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If you're part of or like to hang out in the live music scene on Koh Phangan then you will probably already know of percussionist Niko.
Famous for drumming his way through The Jam nights, we caught up with Niko and his new musical partner Theo to find out what adventures they will be heading on this summer...
Hey Niko, it’s been awhile, how are you and what have you been up to?
Yes it was last summer I think! Thanks, I'm fine. I have Just been on the island and have created some new projects with other talented musicians who have come to Koh Phangan.
I did my new visa run to Laos and decided to go to Pai in the North of Thailand.
On my way I met some musicians and if I liked them then I would like to create something with them to share a nice mood and nice music.
I think the man sitting opposite me (Theo) has the same idea.
I played one gig in Pai with a French guy who had no idea how to play guitar, he just did rap style, sort of French poetry it was only for a tiny moment.
After this Theo appeared and he asked to jam and we said ‘yes of course’. He started to play guitar and I understood that this man is really high level compared to the other musicians in Pai at that moment, and this is not just because he's handsome, he has the idea of how to play and hold the guitar.
So Theo what were you doing in Pai and have you been to Koh Phangan before?
I ended up being in Pai with no money and no plans but Pai is a real music town so tourists are open with me and the music.
I played a lot around and started to explore this career more which before was just a hobby, so I stayed in Pai for few months playing everywhere and at a certain point I had to leave for a visa. Niko told me he was in Phangan so I thought ‘lets go and meet Niko and play there’.
Niko - I spent just ten days in Pai but we had loads of gigs together in that time, sometimes two or three gigs in one night so it was enough time to be tight together.
But I said to Theo that I had to leave Pai as it was not good money and always my home will be in Koh Phangan.
Then in summer last year he came and stayed three months, we played Alcove a lot, Freeway Bar and more.
So Theo this is your second time here?
Yeah, glad be back.
I went to Malaysia after the last time I was here because I used to live there for one and a half years before.
I went back to life there but at the end of the year I wanted to come to Thailand and leave Malaysia, so I went in November to Pai and stayed till march then came here.
Niko are you on drums for this outfit?
It's kind of more all round percussion, percussion is my favourite instrument for travelling.
What kind of sound comes out of you two?
It’s funny because it’s a mix of Brazil, Ukraine and world references. It’s world music, little pieces from any culture, we collect from our experiences to then play.
We’re both world music fans who like to explore different rhythms and melodies and try them out.
We always work in harmony to understand and come up with something, we are flexible to do improv and turn away the usual sounds of this or that piece.
Have you played any gigs yet this year?
On Koh Phangan, not too much this time.
We have played Alcove but this are proper gigs so we still have jams and open mics.
Because we know all the songs we can call Niko on drums and another friend on bass etc to do a song but now it’s low season.
So what will be your projects for the next few months?
Theo - Going busking in Europe for the summer!
Niko - I’m still on my way to decide about the answer to this question but I am also happy to go to Europe because it’s really hot here!
Theo - We can go make some euros and come back, bring some money to Thailand.
Niko - Go and reload.
What would you say is happening in the live music scene on Phangan right now?
Its starting to go quiet…
It’s difficult as a musician, there’s not as many people here so we don’t get booked so much and a lot of venues close for holiday.
Has One Love Bar where ‘The Jam’ used to be held being closed made an impact as this was probably the main live music place?
Theo - I think because it's closed for now it’s harder for musicians to connect and get to know each other.
If you have been before and know a few musicians already then it is easy but for new musicians coming now it’s harder to find a space.
Niko - Yes they can be lost here.
Ok so we wish you well, leave us with some funny thing to make our day fun…
Theo - Ha-ha a thing Niko used to say…
Always support musicians with the tips for education and tickets for beer, prostitutes and coconuts…!