One half of experimental duo Stylish Nonsense, Wannarit “Pok” Pongprayoon, opens up about his reputation as a pioneer of Thai electronic music, why he doesn’t like big music festivals and the reason for ditching his trademark mustache.
I’m a huge fan of The Beatles. I’ve listened to all of their albums and, for years, I even styled my hair like them. They never repeated themselves and always tried to revolutionize their sound.
I was a sound engineer at a music club before forming Stylish Nonsense with June [bandmate Yuttana Kalambaheti] and some other friends.
Our limitations as musicians forced us into making electronic music. We had no drummer so we started making songs on computers, which led us to become more experimental.
We are not interested in replicating our recordings when we play live. We also took a long break from entering the studio because it is such a waste of time trying to get everything perfect.
We don’t do any rehearsals before our shows. Often we won’t even talk to each other! Our music is all about moving forward. No need to talk, we just play.
We are lucky that our fans love our unpredictable style. They love us for our imperfections. But some people are disappointed when we don’t sound how we do on our album.
I launched Panda Records in 1999 because no one else would give us the freedom to release our music. All they could think about was marketing.
I put all my time and money into running the label but eventually I became exhausted. It took years to finish some projects because we were such perfectionists. The experience helped me understand why other record labels put business first.
Making music should be all about fun. If I had to deal with the management side of things too much, it would drain me of my ability to make music.
Playing music is a great way to release energy. That’s why we always look high when we play. It’s nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.
Our music scene is too money-driven. Record companies aren’t interested in supporting new things. They just want things that they can sell over and over again.
Big music festivals contribute to global warming. The organizers rig up huge lighting and sound systems, while everyone drives there, rents air-con rooms and creates a massive amount of waste—all for only one or two days. It’s all about selling products.
Our Stone Free music festival [which took place in Saraburi last December] was a lot different. We didn’t search for sponsors to make money. We just gathered a whole bunch of bands to play in a huge disused quarry. The only facilities were toilets.
I am now a professor in music production at Silpakorn University. I was asked to teach because they saw me as a pioneer in Thai electronic music. I teach students how to make music for commercials and events.
It’s good to be around new students. They are smart and so full of energy.
There is no right or wrong in music. I always tell my students to just respect themselves. I do like to sneak in a few lessons about experimental music, though.
Most of the money I make from commercials, modeling and other work goes into my music. I’m just lucky that my wife and family are really understanding of my passion.
The best thing that has happened to me is my daughter. She makes me feel that this world is marvelous because she looks at it in such a fresh and simple way.
I dream of taking Stylish Nonsense on an international tour to places like the USA, Canada and Europe. I spend so much time on small projects that I’ve never really done a big tour.
The internet is like a drug and some people are addicted to it. It can turn anyone into a god but also be a weapon for destroying others. That said, we’re lucky to have it: I can now spread my work and talk to musician friends abroad much easier than before.
People love to shock and frighten one another through online social networking, especially during the floods last year. I’d had enough of it at that time, so switched off my computer and went out to play music in the water. It was a real source of relief for me as my house was among those that were flooded.
I just shaved off my mustache because I don’t want anything like that to define me. I might grow it again later, but not for a while.
I’m not afraid of mainstream success, as the band becomes more recognized. It might lead to more people making new and interesting music.
I feel so great when I see people covering our songs. We can’t even play our own songs!