Dancefloor Dweller

Dressed casually in all black, Bangkok DJ Marmosets plays a dusty, hammering set of techno to a glitzy crowd swathed in a silver dress code. It’s a surprising contrast; the influencer-heavy corporate event paired with the uncompromisingly dark and unrelenting beats spilling out of the top-notch sound system. “I checked with them twice before I played, I told them that this was what I’m going to do and they were cool with it,” Marmosets smiles.

Marmosets has been around for a minute. Since 2005, he’s been playing across the city under the alias Kingkong, living the life of a working DJ at clubs, restaurants, and events playing whatever suited their needs and trying to balance it with what he loves. In 2016 he got inspired to make music with analog hardware using drum machines and synths to make techno, house, and ambient music. He got a gig to play his first live set at Studio Lam and that’s when he adopted the Marmosets alias as a way to define the project. (Both aliases refer to primates.) Over time, he used the name for his house and techno sets, and these days that’s all he does. Industrial, hard electronic dance beats perhaps epitomized best by the RAZE parties he co-founded. He’s also an active co-founder at Tempo, the event and magazine with broad but underground interests.

While Marmosets no longer pimps himself out for random DJ gigs, the day job still calls. He was musical director at the popular club Beam up until the pandemic and he’s now head of A&R at Warner Music Thailand, scouting and developing pop music and indy band artists. He also does consulting and booking for local festivals.

But DJing is still his passion, and if you catch him live, he’s only playing what he wants to play. When you hear a set from Marmosets, you can be sure it’s from the heart. “These days I want to introduce people to new things. Not force them in a selfish way, but more smoothly,” he explains. “When we promote something, we’re clear about what it is. If you’re ready for it then come.”

Luckily there are more spaces and crowds seeking out what he does, compared to his early days. “I used to always complain about what my city was missing, but now I’m calmer and more happy,” Marmosets says. It’s true that finding venues can still be difficult, and that city policies and police interference are still a very real issue, but he thinks it’s surpassable. “If you organize your own party and have your own crew and crowd, you can play what you want. Lots of young people are doing that now. It’s happening step by step.” The internet is making it easier for people to find the music that touches them and connect with other people who enjoy it as well. And if you find Marmosets, his arms are open in welcome. “My music and face are not friendly, but I’m happy to make friends with anyone who likes electronic music and partying.”

Leave a Reply