We went on a campervan tour of America's West Coast with Andhim
The German house duo swapped the usual schedule of flights for the open road
“That masterpiece of engineering has everything a real trucker could ask for: beds, shower, toilet, microwave. We lived in worse places when we were younger!” jokes Simon of the RV as he runs his hands through his dark, curly hair. For teutonic DJ odd couple AndHim (Tobias is the other, bigger, red-bearded one), who live in an endless DJ Groundhog Day of pre-booked flights, hotels, taxis, and nightclubs, the RV offered an uncommon chance to write their own destiny. “Usually we are forced to take flights at specific times, but we made our own schedule. Of course we had to make sure to be on time for the shows, but in between we were super spontaneous and flexible. That was the most significant difference to a normal tour, and also the most enjoyable.”
“Besides being on the road, the parties we played were amazing. The start of the tour in San Diego set the bar very high,” says Simon. “After the show we transformed the RV into an afterparty with CDJs and a soundsystem. There were about 15 people inside and we ended up playing back-to-back until quite late. This was also the night I got my first panties.”
“One day we went to a very authentic taco place in San Diego where you had to queue forever,” recalls Simon. Besides your classic chorizo and pollo, the joint also had some specialties that the daring crew had to try — including brain, tongue and head tacos. “Apart from the brain taco they were surprisingly good. The brain was actually not that bad — but I mean, it’s brain. Why would you want to eat a brain? It was probably still the freshest and most nutritious food we had on this tour.”
After the first three California shows the boys went camping in the redwood forests north of San Francisco. “This was the first time we really started to experience the wildlife on the tour,” says Simon. Equipped with coolers overflowing with beers and miles of German sausages, the crew — which included Peter, the promoter of Public Works, his wife and friends — had an extended BBQ until the sun rose in the east once again. “It was also the time where we shotgunned beers like teenagers! That night sleeping in the RV was terrible; it was super cold and wet. We also didn’t bring enough blankets so we had to sleep fully dressed,” he recalls, shaking his head at the memory. “It didn’t help that some idiot forgot to close the windows during the night.”
“We still wanted to spend more time in nature so we decided to drive back south to Big Sur. It was the best drive of the whole tour: stunning views, beautiful nature and barely any people. Luckily Griffin’s friend Ben had an amazing mother who cooked a delicious meal and let us shower at her house. That was also the night some of us slept in a real house, which was badly needed.”
“We were all pretty much high on something and tried to find the perfect spot,” says Simon of one twilight where they joined about 10 surfer kids to watch the sunset at a remote lookout. “Problem was the woods were full of poison ivy; it was literally everywhere.” The motley team worked themselves into a lather thinking they had got the rash-inducing plant all over them. “One of the kids explained that it takes about eight hours before you could feel it and that the pain would last for two to three days. So we got all paranoid. One of the guys who took acid burned his pants on the bonfire.
“The following day we decided to play a spontaneous live set at a beautiful mansion on top of a hill in Big Sur. There couldn’t have been a better venue This little town is really magic.”
“We took turns driving. And by we I mean Griffin, Josh and me,” explains Simon of their crew, which included cameraman Manoah and tour managers Griffin and Josh. “Surprise – Tobias doesn’t have a driver’s license! So his main contribution was sleeping and selecting music for our listening pleasure. The more I think about it, the more I get the feeling this was a real holiday for him.”
“Driving was not easy. First of all, it’s different to drive a wobbly 30-foot RV through cities and small streets; you really have to concentrate. And parking was a nightmare. Most of the time we had to park in shady neighborhoods and sleep with one eye open. Secondly, it’s not easy to drive after a long party night with a hangover, shaky hands and bloodshot eyes. But besides a couple of innocent scratches we had no accidents at all. Well, we had to slam on the brakes a few times. One time some idiot [Griffin] hadn’t closed the fridge properly so everything flew through the car. We had hummus, ham, toast and salsa splashed everywhere. It happened two or three more times during our trip.
“Our diet was probably the worst we’ve ever had. The whole RV was filled with chips, nachos, nuts, Gummy Bears, chocolate... the worst thing we ate were microwaved 39-cent burritos! To feel better about ourselves we bought pallets of Vitamin Water, which made it all worse I guess,” he laughs, almost in pain at the thought. “The whole tour was terrible for our bodies: shitty food, no exercise, no sleep and a ton of parties. It was like an anti-health campaign. A protest against all the cold-pressed juices and Acai bowls of the world!”
On the fourth day the devil himself came to collect for the AndHim crew, in the form of a problem with the toilet, which saw sewage overflow the cabin. “There was green water all over the floor and a smell from hell. And if you ever have to go and empty the tank, always check that the place you empty it to isn’t already full. We didn’t. It was a trauma we still haven’t fully recovered from...”
Andhim’s ‘Donner’ EP is out now on
This feature was in the August issue of Mixmag