But on his club's opening night, the police shut it down for a week.
On May 19, police raided the opening night of 28-year-old Nick Supreda’s nightclub debut, Blaq Lyte, which has once more transformed Badmotel into Thonglor’s hottest clubbing spot. But Blaq Lyte is a nightclub with a difference: it raises money for Nick’s orphan charity, 32 Foundation. Born in America to Thai parents, Nick was himself adopted at a young age and raised by his aunts in Southern California. Here, he discusses the mission of his social impact nightclub model, as well as the state of Bangkok nightlife.
What's different about Blaq Lyte compared to Bangkok's other clubs?
I want a space for local DJs to have a somewhere to play. They don’t have to be well-known on the Bangkok nightlife scene, they just have to be good. I’m hoping that Blaq Lyte will make Bangkok appreciate underground music more. I also donate some of the profit that I make to a foundation for orphans that I founded called 32 Foundation. I was adopted but now I’m in a position to give back. We’ve been helping children in India recently.
Oh wow, we didn’t expect that. Have you taken inspiration from other social impact business models from abroad?
I just wanted to do it. If I weren't adopted as a kid, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to grow up overseas before coming back here to help others.
How much of your profits will go to the charity?
It’s different every month. I'll donate as much as I can as long as I can survive. I don’t need the luxury life for myself.
Tell us about your orphan experience.
The people who adopted me gave me many opportunities to make mistakes. I could choose to be a good person or I could choose to join a gang and they’d still let me. They didn't tell me which path to tread, but they exposed me to both the good and bad side of things so that I could learn from my own mistakes. That’s the culture I want to create at an orphanage school I hope to create in Nong Khai province.
Tell us about that.
My goal is to build a school to better educate orphans there. It won’t be a proper school at first, but rather focused on after-school programs so kids can try new activities and figure out what they want to be when they grow up.
Have you had much hands-on experience with Thai orphanages?
I visit the orphanage in Nong Khai where they have a small school there. I can’t remember the name but it’s so bad. The teachers are really mean and have a go at the kids all the time. Their lives are so miserable, it’s hell for them.
How come you chose Nong Khai?
Because my [birth] father is originally from there.
We hear you had trouble with the authorities on Blaq Lyte’s opening night?
It’s OK, really. They are just doing their job. They were actually lovely to me and advised me on bits and bobs regarding running a bar in Bangkok, like the closing time, etcetera.
It feels like Bangkok nightlife's been dying a slow death recently, with places closing down. Do you feel that?
It’s a possibility, but we’re also currently in a transition between generations. If young generation believe that the scene is dying, or if we let it, then it probably will. Q Bar and Bed Supperclub had their day and became legends.
Do you feel like bars in Bangkok are behind other big cities?
Yes, a lot. So much. More than 10 years behind. I feel that the service I get from the bar staff in nightclubs in Bangkok is not good at all. In other countries, I can go to a bar by myself, just chill at the bar and actually have a conversation with the bartender. In Bangkok I don’t get that friendly vibe. I just want to order my drink and leave. Thai culture still sees nightlife as a vice that can ruin your life, when in fact some people don’t even drink when they go to clubs, they just want to listen to music and hang out.