People say, “out with the old and in with the new;” but they clearly have never met ASIA7.
A band dedicated to keeping traditions alive, ASIA7 interweave the sounds of folk Thai instruments with modern pop and jazz. Armed with a saw-duang (a Thai fiddle), a pin (an Isan lute), a khaen (an Isan bamboo mouth organ), and other classical instruments, the 8-piece outfit introduces the world to a distinctive brand of fusion jazz-pop that pays homage to the music that came before us.
Comprising Aoy (vocals), Yoye (saw-duang), Ton (pin, khaen), Oam (saxophone), Suntorn (guitar), Boom (keyboard), Dew (bass), and Note (drums), ASIA7 was first formed in 2013 with the mission to change Thailand’s music scene.
Known for their calming and melodious sound that seamlessly blends with traditional folk elements, the band has managed to take their fresh and distinctive soundscape across Asia, from Korea all the way to Laos.
Beyond their sound, ASIA7 also often introduces classic folk tales in their song. In 2017, the band released ‘ขวัญเจ้าเอย’ (Kwan-Jai-Aey)’, a heartfelt track about looking for ‘Kwan’, a Thai folk guiding spirit.
“Kwan is unable to be seen, like the spirit in every mind. If somebody loses a Kwan, they will get discouraged, hopeless, and disappointed. So, they have to ask Kwan back to their mind and give hope to them for living on. The meaning of the song ‘Kwan-Jao-Aey’ is, someone is asking for Kwan to come back because they can’t live on anymore,” ASIA7 tells Bandwagon.
This year, the folk outfit are embarking on a new chapter in their musical journey, having recently signed to GeneLab Records. As part of their debut under the Thai record label, ASIA7 dropped ‘Lullaby’, a folk-rock track that is quite telling of the band’s unique musicality.
Bandwagon caught up with ASIA7 to talk about their musical journey, their creative process, and what we can expect from the band in their new chapter.
Hi ASIA7, introduce yourself to us!
Hi! We are ASIA7 from Thailand. ASIA7 is an Asian Pop band mastering its music with a clear, sweet voice of the vocalist blended with the sounds of Thai folk instruments such as saw-duang, pin, khaen, saxophone, keys, guitar, bass and drums.
The name comes from the music we play. We cannot be limited that it is music only from Thailand, it actually comes from around us – it means Asia. And the number 7 is from the number of members who formed the group at that time.
The band was initially formed in 2013 when Ton was persuading musician buddies who had worked together in the College of Music, determined to create some kind of revolution in Thailand’s music scenes. The principal components from the start were Thai traditional music, folk music, pop music and fusion jazz. The final product is an ad hoc band performing occasionally until the official opening debut in Thailand International Jazz Conference in 2016.
How would you describe the music that ASIA7 makes? What impact would you like it to have on your listeners?
In the beginning, ASIA7 was set up to play Instrumental music in styles of fusion jazz and world music combined with Inter and Thai traditional instruments. Then Aoy came into the band so we started to write lyric songs in a more popular music way. Now ASIA7 is the music that we can call ‘Asian Pop’, which means you can hear Asian sound in popular music from us.
The band plays a number of Thai folk instruments like a saw-duang and khaen. What inspired you to take up these instruments and integrate them into modern pop music?
Because it is the instrument that we are best at, and we want to keep our traditional music alive. Pop is able to serve people today so it is, therefore, a genre of music that we are interested in because people can easily understand it.
Walk us through the band’s creative process. What is the team dynamic like when working on new music?
We always share our music experiences with each other, make sure that everyone updates other’s ideas. When we start writing or arranging the new songs, we usually do music jam sessions to explore each of our ideas and try to play them together in several ways to find out the ASIA7 style.
Congratulations on signing with GeneLab Records. What motivated you to join the label and what do you hope to achieve?
Thank you so much! We actually performed in the music industry for 4 years by ourselves, we do every step of music, studio record, music video and also marketing. Through that, we have our lovely little group of fans from all over the country that love our music but we want to send our music to a bigger group of listeners, to keep Thai Traditional instrument alive and get more fans. So we decided to work with GeneLab.
In this label we can be ASIA7 as much as we can, so we can meet more listeners that truly fall in love with our music.
Tell us about your newest single ‘Lullaby’, what story does it tell?
For this song, ASIA7 redefines the concept of a lullaby as not only of a mother crooning to her baby but also of the natural and subconscious sounds which heal and console us when we are distressed and in need of encouragement. It’s a sound that warms our heart, reminding us that there is always some force on our side or within us.
ASIA7 has had the chance to perform all across the region, from the Philippines to Laos. What are some of the band’s dream stages/destinations?
A big festival such as Coachella, Glastonbury, Laneway, Summer Sonic, and Fuji Rock.
Outside of music, what do you enjoy doing?
Eating (Aoy Said), and travelling to find new experiences.
What is your biggest dream as ASIA7?
The biggest dream in our musician life is to be on the international stage, to perform in the eyes of our outside country fans. And of course, we want to be known all over the world!
Watch the music video for ASIA7’s ‘Lullaby’ here.