By Wahtihdah Shannon Duffy
It’s time to give yourself a monthly detox and forget the ostentatious vibes of Thonglor for a night and, instead, hop a neighborhood over to Ekkamai, where tucked away deeply in the residential soi of Ekkamai 19 lies a new type of party. The place is the Japanese bar 12×12, and this time it’s strictly vinyl.
Here, in one of the most unassuming bars in Bangkok, a new monthly event series by the name of [DIG IT] exists, and if the verbal instructions on how fellow party-goers explain how to find the place doesn’t give a clear enough indication of the magical elusiveness of the party (eg: “walk into the soi until you can hear the good sounds”), then the rich atmosphere radiating upon approach of the bar might give you a better idea.
Playing only vinyl records, from classic house tracks to melodic techno tunes, and even the occasional far flung sound from a time beyond, the curation of tracks, played lovingly by resident DJs Tristan Kino of Paris and Seelie of Manchester, have been rocking 12×12 for the past three months. In fact these events have quickly garnered a reputation as one of Bangkok’s best monthly underground music gems.
In EDM driven Bangkok, vinyl sessions can be a little bit of a catch to come by. Experiencing good ol’ fashion spinning is a welcome break from the commercial sounds that most events play host to, but what makes the sessions at [DIG IT] incomparable to other events in the city is the incredibly warm and inclusive atmosphere. In hand with an eccentric and friendly mix of party-goers, attending is like waking up with your family on Christmas morning—there is an atmosphere of love and camaraderie in the air that you would be hard pressed to come elsewhere in this town. Both DJs make it a point to present only their favourite tracks, from amongst their personal collection of vinyl, ensuring a point of uniqueness in how the music is played and how the atmosphere evolves. The next session is set for late July, so check in with Indeed Productions on Facebook to keep appraised of the exact date. Expect to hear Chicago Deep house from Chez Damier, and even the rare Detroit gems from Derrick May, all spun with zest and a mutual DJ-to-dancer understanding that who you’re grooving to is not someone you can groove to often in Bangkok.
However, what’s even more rare in Bangkok than hearing Chicago vinyl in a Japanese bar is hearing amazing Thai-produced techno. Featuring some of Bangkok’s rarer species, four Thai techno DJs have banded together to create a new event series by the name of The Dark Locomotive Techno by #0000000, showcased every 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Sunday of the month. Things get underway at 9pm at the very grungy and cool Dickinson’s Culture Cafe. The Dark Locomotive is a slow burner; having just started the event series, you shouldn’t expect huge hoards of techno enthusiasts to be making regular appearances just yet. But the small crowd every Sunday has little correlation with the quality of techno being played by resident DJs 3DH, Nobita, and Photosynthesis. If anything, it’s a surprising welcome to the underground music world. With regular techno events being staged monthly by European expats looking to curate a scene akin to the ones back home, it could be considered a novelty to see a rise of Thai techno producers finding ground in their own land.