Hey Joe, what made you decide to come to Bangkok?
As a long term resident (Artist & Musician) in Thailand , based on the Islands for numerous years, I had many part time flings with the City and moving here permanently was only a matter of time , though I'll always consider myself an island lad. The islands are mainly set up for tourism and that defines the general art and music scene there, lots of cover bands and copy paintings, everybody playing and painting the same olde shite, ear and eye candy. I was part of an Abstract Art Group that set up some decent shows, but it was a tad formal, flowers, ribbons and long speeches, Bangkok ironically was a breath of fresh air
You did some interesting painting jobs, what was that like for an artist to paint a night club?
Painting the Club (Sukhumvit Soi 11, the old Q Bar) was a great project, I was initially hired to do some renovation which then developed into putting my own ideas into the mix. 3 or 4 months later I’d pretty much painted the entire club by hand, some days painting for 15 hours. I loved the solitude and atmosphere of that environment, as well as seeing people’s response to the surroundings once the project was completed.
A few years ago art galleries and shows seemed really popular. Is this trend dying a little? What is the future of art going to be like in Bangkok?
I think with any scene there’s always ebbs and flows. Losing key art spaces such as TOOT YUNG & V64 does have an effect but the future is bright. TOOT YUNG for now works as a mobile gallery doing amazing shows in varied locations. We have very exciting new galleries such as YenakArt Villa, Gallery VER and TARS, Charoen Krung is still growing and attracting artists to the area thanks to BRIDGE & Soi Sauce Factory amongst others, and the city's steadfast galleries , WHITESPACE & 100 TONSON are extremely well run and organised spaces that will continue to help developed the City’s art scene long into the future ,
One current project is WHITELINE GALLERY AND BAR. When I first met the owners of the building they were very interested in using the space as an outlet for Creativity and giving something back to the CITY, and as anyone who's has visited the venue will know, the potential is huge. Almost a year into the project we have hosted some memorable shows such as, DUDESWEET, YOMOFO, BREW REVOLUTION etc., and the surroundings are evolving organically along the way. The Space is still work in progress but that is part of the charm. I am currently planning some exciting music Mini Festivals and also working with other promoters such as BRUTAL SOUTH (you should check them out) bringing in some serious international and Local acts to the venue. I'm also in the early stages of curating a Group Art show "Art Is Not Entertainment'' SAT 25 JUNE 2016. This show seeks to look at function of Art and its relationship to its environment, in this case an Entertainment Venue/Galley/Bar. The Venue also transforms into a club, with parties from Duck & Noodle, RAS BK and a host of other event organisers and promoters. If anyone about Silom Soi 8 over Songkran come along and get ''SOAKED AGAIN'' with us.
Not only are you a supporter of the Bangkok music scene, but you have some bizarre music projects also. Can you tell us about them?
'' WOOF WOOF !"
I wont say too much about this one just yet, but it’s as Visual as it is Sonic lots of fun and tension if done right before Bangkok. I was stuck on conveyer belt of playing formula songs on stage for years that was my bread and butter. Not that I didn't have the 'CRAIC ' But it’s almost the opposite of how I’d play drums at home.
My project with WOOT ROOT seems a more naturalistic approach to music and far less bizarre and restricted and is more of a true expression of how the music feels at that precise moment. KOTA (who plays in the project) allows me the time and space to sit nicely on a groove as well as tear it up when necessary. We do plan a rehearsal one day and have made plans to record our first album ''CHEW CHOO'' on VOMIT RECORDS (another project) in the very near future.
WHO ARE WE ?
I've always wanted to play in a band with two drummers and Tommy, Iman and myself came up with this idea sat on some steps in an art gallery but am actually going to cheat on this and use Dave Crimaldi description of the outfit: ''This improvisational post rock jam band fuses organic percussion with a droning electronic soundscape. If Francis Coppolla did a sequel to Apocalypse Now, he could probably get these guys for the score. Definitely some cyberpunk feel to the music - think Blade Runner.'' It's all about listening and respecting each other’s space and working with the acoustics but the Rubber Chicken steals the show ,
Although we bang out covers in this outfit, it’s more of a jam from my point of view. Danny Duncombe bangs out songs and I try a different variation of the same hip hop groove underneath while balancing a beer on my head .
I’d like to go on a rant but I’ll try and resist the temptation. It's tough just trying to get people to support your own venue let alone build up the scene as a whole. But collaboration is the key and it has to start from ground level. Promoters need to co–promote. Venues need to work with each other. Venues and bands need to listen and support each other more. Bands need to promote more and go to watch more shows. We should ask the handful of Bangkok Musicians that really work hard at promoting and often tour around South East Asia about the different approach these places have to sound and equipment.
Our city is behind unfortunately but I’m confident in the very near future Bangkok will have some very cool, great sounding, well thought out, mid-sized venues that cater for all Musical expression and attract the attention of oversea promoters, bands, press, etc. What band touring South East Asia wouldn't want to stop off for a night or two in BKK, also Fanzines. I want to walk in a venue and pick up something that tells me what’s really going on, maybe a printed version/gig guide of Rock Philosopher or Live Music Tonight Bangkok, I am sure the venues would sponsor it. The art community has Bangkok Art Map (BAM) for example. Why do clubber's get to go to after parties? If there's 3 great gig's going off on the same night, why can't we all hook up somewhere after, and set up a late gig or have a late night jam, GOLDEN WINGNUT, again collaboration, lets get it on!
Some of my favourite festivals in Bangkok have been Charge and Change and Recharge, both held at Brownstone Studios, On Nut. Do you have any other festival plans this year?
Yes it be rude not to do another RECHARGE this year. I am actually in talks with Rathapol limthongchai (Tim) Brownstone about a couple of shows and RhuBarb & CusTard are in the process of setting up a mini festival that celebrates local & international Craft Beer, BKK Food Trucks and our vibrant music scene. The date will be set soon. RECHARGE will follow its Familiar format of celebrating the city's FOOD, ART & MUSIC Culture and will be held around the busy festival season Mid NOVEMBER. And also ''SUGAR BELLY''(Beach Party) at WHITELINE is also one to watch out for.