Bridging the gap between mor lam and dub music is Apichat Pakwan, a group mixing traditional country instruments such the kaen and phin with heavy dub beats, bass, reverb and echo.
Despite sounding like a homie from Isaan, Apichat Pakwan is actually the name given to a Thai-Dutch combo who make music they call “Esantronics.” This weekend, they’ll be bringing it to dazzle crowds at three capital city venues: The Overstay, Noma BKK and Jam.
Apichat Pakwan was formed by Olivier Shreuder from the Netherlands and Ankanang “Num” Pimwankum after the two met at Khon Khaen University in 2015. Olivier produces the beats and plays the kaen while Num dances and delivers percussion.
The group’s first single “Angkanang” was released to rave reviews in 2016 with numerous DJs and producers giving the group props. American electronic producer FaltyDL summarized their beats as “sick.” It was followed by another release in 2017 called “E-Ong Muang Sun.”
Olivier, who comes from a hip-hop and reggae background, said his fascination with Isaan music was sparked during his first trip to Southeast Asia in 2004.
“I fell in love with mor lam on a trip though the Bolaven Plateau in Laos, when a group of partying locals invited me to come dance with them to some great sounding Lao music on a big sound system, and shared their Beerlao and white whiskey with me,” he said.
Since their debut, Apichat Pakwan have performed extensively in Thailand and the Netherlands. Most notably the group was invited by the Royal Thai Embassy in The Hague to perform at a 2017 cultural festival. Olivier says he and the group are looking forward to performing once again in the kingdom.
“We get good vibrations from the new generation who are excited to hear Thai music that sounds in a way familiar to them, but strange and new at the same time,” he said. “It surprises them first and then makes them dance, which is a great way of experiencing music, I think”
Apichat Pakwan performs Friday night across the river at The Overstay, where doors open at 8pm and entry is 150 baht. On Saturday, they play Noma BKK, which also opens at 8pm. Entry is 250 baht and includes one drink. The third show is Sunday at Jam. Again, things get rolling at 8pm while the door is 180 baht.