Impossibly out of touch
A new comedy takes a look at stars who let fame go to their heads
With Thai rapper Joey Boy at the helm and a trailer that hints at the foot-tapping sounds of a bygone era, moviegoers could be forgiven for thinking that GTH's latest release, "The Possible Kao … Kao", is another flick along the lines of recent Hollywood hits "Take the Lead" and "Step Up".
And they'd be wrong.
"The movie has nothing to do with hip-hop and it definitely wasn't inspired by either of those films," promises Joey Boy. "It's a comedy and it's very Thai. The music dates back to the late 1960s and early '70s, the sounds my parents listened to that influenced me as a child.
"I wrote the plot based on my father's recollections of that era - he was a major fan of [string combo] the Impossibles," the rapper adds.
Directed by Vithaya "Ball" Thongyuyong, one of the "Fan Chan" ("My Girl") gang of six, the film is set in 1969 when the protagonists, a band known as the Possible, are at the height of their fame.
The eight-member outfit features Toi (Apisit Opas-iemlikhit aka Joey Boy) on vocals and guitar, guitarist Bo (Piya "Po Yokee Playboy" Satraweha), drummer Bae (Tanakorn Chinakul aka DJ Bo of 94 EFM), bassist Songbaby (Chakrapong "Song Paradox" Siririn, and Knot (Yuthana "Knot" Thuwapradit) on keyboards, plus a brass trio.
As the superstars grow bigger, so do their egos, and when a new band - the Impossibles - emerge and start drawing attention, tempers become frayed.
Life takes an unexpected turn when the Possible accepts a pink toy microphone from a fan while playing live and disappear in a puff of smoke.
They pop up again in 2006, in a much-changed milieu where fans prefer the sounds of Bodyslam, Buddha Bless and Thongchai "Bird" McIntyre.
No one has even heard of the Possible.
How will the band find a way of getting back to its own era? They come up with the bright idea of staging a concert, but find themselves up against several problems, including being denounced as nothing more than a cover band of legendary string combo the Impossibles.
Joey Boy says the movie doesn't aim to pay tribute to the music of that era, or even to the Impossibles, he just likes the overall feel of the late '60s.
"The songs for the movie aren't historically correct, but they are my favourites," he admits.
So why the playing around with real and fictitious band names?
"To show what fame can do to people. Essentially, the movie tells the story of the Possible's negative behaviour and how they resent being usurped by the Impossibles.
"Phi Toi [Settha Sirychaya, vocalist with the real Impossibles] liked the idea very much and allowed us to use the name."
Does the movie satirise the situation in today's society?
"Not really," replies the ever-diplomatic rapper.
"The message of this movie is about a band that feels a need to be superior to other outfits. In my opinion, that's not right in the arts circle, because we are there to entertain audiences with different tastes. And this film is also a medium to entertain, so I hope the people who watch it will be amused by the concept of having a pink microphone that is really a hit-tester, a gauge of popularity, but turns out to be a time machine."
GTH will soon be releasing the soundtrack album featuring a selection of golden oldies with newly written Thai lyrics by Joey Boy.
Tracks include "Ai Ba Ai Bi Ai Bo Ai Be" (Israel's Eurovision hit "Abanibi"), "Rinma" (Bart Peeter's "Linda"), "Duangjai Yang Mee Rak" (Grand Funk Railroad's "Bad Time") and "Kangkeng Ling Loy Fah" (Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell").
"There are several ways to write lyrics," explains Joey Boy. "One to make the tone of Thai characters similar to the English words, which I did with 'Rinma' and 'Linda'. Other songs have the same sound and meaning as the originals."
Lyrically, some are serious while others are funny.
For the music, we've tried to capture the same quality of sound as the original recordings.
"Even the album cover looks old."
"The Possible Kao … Kao" opens today at theatres nationwide.