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Coming of age

Phum matures as an artist

Photographs courtesy of Phum Viphurit and Rats Records

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It’s been an exciting couple of years for talented young singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit.

Still only 21, Phum already has a mature sound. He has impressed Thai music listeners with a string of radio hits which showcase his acoustic-based indie pop style. His singles “Adore,” “Run,” “Strangers in a Dream,” “Trial & Error” and most recently “The Art of Detaching One’s Heart” have all attracted acclaim from both fans and critics.

Phum was born in Thailand but spent his formative years in New Zealand. Having grown up in a musical family, he started writing his own material at the age of 18. Returning to Thailand, he attracted the attention of Rats Records. Now Phum is finally ready to release his first full-length album, entitled Manchild, which he composed, produced and arranged by himself.

S Weekly recently got hold of Phum for a phone interview to talk about the album and his passion for music.

How was your recent gig at Cat Expo?

Phum: It was fun. The band and most of the audience seemed to enjoy it. We got to play on the Full Moon stage. We prepared a set especially for the event with acoustic guitar, electric guitar and percussion. Jennifer Lackgren from Jenny and the Scallywags also joined us on stage as a guest singer.

Can you tell us about the new album?

Phum: Sure. Manchild is my first album. It’s got a total of nine songs. There’s the five that I’ve already released as singles, and four new ones which I wrote after I left New Zealand.

Why did you decide to name it Manchild?

Phum: It refers to where I am in my life right now. I feel like I’m not yet an adult, but I’m definitely not a kid anymore. It basically represents my life story — a young adult who was raised in New Zealand, started writing songs at 18, then moved back to Thailand a couple years ago to become a singer-songwriter in Bangkok.

Can you tell us a bit more about your background?

Phum: I was born in Thailand, but moved to New Zealand when I was eight because my mom got a job there. I grew up surrounded by music. My parents love it and my older brother was a singer in a rock band. I’ve been addicted to MTV since I can remember. My mom bought my first drum set when I was 15, but the neighbours got annoyed so I switched to guitar instead. I began writing my own songs at 18 and started my own YouTube channel around the same time.

How did you become involved with Rats Records?

Phum: After moving back to Thailand I became friends with Patiphan Suwannasingha (Tle) from The Whitest Crow. He suggested that I send my demo to Rats Records. So I sent them “Adore” and they really liked it. I’m very fortunate to be with a label that gives me 100% freedom to create my own music, even though all the songs are in English.

Who are some of your main influences?

Phum: I have a lot of influences and I think they all come out naturally when I write. When I was a kid my mom used to play Elvis, George Benson and Stevie Wonder all the time, so I guess I kind of absorbed their influence. And when I grew up I discovered singer-songwriters like Ben Howard, Mac DeMarco and pop bands like Daughter and Bombay Bicycle Club. They all made a big impression on me.

Do you plan on writing songs in Thai someday?

Phum: Absolutely, it’s one of my goals. Most people might not understand why my songs are all in English but it’s more natural for me. My Thai writing skills are very weak at the moment, to be honest. [Laughs.] But I’m getting better, so hopefully I’ll be able to write some decent Thai lyrics in the future.

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absolutely : completely - อย่างแน่นอน, อย่างแท้จริง

absorb : to take something into the mind and learn or understand it - รับรู้, รับไว้

acclaim (noun): praise and approval for somebody/something, especially an artistic achievement - การยกย่อง

addicted : unable to stop using or doing something - ซึ่งติดนิสัยในบางอย่าง

adult : a fully grown person who is legally responsible for their actions - ผู้ใหญ่

annoyed : feeling slightly angry or impatient - รู้สึกรำคาญใจ

arrange : to plan or organize something in advance - จัดเตรียม, เตรียมการ

attention : interest, especially interest that the public has in a person, event, situation etc - ความสนใจ

attract : to cause someone to be interested in something - ดึงดูดความสนใจ

audience : the group of people gathered in one place to watch or listen to a play, film, someone speaking, etc. - ผู้ชม

basically : in the most important ways, without considering things that are less important - โดยพื้นฐาน, โดยแท้จริง, โดยทั่วๆ ไป

compose : to produce music, poetry or formal writing - แต่งขึ้น

create : to make something new - สร้าง, แต่งขึ้น

critic : someone who gives their opinion about something - นักวิจารณ์

decent : of a good enough standard or quality - เหมาะสม

definitely : without any doubt; for certain - อย่างแน่นอน

demo (noun): a recording of an example of somebody's music - ของตัวอย่าง, ของโชว์, สิ่งที่แสดงเป็นตัวอย่าง, ของสาธิต

detach : to remove a part from something - ถอดออก, แยกออก

discover : to find somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before - ค้นพบ

drum (noun): a musical instrument that a person hits with sticks to play - กลอง

entitle : to give a title (name) to a book, play, etc - ตั้งชื่อ

event : a planned public or social occasion - งานสังคม

formative (adj): having an important and lasting influence on the development of something or of somebody’s character, often referring to the time of life before becoming an adult -

fortunate : lucky - โชคดี, เคราะห์ดี

get hold of (verb): to contact or find somebody - ติดต่อสื่อสาร

gig : a single job for someone such as a musician, a presenter, a comedian, etc. - งานชั่วคราว

impressed : to admire or respect someone because of something that he or she has done or said - ประทับใจ

impression : an opinion or feeling that you have about someone or something you have seen but do not know very well - ความรู้สึก

indie : not belonging to, working for or produced by a large organisation; independent - บริษัทเพลงหรือภาพยนต์ ขนาดเล็กที่ไม่ได้มีบริษัทขนาดใหญ่เป็นเจ้าของอยู่

influence : (n) the effect that somebody has on the way that something works -

interview : a meeting (often a public one) at which a person is asked questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์

kid (noun): a child - เด็ก

label : a company that produces records -

lyrics : the words of a song - เนื้อเพลง

material : information or ideas used in books, songs, etc - ข้อมูล, เนื้อหา, ใจความ, สาระ

mature : to become fully grown - เติบโตเต็มที่

natural : normal; as you would expect - ตามธรรมชาติ, เหมือนจริง

naturally (adverb): without special help, treatment or action by somebody - ตามธรรมชาติ, โดยกำเนิด

neighbours (noun): people who live near you - เพื่อนบ้าน

passion : a strong enthusiasm or interest - ความชื่นชม หลงใหล 

percussion (noun): musical instruments that you play by hitting them with your hand or with a stick, for example drums - เครื่องดนตรีประเภทเคาะหรือตี

produce (verb): to make the practical and financial arrangements needed to make a film, play, music video or television or radio programme - อำนวยการสร้าง, ผลิต

raise : to take care of children while they are growing up - เลี้ยงดู

release : to make something available to the public - ออกวางตลาด, ออกวางจำหน่าย

represent : to be an example or expression of something - แสดงให้เห็น, เป็นเครื่องหมายของ

set (noun): a group of similar things that belong together in some way - ชุด

showcase : to show the best qualities or parts of something - แสดง,ทำให้เห็นจุดเด่น

stage (noun): a raised area, usually in a theatre, etc. where actors, dancers, speakers etc. perform - เวที

string : a series of similar or connected events that happen one after the other - การเรียงต่อเนื่องของเหตุการณ์หรือสิ่งต่างๆ

surrounded : having something,people, etc. completely around all sides - ถูกล้อมรอบ

switch : to change - เปลี่ยน

talented : having a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught - ซึ่งมีพรสวรรค์

trial and error : a way of achieving an aim or solving a problem by trying a number of different methods and learning from the mistakes that you make - การลองผิดลองถูก


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