INTERVIEW | Jino
Slamman Booking Asia
As consumers of live music, we really need to stop more often and give it up to local promoters/regional booking agents who dump so much money into bringing bands into their scenes and communities. All over Asia, there are people who don’t do this for a living, they do it simply for the love of seeing a particular band live in their own city and thus will fork out a whole bunch of money without any guarantee of making this back. Right here in Hong Kong, we have the amazing people behind Hidden Agenda (TTN) who have been carrying this torch for years now bringing such great acts as Envy, Alcest, Death Angel, and so much more to our shores, Singapore has Street Noise (amongst many others) who’ve brought in bands like Testament, Thy Art is Murder, Agnostic Front, Judge, etc., in the Philippines you have Still Ill (and many others) who brought out Bane, Magrudergrind, Regulate, and Sleeping Boy Collective who brought out Turnover, Movements, and The Saddest Landscape, Japan has Bloodaxe who bring bands like Incendiary, Knocked Loose, First Blood, out every year, China you have Real Deal who’ve brought out bands like Brave Out, No Turning Back, Backtrack, and others, Indonesia you have Trueside Jakarta and Here to Stay who have brought in a billion bands such as Turnstile. In fact, you can find many such organizations or entities (often run by one person!) throughout this great continent of ours (such as Malaysia’s RVDA Records/Freshtown Records and BNA Youth Booking in Indonesia, the list is literally endless even in Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, India, etc). Big up to all these amazing people!
One such individual who we’ve been watching from afar do all of this extremely well and professionally (and joyfully might we add!) is our friend Jino of Slamman Booking Asia. After talking to him online for many years, we finally got to meet him face to face a number of years ago when our band (Dagger) played in Bangkok. What we expected was someone who was more straight to the point and overly serious about touring etc., but what we found was an incredibly humble and hilarious dude who does his stuff so well, that when he’s hanging out, he can straight chill. This is pretty much part and parcel of any promoter in the awe-inspiring Thai scene such as the dudes behind Holding On Records and promoter extraordinaire Yos. All super trustworthy and on point and that’s why when you arrive in their scene, it’s just fun times because all the details have all been taken care of.
Below is an interview with this such human being and we hope you get a little insight into his background of being a world-renowned promoter for heavy as fuck music.
What’s up brother! Thanks for doing this interview with Unite Asia! It looks like Asia is slowly opening back up which must be a good sign for promoters like yourself right???
I’ve been waiting two long years for this to finally come! The last tour I did was Signs of the Swarm back in February of 2020. That tour was eventually canceled because of the pandemic. For the time being, all bookings are back even leading into 2023!
Yeah I can imagine a lot of promoters are beginning to see the light at the end of this long dark tunnel. Since shows have been back you’ve been on the road non-stop! Where are you right now and who’re you touring with?
I’m in Melbourne, Australia with Defeated Sanity. Last night’s show was sick! 270 people show up! Great crowd and we sold so much merchandise.
So let’s start at the beginning. Before becoming a promoter – how did you first find your way to heavy music?
Ahhhhhhh…wow let me think, I remember seeing a music video for Slipknot on MTV and I was totally shocked yet excited at the same time. After watching that I ran to a shopping mall here in Bangkok and bought Slipknot’s debut album on CD. So it was nu-metal that started it all for me.
What year was this? Did you have a bunch of friends that were listening to heavy music?
It must’ve been 2000. At the time I only had one other dude in my high school that was interested in this stuff with me. So basically I started going to shows by myself and gradually I became friends with a lot more people who were into the same thing I was.
Woah! Young Jino ready to rip up that pit!
So after you grabbed Slipknot how did you learn about shows in Bangkok? What was the first show you went to? Because I can imagine that planted the seed to eventually lead you to what you do now.
Let me think. That was 22 years ago lol. My first international concert was actually Slipknot back in 2004. I remember because Channel V was the main promoter. Prior to Slipknot though I had already been going to a lot of local shows, buying merch, CDs, and magazines and just educating myself on all types of heavy music.
So I can imagine the Slipknot show was advertised really well. How did you find out about the local shows? Flyers? Social media?
There were ZERO social media back then. It was mainly flyers on the streets and magazines.
Totally – I remember when I was organizing shows for my own band in 2000 it was all flyers at shops and on the streets. So when you went to your first local show – what do you remember from that show? Because at that time you were probably new to shows so I’m interested to know if anything shocked you about the local scene.
Back then, all the local shows consisted of a whole mix of different types of metal sharing a bill together. So I got really knowledgeable about nu metal, metalcore, hardcore, and punk. Shows were drawing between 300 to 500 people per show back then.
Local shows had 300 people?!?!?!?
Photo Credit: Pruchaya Chansanit RQ777
That’s crazy…so let’s get into how you became a promoter. Did you first start organizing local shows in Bangkok for local bands? What was your path to becoming a promoter?
Back in 2013, I was singing in a band called Pathologial Sadism (we’re still around today) and there weren’t many shows going on in Bangkok. So I talked to my drummer and my friend who owns a store called Metal Quest about putting on a show. This first show became the launch of our Brother Brutality series of shows that we still put on today. At this very first one, we wanted to invite an overseas band and so we invited our good friends in a band from Laos called Sapanakith to play. That was the very first show I ever organized featuring an international act. The turnout was great – we had about 200 people come.
What do you remember from that experience? I remember the first time I organized a show many MANY years ago – there were so many things that I didn’t think about Hahahahaha…like making sure there was food available backstage, water on stage, or simple things like who’s picking up the band from the airport, etc.
What I remember from it was just being incredibly disorganized. I remember soundcheck was a mess and I was basically handling every single aspect of the show by myself.
Yes totally! I never ever thought about needing a team of people! I was selling tickets, organizing soundcheck, being the band runner, everything hahaha…How many years after 2013 did you feel like you finally had a very good system and good crew?
I think it took about 2 years before we learned everything about putting on shows and established a strong team in the process.
And after that first show did bands from overseas start to hit you up? I find that’s what often happens. Because you’re so busy doing a good job promoting a show, of course, other people will start to notice and then suddenly many many bands will start contacting you.
Yup. After that, I got hit up by lots of international bands and so I started inviting more bands to come out to Thailand. I booked Taiwan’s Maggot Colony, Australia’s Iconic Vivisect, and Japan’s Myocardial Infarction.
As you started you were probably super beginner level at promoting – did you know about tech riders, hospitality riders, etc? How did you learn about all of that?
Well, before I even started booking metal shows I was already working for EDM festivals. So through that experience, I was already very familiar with all the different things that go into putting on shows: production, venue application, etc.
Woah! What are the similarities between EDM events and metal events? Hahaha…I assume that EDM events are MUCH easier to organize!
Haha…I think the areas that are similar are all the organization and planning that go into events. But of course, the difference is that bands require a LOT more gear on stage and thus we have to be very detailed oriented in making sure we have the right equipment ready to go.
Photo Credit: Paul Moseley
Then once you started organizing shows when did you begin Slamman?
The whole story starts back when Devourment came out to tour Asia in 2014. What happened was due to visa issues the band wasn’t able to play in China as scheduled. I was with the band at the time and the promoter didn’t communicate anything with them. Then when the show came down to Thailand the Thai promoter wanted me to continue to stay with them to make sure everything was – so picking them up from the airport, taking them to the hotel, etc. After watching all of this behind-the-scenes stuff I talked to Larry Wang (who works out of Taiwan) and suggested maybe we could start our own full-service tour management agency. Larry came up with the name Slamman because we both love SLAM music.
Larry and Jino
What was the first Asian tour that came under the Slamman name?
It was Parasitic Ejaculation from USA. We booked 4 shows for them back in 2017: Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, and Bangkok.
But you’re very different from the rest of us Asian promoters because you actually accompany the band for their entire tour and act as a Tour Manager or Merch Guy, why did you decide to do that?
I want to be careful and watch how the local promoter works both with the crowd and the overall environment. Sometimes, for example, if the promoter is super disorganized then we actually might need to reach out to someone else to help. If I’m with the band then I can hop right in and fix these issues immediately while the band’s on the road.
Without naming and shaming a promoter, what was probably the most nightmare experience you’ve had with a promoter while being out on the road with a band?
One time a promoter booked us an Air BNB which was actually a great house but there weren’t enough beds, no blankets and no pillows. We all had to sleep on the cold ass floor.
Without you traveling on the road with bands every few months that means you’re always gone! Hahahaha…does that impact your relationships in Bangkok???
I’m still single dude! hahaha…
Ladies – this dude is single and ready…hit up Slamman.
Sick! And I see you’ve organized some new tours for this year already. For those interested in getting into becoming a promoter what are some tips you can give people?
Just organize more shows and learn everything by yourself. Hahahahaha…experience is the best way to learn all of this.