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What’s going on in the Bangkok live music venues and festivals?

2023.8.10

#MUSIC

Why isn’t the business sustainable? Circumstances surrounding Bangkok’s live music venues.

Nomura: What was the situation surrounding live houses in Bangkok before Blueprint Livehouse was established?

Ginn: There have been people who have tried to create a Japanese-style live house. Ginn: There have been people who have tried to “build a Japanese-style live music club,” but most of them had gone out of business after about three years. There are many reasons for this, but first of all, there are not enough bands to fill the live house every day. This makes it impossible to open on weekdays. As for the location, the land owner would not renew the contract, and when a luxury condominium was built behind us, the police were often called and we had to close. This would increase the likelihood of going out of business before they could recoup their investment. I want to build a live music club. How is it run in Japan? But in light of the actual situation, I think it is not an easy thing to do.

There used to be a live music club called “HARMONICA,” but it too disappeared after about three years. It is so rare that each time there was a live house, people would say, “This band is of the HARMONICA generation,” and the name of the live house would become a symbol of the era.

Nomura: So you can tell the generation by mentioning the name of the live music club where the band played.

Ginn: That’s right. So I think the Blueprint Livehouse generation will emerge in the future. They are trying to establish themselves as a place where people can listen to music, not as a live bar, which is the norm in many places, so I hope they can continue for a long time.

Nomura: If there are so few live houses, what about rehearsal studios?

Ginn: I can quickly think of about four or five rehearsal studios in Bangkok. It is a battle for reservations. I think this is the same as the management of live music clubs, and because there are not many bands and musicians, it is difficult to run a stable business. The reason why there are so few musicians is that the price of musical instruments is high for the average income in Thailand. It is the same or higher than in Japan. So, to begin with, only those who can afford it can own a musical instrument. The gap between rich and poor in Thailand is one of the widest in the world.

Nomura: I have an image that hip-hop is popular in places where the gap between the rich and the poor is severe. This year, “Rolling Loud” (an international hip-hop festival) was held in Thailand as its first Asian entry.

Ginn: Yes, it was! Around the time before Corona, hip-hop started to become popular in Thailand. MILLI, whose name is well known in Japan, attracted worldwide attention. The scene became more exciting because a rap star emerged from Thailand. Furthermore, MILLI is a rapper who is not afraid to express his opinions, even anti-establishment ones. In the past, rock and punk were the symbols of anti-establishment, but even here in Thailand, they have been replaced by hip-hop.

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