DUDESWEET - Celebrating 17 Years of Alternative Clubbing in Thailand
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
Frustrated by the lack of clubs catering for Alternative Music and Youth Culture, Bangkok based Dudesweet turned anger into energy and in the spirit of Punk Rock, they went ahead and did it themselves.
It's hard today to imagine a time when Prom Queen Discotheques and Western style poser Lounge Bars were the only night life options in Thailand's capital. As de facto Godfathers of the Bangkok scene, Dudesweet came out of nowhere and through sheer passion and determination, opened the doors for youthful, artistic self expression and an open door policy.
November 2, 2019 witnessed an incredible gathering of the tribes at Bangkok's Whiteline Creative Space. From originators and veterans or the Dudesweet scene to young kids eager to pay homage to the organisation that gave Youth Culture a valid platform in Bangkok.
"I remember being at school and hearing the older kids eagerly chatting in class about their weekend exploits. I had no idea where they were going, only some mystical place that grabbed me with intrigue," says Daniel Didyasarin, musician and event organise, "Only after some time did I discover that this place was the Dudesweet parties"
With 3 floors and multiple DJ rooms, the Dudesweet 17th Anniversary Party was nothing short of an all inclusive affair. It's an unfortunate fact that with some strands of Alternative Clubbing that popularity and success leads to a narrowing of audience and guest variety, the original concept belong too distilled and refined. Yet - rubbing shoulders were indie kids, punk rockers, club kids, queer kids and hip hop fans - all united in their disenchantment with mainstream clubbing.
Anyone that has ever been clubbing knows it's all about the attitude and energy to feed the vibe of the party. I immediately picked up on this at Dudesweet and not since the early days of "New Rave" before it even had a name in mid to late 2000's London had a I experienced such a great Culture Clash of Fashion, Style, Music and Attitude. No matter what your age, sexuality or social class - here as a group of people united in creativity and difference to the mainstream.
Street Style Planet Earth sat down with Note from Dudesweet to chat about Bangkok then, now and it's future for creative youth.
You started 17 years ago…..how did it all come together ? We started during our senior year in University. There were about 12 of us who were all art students from different universities, and we all loved punk and rock music. We started Dudesweet because no clubs or bars would play the kind of music we enjoyed. We just wanted to dance to what we liked. We rented out a restaurant by lying to the owner that it was a reunion.
17 years ago Social Media was hardly alive. How did you organise your original events?
We didn't know 'anyone' and we were nobody. We never cared about those things. The only rule we have to date is no fip flips and it's for safety reason. Around 2006 - 2008 there was this trend of exclusive clubs, VIP zones or members only places. We were totally disgusted with that. I guess this show-off culture came with the birth of social media. Social Media was a totally brand new tool to show off your lifestyle back then.
At some point in 2008 we were paid to host this prestige Bangkok Fashion Week after-party where we invited all our cheap-looking friends to VIP zone and that was the first time we get to drink expensive fancy booze that you don't know how to read the names or can find in 7-11.
2002 when we started was before all social media platforms. The coolest thing your phone could have was a Snake game. We used to hand out flyers on the streets after work every Wednesday and Friday three weeks before our party. On the night, we would pass around an email sign up sheet. We also used to hand screen our posters, and go out to put them up around 3am. But with social media and smartphones, posters don’t really work anymore as people don’t look at anything else.
What was the original aim / plan when putting Dudesweet together ? Mainly to party with the kind of music that we liked. Then we started showcasing our friends’ art works which has been rejected from galleries. Most of us were unemployed after graduation, and throwing our own parties meant we didn’t have to spend a lot of cash to get trashed. Dudesweet still provides space for new generations from bands, DJs to artists as well as young lighting designers and architects. What you saw on that night was from newly graduated architects and artists. We pay whomever that works for us. It doesn’t matter how famous or not famous they are.
As time went on, how did Dudesweet change and evolve? We’ve been saying that we are down, and not so popular anymore. It’s true, and we don’t mind people thinking that we might be over because we might be. It’s quite difficult to connect with younger partygoers, and we like to do things our own way. Dudesweet has extended beyond organising parties or promoting concerts as it has been a creative and content agency for quite sometime.
Who were the key people involved it getting DS off the ground? Dudesweet exists by the grace of friends and drunk people. There are too many to name, and some of them probably don’t want to be named.
Are any of these people still involved? In one way or another. For the past 14 years, I have a main partner, Air, but she now comes and goes.
What would you say Dudesweet stands for today? Has this changed much from the original days? We hope it still stands for independent spirits, arts, dancing, good music and — to sound really corny — friendships.
What kinds of events / happenings does DS organise? Parties, art exhibitions, concerts, talks, screenings
The world has changed a lot in 17 years. How was the general attitude of the “Average thai” person towards alternative youth culture? Maybe if you were “alternative” before, you stood out a bit more, but now the world is one giant hipster place, everyone seems to blend in in their own “uniqueness”.
How would you say attitudes have changed from the original days to now? The more we know, the more jaded we are.
What else is DS doing at the moment ? are you involved in any other activities apart from Party Organising? We’ve got to the point that we have to be quite selective when it comes to organising parties. As an agency, we work on creative branding and marketing as well as creating content for clients or just for fun.
What do you think makes Bangkok youth cool, creative and interesting? This group of kids called "Rap is Now". They are just doing what they like.
What do you wish could change in Thai/Bangkok society to make creative expression and acceptance of Youth Culture a more powerful force?
Are there any cultural habits /morals amongst “general society” or any laws that could be relaxed or changed to make Bangkok a better place for Young Creative people? When we first started, there weren’t much space for young people to showcase their works. Seventeen years later, there are more spaces and venues, but the key players in the art world are still the same people who are reluctant to push new faces. They only talk to you when you have a bit of a name. So I think young people still need to have a collective mentality trying to do their own things without helps from the establishments.
Shot on location at Whiteline Bangkok, Thailand.
Words & Photos by Al de Perez
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