Members of Planil Temban, aka Darkfish Fullhouse, Kanin “Tul” Tangkate (vocals), Burin “Pop” Kwanrat (drums), Uthai “Ton” Burawaranin (percussion), Thorthatch “Toon” Maneenate (guitar), Sanchai “Tor” Hiranburana (bass) and Sirisak Tamkittikul (visuals) describe the seven-year journey to their debut album, out this month.

BK: How did you become a band?
Some of us were already in a student band at Silapakorn University. Back then, it was just me, Tor and Ton. Then Pop, Toon and Art joined later. We just played for fun.

BK: Why did you choose this name?
We were going to play at the university but didn’t have a name yet. I told my friends, who came to rehearse at my house, that it used to have a lot of planil (tilapias). They liked the name.
Tul: When Pop saw us all crammed into his tiny room, with our instruments and all, he said, “Planil tem ban.” [The house is full of tilapias]. We liked it right away.

BK: When did you first get noticed?
After playing at the Silpakorn Music Awards, we entered the Net Design Love Song Contest and a song that I had written, “Naliga,” turned out to be the winner. I didn’t want to write the usual song like “I love you, I dump you, I have a crush on you.” Mine was about the timing for two people to meet and love each other.

BK: So things really picked up after that?
Not really, we were still working day jobs to earn a living. We had a tough time and asked each other, “Do we want to stop?” But no one did, so we kept going. My dad also talked to me and said, “What if you can’t play guitar in your next life? You can play in this life, so why don’t you do it?”
Tul: Then, I wrote a song about doing your best, called “Kid Dee Dee” which climbed to #6 on FAT Radio 40’s Charts. Later, we won a FAT award, for the Bedroom of the Year [for home-recorded music] and went on FAT’s 10-year anniversary concert and the FAT north tour where everyone was singing our songs. That was brilliant. But we still don’t have much time to go on tour because everyone still has their day jobs.

BK: What are your day jobs?
I work as a graphic designer.
Pop: I am a musician and playing music by night.
Ton: Mathematics tutor.
Toon: I have my own business, called Doller, producing resin dolls that are copies of real people. Most of my customers do it as a gift for someone.
Tor: I do handmade drums.
Tul: He’s a rare drum maker in Thailand!
Art: I am a guitar teacher for music academies.


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Before heading on stage for Ghost Story, his latest play, Puri Hiranpruk discusses how he still adheres to his political ideology and how he looks to build his own fortune.

I was just a normal kid who dreamed of being a pilot, a soldier or maybe an astronaut. Things that were probably unrealistic, but I was young.

The pivotal moment in my life happened when I was studying political science at Chulalongkorn University.

I had a vision of being the Prime Minister and fixing all the problems in our country. After witnessing what really goes on in the Thai government, I decided to give up and stay away from politics.

When I was studying, Thais would do anything the government told them. They didn’t have respect for their own rights or power as Thai citizens. Their allegiance lay with certain politicians rather than a political party or platform.

The power has shifted to the public today. Sometimes I feel a bit frightened because I think too much power is in the hands of citizens who are able to abuse it by irresponsible protesting.

My grandfather [Dr. Sujit Hiranpruk, a high ranking civil servant who worked for the Foreign Ministy] told me that the best political theory is communism, because everyone is equal and follows the same path.

But eat, shit, screw and sleep is all humans want. Taking advantage of others is human nature.

People should just live their lives happily. Don’t get stressed too much over politics. Elections are the only time we can change how our country is run. In the meantime we can’t do much to fix anything.

I had an easy upbringing. I never really had to go through much hardship. Everyone that went to university with me came from middle to upper class families.

Everyone wanted the same thing: a good job, a good reputation and living with satisfaction. But we were practically brainwashed into striving for the glitz and glamour of fame without noticing it.

I started working while I was still in college because I wanted to buy things. I acted and did whatever job came along and made a lot of money. I thought to myself, “Should I go back and work for the government and take a lower wage?” I decided to stick to show business because I had a better opportunity there already.

If I hadn’t worked as an actor back then, I might be a local government official right now.

I don’t believe a career in this industry has to be short. It’s really up to how much you can improve yourself and your skills. I think studying political science benefited me because it taught me how to manage my life and career.

You always have to have a plan B when your screen time starts to decrease. I have to build up my fortune by establishing my own companies. If I don’t do this I won’t have money to do anything like buying a house or a car.

My company is currently producing fourteen different television shows. I have a satellite channel, resorts and I am doing acting in stage plays such as Ruang Lao Kuen Fhao Pee (see BK+ page 30).

I don’t multitask. I don’t divide my time up. I just do it. I can’t just wait for jobs to come up. I have to work as hard as I can all the time. But typically, I act for three days and work in my office the rest of the week.

The entertainment industry definitely doesn’t offer stability. Yet, acting is the one thing I do where I get to relax and express my true emotions. There aren’t a lot of responsibilities while on the job, aside from memorizing lines.

I think acting on stage is more satisfying than television. It’s a real challenge because every performance is raw and live. The applause and feedback from the audience brings such pleasure that other jobs just can’t offer. It makes me feel like I’m at the peak of my acting career.

My family was initially kind of worried about this career. It meant I wouldn’t have the chance to go study abroad or do something else. Now they see that I’m able to support myself and they’re not that concerned.

Love is a great thing. It forces us to set goals and give reasons for everything that we do.


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As he prepares for his band’s 30th anniversary concert, Yuenyong Opakul aka Ad Carabao, opens up about personal revolutions, failing democracy and his desire to work with Santana.

No one in Carabao ever expected we would come this far. It’s been 30 years now.

We didn’t even know what category our music was. We were just doing music the way we wanted.

Each member of our band is like they were sent by god. We just met and then played together. Luckily, they are all good musicians.

We grew up in the era of vinyl, LPs and cassettes­­—it was our time of huge success. We sold at least a million copies of each album. But all the success seemed to collapse when the digital age arrived. There were so many problems with pirated copies and these days people don’t just want to listen, they want visuals as well.

I accept all change. As Lord Buddha said, “All that is certain is uncertainty.”

I came from the process of political struggle. I cultivated a political ideology. I couldn’t help but talk about problems in life, society and spirit in our songs.

Later I wrote songs about love. It was after I realized that real life isn’t only about politics but also the human side of people.

I am trying a personal revolution after failing to lead society to revolution. I thought that if we went out onto the street it would make society better, more democratic. But today it is all dirt. There are colors making chaos and trouble everywhere. It’s not true democracy.

Our country was still illiterate when we implemented democracy. True democracy happens in a country that’s already advanced in human rights and freedom. We don’t understand the core of democracy. It’s like bread for us who eat rice. People just take the money to vote this way or that. It makes the system crappy.

I am worried for our youth. I don’t want them to be duped in politics and in life. Children might think these people are wonderful but, in fact, they’re saints with wicked hearts.

I want them to learn from our lessons. I might make an album to remind them about our political struggles over the past 30 years.

Don’t rely on the Prime Minister alone. Abhisit’s just an academic. He’s a good person to be prime minister but he is not great at everything. We need to help him.

I used to help Thaksin but he got himself in trouble. Thailand has space for everyone but not enough space for one rogue.

Every part of society has to fix problems together, especially the citizens. All the areas of society are weak. Public servants or politicians don’t serve people, they just look after themselves. It’s like in boxing, when they do deals to try and protect their belts.

Life as a musician is a happy life because we make others happy through our songs.

I won’t let fights spoil our anniversary concert. Last time, we had no experience about controlling crowds. If it happens again I will kill myself.

I decided to make an energy drink [Carabaodaeng] because I saw an uncertain life in music.

I don’t know how to do business, so when I met Satian Setthasit [owner of Tawandaeng Brewery] who had a recipe for an energy drink, I totally threw myself behind it.

Our band can keep playing for another 20 years. We might play until our 70s. I might retire in a coffin.

I think my life experiences are interesting enough for children to listen what I say. They will then have a chance to decide to be something like me or better than me in whatever they want.

No life is easy. I used to wake up at four or five am to play guitar until my fingers were numb. I didn’t know about musical notes so I decided to go back and learn even though we’d already had a huge success from the Made in Thailand album.

I dream of making an international album in English, sung with my rural accent. Now I am writing an English song. If possible, I want to work with international artists like Santana, Neil Young or Bruce Springsteen.

New musicians, don’t think there is no one watching you. To be successful, you have to find your own identity. There are lots of bands in the pool but there are few bands with any real chance. You have to be serious about it.

Teaching children to be honest is a noble virtue that creates their prosperity.


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Freshly imported from Laos, heartthrob Thanwa Suriyaja, talks about his journey from Pakse to Bangkok to be an actor in Hak Na Sarakham, directed by Insects in the Backyard’s Thanwarin Sukhaphisit.

BK: What is your background?
I was born in Pakse, Laos and studied at an international school there before entering the National University in Vientiane. I grew up watching a lot of movies because my family business is video rental.

BK: How did you decide to be an actor in Thailand?
I had dinner with friends last Songkran at a restaurant and I realized that there was a man staring at me the whole time. It really scared me and I thought he had some kind of problem with us. So I ate quickly and jumped onto my motorcycle because it seemed like he was following me. A couple of days later, my friend gave my number to the owner of the restaurant after that man asked the owner to get my number if I came back. So he called me and asked, “Do you know P’A? He’s the manager of Mario Maurer.” And I said no. Then he said he’s a friend of A-Suppachai Sriwichit, a famous agent, but I didn’t buy it. He didn’t give up, though, and asked for my mom phone’s number to talk to her. A week later, my mom called and said the star scout wanted to meet me in person at home. After we met, I decided to come to Thailand to study film at Rangsit University and work as an actor.

BK: Were you worried about moving far from your home?
Yes, I was. It’s like my whole world changed. But in another way, I think it’s kind of cool to live and make money on my own. I haven’t come here only to be an actor, but also to study as well, so it’s like studying abroad.

BK: Any culture shock?
A lot! I understand Thai but I can’t read or write it. P’A hired a teacher to teach me Thai and I had to practice writing Thai from kindergarten textbooks. I really wanted to come to Thailand to learn about the culture because I admire how Thai people respect and love their king. I was stunned and so inspired by the image of millions of people gathered for the celebration of his 60 years on the throne.

BK: Tell us about your first movie Hak Na Sarakham?
It’s like a dream come true because I always wanted to star in a movie that my father would actually watch. I play Thep, a heartthrob in university, who acts like a K-pop figure and doesn’t speak Isaan even though his parents are totally mo lam. The movie is about being who you are, and not being shy about expressing your roots. I want to make my own movie one day. That’s my dream.


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Before performing at The Duets Concert this weekend, Nattawut Srimhok aka Golf Fucking Hero, reflects on becoming a grown-up, getting angry and making the world a better place.

I was spoiled as a kid. I was an only child in a working class family in Chiang Rai. My dad was a security guard and my mom a tailor.

Even though my parents weren’t rich my father worked to put me in private school because he wanted the best for me.

I love to read because my parents read. I inherited this habit from them. My mom would teach me everything she learned. She would tell me about Vincent van Gogh, his famous sunflower paintings and how he cut his own ear off. My father loves classic Chinese novels, so I grew up with those, too.

Private school was a strange world for me because I was a regular boy but all my friends were rich. They introduced me to new stuff: music videos, trendy shoes, hip-hop. I fell in love with hip-hop.

I dreamed of being a prosecutor because I loved to watch the TV series Pao Bun Jin (Bao Zheng) and wanted to uphold justice. I felt that as a judge, you just can’t do as much to help people. But a prosecutor can actively seek evidence to help them.

I studied law at Ramkhamheang but, despite loving the law, I discovered that I have no talent in this field. I dropped out after meeting Joey Boy.

Meeting Joey was like a movie for me. I had tapes of every Thai hip-hop artist and he was my idol. I knew he had a TV show at Channel 7 so, even though I was in Bangkok for the first time in my life, I decided to catch a bus to see him, get his autograph and give him my demo hip-hop album. I even cried when I met him.

Joey called me and asked me to join their concert at FAT fest where I sang the first song I’d ever written, called “I Hate RS.” People really loved it and Joey signed me onto the Gancore Club.

I had a bad temper when I was a teenager. I used to kick my TV because I couldn’t stand watching Dome-Pakorn Lum’s music videos.

I wrote songs about my contempt for certain things in the world. I felt the world sucked, with murders, bad news, also the divorce of my parents, so I wanted to destroy it—or at least be a rebel.

I became less irreverent after I was scolded about wearing flip-flops on stage at a mini-concert. I thought, “What the hell? What difference does it make if I wear flip-flops on stage?” My senior at Gancore pointed out that hundreds of people put in months of work to prepare everything for me to be on stage for just five minutes, and asked if this was how I wanted to repay them.

I used to eat cat food from my neighbor’s cat. I had no money. I told my mom that I was going to stop studying and be an artist and that she should stop sending me money.

I didn’t get any jobs for a year. I used all my rent money to eat. After six months, my label found out what was going on and staged a concert to pay my rent.

I am just a guy who loves to sing hip-hop. I don’t actually have a hip-hop lifestyle like other hip-hop artists.

I believe that hip-hop music will change the world. I will change the world with my songs. I don’t know when it’s going to happen but it’s a project that I plan to do before I die.

I chose to sing “Goodnight” with Thee Chaiyadeg and dedicate it to soldiers who fight in the South, because I knew that Thee was the only person who could soothe Thai people.

I think the government hasn’t done enough to fix the Southern problem. It’s true that it’s a historical conflict but if we don’t start to fix it now, when will it finish?

In a war, no matter what side you’re on, there can only be defeat.

I think Bangkok was like a teacher. It taught me from my mistakes. It made me more street savvy. It made me mature enough to be the head of my family. Now I can buy a condo for my dad and send money to my mom.

If I could be Bangkok governor I would make a place where people can protest, scream and destroy stuff as much as they want.

Love is the least serious thing in my life.
A microphone is all I want. Before I had so much ego. Now I know that every award I get will go on to someone else anyway.

My philosophy is to just take a breath. That means you’re still alive. I used to have tons of philosophies but eventually they all just make your head heavy. Now I have just one.

Everyone wants to achieve nirvana. They just haven’t realized it.


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With the film Love Julinsee hitting the theaters, we speak to the young actress Monchanok “Mo” Saengchaipiengpen, who plays the female lead opposite heartthrob Kao Jirayu. She tells us how she isn’t partial to friends becoming boyfriends and about her dreams of becoming a chef.

BK: As a child, what did you want to be?
I dreamed of being a flight attendant because they looked so pretty walking along the plane and seemed to not work too hard. But when I grew up and saw the reality of their job, I knew that I couldn’t be one of them. I couldn’t possibly tolerate bad passengers. I would have a fight with them.

BK: How did you break into acting?
A modeling agency took my picture when they saw me with my friend one day. Then they called me to audition for a TV commercial and I got it right away. Anyway, I don’t like to do commercials because I don’t like to go to castings. It takes up so much time. So I ended up being in some music video instead.

BK: How did you become involved in Love Julinsee?
I did a music video that was also directed by Chainarong “Kay” Tampong, so he asked me to join the cast when he got this film.

BK: Tell us about your character.
I portray Eue, a girl who falls in love with her close friend (played by Jirayu “Kao” La-ongmanee) but things getting complicated after they become a couple. They can’t talk the way they did before.

BK: Have you experienced that in real life?
Never. I don’t like to date friends. I used to see a lot of cases among my own friends who fall in love with each other, but it’s really awkward for all the other friends when they break up. It’s like we have to take sides.

BK: So you don’t believe that friendship should become love?
I think friendships are much longer relationships than romantic ones. I would care more about a friend than just someone who comes and flirts with me because with the latter, you have to go your separate ways when you break up.

BK: The movie trailer was banned because of a shot of teenagers kissing. What do you think about that?
I’m okay with that sort of depiction, but in Thai culture, it’s considered inappropriate. Teenage kissing isn’t especially appropriate even in Western countries, but in Thailand, it isn’t appropriate at any age.

BK: How do you like working in show biz?
I was surprised that most actors and actresses aren’t at all snobby. Like Kao; he’s so funky. The other thing that I learned is that there are no true allies and lasting enemies. It’s all about the money.

BK: What are your plans for the future?
I want to finish my coursework at Srinakharinwirot University first, then follow my dream of becoming a chef. I love cooking so much. I love to see how happy people are when they eat my food.


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What’s coming to a cinema near your in Bangkok. By Monruedee Jansuttipan, Nick Measures and Sinsiri Tiwutanond

With the Academy Awards happening this week, we decided to take a break from the bling of Hollywood and look ahead to what Thai films are set to make a big impact at local cinemas this year. We even break it down by genre to make it easier for you to find your next favorite Thai movie. (If you must, the Oscars are on Feb 27 in L.A. That’s Feb 28, 8am, our time. See the ceremony live on True Visons’ Star Movies.)

Action & Blockbuster

King Naresuan III and King Naresuan IV

Buzz: Like a bus, you wait a long time for one sequel to come along and then two come at once. Finally, we get to see what the the Ministry of Culture’s money has gone towards. Long awaited, these nationalistic tales are set to be the biggest blockbusters this year.
In theaters: 11 March 2011 and 11 August 2011, respectively
Studio: Prommitr Production and Sahamongkol Film International
Director: Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol
Stars: Captain Wanchana Sawasdee, Ja Panom, Major Winthai Suvaree, Noppachai Chainam, Inthira Charoenpura, Taksaorn Paksukcharern, Sorapong Chatree
Synopsis: In the third film, King Naresuan has won independence for the Thai people but is forced to fight again after a Chinese spy, sent by his Khmer enemies, escapes by Junk, culminating in an epic river battle. In the final installment, the action returns to terra firma as the Burmese army attempts to destroy Ayutthaya and capture King Naresuan.

Jak Ka Ran

Buzz: Dubbed the “B100 million-director,” famous comedian Mum Jokmok looks to continue his recent box office successes with his latest action comedy, which also stars the Kung Fu queen Jeeja.
In theaters: Not dated yet
Studio: Sahamongkol Film International
Director: Petchtai Wongkamlao (Mum Jokmok)
Stars: Yanin – Jeeja Vismistananda, Mum Jokmok, Boriboon – Tak Chanroeng Janreung, Arisa Rodsonthi and the Chuanchuen comedy group.
Synopsis: The story of a mischievous and fearless girl, Jak Ka Ran (Jeeja) who lives with her uncle (Mum Jokmok). While the full plotline is still a closely-guarded secret we do know that the film will combine action and comedy as we follow the lives of this unlikely pair.

Chocolate 2 (3D)

Buzz: Building on the success of the original, Jeeja is back as the badass, high-kicking autistic girl. Studio owner Somsak Techarattanaprasert, or Sia Jiang, has splashed a budget of over B100 million on the 3D martial arts sequel, claiming it will make Thai cinema proud.
In theaters: Not dated yet
Studio: Sahamongkol Film International
Director Prachya Pinkaew
Stars: Yanin “Jeeja” Vismistananda, Hiroshi Abe
Synopsis: Half Thai-half Japanese, Zen (Jeeja) is an autistic girl who struggles to interact with people socially but happens to be hot shit at learning and performing martial arts. The setting for this follow up is Japan; where Masashi, Zen’s father who also happens to be a card-carrying yakuza, decides to retire from the gangster life to take care of his daughter, a decision that sparks the beginnings of new conflicts.

Behind the scenes

We talk to Kunakorn Sethi, producer of King Naresuan

What were the biggest challenges on this project?
It has to be converting all the original historical texts into a visual experience. It meant having to create a new set for nearly every single scene. For the two sequels, 60% of what you see are new sets while the other 40% are sets developed from the previous movies.

What is the toughest scene in the movie?
Well, for the third film it had to be the naval battle while for the fourth movie it is filming the elephant battle. For the naval battle King Naresuan fights against the spy on the river but the trouble is no one knew what it was actually like. We had to build seven boats for King Naresuan’s fleet. Each boat took at least a year to build and there were at least 60 people paddling each boat. For the elephant battle, it’s not as simple as just filming a battle scene. We had to study why they went to war, how they actually fought each other, before designing how it would pan out. It’s very tough, especially controlling the elephants. It’s hard to stop them colliding with each other. We ended up taking three months to shoot separate shots for this battle scene. The whole thing will last only 3 minutes on screen.

After completing such a mega project are there any areas that need to be improved in the Thai film industry?
Technically we can stand alongside any other crew in the world, even Hollywood. But in my opinion, the only thing that we need to improve is our screenplay creation. I feel that everything is all the same, either comedies or ghost stories. We need to invent some new thing for the industry.

More genres:


Romantic Comedy


Coming Soon:  What Hollywood has in Store for us in 2011


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A Youtube sensation, Chintnadda Lamakanond, a.k.a. Pango, talks to us about her music career currently taking off thanks to more than 1.4 million upload views.

BK: Tell us about your background.
I was a pampered girl at home and didn’t like to do things for myself. My mother worried that I would stay like this and be unable to support myself, so she sent me to high school in New Zealand.

BK: How was life over there?
It was pretty good. Even though my first host family was awful, my second host family was really nice. They owned a Chinese restaurant, so I was filled with good food every night. The other thing was that I learned to live on my own. Then I came back to study hotel management at Mahidol University.

BK: Why did you choose that field?
My mom opened a bakery, and I liked to travel, so I figured it would be a good choice, but it turned out not to be that great. I didn’t think would be so serious, so I dropped it and took up what I really loved, which is design. I studied a lot of art and photography when I was in New Zealand and I loved it. I was lucky I managed to get into King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi on the last day they accepted applications.

BK: How did you start posting your music clips on Youtube?
After I appeared in Singular’s music video, Bao Bao, I had an opportunity to talk with Believes record label. I taught myself to play the guitar with a handbook, and I always loved seeing women play guitar. It’s kind of cool. But at the time that I was posting clips on Youtube, it was just therapy for myself because I wasn’t doing my own music back then. I was still working on my Master’s thesis.

BK: You couldn’t do the two at the same time?
I know that I am the kind of person who can’t handle too many things at the same time. There was also a producer who contacted me to do a soap opera, but I had to decline, because I wanted to work on my music career and I wanted to do my best. My first single will come out next month.

BK: How do you feel about becoming a Youtube hit?
I’m really surprised! I didn’t know my video would have so many viewers. I just did it because I wanted to sing. I only did four or five videos, but soon after, it turned out that I had a fan page on Facebook. I also started an official page, because people kept adding me as a friend on my private account.

BK: Do you ever dream of doing anything else?
I want to travel around the world. It sounds clichéd but I really want to do it. I want to catch a train and travel as far as I can. I also want to open a coffee shop that’s open 24 hours and open a graphic design studio. I do design work on a freelance basis at the moment.

Watch all of Pango's clips right here.


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A frequent performer at the exits of busy BTS or MRT stations, street musician Naradate Kongthanajirapanya, 34, talks about why he spurned his degree in political science and picked up a drum to play in a pin perd muak (open-hat Isaan band) with his friend.

BK: What did you do before you were a street performer?
I was born in Nakhon Ratchasima to poor farmers. When I finished grade six, I came to Bangkok looking for a job and started working at a car garage as an apprentice. I also continued my education part time and finished high school in 2 years. I later got into multi-level marketing business (MLM) and studied political science at Ramkhamhaeng University. 

BK: Why did you choose to study political science?
At first I wanted to be a public servant but it’s too hard to get work in government agencies. It’s all about having connections. But I wanted to give it a shot, and I finished the course in four years. I continued doing MLM and became a lecturer for trainees.

BK: How did you become a street musician?
Well, MLM is OK but it wasn’t making me rich. One day I read a book that said if you want to be rich and successful, you have to be creative and invent something new. Don’t depend on others. Two months ago, I met my music partner who was playing on the street, so I asked him to teach me how to play pin [an Isaan guitar]. Instead, he asked me to play the drum instead and join him as a band to tour around the city. I also created my own drum from a bucket.  

BK: Do you feel like it’s a waste of your degree?
No, I don’t. I am doing what makes me happy. I don’t have to compete with others in the world of employees. I have loved music since I was a kid. Mo lam is in my blood but I’ve never before had the opportunity to do it. Now I preserve Thai traditional music like this and make money from it.

BK: How much can you make?
It’s pretty good, but it can vary. I now make B20,000 a month. I start from 2pm and finish about 8-9pm. We’ve also got so many jobs by playing on the street. Many people hire us to play for their events like monkood ordinations and birthday parties. Many people, both Thais and tourists, also ask to study the instrument. Some ask about our CD. 

BK: What does your family think of this?
They are OK. My wife understands what I am doing. I have two kids to support.

BK: How do you see your future?
I would like to say that I am really proud that I have come this far. I thank my parents and thank the poverty that drives me to this day. I also thank those books that gave me the idea that everyone has the potential to be rich. I also want to have a big Isaan band to promote our traditional musical. Monruedee Jansuttipan


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Chulachak “Hugo” Chakrabongse speaks of his journey from aristocratic celeb and front man of local band Siplor to having Jay-Z’s record label produce his first inter album, Old Tyme Religion, out now.

When I was younger and I’d speak Thai, people would be like, “You speak our language! What planet are you from?” When I went to New York, it was as if, once again, I had been dropped onto a new planet. I’m like a spaceman from somewhere else but my music scene is still Bangkok.

Growing up, I had the sense of not ever truly belonging to any one culture.

I was in a band at school. That was one of the things I enjoyed doing most. I liked to read a lot but I wasn’t really good at academics.

I took whatever work came my way just to get some kind of independence. And being slightly Thai, you kind of do whatever adults tell you to.

Then, I started eliminating all the things that I didn’t really like, or to only do them at a really high price.

But it wasn’t sitting well with my conscience, doing something that a lot of people want to do, like acting on TV shows, and secretly hating it and not giving the craft the respect that it deserves. So I just checked out of it altogether.

My international work started when Amanda Ghost [who wrote the lyrics to James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful”] heard my English song “Sub Nam Ta Andaman” [Wipe Your Tears Andaman], which was done after the tsunami.

I got signed on a British record label but I got dropped after being there for a while.

But then Beyonce heard one of my songs and decided to put it on her album.

I tried to make records in the purest, old-school, rock n’ roll kind of way but I’ve finally changed. I’ve become more open minded and taken a slightly less militant approach.

I don’t think there’s a problem with the Thai music scene. The indigenous music scene is lively and energetic. The majority of the local music market is in Thai. P’Bird still outsells those Korean guys who always come and go.

People are just trying to make excuses for themselves. If crowds don’t come to your show, it’s because no one digs your stuff. It doesn’t matter if you’re Korean or not.

Admit to yourself that you want to be successful, even if you’re a cool indie kid writing your own songs. Don’t pretend like you don’t want to make it because otherwise no one will help you out.

There’s a lot more pressure on how my new album is going to do in Thailand because there’s something to compare it to [his original band, Siplor]. In the US, I’m just happy to be in the game.

It was a dream of mine to tour the States because I’ve watched so many American movies. [Touring with band The Script], I got to go to Graceland on the way to Memphis. That was incredible.

It is hard being away from home. I spent the last two months with my kid and my wife. [This life] is difficult but you just got to take it as it comes. It’s about how much you want it to succeed.

As a man it’s nice to know what your mission is. It’s nice to know what this life is supposed to be like. Having a kid, it gives you great clarity of what you have to do.

I can’t see myself touring and playing and being away for that much longer because after a while I want to be around for him and it would be nice for all of us to hang out.

After converting to Islam, I haven’t experienced a profound shift in the way I treat people. Moderation and compassion are the main two lessons that I’ll probably try to apply to my life a bit more. And I certainly don’t miss eating pork that much.

The English language is very fair. There’s no pom, chan, p’, khun, gu, tur [forms of address]. You speak the same way to everybody. That helps create the freedom to exchange ideas between generations and people of various backgrounds.

Good Thai musicians are as good as musicians from other countries in terms of ability, but Western musicians have that drive and ambition. That also makes them harder people, whereas Thais are more chilled.

Take every call or opportunity. Just go, it doesn’t matter if it’s shit. But if you’re sitting around waiting someone to do you a favor, that’s not going to happen. Interview by Sinsiri Tiwutanond and Monruedee Jansuttipan


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