According to The Standards’ singer Matt Smith, the band had an accidental beginning and almost never made it past one month.
Getting to Bangkok.
“It started about five or six years ago when I got together with Paul Smith (unrelated) to form a band for a spot gap of a few weeks or so. I’d been in Bangkok a year and was on my way back to London,” he recalls.
“But back in London I realized I really missed Bangkok. So after a few months, I returned and the band picked up where we had left off. I never originally thought we would end up where we have,” he adds.
Subsequently, The Standards are now Bangkok’s arguably most “international” act, taking up the mantle left by Futon when they broke up.
According to Smith, the band has played in England his home country, the United States and across Asia. As we speak he is packing for a mid week gig in Saigon, Vietnam before jetting back to join his fellow international headliners on stage in Bangkok this weekend.
‘Never go home’
The current bout of activity is in support of new single Never Go Home, a giant anthemic monster of a pop song with an epic opening keyboard riff, heavily reverberated chorus and classic indie guitar lines. Smith says the song represents the Standards’ influences which include the likes of Canadian art rock troupe Arcade Fire and Glaswegian dance/rock perennials Primal Scream.
Indeed the band’s earlier 2012 single, The Fall, evokes the dirty industrial rock riffs of Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR era, taking them to a whole new level of frenzy. But to these ears Never Go Home is most akin to the Las Vegas-cum-Britpop grandeur of The Killers.
Indeed, dig a little deeper and Smith reveals that it is not so much the 90s but the 60s mod scene that stokes his creative fires.
“I’m a 90s kid but as I grew up in London I gravitated to people a little older than me. I would always go to Northern Soul nights. I guess I was pulled to the mod scene. When I was 18 I bought a Vespa and I used to do the top button up on my shirt!”
“I love all that stuff and the thing is it is still so popular,” he enthuses.
Sufficiently popular that Matt’s other guise – as a promoter with Popscene – sees him convening a Backbeat DJ on August 30, Friday, at Overground in Sukhumwit Soi 22 where Motown, Boogaloo and Ska will be the order of the day. “That music will never die and maybe it’s selfish of me as there may be only a handful of people who know all about Northern Soul in Bangkok but I am keen to spread the knowledge of what it is all about,” he says.
The new generation of international Bangkok based bands.
Asked to cite his favourite song from the era he nominates Fred Hughes’ Baby Boy, a seriously slinky classic soul single that almost qualifies as an incantation for an entire scene given its arresting announcement that “I’m a baby boy, part of a new generation”.
And indeed that’s what The Standards represent, a new generation Bangkok-based but internationally-grounded band who are sure to earn their stripes alongside the multi million selling monsters of this industry