My memory is hazy but Blood Thirst Spider were totally horrifying. Horrifying in a good way - the way a scary movie scares the fuck out of you. Lots of screaming and spilled beer and I half expected the band members’ heads to explode and Satan to climb out spitting fire and fury. This was one bad ass band. And a big part of the reason was one French punk rock guitarist named Ax Bonmati.
That was about 2010 or 2011. Since then I have learned that far from being agents of Satan, Ax and the other members of Blood Thirst Spider ware mere mortals with some wicked presence in front of an audience. Recently, Mr. Bonmati took time out from his busy schedule of rock n roll destruction to answer all my geeky questions about his bands over the years in Bangkok, his early days, Mind the Gap, early bands, venues come and gone, etc. If you are totally new to Bangkok underground music this is not the thing to be reading; however, if you are familiar with the Bangkok music community than read. Otherwise, this is likely going to feel like a history class or Tolkien’s expanded universe. For me it's pure fucking heaven.
My name is Ax Bonmati, I'm from Marseille, France and I play the guitar.
I arrived in Thailand early 2005 and really began to be active in Rock'n'Roll with my band Tender Preys (with Jon Galvin on drums and Tina Mendoza on bass) in 2007. This is also when I met Paul Solomons from Mind The Gap and later on Beady and Mod Williams (also from Mind The Gap). At that time they were releasing a compilation of bands from the Bangkok Scene (featuring among others, Revenge Of The Cybermen, Mhee Noi, The Standards, Tabasco and my band took part in it.
Along with many shows in Bangkok, Mind The Gap took us to play in Singapore with The Standards and Revenge Of The Cybermen. Around the same time I met Victor Deville-Blumberg and Ed Rudy and we formed Blood Thirst Spider (BTS) along with Top Tarasin (later Degaruda and Low Fat). I then lost interest in Tender Preys and sabotaged the band, which did not please at all my 2 fellow bandmates. Some of the greatest experiences and moments of Blood Thirst Spider were supporting The Buzzcocks in Bangkok, our 2 trips in Songkla for some punk festivals (one with Bone Clone) and a tattoo convention in Phuket (with Cat Fight).
Jon Galvin and myself also backed Mhee Noi's singer/guitarist for a one and only show that you can find here. This show was one of Tender Preys's last, the first ever Blood Thirst Spider performance and was organized by Spike.
About a year and half later I met Manis Ender (guitar, vocals), Simon Bell (drums) and we formed The Klong Riders along with Victor (who mainly coined the name of the band). Victor (bass) soon left the band and was replaced by Haydn Evans (Sibling Rivalry from South Africa) who was later replaced by Top.
During these years I played with Blood Thirst Spider, The Klong Riders, performed with Sonny Luxury and created and performed with Evoluzzer (with Top Tarasin). I also played in a band called Planet Zorch with Victor and Oogy and replaced my friend Tom Vater during Pussy & The Learjets's Chinese mini-tour.
At the end of 2011 I left the country. No more bands for me.
The Klong Riders also recorded an album called Riders From The Klongs Of Hell in 2011 and 3 tracks recorded in 2011 that will be released soon as a demo for maybe some future reunion one day. The Klong Riders have played a good number of shows in Bangkok during their time, it was real fun.
Blood Thirst Spider started in 2008 and ended in 2011. The band had several line ups. In no particular order : Ed Rudy (TSOS), Victor (TSOS, God Hates), Top, Bob (Rocket Science, Biopsy Cunt) Sano and Yusuke (Low Fat), Joey Schaaf, myself and even Pok (Stylish Nonsense, Rocket Science) and Andy (Cat Fight). That band recorded an EP/Demo at Vintage Studio (possibly in 2009) and later on in 2010-2011 (with Bob on bass, replacing Victor) a full length album "Ten Storeys Of Rock'n'Roll Destruction" at Panda Records, engineered by Pok himself (Wannarit Pongprayoon) and mixed by Paul Solomons.
Your latest bands are God Hates and Flying Guillotine? Can you talk about how the bands formed and the music?
When I was living in Peru and knew I had the opportunity to come back to Thailand for some work I immediately contacted Ben Edwards and let him know that I wanted to start a band with him, I've always liked his style and thought he was by far the best Rock'n'Roll guitar player in town. He said yes and this is how I met Iman Ismail. Flying Guillotine was born. Basically, this band is a love letter to anything from Blues Explosion to Nick Cave and The Cramps to The Mississippi Blues.
God Hates comes from me reuniting with my fellows from Planet Zorch, Victor and Oogy. They knew James from the Punk/HC scene and he showed up one day at practice and then it was understood that we had a band. The music of God Hates is a mix of some old school punk and psychobilly with an extra touch of anger provided by James.
When I'm not in Thailand I do play music and have bands. But I never really had the chance to connect with other musicians on a Rock'n'Roll level the way I do here in Bangkok.
Can you remember the bars and venues you used to play in over the years that have now closed?
Over the years I have played in many venues in Bangkok, the ones I remember best are : Immortal Bar (Kaosan Road), Common Ground, Whitespace, Club Culture, The Tube, Bangkok Rocks, The Rock Pub, The Overstay, Noriega's (then became Nomads), Motorcycle Emptiness, Chez Laudin, Nospace etc... I don't recall all of them... Cosmic Cafe and JJ Park. Also promoters Mind The Gap, Matt of Popscene, Ed Rudy and Spike were really the ones that made it happen (for me) back then!
When you first arrived what bands can you remember and which of those if any are still around today?
Low Fat is still here, some of Mind The Gap bands are still here, Stylish Nonsense, Rocket Science, most of the Hardcore and Punk scenes are still here.
Many familiar faces all around. Feels good.
D: Thanks Ax!