Introducing Rosie and the Lazy Buns, a band rocking the Southeast Asian indie landscape with their grunge and alternative rock sounds

By Mohani Niza

It is a blessing to chance upon an indie gem such as Rosie and the Lazy Buns. I had that opportunity when they came down from Thailand to play at a private event in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, earlier this year. That night, they began by crooning their slower songs but picked up pace and ended the night with music that made the crowd go wild jumping and dancing.

Rosie and the Lazy Buns is a four-member band who describe themselves as a “Thai, Irish and American band playing poetic rock music in Chiang Mai, Thailand while dressing inappropriately for the weather.”

Find out more in our interview with them below:

Can you walk us through the band’s history a bit?

Rosie and the Lazy Buns started essentially as a group of friends who loved to make Thai BBQ and drink whiskey while playing around with whatever musical instruments were around. Rosie and Gun live together and Ben and his partner Ellen would spend a lot of time at each other’s houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Over time, we started to recognize that there was something to our musical chemistry so we started spending time in the studio putting songs together and found Ome the bassist.

Pretty shortly after that time, we got asked to perform at a small festival in Chiang Mai called “East Meets West” where we ended up playing around 2 a.m in the morning to a crowd of very drunk people. From there, gigs started arising and we found ourselves playing with bigger acts all around the city. In early 2019 we went on tour with Dead as Disco, Magic Arrow, Austin Hughes and Izzy Yoma and played stages in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Danang, Hoi Ann and Hanoi. 

Great name! Where did you get it from?

Buns is a mash up of the drummer and guitarists names, Gun and Ben. All of the songs musically take root from them and they have a brotherly relationship that felt important to name. So together we became Rosie and the Lazy Buns.

When the band started, Rosie was just starting her business and took on a lot of leadership roles with the band as well. As things grew and evolved, our roles took on more equanimity within the band, and no one could be singled out as lazy though I think we all feel that we lucked out a bit in the way it all came together.  

Can you tell us a bit about the independent music scene in Chiang Mai and how it has been conducive to your music?

Chiang Mai has a thriving independent music scene that is incredibly resilient because it is in a constant state of change. There’s a couple of venues like Northgate Jazz Co-op and Thapae East Venue for the Creative Arts that create stable venues for shows to occur and support original music.

But many other important venues have had to shut down due to increased regulation by the city and early close times. It’s really hard for these venues to survive and we have so much gratitude for the people who took the chance to make space for live music.

Minimal Records is a prolific Thai indie rock label in town that also hosts shows and backs some rising local talent. In terms of artists in town, there’s a sense of camaraderie that I haven’t seen in a lot of other cities, artists go out and support each other’s events and bring this feeling of home to the events hosted. 

Some label your music as alternative rock, but I can also definitely hear some grunge in there as well. What are the other influences in your music?

We all share a love for loud rock music but of course that takes different forms. The bassist loves post-rock and reggae, the drummer is into punk and metal, Ben the guitarist is heavy into psychedelic rock and Rosie spends a lot of time drowning in the poetics of Patti Smith or dancing to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I think you can spend a lot of time trying to decide what something sounds like but at the end of the day, it’s the sound we made when we came together, that’s what makes it unique, it’s a little bit of each of us.

You all recently toured with Dead as Disco to places such as Hanoi. Can you tell us a bit about the tour?

The tour was a home baked DIY artist project forged by the bands and a couple of people very close to the bands who wanted to see what would happen when we put Chiang Mai on the road. It was exciting and exhilarating for us to manage some 14 people on the road, and not the traditional road with a van but managing taxis and motorcycles and international flights.

The bar was set high and I think we all grew immensely as performers and people. Personally, I really enjoyed getting the chance to dip into different art scenes and see what is happening in different cities in Southeast Asia. It is an exciting time to be creating and knowing there are others so close ready to collaborate is really encouraging. 

What do you guys have planned for the future?

We’re all working on some side projects at the moment but hoping to get together for some shows in the next few months.

Rosie and the Lazy Buns performing ‘Glass’:

Check out the band’s other videos here and their Facebook page here.

About Mohani Niza

Mohani Niza is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Culture Review Mag.