: โลโซ) is a Thai rock
band fronted by singer–guitarist–composer Seksan Sukpimai (aka Sek Loso
). The band was formed in the mid-1990s in Bangkok
. Its name is derived from a play on hi-so
, Thai slang for socialites
and the upper class
(from English 'high society'), and is meant to reflect the group's humble origins. It is one of the first Thai bands to achieve success on the international music scene, having played festivals, including South By Southwest
, and to be produced by a Western
One of the first popular Thai rock bands of the 1990s, Loso was founded by Seksan Sukpimai (b. August 7, 1974 in Nakhon Ratchasima).
Seksan, the son of an itinerant rice-farming family, moved to Bangkok at age 12 and found work in a shop owned by an aunt, making jewelry. He also worked in a factory that made air conditioners. In 1991, inspired by his favorite artists, including Guns N' Roses and Carabao, he saved up enough to buy an inexpensive guitar, learned some chords and talked his way onto the stage at one of Bangkok's best-known live-music venues at the time, Austin Pub. Within a year, the 17-year-old singer-guitarist was leading the house band, playing covers of Thai rock, indie and pop, as well as Green Day, Nirvana, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.
Within a couple years, Sek had written 10 songs. With drummer Kittisak "Yai" Khotkam (b. January 22, 1973) and bassist Apirath "Rath" Sukkhajitr (b. September 20, 1967), Sek recorded the tracks in a night and sent the demo tape to Asanee Chotikul of the popular Thai rock duo Asanee-Wasan. Called Lo Society, the band's demo tape was released as an album in 1996 on Asanee's indie record label and distributed by GMM Grammy, Thailand's biggest record company. It sold 1.5 million copies.
Loso released eight more albums, each selling at least 1 million copies ("platinum" status on the RIAA certification scale), and some selling 3 million copies.
Among the band's most popular songs is "Som Sarn" (Thai: "ซมซาน" or "Hesitant"), which features an acoustic guitar intro that is widely recognized in Thailand. Another hit was Pantip, with its hook chorus, "ja mai pai Pantip" ("will not go Pantip" or "I won't go to Pantip"). The song is about a man dating a woman and taking her shopping at World Trade Center, MBK Center and Siam Square, but he refuses to take her to Pantip Plaza because his ex-girlfriend has a shop there.
The band's line up remained stable except for a period where Apirath was replaced by Nattaphon "Klang" Suntharaanu. Klang Loso played bass on the Rock & Roll and Losoland albums and toured with the band. Apirath Loso then returned to bass duties with the band until its demise.
Just about all the band's albums are accompanied by the release of a karaoke VCD, featuring music videos of the songs. Through the music videos and his appearance as pitchman for the M-150 brand energy drink, Sek Loso, usually wearing sunglasses, has achieved cultural icon status in Thailand. He even spoofed his celebrity image with a Sek look-a-like making a cameo appearance in the 2005 Thai action film, Tom-Yum-Goong. The song that accompanies the M-150 commercials, the ballad "Teh Yang Thai" ("เท่อย่างไทย"), is another hit.
After the release of the 2002 live album Loso Concert, Loso broke up, with Sek Loso becoming a solo act. Kittisak and Apirath formed a new band, Fahrenheit. Sek released his debut solo album, 7 August, in 2003 and duetted with veteran string and luk thung star Bird McIntyre, for the 2004 hit album, Bird Sek. The pair played sold-out concerts at Bangkok's Impact Arena.
Sek, meanwhile, had aspirations beyond the Thai music scene: In Thai music terminology, he wanted to "go inter". He had been reading biographies of his rock idol, Jimi Hendrix, and decided that to achieve international stardom he needed to go to England as Hendrix had. In 2004, he moved to London and enrolled in an ESOL school, and after six months of intensive learning, he could speak English with an upper-class British accent. He began writing songs in English and placed advertisements in NME for a bass player and drummer to form a new Loso, auditioning prospects by having them perform the entire Hendrix album, Are You Experienced.
The new Loso
Loso playing in Mannheim, Germany in 2006.
So with drummer Eric Lavansch ("Eric Loso") and Anthony Wilson ("Eddie Loso") on bass Sek took his new band to Thailand for a six-month tour. During this tour the band was supported by the Thai band Silly Fools.
With the help of Tim Carr, an American writer and former A&R executive living in Thailand who had worked with such bands as the Beastie Boys, Megadeth, Ash and Cornershop, a demo tape of the band was sent to some producers. The first to respond was Owen Morris, who had produced albums by Ash, Oasis and The Verve. Morris was flown to Thailand by GMM Grammy to be introduced to Sek. After seeing the band perform before 50,000 people at the Pattaya International Music Festival, Morris was duly impressed. Hitting the studio, Morris produced three songs from the demo album, "I Wish I Could", "I Just Wonder" and "Fly Away", along with "Love Is My Religion" and two "rave-ups" that were improvised and developed in the recording sessions, for Sek's debut English-language album, For God's Sake, which is awaiting release as of December 2006. Sek also recorded some Thai tracks with Owen Morris, "Chun mai sum-oiy" ("ฉันไม่สำออย"), "Karm chun pai korn" ("ข้ามฉันไปก่อน") and a punk version of the earlier hit, "Pantip", which are included in the 2005 compilation, Sek Loso:The Collection.
Owen invited former Oasis member and rhythm guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs to Bangkok to see the band. Bonehead loved the band's sound and ended up playing on some tracks and he also played gigs with the band. Eric and Eddie returned to UK after the recordings were finished for a well earned break with their families. For various reasons Eddie Loso left the band after recording an advert for Yamaha with Sek in London.
Eric went back to Thailand (with new bass player Rob Hudson and Bonehead) to work on the final mixes of the For God's Sake album. In early 2005, the whole crew returned to England to finish the album at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios. There they were invited to play at Glastonbury and the Patti Smith Meltdown Festival. After finishing the recordings Rob Hudson decided to leave. He didn't want to be away from the UK for lengthy periods required to do the Thai concerts, and subsequently the US tour.
In January and February 2005 Sek took Thai musicians Vorabut Tiaprasert (Tom Loso), Tu Loso and Tok Loso (on rhythm guitar, drums and bass guitar respectively) on a very successful tour in Europe. Back in Thailand they toured during March and April at outdoor venues in Nong Khai, Phuket (where Sek donated his income from the gig for the victims of the December 26, 2004 tsunami), also Krabi, Hat Yai, Thung Song, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Chumphon. The outdoor concerts also featured Lanna Commins and Big Ass. The tour ended in Bangkok at the Hollywood Awards on April 7 to an audience of approximately 150,000 people. Using video footage from nine of the above concerts Thai-TV made a one hour concert show and it was broadcast on May 1.
The band needed a new bassist so Chris Borsberry (a long established friend of Eric from school days and teenage bands) flew out to Bangkok to be "tested" by Sek and the rapport was instant. Sek had met him previously at the Yamaha advert filming. Chris had got the part as the "Evil Guitarist" with the Union Jack guitar. It was pure coincidence as he’d only gone along with Eric to make up numbers and the producers loved his evil look. It was doubtful if Sek or anyone else realized at the time that he could actually play the guitar. So he swapped from six strings to four and Chris was working in the studio the next day. Two days later he was playing with the band at 2005 Bangkok Music Festival in front of a huge audience!
Following the death of his father, Sek released a song in his memory as a limited edition single called Tiger in June 2005. Only 100 copies of Tiger were released along with a bonus CD of songs from the Pattaya International Music Festival. Tiger is also featured on the For God's Sake recordings.
In the summer of 2005 Loso embarked on a heavy schedule of international touring, including appearances at rock festivals including South By Southwest, the Glastonbury Festival and Patti Smith's Meltdown at Royal Festival Hall.
Bonehead left the group after a few gigs during the US leg of the tour. Sek had guitarist Tom Loso flown out from Thailand, who then became a permanent member of the band. Tom is an excellent guitarist in his own right and he isn't just the rhythm player. He played on Sek's newest albums The Collection (2005) and Black & White (2006); he is seen on the karaoke VCD versions of these albums and also on the Bird Sek Live Concert (VCD & DVD July 2004). Bonehead sometimes played with the band as a guest during the remainder of 2005, notably at a concert outside the World Trade Center in Bangkok on the 20th of December.
The band played their first Middle Eastern concert in Manama, Bahrain at the Delmon International Hotel on January 27, 2006.
They appeared in "Sood Chewit Khon Thai", a concert at Impact Arena on April 25 along with other Thai bands, including Big Ass, Bodyslam, Lanna Commins and Potato.
Sood Chewit Khon Thai VCD was released in June 2006 and features performances by all the bands.
A new Thai-language album, Black & White, was released in July 2006.