Posted on April 23, 2018
When the music video of ‘Long Gone’ went viral, Phum Viphurit made his name known to the world. This 22 year old Thai musician is visiting Korea for the first time this Spring. Before the shows we caught up with him for a chat. Check out the back story of the man who creates this unique warm and polished sound.
# For those of our readers who may not know who you are, please introduce yourself.
Phum : Hi there, Phum Viphurit here. 22 year old Thai born, New Zealand raised singer/songwriter currently based in Bangkok, Thailand.
# Please describe your music in 3 words.
Phum : Mellow, Yellow, Young
# You went to highschool in New Zealand and then ended up moving back to Bangkok. Was it hard to re-adjust to life in Thailand? What was the biggest difference between the two countries?
Phum : It was tough transition but not to the point that I couldn’t function. New Zealand, especially Hamilton, the place I grew up was a rather sleepy town where I had a lot of time of my hands to doze off and pursue my hobbies/interests. You have to be alert at all times in Bangkok, its a city space filled with culture, constant movement and competition in every single field/occupation.
# I read that all the songs on your album Manchild are about your transition from life in New Zealand to live in Bangkok... What exactly made you decide to move back to Bangkok to launch your music career?
Phum : It wasn’t my choice exactly at the start as I initially was planning to go study film at a college in New Zealand, my parents talked me into returning to regain my own cultural perspective and live outside of my comfort zone and yeah, here I am, it’s been a rollercoaster experience.
# What was the hardest thing about going back? What was the best?
Phum : Leaving my childhood friends behind was the hardest, I write about them in a lot of my music. The best is being back with my extended family and making new friends with common interests, to transition in Bangkok is the best.
# What do you miss most about New Zealand?
Phum : I miss too many things to list it all but I will just summarise is as the ‘vibe’. There’s a certain charm and simplicity in all the things to do with New Zealand, the lifestyle especially. I miss the vibe of my lifestyle there the most.
# What influence did your time in New Zealand have on your music?
Phum : My time there taught me to chill out and follow my gut instincts when it came to writing or making music. The creative independence was always encouraged by those around me so that made me comfortable in my own skin, believe in my own stories, and I became free.
Source: Phum Viphurit Facebook
# What do you tend to write about? Where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics?
Phum : I write a lot about a personal experience or things/ideas that pop up in my head. It is rather random but whatever it is, it always goes through the chain of thought in my head before it becomes the draft of the song. Lately I have been getting inspiration from trying new things and meeting new people, trying to write this album from an Outside-In perspective.
# Your track Long Gone went viral and racked up a lot of views / listens around the world. What do you think it was about that song in particular that captured the imagination of so many people?
Phum : I never anticipated the reception so I’m very grateful to this date. I made the song with of clear head space and a lot of optimism towards my life, in which at that time I was battling with a lot of stress. So I hope that it translated to people and made their worries melt away a little bit.
# I hope you don’t mind us saying this; but the video seems to have been inspired by cheesy late 90s style music videos. Do you think that Is that fair to say? What is it about that particular style that appealed to you?
Phum : It’s totally fair. I became inspired after watching a Tata Young (Late 90’s Thai pop stars) old MV’s. The kitsch aesthetic reminds me that all things go out of style eventually, but then they kind of become this relic in history that always loops back to find young people of the present with the same spirit. It’s that sense of nostalgia with a modern twist, a timeless sort of vibe that really inspired me and made me direct the video in that way.
# We understand that you produced and directed the video for Long Gone yourself? Can you tell us more about the process and the story behind the video? (What / who is the song about? )
Phum : The process was pretty much what I mentioned above. The story I intended to tell was a girl in the modern day, obsessed with late 90’s early 2000’s culture finds an old tape, she turns it on and warps back in time to a kitsch style MV where reality and fantasy collide. She meets her favourite artist/poster boy in the character of “90’s Phum V” and they just dance it out till the sun literally set. The song I began writing at 17 when I knew I was to leave my friends behind to start a new journey in Thailand.
# Looking at the comments on the video for Long Gone, it seems like the dancing girl seems to be getting her own set of fans (there is a lot of love for her in the comments). Can you tell us more about her and how she came to be in the video?
Phum : Te or Te-chi or Techita was one of my earliest followers when I started my music career in 2015. She always been a very cheeky kid with a naturally vintage 90’s sense of style. We see each other at shows and events around Bangkok very often and have been friends for a while. She is just really cool and a charismatic character in her own right, so the choice was easy in who would pull off the video like she did. No one can dance like Techi.
# This will be your first time here in Korea, what are you looking forward to the most?
Phum : I look forward to meeting the people over there the most. I never thought my music would reach anywhere outside of my bedroom so to be there, sharing the songs with my Korean listeners will be very surreal and emotional for me.
# Do you have anything to say to your Korean fans before you arrive?
Phum : SARANG HAE-YO *In a loud yet romantic scream* Just that, nothing less and nothing more than love and thank you for all of your support. We shall see each other very soon :)
To find out more about the band, follow the links below:
Interview : Patrick Connor
English Tranlation : Robin YeongGuk Jo