DJ Name: D.O.T.T
How long have you been DJ’ing for? I have been a DJ for approximately four years but before that I mainly produced my own beats.
What/who do you sound like: I would like to think that I imbibe my musical influence from a broad range of artists and styles then try to incorporate the interesting, different aspects of each one to create my own personal style. I wouldn’t say that I have built my sound around any specific genre or person. The world of music and sound are constantly evolving and I feel that I should always be striving to be a part of this evolution.
Thailand certainly isn’t a hotbed for house and techno but lately there has been a lot of attention and enthusiasm surrounding its underground music scene. The thing about that community is, that at least for the most part, it’s nearly all founded and fueled by expatriates. Almost all anyway, because as soon as you get past the surface, everyone’s talking about DOTT.
Sunju Hargun (Turbo Recordings) was the first person to ever tell me about DOTT. He went on about this local Thai DJ that’s been churning out productions and sending them over to him looking for his seal of approval. I was at an after party the first time I heard one of his tracks and I must have stopped asked three time over who produced it. "Really, DOTT made this? No, really?"
DOTT is easily one of the most cutting-edge house and techno DJs in Thailand, especially considering he’s a 24-year-old local who has obviously decided not to conform to sociological expectations and cultural footprints. He didn’t enjoy doing what everyone else was doing and so he did his own thing, and this applies to the music he crafts as well.
He’s been DJing on local circuit for about four years, holding down residencies at popular Bangkok underground clubs like Glow and Dark Bar, but has been self-releasing his productions on SoundCloud for much longer than that. The distinguishable elements in all his tracks are these moments of overwhelming emotional soundscapes that keep you thoroughly enchanted from the beginning to the end.
Inspired, guided, motivated and shaped by those around him, DOTT still has a little bit more grooming to go but he’s quickly learning the ways of the big and bad world that lies beyond his native borders and the young rising star is doing everything right in paving out a promising path for himself. He holds nothing back in this interview; talking about the good, the bad and the ugly about life's hardships, Bangkok's never-ending parties and the highs and lows of the music industry there.
What’s in the name Dogs On The Turns?
It took me quite a long time to deliberate over the name because I wanted something that would both reflect my personality and my sound profile, and then condense it into something that people would understand just by hearing the name – Dogs on the Turns.
Also I’m a dog person and I feel that people relate to dogs. Being an animal that can either be wild or tame, I felt this related to the diversity I was able to produce through my sound so I combined that with something related to DJing as an embodiment of the way I am when on the decks.
Then I thought of turntables and used the word ‘turns’ and incorporated it with Dogs and found that the double entendre it also related to people coming up in the world and making a difference in their lives. In a way we are all Dogs on the Turns, we just might not know it yet.
What’s the best thing about living in Bangkok?
Bangkok is renowned worldwide for being a city where for the most part you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Everybody is friendly and willing to try new things, though I have found that the underground music scene has only just recently started becoming more widely appreciated and is slowly spreading to the various nightlife spots around Bangkok. I enjoy being a part of the up and coming music scene mainly because the style of music that I was producing was not as widespread just a couple years ago as it is now and for me it’s a wonderful experience to get to share that with more and more kinds of people. Despite this I find that it is also phenomenal to have had a handful of small niche clubs where the more underground styles of music are portrayed as it has given the denizens of Bangkok these sanctuaries where like-minded partygoers can meet and have a great time, while listening to some amazing beats.
DJing is not a typical career path in Thai culture nor is it something that’s easily accessible in Thailand. Who or what influenced your interest in this music culture?
There are quite a few DJs in Thailand but I feel as though they mainly play a sound that is too mainstream or made for the masses of Thailand. Usually what is popular on the radio or top charts is what gets played in most nightclubs.
What initially peaked my interest in the underground culture was my meetings with Kritsada Vadeesirisak (Kingkong, Marmosets) from Zoo Studio and if it wasn’t for him I would have had no idea how deep and fascinating the culture could be.
Then I started to actively seek it out and go to more underground events and at that time it was Sunju Hargun, who became a really big influence and inspiration for me to become a house and techno DJ and Producer.
Last but not least, there is Superstar Panda who was and still is a highly respected DJ in the Thai scene. He taught me that Thai artists have the potential to achieve recognition at an international level. Thailand has always been held in a rather high regard, as having one of the best nightlife scenes in the world yet there is a major lack of Thai artists that have progressed their sound to the world stage. I see many possibilities for the future of the developing underground culture in Thailand and even the potential for us to create a unique genre specific to Thailand.
What did you do before you started DJing? Do you have any other jobs right now besides DJing/producing?
I had previously worked a handful of day jobs but my restless personality made it difficult to persist in any one job for too long and the monotony of having a daily routine was very difficult for me. I felt as though I was just working for the sake of working.
Now I spend most of my time producing and DJing, and this is what all my time and energy is dedicated towards at the moment.
If you could have any three DJs play at your party, who would they be?
Kerri Chandler, DJ Koze and Ricardo Villalobos
Take us out on a night in Bangkok – starting from dinner, drinks, party to afterparty?
Usually, to start the night I would skip dinner and go straight for drinks at a laid back place with an easy-going vibe. Recently I have been frequenting a newly discovered venue called Marcel and I find that this is one of the best places to have some small bites or a full dinner whilst downing a couple of drinks with friends.
After that, once we have gotten ourselves prepared for something a little heavier we usually head to Glow for some more up-beat tunes and maybe even a little boogie. Glow has a typically eclectic crowd of both expats and locals who mainly go just for electronic music and atmosphere.
After that the night is full of endless possibilities and most of the time we don’t stop partying, usually after gathering our crew (and anybody else who wants to come) we end up hitting one of the few secluded after-party venues. The newly opened Mustache Bar is probably the late night venue that we frequent the most and is testament to the growing underground music culture in Bangkok.
What was the most difficult part about immersing yourself in the majority foreign music community that exists in Thailand?
It is true that the majority of the music scene here is made up of foreigners. For Thai DJs, it’s difficult in the beginning to get to know and have chance to play with these people, but after you make friends with them you will know that these people are very open and you just need to learn the different cultures. After some time, you understand that everyone is just sharing the same thing – music.
Why do you think it interests so few locals?
The progression of Thailand’s electronic music community seems to be very much influenced by foreign expatriates. They are the ones who mainly create the demand for different genres as they usually prefer music that isn’t commonly played in Thai clubs.
Because these styles usually originate in Europe, there are many other factors influencing it. Many sounds also have their roots in America as well. So to go back to the original question I would say that the influence simply hasn’t spread far enough to become a part of the usual every-night party scene here in Thailand.
That and most locals will only listen to what they have grown up with or what they perceive as popular because everybody is playing it so they assume that this is what is good and this is what foreigners listen to overseas and that is why mainstream culture and its music is bigger here.
As a Thai, I think why not be influenced by the larger variety that foreign cultures possess and use that to create your own style. In the last few years, locals have started getting more into electronic music or mainstream EDM but still only a small few enjoy house and techno.
House vs techno?
That’s a difficult question to answer, for me it’s like choosing between Jack Russell and Shi Tzu. Both are cute and both have different aspects that make me like them, so I would have to say both house and techno.
Why not combining them together and create a story that fits both together, kind of like a Jack Russell mix with Shih Tzu maybe?
You’ve been producing quite a bit of music. Why aren’t we hearing any of it?
This is true, I have been producing a lot of different tracks but the main reason for my not releasing them is that I don’t like to release something that I have created until it is exactly the way I want it to be. I have to absolutely love the track myself and I want to feel that whoever is going to listen to it will also love the track.
My newest release was in collaboration with Shikki Mikki Records. Listen below.
I have been told that you are a very emotional person and that you are currently dealing with some difficult life situations. How do your emotions good or bad effect your production or live sets?
Yes, now my family is dealing with a difficult time with my dad having cancer, which is not yet better but hopefully he will get better soon. This situation is really effecting my music, both in production and DJing because music is all about emotion and when I produce and DJ, I put a lot of emotions into it. Like if I have a bad day, it can mess up my music pretty bad. I will become a monk in the next few weeks to clear everything out and will be back in April and then we will see what is going to happen next.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
Became an adult
What do you think needs to happen in Thailand to see its underground music scene grow, evolve and progress in a positive way?
It is difficult to make somebody enjoy a new style of music; people tend to follow more of a majority. In terms of the underground scene in Thailand, we may be on the precipice of huge shift in the types of music being played in clubs. More and more clubs are opening that cater to these niche styles and that is the biggest factor that is allowing the scene to progress in the country.
Who are some other up and coming local Thai DJs that people should watch out for?
There are a lot of good up and coming local DJs it would be difficult to name them all but I would have to say the best new local DJs would be Junesis, Sarayu, Bittered and also Ellie and Will from the Sen Yai collective. All are great examples of new local DJs pushing the underground scene here in Bangkok.
Also promoters Krit Mortan and Mela deserve credit for the hard work they put into getting people interested in these different styles. We have to remember that the underground experience is not only about the DJs as there are plenty of people behind the scenes working hard to make sure more people can experience the things that they love.
What three songs will you throw into your DJ sets forever?
These tunes from the past year are ones that I could be in my set for another century:
Alex Dee Gladenko – 'Lets Do It (Original Mix)'
Tim Hanmann - 'Flying Man (Original Mix)'
Portia Monique – 'Cloud IX (Reel People Vocal Mix)'
I love it most when…
When I finally get to sleep from that Mt. Neverest Journey
From your experience, what one piece of advice can you offer other local DJs in Thailand trying to breakout of their confinements?
Just try to be confident and do your best every chance you get to play, because you will never know who’s watching you or whether they will notice your potential.
Also just be unique, don’t be afraid to go your own way with your style and don’t listen to anybody who tells you that you’ll never make it or that your sound isn’t good because it doesn’t sound like everyone else’s.
Looking into the future, what’s your five-year plan?
I don’t really know what’s going to happen, if you had asked me what my five-year plan was five years ago it probably would have been the same answer since I had no idea I was going to get into DJing and producing as heavily as I did.
I can only say that my current plan is just try to improve both my production and DJing techniques, produce a lot of good tracks and find that unique style or sound that I can call my own signature style.
If the world were ending, what’s the last record you would play?
Pachanga Boys – Black Naga (Original Mix) and just go crazy with the crew
Download: DOTT - Dancing Tulips
A delicate dose of summertime sounding house music from Bangkok
Taipei’s RayRay releases her fourth track in a month on a western label
This time she teams up with Marc Benjamin and Protocol for ‘My Swag’