The most recent treasure discovered by The Speakeasy bar is Vladimir Baieff and Victor Platkov, also known as art-duo Silk. Both performers are expat residents of Phuket and both view music as the point of their lives. Vladimir has been singing for more than a decade while Victor’s musical career is even longer.
As it often happens on the island, Vladimir and Victor met each other adrift. The men date their first encounter back to 2013, when they had their first (and only for quite a while) chance to perform together at a jam session. The second performance happened only in January this year.
“A friend of mine invited me to give a concert at La Taverna and asked whether I have a partner to accompany me. The flashback from 2013 struck me immediately”, Vladimir recalls.
The duo define their style as ‘the oldies’, meaning best hits from the past, including jazz, blues, swing, lyrical ballads and everything that helps to create a relaxed lounge atmosphere.
“These are songs that were great sensations 20 or 30 years ago and are still popular now,” Vladimir says.
Silk’s signature is taking familiar melodies and delivering them to the audience in a new, individual way. The public enjoys this meld of acquainted and unacquainted, like a new exotic flavour in a well-known dish.
Run through the prism of individual perception and mood, Vladimir’s songs sound anew each time he performs. Even the singer himself fails to tell in advance what his “New York, New York” or “If I Ain’t Got You” will sound like on a particular night.
“What we do is the 20th century classics in our own understanding. We perform in our own way, live these songs out in our way. This is more than just merely performing, this is creating,” Vladimir expounds.
“We always sing and play on the first take; we improvise every time we hit the stage. What was blues yesterday can turn into swing tomorrow. Sometimes I even wish we were recorded to keep what comes off.”
Having spent seven years in Phuket Vladimir tried various stages ranging from small jazz bars in Phuket Town to Tablspoon Café at Central Festival. All are different but all are equally infused by Thai freedom of artistic expression.
“The Speakeasy blankets you with the relaxed atmosphere of a piano bar. Phuket Town comes with unpredictable New Orleans jams with new faces and people to meet. Patong is more simple and more about rock,” Vladimir says touching the most thorny issue for all serious performers in Phuket.
Indeed, sooner or later every local musician asks themselves where there is any demand for quality music on the island or is it limited to endlessly repeating Hotel California on soi Bangla.
Vladimir is strongly convinced that quality performers and quality listeners are here waiting to meet each other. The latter may be tricky.
“My personal mission is to enhance the prestige of quality music. We are not alone; there are many strong performances on the island. And there are people asking for a different level of music, but very few know where to look for it,” Vladimir says with a smile.
The situation might change with Silk’s first album hitting the shelves. There is every reason to expect it coming, even despite the fact that according to Vladimir and Victor all the records are to trace progress only.
“Everything in this world happens for a reason. I can even thank the drop in the tourist market, because without it we wouldn’t have had time for our music. But it happened for the good and we are now heading forward at a good pace,” the performer concludes.
Vladimir and Victor perform at The Speakeasy every Wednesday and at La Taverna every Saturday. The duo start from 7pm till late. For other places and additional information, please visit Facebook.com/ArtDuoSilk.