Asian Echo – Forests (Singapore)

Forests

Kicking off the 2019 new year with the release of ‘Spending Eternity In A Japanese Convenience Store’, the second full-length album following their debut in 2017, Singaporean indie rock trio Forests is rolling back into Asian cities again with their 2019 tour!

It has been 3 years since their last Japan tour in 2016. This June, Forests will be touring with five shows in four different cities including Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Osaka, and Tokyo, and wrapping up the tour with a homecoming gig back in Singapore.


Networking via Singaporean music forum site – S.O.F.T. (SOFT – Music in Singapore), the making of Forests was inspired by the Irish indie rock trio Two Door Cinema Club as they started forming the band in mid-2014. The three Forests members were having a break from other established band projects i.e. Darell Laser – frontman/bassist was the bassist for post-hardcore band ALLEGIANCE SG; guitarist Adam Jared Lee – was in a metalcore band called Monsters In Living Flesh; and drummer Niki Koh was on the percussion for progressive rock group Bear Culture. Though they never position their genre as emo from the start, the three-piece band has gradually risen as one of the cult favourites taking over the local independent music scene.


Packed with more influences – especially the touch of mumble-rap, the nine-track new album offers further experimentation of combinations of emo and math-pop Forests’ fans familiar with since they introduced their 2017’s ‘Sun Eat Moon Grave Party’ to the world.


Listen to ‘Kawaii Hawaii’ by Forests here: https://spoti.fi/2EKxw8y


Delve into the Asian music scene with Bangkok Music City!


#AsianEcho #BangkokMusicCity 

Music Fidelity – Music Producer

Music Producer

Some artists are keen on touching up the final finishes of a record by themselves. But admittedly, getting the Midas touch from a pro can be the difference between a flop and a platinum record.

To make a record come alive beautifully, we need a meticulous music production that is comprised of a variety of processes. It could be said that it is almost always necessary to have a producer oversee and manage the production. They are a great force to enhance and unlock artists’ creativity during the record making process.

What they do:

The output from a record production is shaped by the collaboration between artist and music producer – and also everyone in between, e.g. personal manager, A&R, art director, studio engineer, mixing engineer, mastering engineer, marketing, PR, etc, whom the producer may also need to manage or work with. The artist and producer could start from scratch together by gathering musical ideas for the project, or start from anywhere in between from composing to arranging, editing, mixing, mastering, and even selling the record. Sometimes, they are more than that – a counselor, a babysitter, a motivational speaker, a mirror, a slavedriver or a shoulder to cry on – depending on their personalities, personal techniques and attention to the littlest detail.

Employment:

Producers charge large fees. Traditionally, they are hired by record companies and paid monthly salaries, but some work on a project basis. Many of them are freelancers having their own agents assisting on fee and deal negotiations with record companies. However, the advancement and cheapening of new recording technologies have resulted in many producers achieving more roles such as studio owners and sound engineers.

Experience:

A producer is one of the most competitive roles in the music career. Producers need to attain their reputation – some might start off with home studio work, and later could get involved with bigger projects once their previous works speak for themselves. Having a formal music education background is a plus as many great producers possess knowledge in music theory and composition. They also need to be able to perceive the music from the perspective of certain audiences to allow them to create ear-pleasing arrangements. More prolific producers often are multi-instrumentalists and have in-depth understanding in audio engineering. Another trait that might be overlooked is psychology. Great producers know how to talk to artists to bring out the best in them.

For aspiring producers looking for bands or artists to work with, with keen eyes and ears you can simply seek emerging talent and offer your services while collaborating to benefit each other. Alternatively, you can produce a record yourself and find the right engineer to hone your technical knowledge.

Notable record producers:

Brian Eno

Apart from labelled as one of popular music’s most influential and innovative figures, the former member of legendary band – Roxy Music, produced so many remarkable albums in the history of modern music for names such as David Bowie, David Byrne, U2, Talking Heads, Coldplay, Slowdive, Jon Hopkins, and Damon Albarn.

Danai Thongsinthusak

Danai Thongsinthusak or Dano was behind the rising of Thailand’s Genie Records circa 2000s. He was Thailand’s best producer in the game as being behind the deck for many famous Thai rock bands such as Klear, Sweet Mullet and Retrospect. In 2016, he was recruited to head Wayfer Records – a subsidiary of Warner Music Thailand, which is on the quest to export Thai emerging artists onto the global stage, managing artists such as my life as ali thomas, BOOM BOOM CASH, ANNALYNN, TELEx TELEXs, and WonderFrame.

#MusicFidelity #BangkokMusicCity

Thai Toast – Gym and Swim

Gym and Swim

The synth-pop quintet continues to conquer Asia! Gym and Swim will be kicking off 2019 Asian tour this week following the sweet success of their legs during 2016-2018 in some Asian cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Busan, Taipei, Chiayi, and Hong Kong.

The group is actually an ultimate collaboration of Thai indie powers that evolved from a side project in 2013 consisting of five members of five different emerging indie bands: ‘Chalerm’ from Seal Pillow, ‘Pokpong’ from Plastic Plastic, ‘Turk’ from The Leprosy, ‘Hob’ from Detail, and ‘Mad-Mee’ from Merry Go Round. The alliance was intended for the ‘Bed Room Studio Project’ – a music competition organized by ‘Fat Radio,’ – a renowned local indie radio station. Ever since then, the fivesome’s side project has always been lined up on many music festivals in Thailand.

The international rise of this Bangkok-based band has gradually increased since the release of ‘Seasick’ in 2016. With the striking David Hockney-inspired album cover, the band’s debut full-length album filled with upbeat surf-pop tunes captured the attention of music lovers all over Asia. Those playful groovy tracks were eventually performed live at Clockenflap – an annual music and arts festival in Hong Kong as well as one of the best music festivals in Asia – with Gym and Swim being the only Thai band performing at Clockenflap 2017.

To date, their colourful melodies are still having a moment in Asia, especially in Taiwan. Apart from an upcoming concert in Taipei this 2nd June, Gym and Swim recently released ‘Don’t Leave Me Behind’ – a brand-new single featuring Taiwan’s 落日飛車 Sunset Rollercoaster. Filled with wistful tone and an accompaniment of a saxophone solo, this track taken from their new EP ‘Amazing Pingpong Show,’ is truly an emblem of the band’s invasion of Taiwan’s music scene.

Listen to Don’t Leave Me Behind by Gym and Swim here: https://bit.ly/2JKnuZx

#ThaiToast #BangkokMusicCity

Asian Echo – NJWA (Malaysia)

NJWA

Formally known as Najwa Mahiaddin, the Malaysian songbird was reborn as NJWA last year with the plan to embark the world with her new music direction.

Growing up influenced by Miss Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Billie Holiday, the 33-year-old multiple award-winning singer-songwriter’s early music experience was when she started learning piano at age 3 and the first vocal lesson at the age of 9. Later, she spent 3 years pursuing her music degree at Berklee College of Music.

The three-song self-titled EP launched in early 2018 was not the declaration of her departure from R&B and neo-soul direction, but it was an infusion from her 8-year music journey. Before the NJWA era, Najwa released two vintage R&B albums with one exciting music venture as the vocalist of ‘Mostacho Xprmnt’ – a New York-based R&B fusion band she formed with four Berklee grads.

The mixture of electronica, traditional elements from Malaysian and Chinese roots with sultry vocals in the 2018 EP ‘NJWA’ has confirmed her late musical adoration for the likes of Little Dragon, Moses Sumney and James Blake. ‘Togok’ is a perfect blend between traditional folk sounds and modern lyrics, and you cannot miss ‘In The Name of Love’ if you want to know how a song recorded in the Malaysian jungle sounds like.

Recently, NJWA released a new single ‘Take Love Back’ this past April – a mark that reminds us to not take our eyes off of Malaysian modern R&B music.

Listen to ‘Togok’ by NJWA here: https://njwamusic.bandcamp.com/album/njwa

#AsianEcho #BangkokMusicCity

NIA partners with Fungjai and NYLON Thailand to launch ‘Bangkok Music City’

Bangkok, Thailand – Wednesday 27 February 2019

The National Innovation Agency (NIA) of Thailand partners with Fungjai and NYLON Thailand to officially launch ‘Bangkok Music City’

The National Innovation Agency (NIA) of Thailand has held a press conference to announce the partnership with Fungjai and NYLON Thailand to bring 4 MAR-tech startups and 3 bands from Thailand to attend South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival 2019 held in Austin, TX, USA and will also support the first edition of Bangkok Music City Conference and Festival (BMC) focused on MAR-tech and the creative industries to be held in the Chareonkrung area of Bangkok between 2-3 November 2019.Continue reading “NIA partners with Fungjai and NYLON Thailand to launch ‘Bangkok Music City’”

7 Reasons why Bangkok should be your next Music Destination

Do you like live music?
Are you planning to visit Bangkok?

Does the idea of exploring the local underground music scene that even the locals don’t know about excite you?

Here are 7 reasons why Bangkok should be your next music destination!

1. Venues, Venues Everywhere

Lacking clear zoning regulations, Bangkok is scattered with live music venues, giving it a charm unique from other Music Cities. You can find them in the city center, the old town area, and even in residential areas. Some are like hidden gems – tucked away deep in the ‘ซอย’ (‘soi’ = alleyways) away from the main roads.

If you ever came to Thailand and partied with the locals, you may notice that there are a lot of establishments that have live music; however, most of them would have house bands playing popular Western and Thai cover songs. But we’re talking about venues with original music played by local indie artists that even the locals don’t know about.

Each venue is unique with its own charm. Some are normal establishments with house bands or just some music playing on the loud speakers, but on special occasions have concerts featuring local artists e.g. PLAY YARD by Studio Bar, Parking Toys and Saxophone Pub and Restaurant; some are cafes and/or art galleries such as The Jam FactorySoy Sauce Factory and BANGKOK CITYCITY GALLERY; and some are record stores, like Nong Taprachan and 1979 vinyl and unknown pleasures.

Check out the map below to see examples of venues where local original bands normally perform.

 

2. Genres, Sub-genres, and More

Bangkok is a city with a population of more than 8.2 million people – 14.5 million if you include the whole metropolitan area. It is a melting pot of different races, cultural backgrounds and lifestyles, making it a rainforest of musical diversity.

Although the Thai mainstream market is flooded with Thai-popThai-rock and modernized Thai-country music, ‘Luk Thung‘, there are many other genres and sub-genres popular in small niche groups, like instrumental post rock (Inspirative), math rock (Two Million Thanks), jazz rock (InDeedweNeed), dream pop (Jelly Rocket), British garage rock (Yellow Fang), electronic synth pop (DCNXTR), hardcore punk (LowFat), political thrash metal (Killing Fields), etc.

Fungjai.com is a local music streaming service, streaming virtually every musical genre available in Thailand, by artists who are mostly from local indie labels or are DIY artists. Fungjai doesn’t have an English-version of the website yet, but it’s pretty simple to guess and click around.

Click on photo to access Fungjai.com.
Click on photo to explore Fungjai.com.

 

3. Friendly Music Communities

Local music gigs are organized by several promoters, indie labels and musician communities who reside in Bangkok. Some promoters are more dedicated to specific genres, like MELA (techno & electronic) and Thailand GRIND FEST (grind core), while many would crossover between several genres, for example Conflakes, DOOD and Scene Seen Space.

Out of all indie labels, Panda Records is both a record label and a musician community with almost 40 bands associated with it since its start in 1999. It is founded and led by Wannarit ‘Pok’ Pongprayoon – an intelligent, soft spoken man who is dedicated to creating music and helping others express themselves through music. He also started Stone Free Music Festival and Noise Market – an arts, crafts, music, film and food festival held annually at Museum Siam. Other music communities, including music labels and media are for example Banana Record Thailand, Smallroom Bangkok Pop Music Label, Parinam Music, Rama II Hardcore, Kodindy, Spicy Disc, Cat Radio, Happening Magazine, etc.

There are also expat communities who organize their own gigs while also collaborating with Thai communities, for example the Japanese musician community led by hardcore punk band, LowFat; and Japanese-Thai record label, dessin the world. Western expat musician groups have also been very active, frequently hanging out and performing at Fatty’s Bar & Diner, and helping out Sofar Sounds Bangkok – a branch of a global network of artists and music lovers.

Above, Yellow Fang playing at a Sofar Sounds Bangkok event.

 

4. Music Festivals and Markets

Music festivals and markets are especially popular during the winter/dry season between November and February, when the sky is clear and the weather is a bit cooler than usual. You can find several music festivals in Bangkok almost every weekend during this time of year, and many more located not so far from the city.

Music festivals with a majority of Thai artists are for example Big Mountain Music Festival (@ Petchburi – mainstream & indie), Overcoat Music Festival (@ Phetchabun – mainstream), Grass Tone Sound (@ Nakhon Ratchasima – indie), Stone Free Music Festival (@ Saraburi – indie), Keep On The Grass Folk Music Festival (@ Saraburi – indie folk & acoustic), Cat Expo by Cat Radio (@ Bangkok – mainstream & indie), Noise Market (@ Bangkok – arts, crafts, music, film and food festival), etc.

Music festivals with a majority of international artists are also popular, for example Wonderfruit Festival (@ Chonburi – arts, music & food), Arcadia – The Bangkok Takeover (@ Bangkok – electronic), 808 Festival (@ Bangkok – EDM), Waterzonic (@ Bangkok – EDM), etc.

Click on photo to read article, "10 Music Festivals You Should Not Miss", by Siam2nite.com.
Click on photo to read article, “10 Music Festivals You Should Not Miss This Winter”, by Siam2nite.com.

 

5. International Touring Destination

Apart from globally famous artists, several smaller indie and non-mainstream artists also stop by Thailand to perform during their tours, organized by local promoters like HAVE YOU HEARD? (e.g. Perfume Genius, Neon Indian, Wild Beasts), Indy Pop Concerts (e.g. Obey the Brave, Dragonforce, Enforcer), Mind The Gap (e.g. BraidsJeffrey Lewis & the Jrams) and Alterverse (e.g. Battles, Bottle Smoker).

Above, promotional video for Canadian band – Braids, and Thai band – Monomania, organized by Mind The Gap.

 

6. Window to Thailand’s Local Music Scenes

Bangkok is the capital and the largest city in Thailand. It is also the country’s political, commercial, industrial, and cultural hub – including music.

Thailand has other cities with strong music scenes and communities, such as Chiang Mai (e.g. No Signal Input, Summer Disc Music Label, Made in Chiangmai) in the north; Khon Kaen (e.g. KK Underground, Ex-sys Studio) and Nakhon Ratchasima (e.g. 3rd World Music, 1005 Records) in the northeast; and Phuket and Hat Yai in the south. And many if not most of those local artists come tour in Bangkok every now and then, which gives you the opportunity to see local bands from all over Thailand.

Neo-psychedelic band, Solitude Is Bliss, from Chiang Mai, performing at Cat Expo Music Festival in Bangkok in November 2015.
Neo-psychedelic band, Solitude Is Bliss, from Chiang Mai, performing at Cat Expo Music Festival in Bangkok in November 2015.

 

7. World-renowned Tourist Destination

Bangkok is already a world-renowned tourist destination, famous for its history, culture, food and nightlife – plus the ease of travel and low cost of living.

You probably won’t easily run out of things to do in Bangkok; but even if you do, you can get out of Bangkok to chill-out at the beach, white-water raft or do whatever the heck a tourist would do!

Click photo to go to the official website of Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Click photo to go to the official website of Tourism Authority of Thailand, to look up for touristy things to do.

 

In Summary…

To summarize why Bangkok should be your next music destination, Ben Edwards – an Australian musician who now resides in Bangkok – says it best:

“Bangkok is a city of chaos, contradictions and constant change—just the sort of environment that encourages a lively, exciting and ever-changing underground music scene. It’s a friendly scene that includes many different genres and an international cast of musicians, artists and music fans. While many great small venues have come and gone over the past few years, musically the scene seems to be growing more diverse, interesting and energetic.”

– Ben Edwards – singer/guitarist from Bangkok rock ‘n’ roll band, Plastic Section (Source: CMJ.com)

Hope this sums up everything! See you at an underground gig in Bangkok somewhere!

Written by
Piyapong ‘Py’ Muenprasertdee
Co-founder and Community Manager of Fungjai.com