Aug 02, 2012|
I’ve loved music since I was very young. It started with luk thoong songs on my mother’s transistor radio then international music from the 50s and 60s when we got an FM radio.
The disco sound arose in the 80s while I was studying at Hat Yai University. My favorite band at the time was called The Position; I didn’t miss a single gig.
Then this one time, the DJ stole the show. It was DJ Noo Somkiat Chuangnisai, the Thai DJ Champion at the time. He totally blew away my favorite band. That’s when I knew I wanted to become a DJ.
I asked him to teach me how to DJ after I had been to many of his gigs and got to know him.
I dropped out of school to focus on DJing but I went back at my parents’ insistence. They convinced me that I should finish my studies and hold onto my Muslim roots. I got back into the DJ scene after graduating in the early 90s.
DJ Wasana Wirachartplee’s radio show was then the only one playing the new wave of alternative bands like Blur, Suede and Manic Street Preachers.
I realized we didn’t have enough coverage of this growing music trend. So I went to see DJ Wasana and told her I wanted to start GT Magazine (Generation Terrorist). I picked the first 10 people who answered a question on DJ Wasana’s program to be the writers.
The alt-era was all about being creative. So in starting something I had to make it fresh. I’m not a graduate in journalism or mass communication, passion alone drives me. The first issue of GT was produced on a PC.
The magazine wasn’t just about music, but offering a different perspective, an alternate lifestyle, and encouraging people to think outside the box and dare to be different.
We didn’t make a profit since there was never many ads in GT. I just wanted what I was doing to inspire people.
GT stopped in 1999 because we had huge debts. I returned to being a club DJ and started writing a column at Matichon Weekly.
The 90s was a time of no boundaries. People were open to new things. Bands could be independent; they didn’t have to be handsome, they could just produce the music they liked.
Songs from the 90s helped make me who I am today: a writer, DJ, music director, lecturer, producer and remixer. I was given the chance to release my own album and spin alongside world class DJs like Fatboy Slim. It was such a great experience.
Smallroom and Spicydisc are not indie record labels anymore. But the way they started out means they have more of a music mind than a business mind. So even though they’ve found mainstream success, their music still has a touch of independence. Bands like Greasy Café and the Rich Man Toy that mix luk thoong with rock, these guys retain their originality.
No matter what you do, just be clear on who you are and you’ll be a success.
All the bars in Bangkok play the same music. It’s understandable that people aren’t open to new things when they don’t get any variety. If you’re a DJ or band that lets a businessman tell you what to play, then you’re not a real musician.
Bands in Burma and Vietnam are hot right now and take lots of influences from England. Thai bands must be wary not to lag behind.
Our music industry will become more competitive and fun after we become part of the ASEAN Economic Community. Indie will rule again because of a renewed musical focus.
I want to promote original Thai groove. Thai music master Khru Euah Suntornsanan had the most influence in introducing this sound, which combined Thai lyrics with international tunes.
We had a lot of talented musicians in the 70s like Chai Muangsing and Waiphot Phetsuphan who led the way for Thai funk. But something happened in the late 80s and now only Thai-pop remains.
Japanese rock and K-pop wouldn’t be as popular as they are today if we could strengthen our own signature sound.
I’m working with the Ministry of Culture to refresh our musical history and educate the new generation on our roots.
Artists like Amy Winehouse, even Lady Gaga and Madonna, take influence from their respective musical heritage.
We don’t have this heritage because even those in charge want to bury our own musical past.
As long as I’m still alive, I am certain Thai groove will make a comeback. I dream of bringing it back for our children’s benefit.