A Fat Farewell

As the Fat Festival winds down, we take a nostalgic indie time out

Originally planned as a one-off music festival by Fat Radio over 10 years ago, Fat Festival is about to reach its 12th and final instalment this weekend (Nov 3-4) with The Last FatFEST. It started off as a relatively small music event for off-beat and lesser known acts, but has become one of the biggest and the most influential music events in the Thai music scene over the years. We get to know the festival more, give you some guidelines on how to fit in (and survive) the indie scene, and take a look at where the genre is going.

The Last FatFEST. Lakeside, Muang Thong Thani, Pak Kret, Nonthaburi.

B500 for two-day ticket (Nov 3-4) available at Webooking, 02-900-9999, www.we-booking.com.

For show schedule and more information, 02-641-5394, facebook.com/fatradio.


INDIE FIGURES

To get to know where the Thai indie music scene is going after Fat Festival ends, we spoke to Pongnarin Jong U-lit, president and DJ of Fat Radio, Tul Waitoonkiat, a songwriter and lead singer of Apartment Khunpa, Veeranat "Jap" Tippayamonthon, lead singer of The Richman Toy, and Jackapun "Yeah" Boonyamat, lead singer of Slur.

"I am so proud that Fat Festival has helped create the new standard for music festivals in Thailand. It has given a sense of novelty to the Thai music scene. We have come to a point where we have completed our mission. As for the direction of the indie music scene in Thailand, I think it's going to be just like the past few years, with as many bands and as much interest from the audience. What is going to be tough for upcoming indie bands is the question of how to make a living with the problem of illegal downloading. However, there probably is going to be more new artists than before because, with social networking, it's so easy to make and publish work."

-Pongnarin Jong U-lit, president and DJ of Fat Radio.

"Fat Festival has become like a tradition for me, like Songkran or Loy Krathong, which has to happen every year. I am known today because of it. It's part of my life, and I don't know what to do anymore now that it's over. As for the indie music industry, I think it will go on just like this. There will be people organising music events in the same style. With social media, it's a lot easier for new artists to present themselves."

-Tul Waitoonkiat, songwriter and lead singer of Apartment Khunpa.

"Fat Festival has always been such a huge influence in the Thai indie music scene. It has created space for young people who are different and want to express their personality. I'm going to miss it a lot. The first Fat Festival that I played with Slur was quite a gig; it was so crowded. But these last couple of years, it has been relatively quiet, probably because people from a certain generation have outgrown it. However, the indie music trend isn't simply going to fade away and die." 

-Jackapun "Yeah" Boonyamat, lead singer of Slur.

"Fat Festival has quite a history in Thailand. No one ever thought about this kind of festival before, and it's cool because it has continued for so many years. It created a new space, new audiences and so many new artists. I wish they were lying about this being the last one. As for the direction of indie music, it's going to be tough. People have so many interests these days, especially in the social media world."

-Veeranat "Jap" Tippayamonthon, lead singer of The Richman Toy.

Stone Free II & The Vaccines

Beach Fossils & Godung

BEDROOM STAGE

Starting from Fat Radio's Bedroom Studio project that accepts and plays demos from unknown artists, Fat Festival gives new faces a chance on its Bedroom Stage. Here are some fresh bands to check out.

Laughing Skull

Laughing Skull (facebook.com/laughingskullrocksyou) is a four-piece rock band with a strong and unique sound who have just released their debut album, What A History Is Made Of.

Genre: Rock/Alternative.

Notable songs: "Ruedoogaan" (Season), "Hero".

They say: "Fat Fest has always been a theme park for passionate kids like us. It has been a legendary spectacle for Thai youngsters for more than a decade. To be a part of the fest this year, considering it's entitled 'The Last', is the biggest milestone for this young band so far."

Aow Unda

Aow Unda (facebook.com/Aow.Unda) is a rock band with a strong style from southern Thailand.

Genre: Thai Southern Rock.

Notable Songs: "Ai-ya Lung-ga", "Roy Jod-jum".

They say: "We are just an ordinary rock band from the south but Bedroom Project has given us a chance to play here in Bangkok. This is so incredible."

Hariguem Zaboy

Hariguem Zaboy (facebook.com/hariguemzaboyband) is an indie rock band with a strong influence of 70s British rock music. Appearing detached and retrospective, while always keep their eyes low when performing, they fit into the subgenre of alternative rock "Shoegaze".

Genre: Indie rock/Shoegaze.

Notable Songs: "Bittersweet Lullaby".

They say: "We are glad to be part of the line-up for the Bedroom Stage and since this is the Last FatFest, it's even more special for us".

Aire

Aire (facebook.com/aire.bkk) is an experimental post-rock bandinfluenced by Japanese music with no lyrics in their songs, focusing mainly on the play between instruments.

Genre: Experimental post-rock.

Notable songs: "Bunmei kaika", "Temari-uta".

They say: "It is such a pleasure to be a part of The Last FatFest on the Bedroom Stage. While our genre of experimental post rock may be somewhat unusual, we are excited to show the audience our music and the kind of entertaining show which we have come to be known for." 

The Awaiting Jigsaw

The Awaiting Jigsaw (facebook.com/TheAwaitingJigsaw) is a solo artist from Suphan Buri who records his music solely with his iPad.

Genre: American country/Contemporary Folk.

Notable songs: "97 km. (to Suphan City)".

He says: "I feel so honoured to perform on the Bedroom Stage. This music festival is so well-known, and this time I don't have to attend just as an audience member."

INDIE AFTER EFFECTS

Even though it's the last Fat Festival, indie fans can still find plenty of other places to express their musical spirit. We have rounded up some upcoming concerts to enjoy.

Beach Fossils (Nov 16, facebook.com/HaveYouHeard.Live) is an American indie rock band from Brooklyn who are sure to bring with them some of their hits like "Daydream", "Vacation" and "Lazy Day".

Godung (Nov 28, facebook.com/godungmusic) presents a small-scale concert at Tiger Beer Park, CentralWorld, with a line-up comprising of Kill It Kid, Hugo and Abuse the Youth.

Stone Free II (Nov 30-Dec 2, facebook.com/stonefreefest) is a two-day, two-night music festival by Panda Records & The World May Never Know featuring acts like DJ Dr. Dapookster, Plastic Section, World Music, Two Million Thank, Afternoon, Assajan Jakrawan, and more.

The Vaccines (Jan 12, facebook.com/busypartyboy), who just released their second studio album Come of Age, is coming to Bangkok early next year to give us an English indie music feel.

HOW TO BLEND IN AT AN INDIE CONCERT

An indie concert is not your regular trip to your neighbourhood 7-Eleven (so you can forget about wearing your pyjamas). It requires a certain style of attire so you can fully rock out and fit in. Here's our guide.

1. The combo of second-hand T-shirts and jeans is the way to go. Don't be too dressy or else you won't be indie. Comfy attire is good for headbanging, jumping, hand-showing, body-surfing and human-waving.

2. If you get separated from your friends in the crowd, wearing bright colours should make finding each other easier.

3. Definitely no high heels. Converse sneakers are the preferred kicks among dek naews.

4. You're going to be movin' like Jagger at these concerts. Pack some facial tissue with you if you don't want to look like you've been workin' under the sun.

5. If you can't think of something to wear, go with anything that has horizontal stripes (naew non) because you're dek naew. Get it?

About the author

Writer: Kaona Pongpipat