22 Feb Get your vinyl fix at the Bangkok Record Convention this April
Get your vinyl fix at the Bangkok Record Convention this April
Vinyl connoisseurs based in Bangkok rejoice – the Bangkok Record Convention is happening again this 30th of April at Jabalah Live Music and Restaurant, from 10am – 6pm. This one day event comprises of more than 20 different record dealers with stalls selling a curated selection of vinyl and vinyl related products. We speak to Mr. Wanchai Udayachalerm a.k.a Pong, the main man behind Bangkok Record Convention, to find out more about his love for vinyl and also the event:
#vinyloftheday: Hi Pong, nice to meet you. Do share with us a little about your background, and your love for music.
Pong: I grew up in Thailand, Bangkok, and I’m 57 years old right now. I used to study in Satit Patumwan High School, and then graduated from California State University of Fresno, having studied Mathematics & Computer Science. I used to be a freelance writer and columnist in different thai music magazines such as Starpics and Bunterng Kadee, and was also a former DJ. Right now I am a business man, and I own 2 blue and white ceramic factories.
I have been listening to music since I was a kid in the 60’s. Music was a huge part of my life, and was very involved in the 70’s rock scenes. I used to promote and review bands, answering music questions, and wote other music related news in a few magazines. During the 2000s I became a DJ, and for many years was playing Rock music on the radio with very well-known Thai DJ’s for many radio stations such as Pirate Radio, Dream Media, The Radio, and Good Fm, just to name a few. I am also a record collector, mostly collecting Rock music records and have a huge collection of US & UK Live Radio Shows plus Promo LP’s.
#vinyloftheday: Tell us more about the Bangkok Record Convention – what inspired you to start this and how long has it been running?
Pong: As a teenage record collector who grew up in the States, I attended and went to numerous Record Fairs and Conventions in California to buy records. I was in the USA when MTV started and became the king of music business back then.
As time went by, my record collection built up year after year. After graduation, I went back home and shipped all my records back to Bangkok, Thailand. But sadly after the 90’s, record shops in Thailand went on the decline and many went out of business. It became more and more difficult to buy records, also with the introduction of the increasingly popular CD format. I worked as an exporter of ceramics, so I got to travel a lot to many countries around the world, and would take the opportunity to visit record shops or any record fairs if there was one. That was how I could continue buying vinyl to add on to my record collection. I attended many big and small record fairs, and loved the idea of this venture. One place where you can buy them all, it’s one stop shopping! No more hassle of looking around for record stores in one town.
Today vinyl is back in Thailand. Many new record shops are back in the business. In these past 2 to 3 years, LP really has made a come back. The market is not huge, around 40 to 50 record shops alone in Bangkok, who operate their business via social media platforms such as Facebook or other e-commerce solutions. I saw a few stores start to open up record store markets, but found that it was underwhelming, and there was a need for a proper fair for collectors to be able to select from many more stores. I called up a close friend who was in the audio electronics business and also knew very well the owner of Audiophile/Videophile magazine, which is the number one Hi-Fi magazine in Thailand that organizes the BAV Hi-End Show once or twice a year to get involved. My brother owns a restaurant that was large enough to fit 100 people in at a go, and with its ready facilities it was the perfect venue. The rest is history.
The Bangkok Record Convention made it’s first appearance last December 18th, 2016. It proved to be a tremendous success, with support from numerous record stores, and friends from the music business who also helped us spread the news online and through word of mouth. The event is held in a comfortable indoor setting that is not only air-conditioned, but also served food and soft drinks all day. The vendors turned a huge profit, and although it did not appear the same on our part as organisers, the positive response showed us that a venture like this was indeed very promising, and this encouraged us to do another one this year.
#vinyloftheday: How many records do you currently own, and which record holds your heart?
Pong: I have over 10,000 records in my collection, kept safely in made-to-order cabinets. I love listening to Live in Concert recordings of rock bands, so I keep many records of Live Albums and Live Radio Shows. For Radio shows I’m a serious collector, and I collect not only bands that I like, but if possible, the entire series of each program, for example: King Biscuit Flower Hour, Westwood One In Concert, A Night On The Road, Captured Live, The Source Concert, etc.
You name it, I almost have them all. After 40+ years of collecting, there are still a few shows that I have to continue to hunt. Even if you have money ready, it is not possible to buy all of these radio shows all at once, and takes years of collecting for hardcore collectors who really love to collect these shows in both LP and CD formats. So I can not say there is just one record, these hard-earned collections are closest to my heart.
#vinyloftheday: How do you choose your music, and what do you look for in a record?
Pong: I was a DJ, so I know what music people like, and what music people don’t like by trend. People may not listen to the music I choose, but I pick a record knowing I will be able to introduce them music that they will eventually listen to.
Back in the day, if I never heard the music first on the radio, I’ll then look at the cover and see if it appeals to me. You can always tell Rock music by it’s artwork, with very few exceptions.
#vinyloftheday: Lastly, how do you hope the Bangkok Record Convention does to inspire both seasoned and amateur record collectors?
Pong: When I started the Bangkok Record Convention with my friend Morrakot Parteepchinda, we wanted it to be very accessible to potential buyers who would explore our fair. We kept our vendor rentals low so different record stores can sell their wares are reasonable prices so everyone will be able to buy music that they love, and also do it in a comfortable and tasteful setting.
Dealers who attended our fair gave us feedback that their sales turned in twice the profit than a regular record flea market, and that makes me happy. I like to see record stores here thriving in business, and this is one of the reasons I organised this fair. The Bangkok Record Convention may not have reached large heights, or have the same impact as you would normally envision a regular convention to be, but it has stuck to it’s guns on being the first and most authentic record fair in the Kingdom of Thailand, and delivers the warmth to make all collectors happy. Only for music collectors and lovers, no other hardsell business of any kind involved.
We want to continue making touchable music available to everyone at an affordable price point, and it is something we strive to work on. I hope with this convention, there will be more amateur collectors who will come and experience listening to more analog records, and to join our Analog World if possible, just like everybody used to do in the past.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
10am – 6pm
Jabalah Live Music & Restaurant
25-27 Sukhonthasawat Road
Kaset-Nawamin, Lad Prao
BUY – SELL – TRADE
Vinyl, CD’s, DVDs, Cassettes, Collector’s Items & much more!
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