The end of October is one of my favorite times of year–not just because of all things scary, but because it’s when the best Halloween music videos are released. Some of my favorite horror-inspired videos always puts me in that spooky mood (see: “Charli XCX – After the Afterparty“, “Charly Bliss – Scare U“), and Gym and Swim’s music video for “Surfin’ Baby” closely follows that tradition.
Emerging from Thailand’s very own burgeoning indie scene, Gym and Swim are perhaps one of the more Internet-popular bands to come out the country as of late. The quintet’s music has already reached hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, despite the band having only released one full-length album and one music video from the two years they’ve been a band. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’ve found success so quickly. Drawing upon familiar indie-pop sounds like those of Grouplove or Ra Ra Riot, Gym and Swim wouldn’t be too out of place airing alongside them on your city’s local alternative music station. It also helps that the band is a supergroup of sorts–each of the five members are involved in other Thai indie groups on the side like Seal Pillow, Plastic Plastic, The Leprosy, Details, and Merry Go Round.
On “Surfin’ Baby”, Gym and Swim’s newest surf-inspired release on the Parinam Label (one to keep an eye on), the quintet returns with full-force, channeling the likes of Smallpools and Passion Pit with their explosive sing-along chorus and synths. The song’s earworm chorus “Every night / Every night / Every night we ride on time” is inescapable. Although a lot of the rest of the “Surfin’ Baby” requires some deep contemplation into what the song actually means (there’s mention of a “A melon monster revenge” and strangely specific locations like “Under a Chinese basement”), it’s easy to overlook the ridiculousness of the lyrics and just lose yourself to the beat.
The video is also a strange one–it features what looks like the fish-man monster from Creature from the Black Lagoon chasing all five of the band members, Scooby-Doo style. There’s cheesy 70s psychedelic backgrounds, 50s era B-horror special effects, and in classic horror fashion, a monster chase scene. What’s not to love?
Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think.
He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.