the underground music scene here is like a bipolar person...
Interview by Van
Can you give a brief bio of License To Kill?
We started around 1998 when Daeng, Keng and Golf decided they wanted to form a band and started to practice covers. Soon we met with P’Ef of the band Plahn who gave us some pointers and encouraged us to start writing our own songs and find our own style. From there we started writing our own music but at first we couldn’t find a stable bass player and would have Pom (Daeng’s friend) jam with us but after that Phang, our second bassist, joined and stayed with us for 3-4 years before finally quitting to join Lacerate, a Brutal Death band that was more his style. While Phang was in the band we wrote 3-4 songs. After changing bassists from Pun to Pluak we finally ended on our current bassist Max but then Keng, the guitarist, decided he wanted to spend more time with his family so we brought on Arm, formerly of the band At Time. Our present lineup is Daeng on drums, Arm on guitar, Max on bass and Golf on vocals.
Where did the name License To Kill come from?
At first we were going to call ourselves Ravage with all the meaning that entails but one day Golf was wearing a shirt with the text “License to Kill”, which elicited some taunts from his friends of, “Ooh, look at these killers! They even have their license printed on their shirts!” That gave him the idea to make the phrase the name of our band and after talking it over with the group we decided that from that day onward we would ‘kill’ everything that we saw as wrong and unrighteous. From that day on we were License to Kill and fortunately in the middle of 1998, a James Bond movie with the same name was released!
What year did License To Kill begin and what venues would you play?
After getting some pointers from P’Ef of Plahn we started writing our own music and we got invited by P’Ef to join in a music festival called Power of Screaming, which became our very first live show. After that we got regular invitations from friends and fellow members of the underground community and were able to play both our own songs and covers of New York hardcore punk bands.
What challenges did you face at the beginning?
An obstacle we faced early on was practice spaces because the music we were playing didn’t really sit well with the operators of jam spaces who were like “What is all this noise?” For me actually this wasn’t a major problem because after we played Power of Screaming, which was organized by A of the band Ko Kamram with P’Ef inviting us to open, I like to think it was all part of what made us who we are today. We made friends, brothers and sisters and developed our musical ability and understanding. All of that came from those first few days and our intention to have fun, using music as the catalyst to bring together our attitudes, ideas, lifestyles and perceptions on living in the human race.
What made you want to adopt punk music?/What connection do you feel to hardcore punk?
The straightforwardness of what the songs are about and the lifestyle as well as all the behaviors that make up hardcore punk have become an essential part of my life. Just by realizing that I should love others and not infringe on them, that I should find happiness in living life how I want responsibly, I think society would be a much better place and that’s just the beginning of this happiness! Ask yourself, if you could experience such happiness, how could you deny it?
Which hardcore punk bands influenced you the most?
sick of it all/the misfits/machine head/sepultura/the ramones/minorthreat....hardcore&punk....
Before you started listening to hardcore what did you listen to?
I started by listening to Nirvana and Green Day then moving on to hardcore/punk, funk, nu metal, some death metal and some grind but I’ve been most into punk music. I listen to both Thai and foreign punk bands as much as I can.
How do you view the scene now? How has it changed over time?
I think the underground music scene here is like a bipolar person, sometimes it’s down and sometimes its active depending on if people are into it and what to support it at the time. Actually, I wish there was some kind of regular activity or event that was an expression of who we are and our stances so there could be more continuity for the type of music we play. I think it’s more important than all the more peripheral aspects. We should think and act in way that reflects our Hardcore Punk culture.
What does it mean to be hardcore?
For me it’s being straight forward, expressive, standing up for what is right and being a true friend
While other genres of music change, hardcore does not seem to change? Why is that?
Good and bad are in a constant loop. No matter who you are, you can do good and you can do bad, but if you don’t learn from the mistakes you make then you’re no different from everyone else, you’re not truly hardcore. Those who are hardcore are always considering their actions.
Do you think there are any adaptations needed for hardcore music to be more accepted in Thailand?
We should be more selective of who is considered “hardcore”. The lifestyle is already awesome.
Is there a message to the music?
Thanks for this question. It’s about the true nature of people, temptation, war, the corrupt bureaucratic system, actions both intentional and unintentional, we’re ready to kill it all, because we are License to Kill!
Golf. License to kill. Big thx
License To Kill are performing with Millions of Dead Cops, The Elected Officals, Cold Black Vines, and Lord Liar Boots January 27th at Soy Sauce Factory. Sign up here.