Photo by Eli Zablosky
Stemming from an encounter at the 2019 SXSW Tradeshow, Apogee Presents team member Eli Zablosky traveled abroad to attend the first ever Bangkok Music City in Chareonkrung, Bangkok. This first – annual, free event, was a foreign structure designed to demonstrate proof of concept in hopes to develop the conversation of encouraging government support and awareness to the music industry in Thailand.
Who orchestrated this rodeo?
The flagship event was created and hosted by two local anchors of the Thai music scene, Nylon and Fungjai. Both Nylon (Media publication) and Fungjai (Music platform, event organizer, and marketing agency) have been active supporters in the Thai music scene for the past few years and understand the potential brewing beneath the surface. They have hosted other events previously, but none with as broad of an international reach.
How about some more details?
The first ever Bangkok Music City, held the weekend of November 1st, featured 30 international delegates and dozens of bands representing indie music scenes native to Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Sweden, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, China, and Taiwan. Bands spread across several local downtown venues, including a main stage at the Grand Postal Building, attracted audiences with two days of conferences and music showcases. Subject matter covered in conference sessions dissected the music industry “equation” covering each piece of the puzzle including government support of local artists, sustainability in indie music scenes, and exporting music internationally. Delegates from Asia, Europe, and North America shared experiences and insights from their respective positions including government officials, festival owners, and record labels.
Music genres included indie grunge – rock, psych – rock flavors produced from Thai instruments, experimental rnb – jazz ensembles, singer – song writer, pop – punk fusions, and blended variety of many other genres. Notable artists who stood out to our team include Chucheewa (TH), Supergoods (TH), M1LDL1FE (SG), My Life as Ali Thomas (TH), Jindajohn (TH), Gym and Swim (TH), Arvid Nero (SW), Tilly Birds (TH), brb. (SG), Pyra (TH), and Tontrakul (TH). Seriously, very talented musicians. Every set attended was delivered by nothing but top – notch artists! We highly encourage you to check out the links.
So, what’s the big deal?
Artists in Thailand, unlike others of many nations in attendance, do not have support options from their government. Such programs could help through means of creating an export system or opening applications for monetary grants. This is a stark contrast to countries such as Canada who possess around 12 export offices.
Bangkok Music City demonstrated a centralized interest to multiple audiences during their two day event. The internal audience, compromised of artists and government officials, witnessed a proof of concept in favor of supporting local musicians on a large scale format and the potential economic impact it can provide to Thailand. The external audience, international and local attendees, gained a global perspective on the music industry through the means of structured sessions and experienced artistic expressions from all over the world.
With help from their government, Thailand’s emerging music scene could very well become the next international cultural destination… watch out, Austin!
All in all,
The milestone of Bangkok Music City successfully equipped local artists and indie music supporters strong ammunition as they pursue larger support from local entities such as the Thai government.
Apogee Presents would like to thank visionary Piyapong Muenprasertdee (Fungjai) for the invitation. We greatly anticipate a second year!
Article by Eli Zablosky