your music?

In a way, as it’s just a massive, integral part of my life. Probably my main inspiration though is my wife and my children. For me to be a husband and father and to create music that allows me to be a good at both. The surfing feeds into that, but that’s a driving force. I’ve been married for more than 10 years, and that journey, and the addition of my two children has shaped me and my music.

And you and the clan will be heading over to Europe to play this summer?

Yeah we are super buzzed. We’re heading to play Groundswell in France in September, which I’m psyched on. I just love that part of the world and have spent huge chunks of great times there. The amazing waves, the food, the wine, and they really know how to party. It’s a place where it’s all about the lifestyle. It’s just a special place and I’m looking forward to playing some music to a bunch of cool people.

And you’ll get the chance to check out the other acts?

Well that’s one of the great things about playing these festivals. I can get the chance to watch and hang out with the other acts. To see Kelis or Newton Faulkner, its pretty inspirational.

Will you be hanging around to surf?

Well yeah, its the ultimate place to surf and party and all in the one day! And if those beachbreaks of Hossegor are smoking I won’t be going anywhere.

And artistically and musically we will be seeing a new direction at Groundswell?

In some ways. My new album Glow is a progression. I mean I’m not about changing who I am or my approach. These songs came so easily and naturally, but we’ve added a bit more of an electric approach, and with some echo and delay on the record. I don’t want to say it’s a risk, but I don’t know what people are going to think. Either way, they are simply songs from the heart and are about people enjoying themselves and the music. That’s the simple goal, that’s all I’m trying to do when I play and record. Hopefully people will get into it.


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