Tour Stories :: wAFF - Car Crashes, Bombings and the Massai

Words by: wAFF, Tom Leek
Posted: 13/3/18 14

wAFF is a funny funny fella. Over to him.

The city I would move to one day...

I’ve always wanted to live in Barcelona. I was actually planning to move there a couple of years ago but unfortunately it never quite worked out. Instead I moved to London. I know deep down I will live in LA someday. I have always wanted to live in the States and as I want to get back into acting and film, LA makes the most sense and would be a great shout. In fact, yeah, I really want to live there!

The last place to blow my mind...

This would have to be Peru, when I visited all the sacred sites and Inca trails. We saw so much there including The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. When we were there--with out realising-- we some how ended up climbing Wayna Picchu. Originally the idea was to climb Machu Pichu itself but when we arrived at the bottom, the guide pointed at this absolutely massive mountain and said, “Nope we climb this one”. It went above the clouds and looked like it never stopped. I just turned round said “not a chance we are climbing that.” I don’t think the guide understood though as he just laughed. Lee and I from Pirate Copy couldn’t believe it. It was pissing it down and someone with us said "people actually die climbing this thing" so we quickly became a mixture of nervous, excited and couldn’t be arsed all at the same time.

It took us hours but it was so worth it. To be that high up and have climbed the whole thing was a real sense of achievement and to then look down from that view onto Machu Picchu was unreal. I had a really beautiful moment up there. I stood on the very edge of the Mountain for 20 minutes taking it all in. I do not know whether it was the view or the altitude but it was really emotional and an amazing place that I would advise everyone to try and visit.

I never get on a flight without...

I always make sure I have my Netflix series downloaded onto the app. A lot of people don’t know that you can actually download the Netflix app to your phone or iPad. You then have all your series and films offline and on the move. I just downloaded Amazon prime to watch 'Vikings' so that’s my current series of choice.

Recently, my tour manager and I both bought a Nintendo Switch for traveling. This is mint because we get so into the games time flies and travelling is easy. These are the essentials. Oh and of course Xanax. With this mental lifestyle Xanax is like a gift from the gods.

The most surreal thing to happen whilst travelling...

Hard one as so much happens on tour. I have so many stories I could pick, that its hard to choose which is best. One that comes to mind happened maybe 5-6 years ago. I was playing for the first time in Stoke on Trent in the UK. I had missed the last train, (which was standard behaviour back then as I had been at a sesh somewhere) so I had to get a taxi from London to Stoke, which as you well know is not ideal (3 hours minimum).

At some point on the journey I fell asleep, but about half way there I hear this bang and the car starts swerving on the road. The driver was shitting himself. I had just woken up and was shitting myself and to make it worse the car went out of control for a couple of seconds. 10 minutes later we had both calmed down and I thought sound, time to get back to sleep. Again out of know where… BANG! This time we had the full works, smoke, sparks the lot! The two rear tires had exploded; the rear bumper was dragging along the floor and we were flying at 70mph. The driver started praying and I started shouting at him… “you can pray once you get the car under control” and “You're drunk! How could you do this?” The car really was all over the place so much so we hit the central reservation and spun a fall 360 before stopping on the other side of the road. It was a pretty intense moment as you could imagine.

Thankfully the police arrived shortly afterwards and after explaining my situation they put the lights on and took me to Stoke where I arrived 40 minutes before the club closed. They had been waiting for me for so long that when I finally arrived the club went absolutely mental. I walked through the door and the place exploded. I had 40 minutes to make everyone happy so I played every banging tune that I could think of which did the job. I ended up going back to the afters at a student house and played there as well.

Ever since then I have a bit of an affinity with the people of Stoke and when I return the vibe is always really good. In fact last time I went back there was this massive banner with my face on that read “wAFFter party part 2”. A negative situation turned into a positive situation pretty quickly.

The daftest thing I’ve ever done whilst travelling...

I have done so many daft things since I have been DJing. I could write a book with the amount of stupid shit I’ve done and the stuff I’ve fucked up. But ill just pick one thing that comes to mind.

There was a gig I did with Steve Bug and Audiofly; I think it was in Lisbon. I got so drunk and fucked up that I didn’t sleep and went to the airport still fully awake. I was in such a rush to make check in I got there did the formalities and in a panic accidentally put my passport in my luggage which then went onto the conveyor belt and into the abyss. It was only when I was queuing up at security that I realised I didn’t have a passport so I ran back to the desk and had to explain what happened. They told me my luggage was already on the flight and here I was standing at the check in desk, no passport. I had to ask the staff to get one of the guys who work in the airport to find my bag get my passport out.

This process as you could imagine took a while and I was already running late from partying. When they finally found it I had 10 minutes to get through security, get to the terminal and board the flight. I am sprinting through the airport (on no sleep), which felt like forever. I finally arrived at the gate out of breath, sweating my tits off and to make everything worse the flight was then delayed 40 minutes. To end the tale of crapness when I sat down and my brand new iphone fell from my pocket and smashed the whole screen meaning I had no phone for the rest of the tour. So was crap. But this is one of 10,000 stories of stuff like that.

The most unique place I’ve ever played...

Well my answer to this question is always Burning Man, by a long shot. There’s simply nowhere else in the world like it and getting to play there is just such an amazing experience. I always talk about Burning Man so I’m going to talk about another unique place instead.

Beirut is one of the maddest places I have been. I’ve played twice now and it’s so sick there, amazing people and they love music. Recently when I went, there had just been a bombing in the area a week or so before I arrived. On the way from the airport there was blown up parts of buildings and shit all over, the streets were hectic with cars and no proper road system and the military were everywhere with rifles whilst army tanks drove around avoiding all the debris from the bombings. It felt really surreal being there.

Whilst I was there another bombing happened and the guys I was playing for knew a family that got killed in the bombing. This was a really sad moment when we discussed it, but I was really happy to be there and to play music to these people that have to live in a world like that. Everyone was just the best people, happy and full of life. It was a great experience each time I have played, but definitely one of the most unique places I’ve ever played.

The last place to blow my mind...

The last place to blow my mind has got to be when I went to Africa in January and spent the day with the Massai Tribe.

This experience was so overwhelming and there were a lot of feelings involved. I was very emotional from start to finish. Just to be in the presence of these people was an amazing experience. To see how they live and how they are. The way they talk to each other and how they act was just unbelievably interesting, I felt very grateful to be amongst them. I felt so many different things with them and had a couple of mad experiences to which I will go into more detail.

So much of it was unreal; it was a bit awkward and embarrassing at points as well. I was making a documentary at the time documenting my time in Africa with my best friend Dani and my manager Sheff, and we decided this should include our time with the Massai. There was a point where I had to go and do the dancing with them. I was jumping around with the Massai warriors that are the men, but it was just all a little weird and awkward. Just to be clear, this was not in a bad way but I think anyone would find it weird (for a westerner) to go to a tribe and start holding hands with the men (because that’s what they do) whilst jumping around making high pitch screams for 30 minutes.

The other thing is the men didn’t really want to hold my hand at first. One guy who I tried to hold hands with just looked at me like some weirdo but then this other dude came over and was like, ‘fuck it I’ll do it’ and we went mad after that.

Then there was a point when a few of them stood in a group facing each other whilst singing, dancing and chanting whilst everyone dancing in circles around them. As you go around you are meant to grab one of the female Massai hands and bring them into the circle and dance with them. Unfortunately when a weird, fat, hairy white guy from Hull arrives with his big fat manager Sheff they aren’t so keen to grab your hand and dance, as they are when the Massai warrior is offering. So there I was skipping around this circle on my own, passing by the women reaching out to grab them and getting rejected and laughed at. I went round twice feeling awkward as fuck before one of them finally grabbed my hand. 

Honestly, so many things happened there but one thing that really blew my mind and really affected me the most involved one of the tribeswoman. She was called Sara and she was the only one who could speak English, she also happened to be beautiful.The more time we spent with them the more I kept noticing Sara. She could definitely tell because she ended up doing the same with me to a point where we would keep catching each other looking. We kept doing that awkward flirty thing people do when they look at each other then look away and all that shit. Like I said, she was also the only one that spoke English so we were speaking to her loads and translating through her for the documentary. There were points where she would get embarrassed and find it hard to speak to me properly because we were flirting. Honestly it was a really mental situation and we just kept giggling at each other like little kids flirting for the first time.

Fuck knows what was going on but I remember being sat in a dark mud hut with Sara and another 6 women plus my best mate and Sheff. We were snorting snuff with them, don’t know what it was but that’s what they all get high on. I was just thinking, “this is the maddest fucking thing I’ve ever done. I’m flirting with one of the women and she’s flirting back. Her husband is stood outside with a spear in his hand. What the fuck is actually going on right now”. So eventually the day came to an end and we had to leave them gifts, which know one told us about before hand. Thinking on my feet I just gave Sara my hoodie and baseball cap. This was funny to see her in a baggy hoodie and cap to the side, well random.

Sara and me said goodbye to each other three times, and I didn’t want to leave her. Genuinely something happened to me with her, some weird connection I just can’t explain but I really didn’t want to leave, it was a sad moment. We gave each other a big hug and that was it, we left!

The funny thing was at the end, all the Massai warriors (the men) all started laughing and taking the piss out of one of the guys and pointing to Sara and me. The guy actually walked off with his head in his hands, so my mate Dani and I assumed that they were laughing at his wife flirting with me. Well at least that’s what it seemed. So yeah, I think that definitely answers your question!

I miss Sara (whilst sat crying in the bath answering this).


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