Andrew ‘Droid’ Doheny is back, and if you need proof of that, we suggest you watch the film above.
Short Circuit is a portrait of a dude who, like many before him, took a couple of wrong turns and ended up in a pretty dark place, but then made his way out of that place and is now surfing better than ever. I got on the phone with Andrew today to talk about the new film, his new album and his journey with mental health.
Short Circuit is awesome, man, congrats!
Thank you, dude.
So, you’re on Former now?
Yeah, I’m on Former!
Talk us through how that came about.
Well, I was riding for Volcom and things weren’t really working out. I think the company was having trouble surviving, so they were cutting a lot of people’s pay. And I kinda saw what was going to happen to me two years down the line, you know? Like, the contract I got pretty much said I was gonna be dropped the next year or making, like, a hundred bucks a month or something like that.
Yeah, so I was like, I’m just gonna quit now. And I was in a place where—and this is gonna sound silly—I was kinda soul searching with my surfing and my art, my music and everything, and I just kinda… I didn’t really care about being one of a bundle of people on a surf team anymore. So, I left. And I was like, Well, what else is out there, y’know? What can I be a part of that’s different and a bit smaller, tighter and newer?
And when I think of things that are rad and honest, I think of Dane—so I called Dane. And we talked about it… I didn’t really care to get any money, I just kinda wanted to be a part of it. And he said, ‘cool,’ threw me on board, brought me on some surf trips, and now here we are.
So, you’ve got Short Circuit and a new album out, too, Royal Dog Shit.
Yeah, Royal Dog Shit. Dane played a big part in the album as well as, obviously, Short Circuit.
That’s awesome. In Short Circuit you talk about how you had a bit of a freak-out a while back. Can we talk about that?
Yeah, no worries.
Well, first I just wanna say I’m stoked you’re being open about it because when I was, like, twenty-three I had a full-on meltdown of my own.
Yeah, I don’t know what you’d call it, just like a nervous breakdown, I guess. I never told anyone at the time because I was ashamed it’d happened to me, that my brain had capsized, you know? But I was really lucky; I eventually told a friend and he put me onto a therapist, but, like… It took almost two years for me to feel normal again.
Oh, yeah, it can take a while.
Anyway, when I watched Short Circuit yesterday and you were being so open about it, I was just like, that’s so fucking cool, because maybe some kid is gonna watch it and not feel alone, and also know that you can survive this stuff and come out the other side.
Yeah, yeah, I mean, I feel like the more truth you can share the better off you’re going to be, you know?
For me, it had so much to do with the movie and the album. Basically, when I called Dane about Former, I’d just got out of rehab, but then six months later I got into drugs again. Obviously, it starts off small but then goes back to full-bore, you know?
So, then I had like this kinda psycho-spiritual freak-out, I guess, where it was hard to say what was real and what wasn’t.
Yeah, so a couple of trips to the psych ward.
What triggered it, do you think?
This new album had a lot to do with why it all happened; I was deep into my music and trying to write; I was in another world. And I kept making these deadlines for when I wanted the album to be done, and then I’d get to the deadline and it wouldn’t be finished, so I’m freaking out, and all the stress from that kinda contributed to me falling apart. And I was trying to use drugs as a way to feel normal, but you just end up making your breakdown happen even quicker, you know?
I totally know what you’re saying. When I lost my shit, it was because I was smoking pot every day and doing pills and acid.
Yeah, those drugs will do that [laughs]
Well, I’m glad you’re okay, man, and I’m glad you can talk about it. Your brain is rad now, right?
Oh, yeah, my brain is rad now [laughs]. I’m doing pretty good. I’m sober, I have really good support from Dane and Former, I have the new movie coming out—which is really pumping me up; and the album is out, which is a really big weight off my shoulders. I’m not one-hundred percent mentally back and calm, you know? I’m still anxious a lot of the time, still a bit high-strung and… fragile. But overall, I’ve got enough power in me to go forward for, hopefully, ever.
I’ve still got some time to go before my brain and my body is back to one-hundred percent, but I’m feeling pretty good, and I’ve started writing my next record and I’m really looking forward to going surfing a lot too. So, I’m just gonna concentrate on those two things and see how far I can get with them.
That’s rad. Do you meditate? I guess surfing is probably your mediation, right?
Actually, playing my guitar is like my meditating. When I play my guitar I, like, go to a different place and feel really good. Surfing is meditating for me too, but there’s so much history attached to that, so much drama from over the years, and sometimes when I surf, a lot of these old feelings resurface, like stress or anxiety or somethin’… I’m kind of on a spiritual search for surfing right now, I’m trying to figure out… you know, like, a new way to have fun with it. I’m just figuring that all out right now. I still love surfing, and I love it when I’m doing it, but I’m just finding my spiritual, relaxing part with that, I guess.
When you say spiritual, do you mean that centred sort of ‘flow state’ feeling?
Yeah, just like one with your board and the ocean, like your board is a living thing under your feet.
Well, I have no doubt you’ll sort that out pretty quick.
Yeah, thanks, man. Dane’s been calling me up to go to Ventura a lot, and surfing with him is just fun, y’know? There’s no competition, no stress… It’s like surfing with an older brother or something.