A dynamic personality usually bodes well for a DJ with a high-octane output. Such is the case of Mae Happyair who takes her energetic blend of EBM and techno around Thailand to much delight of her followers.
An avid aggregator of Thailand’s underground dance scene, Mae is the founder of the free-spirited party NON NON NON as well as LGBTQIA collective Queer Dance Worldwide which combines music, art and fashion, all in the framework of a feel-good party.
For someone who accidentally fell into DJing by curating music for fashion shows, Mae’s impact on Thailand’s queer and techno communities have been deeply impressionable. The result of which has brought an even brighter outlook on her music career with the number of heads she’s turning regionally.
Fasten your seatbelts, then hit play below and scroll on to find out more about Mae Happyair.
Where are you based and how did you get there?
I’m Mae Happyair based in Bangkok, Thailand. I was working in many different fields, including fashion, interior, advertising, art and e-commerce. I kickstarted my music career when I was in fashion by bringing my playlist to play at the studio. From this, I was given an opportunity to make music for a fashion show and then went on to become the music selector for many fashion brands. I didn’t know how to mix at that time, I was just purely a music lover.
I was the co-founder of another queer party before, and this helped me slowly build my signature sound. In 2015 I formed NON NON NON because at that time we had nowhere to play the techno we loved. We started small, with low expectations but it’s grown into a larger community of people like us. For me, NON NON NON is the infinite place where I can let my imagination run, and there are no limits.
NON NON NON actually has no meaning. It could be nonsense, or anything or anyone because we welcome everybody. I just love the form of these words too, forward or backward or rotated at any angle, it still reads the same. It sounds a bit quirky for Thai people because “NON” in Thai sounds like our word for “sleep” but our party seems to never let people go home to sleep ;D
We’re turning 5 years old soon and I’m happy that we’ve found so many people into what we do, I love our community. The Bangkok underground scene has continued to grow in this time and reached such a high quality and I’m so proud of that too.
I’m so proud of NON NON NON and what we’ve created so this year, I’ve launched its baby sibling queerdance_worldwide which is open to a variety of genres, linking Thai & International artists together.
What’s your favourite thing about the music scene there?
It was hard in the beginning when I really want to run the party with a specific genre. Especially if you’re queer they might imagine the sound you play in a different way. After the pandemic, I’ve met many new faces with similar tastes. I hope we can do more for our community.
In ﬁve words, what do your DJ sets sound like?
Crunchy, emotional, dark, beautiful and feminine.
And in three words, how would you describe yourself?
Sensitive, creative and silly.
What recent trends in music have you been paying attention to? Have you caught onto them?
I spent years playing such a variety to get where I am now but what I play now, is the music I truly love. Recently I've had a chance to play the sounds I like more such as electroclash, EBM (Electronic Body Music), post-punk, and industrial.
Are there any producers and DJs in Asia that have recently caught your attention?
First, three of them are from Vietnam. I met Yokosun, Jonathan BE and Steffen Sonnenschein on my debut tour in Ho Chi Minh. I loved their soul and how they’re building the scene and it really stands out this time. Also, respect the energy they’re so busy every weekend painting the beautiful sounds of the city.
Number four is “Soup Snakes” I’ve been there to see them play since day one and they’ve quickly developed their own unique style. I love the experimental intros of their show. It always makes me excited about what’s coming next.
Describe one prediction you have about dance music in a post-pandemic world that’s being driven by new technologies.
I know it will grow at some point because people have time to focus on their passion. For technology, we all can choose what we are comfortable with. I’m still a digital DJ. I use USBs and CDJs. Also, I move home a lot. I prefer to keep everything in the cloud.
Tell us about the inspiration behind this mix - what drove your thoughts and emotions, and how did you curate your selection?
It might sound silly, but I just really wanted to play the last track so that’s the reason for building the whole set. I put all my favourite tracks in to show you my personality.
What equipment did you record this mix on?
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happening from the DJ booth?
I got new music fans at the music festival. They came to dance behind the DJ booth during my set and keep counting down when each track nearly finished to their friends in the crowd, shouting over my head ‘quick, 10 seconds left!’