Art and Design
“When we first started the band, we wanted to have a formula,” he says. “It’s like, ‘This is what we do, and we’re not gonna try and go outside the box too much. We’re gonna explore the box we’re in. I’ve always been a big fan of that. I used to be in bands where was like, ‘Man, we’ve gotta think outside the box!’ And all I’m thinking is: ‘You guys don’t even know.’ Music should never be just for the sake of being experimental. Before you even start, you have to know what you’re experimenting with first.” – Mark Speer
Khruangbin is a musical trio from Texas with Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Ray “DJ” Johnson Jr. on drums. They have referred to the open barn, where they record in Texas, as the fourth member of the band. As it is in the middle of nowhere, there are often problems because Khrunagbin needs to deal with nature and its the elements but they love it and have never been able to record anywhere else.
Their music has been inspired by sounds from all around the world, specifically Thai music from the 60s and Spanish and Middle Eastern tunes. It is very psychedelic in its nature and lends itself well to accompanying a any sort of ‘trip.’ By cultivating a kaleidoscopic sonic palette which seeks to unify cultures and bridge the gap between multiple interests, Khruangbin are creators of their very own world. It’s one that is based on intuition, groove, and collaboration. (taken from here)
The band’s name Khrunagbin is a Thai word that means “airplane.” The name of the band symbolises the international set of influences that shaped the band’s formation.The group’s guitarist, Marc Speer, said they might have chosen a more easily pronounceable band name if they had foreseen their success.
Embracing the grand open skies of rural Texas and the lurid neon of Bangkok in one fell swoop, The Universe Smiles Upon You, Khruangbin´s first album released in 2015, succeeds not because of the exotic nature of its influences, but the tact with which it incorporates them into its own mesmerizing universe.
In January 2018, Khruangbin released their second album, Con Todo el Mundo. The title of the album came from Laura Lee’s Mexican-American grandfather, who would often ask, “How do you love me?” (“¿Cómo me quieres?”) and would only accept one response, “Con todo el mundo” or, in English, “with all the world.” The band said the title of the record is also a reference to the diverse range of musical influences that inspired it, primarily from the Middle East.
On their ambitious fourth album Mordechai, the trio expanded their musical dialect by allowing vocals to serve as another instrument, and now, with Texas Sun and Texas Moon – their collaborative EPs with fellow Texan singer/songwriter Leon Bridges – Khruangbin are transitioning into a new phase. According to Laura Lee, “Texas Sun and Texas Moon are referring to the sky, which is the biggest sky you´ll ever see because you don’t have to build up in Texas, you build out and so the sky is never interrupted.”
Ali Farka Touré was a Malian musician, dubbed as the African John Lee Hooker creating a sound known as desert blues. Even though there is a lot to live up to, Vieux is a musician in his own right, and has been called the Hendrix of the Sahara.In September, 2022, the band released the album Ali, a collaboration with Vieux Farka Touré, featuring eight tracks of covers of songs by Vieux’s father, Ali Farka Touré.
“It is clear in their music that they have wide-open ears and hearts for music from around the world. But more than that they are sympathetic and thoughtful people. They told me how they loved my father’s music and I could feel that in their hearts they wanted to honour him. It felt like a perfect fit.” – Vieux Farka Touré on Khruangbin
Below you will find a selection of Funga´s Khruangbin favourites: