On Thailand’s Phuket island, UnKonscious — “Asia’s biggest Trance festival by the beach” — is an incredible experience for trance lovers worldwide. With our first time covering this year, we were able to have a quick chat with Founder Srangkun Sirisinha, also known as Lon or Lonskii. Keep reading to hear about his journey from DJ’ing to starting the festival, growth in Thailand’s trance scene, and the attendee experience.
Am I correct that you’re also a DJ? Tell me about your journey with that.
■ Some know me by my stage name, “Lonskii.” I started DJ’ing in 2003 and held a few club/event residencies in Melbourne, Australia before starting my first monthly event called “King of Clubs” in 2010 and then weekly event, “Ace of Spades,” in 2011. The following year, my wife and I relocated to Bangkok, Thailand, where the trance scene was extremely small.
How did you grow interested in trance?
■ In the late 90s, I was actually into rap music, but I became interested in trance when I heard the following three tracks: Alice Deejay’s “Better off Alone,” Darude’s “Sandstorm,” and Public Domain’s “Operational Blade.”
And you founded the UnKonscious festival.
■ Yes, my wife and I founded UnKonscious together. I did a lot of pre-planning and created the entire concept, from choosing record labels to the artists, and planning the creative aspect of the entire event. My wife is responsible for logistics and artist liaison, as well as taking care of our social media content.
How and when did you get involved in the Thailand scene ?
■ Once we relocated to Bangkok, I attempted to do a few club shows, like Aly & Fila in 2013 and Sean Tyas in 2014. Sadly the scene was too small at the time and even though it was something I was passionate about, it just wasn’t feasible. Something big needed to happen to give the scene a boost, so I contacted the Transmission Festival in Prague and discussed the possibility of bringing the event outside of Europe and eventually we had Transmission Bangkok in 2017 and 2018, respectively. With any branded event or product there are creative restrictions and I had a lot of ideas, so we decided to create our own home-grown brand and UnKonscious was born in May 2018.
Since you also have experience running club shows, what has been the biggest difference between those and a festival?
■ Our club shows in Melbourne were easier to manage because they were a much smaller scale. We would have at least two international artists perform, and the goal ultimately was to attract people from a well-established trance scene to attend. With a festival like UnKonscious, you’re trying to convince the entire world that you’re worthy of making that trip to, but how do you do that? It definitely takes a lot of patience to inform people and build a brand that is trustworthy. My wife and I started our club shows together, and it’s still the same two people running an entire festival, so there’s a lot more to manage between the two of us.
What is the crowd at UnKonscious normally like? Mainly trance fans who come for the event? Local people? A lot of tourists who just happen to be there? All of those combined?
■ Trance has a big following in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Most of our ticket sales in the first year of UnKonscious in 2018 came from those countries, with less than 10% from Thailand. We are now very fortunate to have people from over 50 countries attend UnKonscious. The majority are attendees from outside of Thailand, and local tourists in Phuket make up an extremely tiny percentage. At least 95% are people who have flown in specifically for the event.
What is your main goal for the festival attendees?
■ I just want to create a memorable event. No one has the formula for a “perfect” festival, but I listen to people’s feedback and learn from my past mistakes. If people compliment me, then I’ve done my job well, but if they complain, then I know there’s room for improvement. I’m not one to stay static with my thoughts and I’m constantly finding new ways to be creative.
How many people work on this festival with you? What are some of the other roles people have?
■ I have a team of 25 people, which consists of liaisons, cinematographers, a broadcasting crew, designers, etc. We work closely with Paradise Beach Club, which has an extensive group of people who manage the venue.
What goals do you have for years to come?
■ I hope in the next two years we’ll be able to reach 3,000 attendees. There are other plans in the works too, but I can’t reveal them just yet.