Bangkok vinyl craftsman

I remember walking into a record store  for the first time back when I was  in high school. The records displayed on the walls of the shop reminded me of being in an art gallery. The covers were works of visual art and staring at them made me curious about what the records inside sounded like. I remember I would spend hours and hours flipping through stacks and stacks of records and it always felt good when I found a tune that I liked.  I suppose that was the pay off for all those hours of searching for beats. Even now I still use vinyl records and I can’t imagine using anything but that. To me using a CDJ is ok but the feel of the platter can’t beat the turntable’s, also CD’s and especially mp3’s lack any warmth in sound.

Another thing that has always attracted me to vinyl is the dub plate. Made famous by Jamaican sound system culture the dub plate is a one off record that a producer or a label presses to test the tune before it is released. Dub plates were also commonly used by UK dnb DJ’s although now most prefer to use CDJ’s or Serato. It was always the top  DJ’s that had the plates that no one else had. All the exclusive remixes all the mash ups were pressed for them and them only, and it was because of this that gave a DJ his or her unique sound and style.  I always wanted to have a few plates of my own. Unfortunately Thailand’s vinyl presses and mastering studio’s with dub plate machines have all since disappeared. The good news is that even though the mainstream have given up on vinyl there still are a few Thai’s that are dedicated collectors.

Traithep Wongpaiboon aka Au is considered by many  to be one of Thailand’s best sound engineers but,  besides that he is also a certified vinyl junkie.  A few post back I wrote about the Azia Bass and DJ Yas CD’s, well Au mastered both the CD’s. Just recently  he opened a dub plate cutting studio called Boop Records.  Just the other day I was invited to check out his basement studio where he showed me how all the stuff works. All this equipment was shipped from Germany to Bangkok and the total cost was over 1 million baht (30,00o usd). The whole dub plate press consists of compressors, eq’s, cutting head, turntable and monitors. Before the record gets cut the tune has to be mastered, after this the cutting head is prepared, the vinyl is heated and when all this is done the record finally gets cut (each record costs 2400 baht).  Watching Au prepare go through this whole process brought me back to the days when I used to spend hours in the record shop. Now I realize how much work went on into the creation of one vinyl record. Like the graphics on the cover the preparation that go’s into making a record is also an art.

Since the studio’s opening  I have pressed a total of 6 tracks. I know a lot of you who are reading are a bit skeptical on Au’s mastering skills but let me tell you the tracks that he mastered for the plates were amazing, in fact I did get a  track that were mastered from a very well known mastering studio in the UK and I reckon that Au’s mastering is much better(but hey that’s just my opinion). The dubs that I got here don’t sound as punchy as the ones I got in Europe but they do sound very warm and silky. Either way, finally I can play all the tracks that were sent to me with out having to burn them to CD or use Serato.  lets just hope that clubs still keep there turntables!

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The reason why I won’t be playing at Culture one in 2010

One of the highlights for me in 2009 was to be able to play the main stage at the Culture One festival.  Even though I was the first to play on that day (5pm) I was more then great full because I was given the opportunity to play Dubstep on a fucking huge P.A system. Unfortunately  I’ve just been told that I will not be joining the line up for 2010. One of the reasons that I will not be joining is because one of the organizers think that I am too popular to be put in the warm up slot. The organizer also said that last year I was walking around sulking because I had to play early.I’ve gotten to where I have in my career because I ‘ve worked hard and dedicated my life to DJing, and honestly I do feel like I’ve stayed humble throughout the years. I guess there’s times when an anyonomous stranger comes up to me at a party and  is nagging me about hooking them up with a gig and I might seem like a bitch at that moment, but hey if that were you I think you’d feel the same way! Personally I think the organizer was taking the piss and none of what he said was true (just read ) I did mention that I was more then happy to play an early set and to be honest I just wanted to play on the huge sound system and I don’t care if it was 5 pm. Its a shame that the biggest rave in Bangkok has only Trance and House DJ’s as part of there line up and in my honest opinion there should be at least a dnb stage.  On a more happier note Dubway has done quite well for 2009, and I can’t claim that success all for myself because it was guest djs,mcs, artists and party people who helped make it happen, either way I still think we have a lot more work to do.  Another point is that we will have to move Dubway to a new location in 2010. Club Culture will be closing down in January so this Saturday will be our last session there. So already I’m seeing some storm clouds forming over the horizon. Damn this shit is scary! What I do know is that I’m going to work extra hard to get Dubstep across to an even bigger audience for 2010.. well I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed and see what happens next.

Beer Chang moonlight rave

I’m sure everyone in the world has heard of the infamous Full Moon rave parties in Koh Phangan Thailand. The party which takes place on every full moon attracts  back packers and hippies looking to party there ass’s off for days on end. I myself have been there a few times and each time end up getting wrecked! Another place in Thailand that is also well known but not as popular for pill popping backpackers is  Phuket. This island was made popular back in the day because the Asian Tsunami nearly destroyed the place. Speed things up to the present and Beer Chang decided they wanted to organize the first ever full moon party in Phuket. Ironically the event would be held on one of the beaches that was hit the hardest by the disaster. Through out the years the Phuket tourism authority have been working very hard to get the island back to its former state. The local government have also organized a few outdoor events such as ROY FEST, Sequence festival and now the Beer Chang rave in order to attract a younger crowd to the island. The event line up included  Lapsap, Goldfish, Suharit, Khan Thaitanium and last but not least my stankin’ ass was also invited. Not exactly the kind of line up but you ‘d expect at an outdoor rave but whatever.. its all good!

A few posts back I also wrote that I wouldn’t be eating any more mushrooms before I or while I dj. Well while in Phuket I completely ignored what I had promised to myself and ended up taking those bad ass shroom’s. I always thought that I could handle myself when ingesting hallucinogenic drugs. I‘ve proven once again that I should totally stay away from them (well at least when I’m spinning). I ended taking the stuff about 2 hours before my set and honestly I was thinking that it would be enough time to get my head straight. Instead when 2 hours was over I had reached the peak of my high. It sucks to be in a situation like this because you have to focus and cant really enjoy your trip. Maybe that’s why the first 10 minutes of my set was a fucking nightmare! I was tripping my tits off thinking the records looked like they were warping. The other bad thing was the stage floor. When I moved around  the stage the floor would shake and wobble, sometimes someone would stomp the floor  it would make the needle jump. Shit like this happens almost at every outdoor party I’ve played, only with the exception of ROY FEST festival also held earlier this year in Phuket.. That festival by the way had one of the best sound systems I’ve heard in ages. It also had a wicked stage set up as well.

Although the P.A system for this party wasn’t as big as the one they had at ROY FEST the rig that they had set up for this event still rocked! I think what must have calmed me from tripping so hard was the fact that the beats sounded so good. I remember when I dropped The Chase by Jack Sparrow I felt like I was going to explode! The low end frequencies emitted from the bass bin’s made it seem as they were going to cause another tsunami.  Another track that really impressed both me and the crowd was Youthmans’s remix of DJ Yas’ track called Rebirth. I ‘ve had this pressed on acetate for ages and I’m suprised the grooves haven’t worn out. On the night of the party the crowd went ballistic over the breakdown of the song – total crowd pleaser! I did make it through the rest of my set even though I was still ripped by the time that I got off the decks. I’m thankful I got the chance to introduce  both the tourist and local crowd to the awesome sounds of  dubstep. I’m also hopeful that events like this one will put Phuket back on the Thai party map. In all the night was a blast and I hope that I will get the chance to do it again either at ROY FEST 2010 or fingers crossed at the next Beer Chang party. And I promise not to take shrooms the next time … for real!

*btw the name for the actual event was Beer Chang Moonlight Regatta, but I changed it to Beer Chang Rave cuz the other name sounded a bit dull !! big ups to Petch and that dutch dude that hooked us up, also big shouts to kaew for runnin’ tingz! Check my flickr for the rest of the photo’s.

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