Archive for August, 2013

Sounds from Siam [1 of 3]: Holding On

Posted in Interviews, Thailand with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2013 by Alright Jack

Thai hardcore kids with the singer of NTB in the middle

Gap is a 20 year old Thai guy that set up Holding On Records last year. Holding On Records is a small hardcore-punk label in Thailand. The name, interestingly enough, comes from the similarly named album of the Netherland’s No Turning Back (NTB), who have been touring South-East Asia and visited Bangkok for the third year in a row last December. As for the story behind the name Holding On Records, it is indeed connected to NTB. NTB was looking for a label to release their latest album ‘Take Control’ and after talking with Martijn (the singer of NTB) Gap felt inspired enough to do it himself. With NTB as his inspiration he named it after NTB’s Holding On album from 2006. So far they released a record of A Strength Within from Belgium, Minus-3 from Belgium, Homerun from Malaysia. Gap is also running it as a distro and sells some stuff from other foreign labels. They also just released the Pak Kred Hardcore (PKHC) compilation with two songs of all the six PKHC bands on it: Born From Pain, A-Zero, Take it Back, Mosherman Friends, X on the Hand, Skip It. Pak Kred is a district of the the Nonthaburi, right next to Bangkok, where Born From Pain and A-Zero started out. Gap also helps out organizing shows. I met up with him in early October 2011 to talk with him about the Thai hardcore scene.

Gap is also the singer of X on the Hand. The first and only Straight Edge band of Thailand. They started out in 2005, but he is the third singer of the band as the first singer quit as he was too busy and the second singer Jam wanted to put more time in A-zero. Gap started going to hardcore shows 6 years ago as a 14 year old with his older brother. He tells me that the hardcore scene has been growing stronger, with relatively many foreign bands coming over like Terror, Death Before Dishonor, No Turning Back and many others. As for difficulties getting foreign bands over: “Big organizers get many big bands from all genres of music, sometimes also hardcore and metal bands. But it’s only work. For money. But sometimes, if we can get a contact with a band. We do it by ourself and our crew with our money. We do not care if we lose some money sometimes. It’s okay. If we lose money, it’s all our crew money. Not only one.”

“It’s a problem. I’ve been to a few concerts here myself. If you go to a Thai concert, it’s like 100 baht entry or something with only Thai bands. But if Terror comes over it’s going to be like….”

“800 baht?”

“Yes. It’s a lot of money for most Thais.” 

“Yeah. Some bands when they think they are a big band, they need many things. It depends, some big bands don’t need anything. Or they need some money, so they can buy their flight ticket. A little money, some food etc. I think that’s okay. But for some other bands, they need many things. They need food, hotel for staff. Big bands do like this.”

And you don’t want to do that..”

 “No, I don’t need to do that. It is expensive. If you do like this, it´s not hardcore, It’s business. For money only. I don´t like that.”

While I am not exactly the most spiritual person myself, I briefly wanted to talk about Buddhism with Gap as I saw a photo of him as a novice on Facebook. I ask him for how long he did that as it is quite normal for young Thai guys to be in monkhood for a year or so (often to escape poverty), but he tells me he only did for one day: “Because of my uncle passed away. And in Buddhism, it is normal for a nephew or son or anyone close to the man that passed away to do this. So that’s why I did it. And it was the first time my family saw my tattoo..” “Haha. So did they like it?” “No. Haha”

“What did your mom say?”

“My mom said, why did you do like this?

So I was like, it has some meaning, this side is straight edge and the other Pak Kred Hardcore. So this means I don’t drink, I’m not smoking and I’m not fucking around. And my mom said, if you think to do like this, you can do this, but you cannot do the tattoo, that’s not okay. But now it’s okay.” “She has to accept it…” “Yes, because I cannot I erase it. Hahahah”

“So how did the monks react to it in the temple?”

“Oh, they just came to see this new monk with tattoos on his back and arms. Oh, he has a cat on arm. Oh, he has a wolf on arm. But it was okay.”

“Do you think punk or hardcore punk relates in any way to Buddhism for you?”

“Oh, yeah. For me. Some of my lyrics for X on the Hand are based on Buddhism. Sometime I have read a lot about Buddhism in the past, and I just use this for my lyrics. Buddhism teaches everything for a positive mind. And I want to make positive lyrics for X on the Hand too..“

“What are your favourite Thai hc bands?”

“Born From Pain for sure. Then A-zero and Take it Back. Those are three of my favorites. I need to introduce you to Skip it, they are good band too.”

“Are there any Asian bands outside Thailand you like?”

“Yes, many from over South-East Asia are playing very good. I love Homerun from Malaysia. Second Combat, also from Malaysia.”

“Ohh.. I’ve heard of Second Combat. Yeah, yeah, my brother interviewed them for Jagged Visions #2 I think [ed: it was the first issue]. They toured in the Netherlands.”

“Their guitarist just emailed me the other day that they want to come over here.”

“Others?”

“Ohh. Kids on the Move from Malaysia. From Singapore, I love Overthrown. They will play in Bangkok with NTB 17 December. Under 18 from Indonesia. Mouthful of Air from Singapore, they play melodic hardcore. They’re so good. I just saw them play coming together with anticolizali [??], but they only came with 3 persons, but they played in Bangkok. I want to see the full band.”

“What about bands from Cambodia, Laos or Isaan?”

“I’ve not heard of anything from there.”

“And underground music outside Bangkok in Thailand?”

“I have seen some shows being set up in Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Lopburi. In many provinces there are some shows. Some bands, but not much. There are some hardcore bands from Chonburi like Take It Over and Can’t Break.”

“Anything else you want to say?”

If you want to follow my label Holding On Records, you can find us on Facebook. I will do my best to make the BKK hardcore scene better than in the past. Cause I want to do everything for hardcore. And now we have a plan to make a Holding On fanzine, with interviews with NTB and A Strength Within. And some other bands from the other side of the world. 

Holding On Records

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Sounds from Siam: Hardcore-punk in Thailand

Posted in Thailand with tags , , on August 23, 2013 by Alright Jack

People may recognize this photo of the Thammasat massacre in Bangkok of 6th October 1976 as the cover of the Dead Kennedy’s Holiday in Cambodia single.

I’m the little brother of Willem, the editor and mastermind behind Jagged Visions Zine, I used to live in Bangkok for a year and had the plan to write an issue of Jagged Visions about hardcore-punk and underground culture in Thailand. I ended up interviewing some Thai hardcore kids that are involved in the scene by organizing stuff and creating music. I think I had some good ideas and lots of material and photos for a cut ‘n paste zine, but I have been slow with it. And now, more than a year later, I don’t have the willpower anymore to finish the zine. Part of the reason is that I was just not really happy with the stuff I had written. I did however have three finished interviews lying around, so when I decided to quit finishing the zine, I guess I could at the very least put the interviews online.

So there will be three interviews uploaded in the next month here on Jagged Visions. First one will be with the founder of Holding On Records, then with Yos Fest, a guy that has been involved for over a decade in organizing hardcore-punk shows in Bangkok, and finally with the singer of what is probably Thailand’s best hardcore-punk band: Born From Pain. All the interviews were conducted late 2011, early 2012.

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