Thailand’s leading rock band Slot Machine kicked off its first full North American tour on Apr. 1. Hitting the road alongside Japan’s Miyavi and Korea’s Kiha & The Faces on Live Nation’s Asia On Tour — which hits Irving Plaza on Apr. 23 — this is hardly Slot Machine’s big tour. Since debuting in 2004 with its self-titled album, Slot Machine has won numerous “Record Of The Year” and “Song Of The Year” awards around Thailand and Asia.
Spin The World is the latest album from Slot Machine, also the first full-length that the group recorded in English. Impressively, Spin The World was produced by Steve Lillywhite, a man behind major albums by U2, The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, The Killers and Peter Gabriel. In support of Spin The World, Slot Machine has made further international waves by embarking on its first U.K. tour and playing at major festivals like Japan’s Fuji Rock and Korea’s Jisan Valley.
Downtown had the pleasure of conducting Q&A with the members of Slot Machine via e-mail: vocalist Karinyawat “Foet” Durongjirakan, bassist Atirath “Gak” Pintong, drummer Settharat “Auto” Phangchunan, and guitarist Janevit “Vit” Chanpanyawong. More on Slot Machine can be found at www.slotmachine.band.
Will this be your first time in New York?
Foet: No, this is our second time in New York. The first time was nine years ago, we performed at a small pub. Now we are back!
What led you to make your first English-language album?
Gak: After five Thai albums, we discussed with our record label ideas, on how to share our music with the world. We all felt it was the right time to cut an English album; we were ready.
Do you have a favorite song to perform live from Spin The World?
Vit: “And We Go!” This song has a lot of power to it and is great to perform live. It has a unique Northeastern Thai singing style called “Mor Lum,” which makes this song very unique on the album.
How did you wind up working with Steve Lillywhite?
Auto: We were introduced to Steve Lillywhite when he was invited to Bangkok by the label. We talked with Steve for a while and invited him to hear us play.
Foet: We didn’t know back then about Steve’s “requirements” when deciding to work with a band. Basically, if he likes what he hears, he will be more inclined to produce an album. Luckily, he liked what he heard and we were ecstatic to find out that he would help us produce our first English album.
Do you have a favorite album produced by Steve?
Auto: I like Dave Matthews Band’s The Lillywhite Sessions album.
Gak: The single “Beautiful Day” by U2.
What was the album that made you start playing an instrument?
Vit: Nirvana has been my big inspiration. The Nevermind album opened my musical mind and provided me with a lot of ideas.
Gak: Californication from Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Foet: Also Californication — I was really impressed by this album.
Auto: It’s Michael Jackson’s album, Dangerous. I watched him perform in Bangkok when I was a child.
Who’s the best Thai band our readers may not know?
Foet: Carabao — the album Made In Thailand is an epic album and one that you should not miss!
Vit: Modern Dog — they are a creative band and you should check them out.
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Gak: Reading comics, playing games, and watching sci-fi and alien movies and TV series.
Vit: I like to ride my motorbike to the countryside.
Foet: I will eat good food, take a good rest, play games and relax.
Auto: Cooking and planting trees.
If you have free time while you’re in New York, is there a destination or restaurant you hope to go to?
Gak: We would like to go to music shops, find cool stuff there.
Foet: Plus, we would like to go to Central Park, to see nature and just stay peaceful sometimes.
What was your favorite album of 2016?
Foet: Of course Spin The World! (laughs)
Vit: Besides that, we like Judas Priest’s Battle Cry and 24K Magic from Bruno Mars.
Gak: Strange Little Birds from Garbage and Die Antwoord’s Mount Ninji And Da Nice Time Kid.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Gak: Nice to meet you all. If you know Thai food, have visited Thailand, then you should try the “sound of Thailand.”
Foet: Thanks Downtown Magazine for this interview. It means a lot to us and we hope it makes you know us better. See you!