New History of Greece - Ikarus Commune - Part II
The commune was called The Ikarus. After the myth of Icarus and Daedalus. Where they built wings of feathers from eagles, attached them with wax of bees. But Daedalus warned Ikarus not to fly too close to the sun. Icarus did not listen and melted his wings and fell to the sea where he drowned. For the commune, it was an homage for creative people that so often walk the line between sanity and madness. The cave which a guy in a myth flew out of is above the village in the mountains.
In 2008 after the first visit, Tasos and I brought a group of artists from all over the world back to Crete. LA, NYC, London, Norway, Nashville, SF, Greece, Spain just to name a few. There was one more founding member Niko Kounenakis. He was the captain of the soccer team on Crete and Zoon's brother. An amazing person who believed in the same dream we did. We were all curious to see if the idea of starting an artist commune in the modern world could work. It was a summer of magic. At one point there were almost 30 artists all living in the ancient village. Wild nights of music and dance.
From this project Grouplove was born. There are 5 members. Christian Zucconi (vocals, guitar) from NYC, Hannah Hooper (vocals, keys) from SF, Sean Gadd (bass, vocals) from London, Andrew Wessen (guitar, vocals) and Ryan Rabin (drums) from LA. They were all here at the same time that summer. I met Hannah in NYC one day on a park bench. We spoke about the project and hours later we were in China Town at her studio. I was overcome with emotion when I saw her work and said she should really come to the commune. Turns out she was dating Christian the lead singer. Tasos had invited a guy named Sydney J Spencer, a singer from London. Sean Gadd was his friend. My brother Andrew invited his friend Ryan who was in Prague, Czech Republic at the time to play with him on the full moon for the festival at the end of summer. It was a special time for everyone here. Our concept was if you brought creative people together in an environment where time and money did not exist, would they rise or fall. Would something come together where people could worry about what they believe in rather than rent, cell phones, traffic, and all that goes along with life in a big city.
2008 saw a economic shock wave circle the globe. It was difficult to continue on such a level when so many people where loosing everything. But the flame never went out.
Tasos was always torn between music and surfing. He met a girl the first summer I was here named Isis, when we were searching for waves. From the moment he saw her, he knew she was the one. He could not get her out of his mind. We drove back, met her, and in one night she was in the car the next morning heading back to the ancient village. They did not leave the house for days and when they emerged Tas asked me to marry them on the beach in late October. After the ceremony which was only 1/2 a dozen people we all swam naked in the sea. Turned out the woman could sing. After 2008 they began working on music. They sold everything. The car, boards, gear, whatever it took to get to LA. Before leaving they met a guy named Crash in Athens who was a drummer and asked him if he wanted to go to LA to start a punk rock band. Who was also a pole vault champion of the Baltic's. The band is called Barb Wire Dolls and are now touring Europe after a long stay in the US... "Never give up and believe in your dreams" Tasos would always say to me.
Crete is a place that defines you. An energy center. The mirror is not foggy like it usually is in any big city. It is just you looking back at you. It brings the best and the worst to the surface. Where the choice is to turn and run or deal with it. The CST has been amazing to me and my brother. Helping us believe in the spirit of adventure and exploration. I never thought that it was possible to name a surf spot in this day and age. But it still is.
"Search and you will find." This island is magical, filled with myth and lore. Some real some not. As a young man I never thought that somewhere in the world could a place like this exist. Still untouched by much of the modern world. Where uncharted waves and ancient civilizations rule the landscape. Creative centers and a tribe of surfers scour the coast in search of the next discovery. But it is true, and it is real.
Photography by Matt Wessen and Anna Wessen, story written by Matt Wessen, edited by Anna Wessen