Since he likes to keep a low profile, you may not find many write-ups about Rungroche Uptampotiwat. The bassist of 90s Britpop pioneer quintet Crub was hot in indie circles, but due to the failure of their one and only album, the band never quite made it into the limelight. In spite of his band’s flop, Rungroche has pursued his musical passion and become a core founder of Smallroom, a small record label that helps young aspiring artists to achieve their dreams.

When I was a student, music was just a hobby, something I had never taken seriously. Back then, there was only a slim chance to break into the music scene, let alone making a living.

These days, things are much better for aspiring artists. Teenagers can form a band, record their music in their bedrooms and send their promotional material to radio stations and record labels.

After graduating from university, I set up a company with my friend Weerayot, now better known as DJ Nor of Fat Radio. During weekends, we got together to make music in Suharit Siamwala’s garage.

It wasn’t until two years later that Suharit suggested we bring our songs to DJ Wasana Weerachartplee of Radio Active 94FM.

Crub was born in 1995 and our first and only album View was released close to Moderndog’s debut. It sold 20,000 copies, which was still far below the break-even point.

I never thought of us as popular. Even though now Crub is more widely known, we still have only a niche fan base.

It wasn’t a complete failure. Yes, you are disappointed and disheartened, but you have to get up and move on.

I firmly believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

We started Smallroom in 1999. At first, we only did scores and jingles, because we still didn’t believe it was possible to make music without compromising and managing to squeeze money out of it at the same time.

A few months later, unable to resist the temptation to make music, we changed our minds.

I used to judge the bands on whether we clicked or not rather than focusing on their skills, but it became too exhausting because I had to help them out all the time.

Whether we click is still important, but I’ll also make sure that they can make their own music.

Smallroom has over 40 groups of artists, meaning I have more than 100 kids to take care of.

“Adhere to the international quality.” That’s what my advisor told me in my senior year and I still remember it today. It’s vague and imprecise, yet very practical for me.

I keep up with music trends via the Internet. I hardly have time to watch TV or listen to the radio.

There are four things I’ve always told our artists: don’t think you are too smart or else you won’t learn, be diligent, respect your elders and if you have a question, ask!

Investing in new artists is risky. Introducing new styles of music is often unprofitable.

I still don’t know why I do it. All I know is if Smallroom didn’t do it, no one else in the business would.


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