Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Interview: LOWFAT

LOWFAT is definitely a unique band. It consisted of some Japanese guys who lived in Thailand. Referring to their list of discography, I recognized that this Bangkok-based 4-piece Hardcore Punk outfit has released and involved in many various artist compilations and splits since the beginning of their existence. LowFat has successfully produced 5 full-length albums up to now, including the latest one entitled “Dive! Survive!!” which was released in June 2018. I got a chance to talk with Sano (vocalist) and we discussed a lot about LowFat. – Interview by Trashnoiser [08.02.2019]

Hello LowFat. How are you doing guys? What has currently changed in the band since the beginning?
Hello. After we recorded our fifth album Van joined as our drummer to replace Toppy, who moved to England. We’ve played a lot of shows with Van since he joined including a tour in Japan last June. We feel lucky to have found so many really solid drummers that we enjoy playing with.

Congratulation for the new album released recently. How was the selling & responses so far?
It’s actually been really good considering we didn’t have a launch party here in Thailand. We’ve been getting a lot of orders online and selling well at shows so we’d say it’s been doing really good.

How do you see the band progressed in this 5th full-length as compared to the previous albums?
Maybe to the listeners our fifth album wasn’t majorly different from our past releases but for us the process was completely new because we really paid attention to all the details and took a lot of time with each song. It just feels like this album is the most true to us.

Is there any special meaning behind the album title “Dive! Survive!!”?
Firstly, this album was our last recorded with Toppy who had played with us for 7 years.

Secondly, this is our first album recorded with our current bassist Takaya, who also wrote one of its tracks, so there is a feeling of “finally” when considering he has been with us for a long time now.

Thirdly, even though Van joined after the album was recorded he did have a part in it as he did the mastering and that made us have to have a lot of discussions on what our sound was going to be, that really challenged us and pushed us forward.

This album just feels like the most “LowFat” album we’ve ever made.

Do you have any great facts about the songwritings and recordings of this new album?
We really went into detail on every song and spent a lot of time writing every part of every track. That’s not to say we overthought or stressed the songs, we had a lot of fun playing with all the different ideas. There were a lot of “where did that even come from? I love it!” moments. It was a really exciting process and we really left our comfort zone, which made it all really fun.

Tell us further about the album production & distribution; both CD and cassette-tape versions?
We did every part of the CD ourselves and printed them here in Thailand, so they haven’t made their way out of Thailand just yet.

Our cassette tape is being handled by Hardcore Detonation in Malaysia.

For those who still unfamiliar with LowFat, please describe the band's music and sound, and also the bands influenced?
LowFat was started in 2006 and the original inspiration was actually Japanese children’s music. I felt that children’s music is always catchy and memorable but I wanted to see how it would be fast and heavy. The idea was that the music would be really different and easy to hear through all the chaos. That was the basis for LowFat.

In 2009, Yusuke went from just helping us out now and then to becoming a full-time member and started contributing more song ideas, making LowFat more of a band after it was mostly just my own music. Yusuke really helped our songs to grow and change.

I’d say we’ve been influenced by all the bands we’ve experienced in our lives but in that we try to stay away from anything that we’ve heard before. If we hadn’t heard some bands we might just be doing what they’re doing!

What are lyrical themes and messages written for “Dive! Survive!!” album?
From the beginning I’ve always just written about my own experiences, about the people around me, about society or politics, negative or positive but I try to have a sense of humor about it all in my lyrics. I want the lyrics to kind of come off as a joke at first but get heavier the more you think about them. There is a lot of sarcasm in my lyrics because I think it allows people to have their own opinions on what I am saying.

LowFat has also re-issued 3rd & 4th album “Too Big Slaves!” in a Pro-CDr right? What was the motive for this re-issue?
There wasn’t any big reason for this. We had sold out our fourth album just as people were starting to know about it so we decided to mix in some tracks from the third album Toppy had recorded and re-release the album as a CD-r. It was purely promotional!

Please share brief information about LowFat involvement in “Siam Underground Volume 1” compilation?
Charlie @ Punk Rock Bangkok setup this project to promote Thai underground bands to the world. He contacted us just as we were finishing our mix so we gave him the track Butsuyoku Paradise from Dive! Survive!! The track is slightly different from the one on our album because it wasn’t mastered by Van. The version you hear on the Siam Underground compilation was mastered by me.

LowFat always presents great artworks on the cd/tape covers. Could you please further describe all the arts?
1st album: Karcsika (Hongry)
2nd album: Au (illustrator, Thailand)
3rd - 5th album: Toppy (a former drummer of LowFat, Thailand)

How about lauching party / gigs / tour, especially for the promotion of the new album?
We were really focused on finishing this latest album before our Japan tour last June so we weren’t able to have a launch party in Thailand. We wanted to but we couldn’t find a venue. We’ve been selling the CDs at our shows and they’ve actually been doing really well.

How’s the hardcore punk scene in Bangkok/Thailand look like? Would you love to recommend any good Siamese hc/punk bands?
New bands are constantly coming and going here so there isn’t a lot of continuity sometimes but as a scene there is still much more happening now than before. 6F has helped bring in a lot of bands from abroad and helped Thai bands support. Even when the music is super heavy, the shows are really inviting so I would suggest any bands wanting to play in Thailand contact 6F.

One hardcore band here I’d recommend is Smell Corpses, a three-piece d-beat band whose drummer is also the vocalist. It’s too bad the band’s members are all across the country now so they don’t play often but if you see their name on a flyer definitely go to that show.

Another band I’d recommend is Bullet Brain. They haven’t played in years but I want everyone to check them out! They’re one of Thailand’s few crust core bands and I don’t know who their influences are but they’ve really got it together. You can find their demos on YouTube.

What is “punk” in your own mind?
Punk to me is having your own opinion, so if you disagree with that you’re a real punk :)

Last words please?
Thank you Noise from Hell for talking to us! We hope to see you in your hometown soon! 

Punks be ambitious!!

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