Rocker's Nightmare hits big
By Tatat Bunnag
Photos by Varuth Hiranyatheb
Did you know
Neon was discovered in 1898 by British chemists William Ramsey and Morris W. Travers.
After nearly a decade of independent releases and playing countless gigs, Lampang rockers Electric Neon Lamp have finally made it big in Bangkok with a hit single on the pop charts.
The five members of Electric Neon Lamp - 25 year-old singer Jensakda Jarana (Jen), 24 year-old bassist Wathanyu Suriyawong (Tae), 25- year-old guitarist Nawat Siraboonraung (Ton), 25-year-old guitarist Tanphun Kanacharoen (Tan) and 24-year-old drummer Ratcha Wattanachitranon (Pak) - started out as a high school cover band. They began writing original songs a few years back after seeing an inspiring Scrubb concert.
After years of perseverance, the band scored a contract with Sony's subsidiary label, Black Sheep. They recently hit the charts for the first time with their new radio single, "Ter Tee Rai (Nightmare)."
Student Weekly recently caught up with Electric Neon Lamp to find out about their history, their unusual band name and their musical development.
Student Weekly: How did you guys originally come together?
Jen: Four of us met at high school in Lampang province. We formed different bands together, but we mostly played covers and acoustic pop songs. We eventually started a proper band at university after meeting our drummer Tan. We've had the same line-up ever since.
Student Weekly: How did you come up with the name Electric Neon Lamp?
Ton: One night I was studying really hard at home to prepare for a high school exam. I decided to take a break and started playing my guitar. I wrote a song under the light of my neon desk lamp, and that inspired the name of our band.
Student Weekly: How would you describe your sound?
Ton: We mainly play rock music, but it's not heavy rock. It's a fun type of rock that you can dance to.
Jen: We also have elements of pop and 80s-style electronic and new wave music.
Student Weekly: You guys independently released a couple of albums and singles before signing with Black Sheep. How has your music developed over the years?
Jen: It has changed a lot. When we started out, we could barely play our instruments. We learned how to record music with a computer and started writing a lot of songs together. But the music we make today sounds pretty different.
Ton: We've rearranged a few of our old songs to make them sound more contemporary.
Student Weekly: Is that true that Scrubb inspired you to write your own songs?
Ton: Yes. We love their style and their music. We went to one of their gigs in Chiang Mai and I had a chance to talk with the singer, Muey. He said that we should play whatever we enjoy and not worry about what other people say about our music. I went home that evening and started writing my own songs.
Student Weekly: What will be the follow-up single to "Nightmare"?
Jen: We're still deciding which song to release for the next single, but it should be out in February.
Student Weekly: Can you tell us about your live show?
Jen: We're not really a good-looking band - we just like to go crazy onstage!
Ton: We're not that good at entertaining the audience, but we definitely know how to entertain ourselves. [Laughs.]
decade (n): a period of 10 years
countless (adj): very many
neon (n): a colourless gas that shines with a bright light when electricity is passes through it
cover band (n): a band that performs versions of songs made popular by other artists
inspiring (adj): exciting and encouraging you to do or feel something
perseverance (n): the quality of continuing to try to achieve a particular aim in spite of difficulties
score (v): to succeed in getting something
subsidiary (adj): owned or controlled by another company
develop (v): to gradually grow or change over a period of time
contemporary (adj): belonging to the present time