"When the protests come back, I will join when I can. But it's harder in a worse economy and the pandemic situation."
Originally from Nakhon Sawan, Protozua moved to Bangkok when he was 18 and today is a member of one of Thailand’s most famous and controversial groups, Rap Against Dictatorship (RAD). Members of RAD face charges of sedition, alleged state-sponsored hacks, and more.
Protozua, Liberate P, and Hockhacker of Rap Against Dictatorship.
How is the hip-hop scene surviving under Covid?
Under the pandemic, it's not safe to make money from concerts or events. Some artists do online live shows that audiences have to pay to view from their home. Some sell merchandise. Some artists release more music to get more online streaming income.
How did you first become interested in hip-hop?
I heard hip-hop music from a friend of mine when I was in highschool and then I researched it online. There was a website called siamhiphop.com which is a good community regardless of where you live. There was nowhere to meet hip-hop fans outside of Bangkok. The website held online rap battles which everyone could join. We learned how to record a song using low cost instruments.
How are members of RAD dealing with the stress of political persecution? When the protests come back, will you come back with them?
We join fewer events. Last year we started to perform at some event near the end of the year. After a long long time of not performing, I was afraid of getting caught after the event for two weeks. When the protests come back, I will join when I can. But it's harder in a worse economy and the pandemic situation. Joining protests costs money. One thing I can do is make more political music to support the movement.
Can you tell me about how you are creating music during the pandemic?
One hard part is music video making. It's difficult to shoot a music video. All crew members have to do ATK tests which costs a lot for the whole set. In “Ngobpraman” (Budget) we have to shoot separately and send it to the director. It's really hard but we won't stop as there are so many things happening in our lives