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Briton records song for tsunami charity

PHUKET: The Phuket News sits down with Briton Mark Hopkins to find out more about his song ‘Tsunami Day’, a song he’s releasing to help The Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation.

Wednesday 11 December 2013, 05:21PM

Mark (centre) recording the song with his little helpers.

Mark (centre) recording the song with his little helpers.

What inspired you to write the song?

Unfortunately, the inspiration came from my own personal experiences while I was living in Patong back in 2004 when the Tsunami hit.

One of the lyrics in the song mentions my landlady knocking on my door. As it was Boxing Day, the previous night had been a rather excessive outing and I did not get back until 5am. I could not really write in the song what she really said to me or what I replied back.

I remember her crazily knocking on my door shouting, "Mark, you die, big wave.” I pulled the pillow over my head and shouted back a few pleasantries. It took a few minutes to all sink in.

As far as the song itself, I was sat in my bedroom, I picked up the guitar, a tune swirled around my mind and the lyrics blossomed with ease from there. It simply all clicked into place.

I had a small Tascam 4 track recording studio back then, so after around 20 tries to record the song on my guitar, and very sore finger tips, I finally managed to lay the tracks and a vocal down.

Some songs are just like this and some take weeks, months or sometimes even years to write. Any songwriter will understand this. Not saying that I am one. I just try.

What has happened in the interim – why are you now releasing it?

I had been trying to record the 'Tsunami Day' song for a few years now. When I left the UK in late 2011, I carried this demo recording on my memory stick for two or more years around Thailand, China and Malaysia in the hope that some day I would be able to record it.

I believe the production of the song was rather unique, how did it all come together?

Well, in truth I returned to Phuket to work, and as soon as I arrived the job fell through. So I was basically stuck with absolutely no money and no job at the time, so I had no way of achieving my goal.

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Saying this, I always believe there’s a way, so what I did was I simply came up with the idea to attract sponsors in return for hopefully good marketing and advertising. This would not cost me anything as one of my many jobs is email marketing.

So I then set up the email, sent out the email request to a few hundred companies on Phuket and crossed my fingers, toes and what ever else I could find.

At that point I still did not have any contact with any charities or musicians, the recording studio and so on. I just knew that without sponsors this simply would not happen. I tested the water so to speak. I also knew it was a long shot but worth a try.

Obviously the recipients of the mail out did not know me, and the email could have basically been from anyone, so I was not expecting many replies or offers, if any.

It ending up with there being just enough sponsors to pay for the four session musicians, the practice studio, the recording studio, the set up of the 'Tsunami Day' website and a few taxis and odds and ends.

In-between the recording I also contacted the British International School Phuket’s Head of Arts Neill Thacker, asking if the school's choir would be interested in doing the backing vocals on the song, and Neill kindly agreed.

I also contacted the Phuket Has Been Good To Us charity, and with the help of Tina Hall we worked out that all donations, be it from the 'Tsunami Day' song download or from cash donations, would go directly towards introducing music and the arts to the orphans at the 'Coconut Club' in Kamala.

After six weeks or so, and five visits to the studio, the song was completed and ready for release on November 15, 2013.

Why Did You Do This And How Can People Help?

The reason is simply really. I recorded a song for charity 4 years ago in the UK and as soon as I wrote and composed the 'Tsunami Day' song I knew what I was going to do. It just took 2/3 years to finally get back to Phuket
to set it all up and record. 

Now that the song is recorded and online people can now go to, listen to a clip of the song and download. It takes only a few minutes to pay and download, and costs only 1$. Each 1$ from downloads will go directly to the 'PHBGTU' PayPal account and help with introducing music and the Arts to the orphans in Kamala.

You can pay cash donations also by following the instructions on the website.

To listen and download 'Tsunami Day', and for more information, please visit or go to

Mark would like to thank, Phuket Hash House HarriersTropical Properties, Mick Bates, ( ),( ) and

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