A British music website recently published a list of the 11 girl groups from around the world that were definitely worth a listen. They included Japan's Baby Metal whose music video of "Gimme Chocolate!!" has garnered almost five million views on YouTube, South Korea's 2NE1 and a surprise entry from Myanmar, the Me N Ma Girls, described as a politically aware version of the Pussycat Dolls.
Thailand's Apple Girls Band, Gaia and Jackie Nanny Nina didn't make it to the list and that's a shame, because all three are bursting with talent, each in their own unique way.
The Apple Girls Band
Banana Records' Apple Girls Band made their debut using iPhones and iPads for their backing tracks. All graduates of music schools, the group of bassist Bunyawhad "Whad" Thanasomboon, guitarists Pimprapa "Fern" Chaloemwongwiwat and Nisart "Mint" Sittatikarnvech, vocalist Saithip "Walnut" Wiwattanapatapee and drummer Patchanutsakarn "Bow" Chaitripob, all play "real" instruments as well.
Apple Girls formed in 2011 when Walnut wrote the song "Jakrawal Wittaya" and wanted a way of recording it that would stand out. A tech-savvy student, she downloaded the GarageBand app from iTunes and roped in her pals to play the other instruments on their iPads and iPhones. Banana Records' founder Wassakorn "Ed" Dechsutham liked the sound enough to record it and upload a video to YouTube. It went viral overnight and two days later, the band was being booked for live shows.
"Playing guitar on a gadget is much harder than playing it on the real instrument," says Mint. "When I play guitar, I know exactly where to put my hand; I don't have to look. On an iPad or iPhone, I dare not take my eyes off the screen for even a second. It's also slippery.
"But the real disadvantage point is that the guitar neck on an iPad is shorter than on a real guitar. That's limiting and means we have to be careful about the songs we play. We couldn't do jazz for example."
Apple Girls Band has seven songs in its repertoire from "Jakrawal Wittaya" to the latest "Ha Mee".
"Most of our songs are electronic pop but we've also covered metal band Kluaythai's 'Jeb Jung Boei' and have played our version of it live," says Walnut, who also wrote the metal band's "Bong Tong".
"Bow came in later as our drummer. Up until she joined, I was the one keeping the beat while singing but that meant I was staring at the iPad rather than interacting with the audience," says Walnut, adding that while she finds GarageBand a useful app for making a demo, she personally prefers real instruments.
"It's really just a gimmick," she says.