The Cambodian Space Project is back in town, after an action-packed international tour in which the band recorded live at the BBC, hit the Ubud Writers Festival, and hobnobbed with writer DBC Pierre and Australian country legend Paul Kelly.
Fresh from playing in the UK and Bali, the rock band will perform in Phnom Penh at the Fashion Week closing party next Saturday and at Mao’s on November 19, before jetting off once more to play in Bangkok, Singapore, Jakarta and Australia. That is, if the floodwaters that are submerging Thailand permit it.
Band co-founder and guitarist Julien Poulson told 7Days that the BBC recording will be available for purchase soon.
“We’ve been on the road, more or less, for more than a year now, and this latest trip to the UK and then onto Bali for The Ubud Writer’s Festival has been fruitful for many reasons.
“In the session for BBC3, we were recording in the same studio once made famous by the likes of The Goons and The Beatles. It’s a rough and ready live recording that really captures the band’s sound and will be pressed as a collector’s edition vinyl LP and released by the end of the year – it’s titled Not Easy Rock’n’Roll: The Cambodian Space Project live at BBC3.
“The flipside to the BBC side of the album is a series of acoustic recordings made on our trip to Bali, titled Sweetheart Bali, and it features a more ‘mekong delta blues’ kind of sound, with Srey Thy singing with little or no instrumentation backing her songs.”
At the Ubud Writers Festival, where the band performed and participated in panel discussions, the musicians bumped into DBC Pierre, most famous for his 2003 Booker-winning novel Vernon God Little, about a Texan schoolboy who goes on the run to Mexico after his friend commits suicide. The author, whose real name is Peter Warren Finlay, is now entertaining the idea of tagging along with the group for a jaunt through rural Cambodia.
“DBC Pierre was surprisingly relaxed and down to earth, a super cool guy, wonderful to listen to and full of stories,” said Poulson. We were introduced via punk poet Salena Godden – host of the Books, Booze and Boogie Woogie book show – and also pal of DBC, who is planning to accompany him on a Cambodian safari.
“DBC immediately took to our band name, talked with Srey Thy about his Aztec/Mexico documentary, spoke with me about the loose idea of joining the band for a Cambodian road trip, rolled a few cigarettes, bought a couple of rounds and seemed very excited about visiting us in Cambodia.”
Paul Kelly was also taken with the band, which first came to his attention when he heard Srey Thy sing acapella on a Melbourne radio station.
“Paul came to some of our sessions and was totally cool, friendly, and encouraging to Srey Thy as a songwriter. He offered to have us join some of his future shows in Australia, perhaps in our acoustic incarnate.”