By Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul
Published on May 11, 2008
A movie-stills photographer leaves the lens behind for a new career at the microphone
Apichai Tragoolpadetgrai, the stills photographer for more than 20 movies including "Jan Dara" and "The Letter", has realised his dreams and released his debut album, "Sing Lao Nee" ("These Things"), on indie label Smallroom, singing under the name Greasy Cafe.
"There's no hidden meaning in my choice of title. I just like the name," grins Apichai. "It reminds me of the places I used to eat while I was a student in England.
He started playing drums with a rock band while at high school, switching to guitar when he went to England, and playing with a group called the Light.
"We presented our three-track demo to several music companies and one label showed some interest. They wanted to hear more songs but we couldn't oblige because it cost too much to record," he says.
When Apichai returned to Thailand, he landed work on fashion shoots before turning to portraits then to the movies.
Are the 10 tracks on the album inspired by his days on film sets?
"Not really, but I remember weeping during one really sad scene of 'The Letter' while taking photos of [leading lady] Ann Thongprasom," he says.
"The album includes a song called 'Phap Shin Ta' ('Common Sight'), which is about the late wife of a friend. It's a deeply moving number that took me a long time to write."
Portrait of the artist
>> Apichai worked as a stills photographer on the 2000 Hong Kong movie "A Fighter's Blues", part of which was filmed in Thailand.
>> He tested the waters of the Thai music scene a few years back, recording "Ha" for the compilation album "Smallroom 001" in 1999 and "Phop" for 2002's "Smallroom 002".