Whether it’s glittery, side-chained rap beats for sunny mornings or fuzzy, kawaii UK garage remixes for late nights out, Thai producer Sawat has got you. He’s even doing production for T-pop idols and has an experimental side project mixing grassroots electronic music yok lor and local memes with new sounds.
These are areas often overlooked in the cosmopolitan nightlife circles of Bangkok, even as local communities have gathered around them and similar homegrown styles in other parts of Southeast Asia. But Sawat found his way to electronic music through EDM, which might account for his outsider approach to electronic music. Although he’s outgrown EDM in his own production, you can definitely still hear the overlap when he drifts towards anime music and J-core sounds, finding refuge in bright synths and brash tempos. (He’s in good company with artists also featured around these parts like sSlowly and Tanfa.)
Sawat really stands out for making new connections in a Thai context. He’s flipped Thai rappers like Youngohm and Milli into speed garage and bassline remixes, and he’s made samcha blended with lofi beats. One of the most powerful aspects of bootleg culture—where songs and genres are remixed and edited without permission—is that it takes music from one place and makes it relevant to another. Pop culture that everyone can recognize gets reimagined in new ways. Music from one part of the world is connected to another by fusing it with pieces of those places. It makes the universal more personal and the foreign feel familiar.
“Thattong Sound” was important because it showed love to often-maligned local cultures, breathed new life into them, and brought them to new audiences. Regardless of how you feel about dek wen or samcha, you can’t deny that it’s a fun song and video. Sawat opened up these Thai cultures to global underground audiences by blending them with UK garage. He also created a way to introduce this thoroughly British genre to Thai crowds, where it hasn’t really developed a following.
Bootlegs are more popular with regional sounds like Jersey club and baile funk, which have struggled with their own forms of segregation and stigma similar to samcha or yok lore. When it comes to bootlegs, the Bangkok underground hasn’t shown much interest. This is a techno city. It’s a big feature of samcha though, which readily embraces the concept.
Sawat himself looked down on samcha when he was younger and first incorporated it into his music a few years ago as a joke. But when he got feedback from listeners that they genuinely liked it, he reevaluated it and now counts himself a fan of producers from within the scene itself. This is what music does at its best—it creates connections and crosses boundaries.
But of course, music is often personal, something that people find meaning and joy in while in their own worlds. Many view electronic music as something only to be listened to at the club or a festival, but that’s another misconception. It’s a realization that took Sawat a few years and he’s found the quiet soul in the machine through his chill beats. He’s developed a range of interests in areas too often overlooked, grasped with clean production and deft songwriting. Definitely check for him.