This half-German, half-Thai independent artist releases pretty cool, unconventional indie-pop songs under the name of Cupnoodle. When we met up in Bangkok, neither cup noodles nor ‘Pineapple on Pizza’ were on our actual menu, but we sure dived deep into both of them. And a lot more, including her return to Thailand during the pandemic, her thought-provoking positive lyrics, mental health in Asia, and how we consume music differently today. We might have also gotten a little spoiler into the upcoming new flavors of Cupnoodle 👀🤫🍜
Cupnoodle to me is… Asian, instant, and worldwide.
The artist moved from Thailand to Europe when she was 15 years old, and will always be able to identify with a cup noodle’s Asian roots. But it gets a bit deeper than that. Which, if you understand Cupnoodle’s music, won’t come as a surprise. And if you’re new around, we’ll help you unfold the layers, don’t worry.
“Its instant factor makes me feel the same way as listening to certain music. Quick and you either like it or not. Worldwide. Cup noodles are everywhere. In the same way, music can reach anywhere today thanks to the internet and global streaming platforms. But you can also look at cup noodles as a comfort food. Comfort food that can either be a lifesaver or a guilty pleasure. It’s the same with music. Some of my songs, like ‘nothing, nothing, nothing,’ will seem cheesy to some people but it’s still unapologetically catchy, though.”
The real earworm songs that stuck in your head and you keep listening to again and again even though you’ve heard them hundreds of times. Getting deeply attached to it… just like a guilty pleasure, right? And what about the warm hug of a cup noodle on a late evening when you just can’t anymore…? “Sometimes music can also be that lifesaving comfort. Especially when it’s talking about things that are a bit deeper. And maybe even not so much talked about in the mainstream.”
Comfort Food Turning Into Comfort Music – Mental Health In Asia
This actually happens more often in Cupnoodle’s songs than you might think after just quickly listening through her discography with edgy song titles like ‘Pineapple on Pizza’ (more comfort food for us 👀), ‘2+2,’ or ‘B*TCH PLEASE.’ But seeing between the fun concepts and lines, it wasn’t even a question that we’d want to unbox the real meanings behind some of her songs!
‘Pineapple On Pizza’
When did pineapple become such a questionable pizza topping?🤔Just asking for a friend 👀 “Actually, I didn’t even know it was so controversial, because as someone who grew up in Asia, I grew up with pineapple on pizza.”
We are sure many of us had no idea it was so dividing until the internet made it a thing. It’s natural for some, but might not be everyone’s cup of tea. And that is more like what ‘Pineapple on Pizza’ is about rather than being an arguable dinner recommendation or just your casual love song. When really listening to the song, you might be able to hear it between the lines, but let’s hear it directly through Cupnoodle’s own words! 🍕
“You don’t see a lot of biracial couples in Thailand. So when I started dating my current (foreigner) partner, receiving certain looks and comments on the street was a learning curve for us. I understand from the Thai perspective, they’re simply not used to it. This gave me the idea. Somehow it’s just the same as pineapple on pizza. You either like it, or you don’t like it, and I just made the connection.”
“You are not everyone’s cup of tea, but you don’t have to change yourself.”
And in a similar way, ‘Mathematics’ is also not about school curriculum. “My Facebook got hacked a couple of years ago, and I lost the friends I had there from all the previous years. It made me sad for a long time. Then I realized I actually didn’t even talk to most of those connections since I left school. Yet, when we were in school we all spent so much energy trying to be friends with these people and impress the cool kids. But something that I’m still using every single day is math (laughing). So it’s just that ironic twist. Maybe we should be more aware of where we put the energy while growing up and trying to impress people when at the end of the day just simply being yourself will never go away, it never expires like those relationships.”
“It’s my most personal song so far. It was also cathartic to write, compared to all the others. I went into the songs mentioned before more like a conceptualized abstract play of blending lyrics and meaning. While with ‘therapist,’ it’s literally everything that happened to me.”
Cupnoodle’s lyrics often give us a nice comforting feeling (just like a warm cup of noodles – you’re starting to get it by now, right?) we need on a hard day. But while many tracks feel like a friendly hug, ‘therapist’ is just straightforward, directly and openly talking about mental health. Which might not be entirely taboo anymore, but is still not talked about enough in Asian countries.
“I actually went to therapy because of a breakup and I really talked about the person in the session to find out how I can move on. It’s one of those songs that I just had to put out for myself. Even if it didn’t seem to make sense with the rest of my catalog. And I’m super proud of it, concept-vise, production-vise, all… I hope people do like it.”
“In Thailand, the stigma around seeing a therapist is so different from Europe. When I worked on the music video, even the people I work with said, «We don’t want to portray that you went to therapy because you’ll come out looking crazy» but I was like no, that is actually what I want to show. I see therapy as more like learning about yourself. You don’t have to wait until something goes wrong. It’s almost like a manual to understand human emotions and how to be the best version of yourself. And it’s crazy that we are all stopped from doing that because of other people’s thoughts. That’s the whole thing. On a deeper level, it’s also the same when I call myself Cupnoodle.”
“If I don’t care what other people think about me calling myself in a somewhat ridiculous way, that’s already liberating. I wanna stand by just really being yourself. What other people think should never stop you from you doing whatever you want.”
UK & Thailand — Working As An Independent Artist
Cupnoodle describes herself as “Bangkok-born, European-bred, and London-raised.” She actually earned a Music Tech degree from the London College of Music, started her career as a singer and vocal coach over there, and only returned to Thailand recently.
“So far what I’ve been doing very differently is, in London, I would do my own demo, produce my own works and work remotely with others occasionally. But here in Bangkok, I go to the studio and work with someone as a team. I got so lucky. I get to work with a single producer, Pokpong Jitdee, who is incredibly talented and a true all-rounder. I’m just lucky to come across brilliant people who can really elevate my vision. In most of the songs you see, even the backing vocals, everything is done between the two of us. I don’t have a big team, not in the sense of working with a label. Sometimes we would just make a joke about something, and we end up turning it into a song.”
“Like why not? If I’m already called Cupnoodle, nothing seems off-limit, nothing is out of the boundaries.”
“I don’t wanna be bound by just a certain genre, a sound, or even a topic. So I guess the inconsistency is my branding, I don’t know. I think it’s dynamic. We consume music differently these days. Before you might have gone to a store and bought a specific album or tuned into a specific radio station. But nowadays every kind of music is at your fingertips.”
The Next Flavors of Cupnoodle
“Since I started putting out music as Cupnoodle, I’ve been doing it solo, but starting this year I’ve been working with a manager. I’m still an independent artist, but that is a difference in how I will approach music for my upcoming releases.”
Sounds to us that Cupnoodle is putting a system into her own freedom. And we also know that she has been spending a lot of time in the studio recently. These two facts make us hope for many new tracks in the near future. So of course we nudged her for some spoilers! And without giving out too much, Cupnoodle did tell us about the new flavors we can expect coming soon on the streaming shelves of her noodle library.
“I’m always working, and have songs that are just waiting to come out. They’ll definitely gonna be in a new direction. Those who follow me on Instagram can see that I’m heavily influenced by R&B, but the songs I have put out haven’t really reflected that so much. So if anyone is a fan of what I’m doing there… It will be going along that line. I’m excited to put R&B and the Thai music industry together and give it a new spin.”
And so are we! We can’t wait to hear what comes next for Cupnoodle. Let us know your favorite Cupnoodle lyrics, favorite moments from this interview, or just your favorite comfort food by tweeting us at @thehoneypop, or join the conversation and share your favorite part of the interview on Facebook and Instagram.