Luck plays a big part in winning money on gambling machines in casinos, but the musical journey of Thai rockers Slot Machine is a story of years of hard work, and constantly trying to stay fresh and reinvent themselves. This year marks Slot Machine’s greatest leap of faith yet, as they prepare to release their first album sung in English, Spin the World.
The quartet’s career has been 12 years in the making; they’ve come a long way from a high school band to a household name across Thailand. In that time, the band has won more 10 awards, and has been nominated twice for the Best Southeast Asian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
Driven by passion and unified by teamwork, Slot Machine like to challenge themselves on each new album. “Every time we are making music, we want to progress, we want to be better and do something new, but not [repeat] the same thing,” lead singer Foet tells Young Post.
Despite their huge success in Thailand, the group surprisingly still feels insecure about the future. “Anything can happen – especially with new artists debuting everyday,” says drummer Auto. “If we don’t do something new or improve ourselves, we’ll become old and boring.
By releasing an album of songs written in English, the band risks alienating their Thai fans. But by changing their look and sound as often as they do, it’s a gamble they take with every album – regardless of language.
“We can only do our best but we can’t predict the response of our fans,” says Foet, explaining that they choose to focus on the elements of their music they can control, and just hope everything will work out for the best.
So even for a band as successful as the Slot Machine, there’s no guarantee that the changes they make along the way will benefit their career. But the rockers are determined to do so anyway, because they see it as an important part of staying true to themselves and taking pride in their work.
After years of solidifying their status in the Thai music industry, Slot Machine is finally determined to venture into the international market, with the help of well-known record producer, Steve Lillywhite.
Having worked with big names, like The Rolling Stones and U2, the six-time Grammy winner was drawn to the band’s spectacular live performances and unique sound. Lillywhite wanted to incorporate as much of the band’s musical identity in the new album, which also features classical Thai instruments.
The band hopes working with Lillywhite will help push them beyond Thailand. “We definitely need his expertise to help us make an international album – we don’t know the culture or the audiences [abroad],” says Foet.
The record has been positively received by fans and critics, and the band’s new series of slick music videos has racked up impressive viewer numbers on YouTube.
Even now, when global fame and fortune beckons, the band is very conscious of making music for the right reasons. Many well-known bands break up due to financial struggles, but the Slot Machine attitude is to ride i t out.
“We don’t care about money – we think of [music] as an art, and we have a lot of respect for our fans,” says Foet.
Despite having had many different members over the years, Slot Machine has withstood the test of time. Thanks to a strong spirit of kinship, the band has managed to survive line-up changes to become one of the most popular artists in Thailand.
Slot Machine is also a band with a big heart. Raising awareness of issues like human-trafficking – not only Thailand but throughout the rest of Southeast Asia – has always been at the top of their agenda.
It’s crucial for [victims of trafficking] to know that “there is a way out, and [their situation] can be changed,” says Foet. Because in Slot Machine’s world, everybody is a winner.