The concept of Paradise Bangkok was born out of looking for records. Back in 2009 DJs Maft Sai and Chris Menist pooled together their collection of obscure Reggae, African, Jazz and Thai vinyl to put on the very first Paradise Bangkok party, a place to drink, dance and enjoy the natural musical links between sounds from across the globe. Thai luk thung and molam, both popular, rural music styles were spun alongside Mulatu, Augustus Pablo, R.Burnam and Fela Kuti, and the duo ended up playing in Japan, Vietnam, Germany, London, Switzerland, Austria and France. They also co-compiled the two volumes of 'Sound of Siam' for Soundway, as well as 'Thai? Dai!' for Finders Keepers. Chris is now back in London, working as a musician and writer, whilst Maft runs the Zud RangMa HQ record store and label in Bangkok, as well as the Studio Lam bar just next door.
The Paradise Bangkok label they both run initially focussed on reissuing lost Thai classics, many of which were only ever produced in small numbers. Issued in runs of 500 only, with screen printed, hand stitched and stamped sleeves, the sought after 7s were then collated on one LP in 2013, complete with a comic illustrated by Lewis Heriz. The newly set up Studio Lam label focusses on new music coming out of Thailand.
The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band made their live debut in the Thai capital in 2012. Drawn from different music scenes in Bangkok, the band, (initially formed to back vintage luk thung and molam vocalists who sang live at the events) consists of Kammao Perdtanon on phin (Thai lute), Sawai Kaewsombat on khaen, a type of bamboo harmonica, Piyanart Jotikasthira on bass, Phusana Treeburut on drums and Chris Menist on percussion. Before releasing any recordings the band undertook two successful tours in 2013 and 2014 which included a support slot for Damon Albarn in Berlin, stepping in at short notice for Solange Knowles at Off Festival in Poland, as well as gigs in Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium and the Czech Republic, all to great acclaim.