Khruangbin consists of Laura Lee on bass, Donald Ray Johnson Jr. on drums, and Mark Speer on guitar from Houston, Texas. Khruangbin has made a name for blending international music influences, including psychedelia, classic soul, and dub.
Khruangbin’s debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, released in 2015, borrows a lot from 60s Thai music. Their second album Con Todo El Mundo, re-released in 2018, is influenced by Spain and the Middle East. Their musical genre is still up for debate between soul, funk, surf, psychedelic, and even electronic.
The band name came about when they first began to play together. Laura Lee was learning to speak Thai and suggested they use her favorite word of the language, ‘Khruangbin,’ which means ‘flying engine’ or ‘airplane.’ When asked about the name of their band, Speer said had they known they would become so famous, they probably would have settled for a name easier to pronounce.
They joined Bonobo’s tour and were featured in the artist’s 2014 song Calf Born in Winter. The song went on to become a big hit on Bonobo’s Late Night Tales compilations. In 2015, Khruangbin released their debut record, The Universe Smiles Upon You. The record was also a success leading to The Guardian naming them the ‘New Band of the Week.’ They released their second album Con Todo El Mundo, in January 2018, which the Middle East mostly inspired.
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