- Hi Sabai, welcome to EDM Nations. Can you tell us who you are and what you’ve been up to musically?
Hey, this is Gene AKA Sabai, a Canadian/Thai producer from Vancouver. This year, I’ve released 4 songs with Monstercat under an EP called Where It All Began. All the songs in this EP represent a full cycle of a relationship I’ve had. I wanted to give as much attention to each song so I put them out one by one over eight months. The first song that really gave me a lot of exposure was Million Days (feat. Hoang & Claire Ridgely) that have almost 12m on YouTube and close to 3m on Spotify so far.
- Tell us about ‘Memories’, your last song on ‘Where It All Began’ EP…
- Memories is a song about regret that happens when a relationship has ended. Things that we wished we could’ve changed about ourselves sooner to be a better partner but now it’s really too late. It is the last chapter of the love cycle from Where It All Began.
- You work at the Monstercat label which must be a dream job for a music producer. How did you get the job?
- I met Ari Paunonen who is a co-founder of Monstercat during my last semester at the audio engineering school I went to. He came to my class to talk about Monstercat. We exchanged our contact details after class and we kept in touch. When his old executive assistant quit, he reached out to me for coffee. I think he knew that I was very passionate about music and wanted to give me a shot so he hired me to be his executive assistant and I’ve been working at Monstercat ever since.
- What happens on a usual working day at the Monstercat office?
My day to day job is not related to music at all. I’m part of an operations team so I help with hiring, onboarding new hires, creating company cultures, managing office experience. My manager and I will set goals that we want to achieve within each quarter and I manage my own hours. Everyone is very supportive of each other & we have an awesome work culture here at Monstercat. After I get off work, that’s when I will hop into the studio to work on music.
- What’s your favourite thing about your job?
- My favourite thing about my job is the opportunity to talk and learn from other team members. With my role, I get a chance to interact with every department so I gain a wide perspective of how a record label runs because I get to see how all the pieces fit together.
- What advice do you have for our readers who might want to work at a music label too?
- It depends on what you want to do but I think networking is one of the most important skills you can have if you want to get into the music industry. I also believe that you should try to find one or two things that you are good at and really work on them until you become an expert in that area. You will then have unique values about yourself that make people want to keep working with you.
- Was it easy to get your music signed to Monstercat because you worked there?
It took me 4.5 years with me sending demos to the music team. I have no idea how many songs got turned down but probably close to 15 songs. If anything, it made it a bit more challenging for me to get signed because I had to show the whole team that I was serious about it and that I was ready as an artist. I will admit though that by working at the label I learned what a record label usually looks for in artists they’d like to sign. It’s not just music but everything as a whole. I made sure to use that knowledge to close all the gaps I was lacking as an artist.
- You’re from Thailand – why did you make the move to Canada?
- My parents believed that Canada would be able to provide a better opportunity for me. Back in 2008, Canada was looking for more pharmacists. Since both of my parents graduated as pharmacists in Thailand, they were able to come here as skilled workers. I really love Canada!
- What is the Thai electronic music scene like?
- The EDM scene is slowly getting bigger in Thailand. The trend seems to be three to five years behind what we have in North America. I believe Future bass is starting to really pick up in Thailand recently.
- Apart from the temperature, what are the biggest differences between the two countries?
- The cultures between the two countries are completely different. There are so many things that are different but one example is the idea of respect for the elders. In Thailand if you are younger, you usually don’t challenge or disagree with the elders as much. But in Canada, you can always challenge the elders if you don’t agree with them on something. I don’t think either one is right or wrong, it’s just different. However, I’m glad that I’ve lived in two different countries because I gained a bigger perspective on things.
- Do you get a lot of support from Thai music fans?
- I do!! Because “Sabai” is a very common Thai word a lot of Thai fans reached out to me to confirm whether I’m Thai or not. I also get a lot of southeast Asian fans from Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines.
- Looking forward, what do you hope for 2021?
I hope the COVID situation will be much better in 2021 so I can start playing shows. I also have a few songs that I’m very excited to release in 2021. A few of them are collaborations with artists that are bigger than me whom I really look up to. I’m honoured to have an opportunity to work with them.