Known for their raucous live shows, Berlin-based electro-punk troupe Bonaparte are swinging by Bangkok as part of their Asia tour. BK caught up with the band’s much-traveled frontman Tobias Jundt ahead of their gig at Cosmic Café on Nov 25.
How was Bonaparte born?
Bonaparte's mother was feeling funny one day and she thought it was the tuna sandwich that she ate for lunch, but then she gave birth to a little pink-haired creature and realized what that funny feeling was: Bonaparte! That's how it all started. Oh, you mean the band? In 2006, I drove around Europe in a red rally car from the 60s with nothing but a guitar on the backseat. I was eventually stranded in Spain where I wrote a lot of songs. When I was invited to play in Berlin by the legendary Bar25, I needed a name, so I called the band Bonaparte! The project was only supposed to last for one night. But it was so much fun that we’ve kept it going for more than seven years now. From Berlin to Bangkok in 7 years—not bad!
How would you describe your sound?
Some say it is loud! I'd say it is a mixture of the energy of punk, the swing of jazz, the club affinity of Berlin electronic music, the message of folk music, the dripping love of soul and the tribal fire of native music. It is a mixture of everything that sticks after coming home from a journey. So, who knows how we will sound after this first visit to Asia?
Would you describe your performances as concerts or cabaret?
I personally would not call them cabaret, no. I write songs, I perform them live with a band is the core explosion of everything. But I like to take along some friends who do not play instruments, so we started having dancers on stage–they call themselves "divas" and I guess because it is very visual I usually call it a "show." But we’ve also featured people reading a book or grilling sausages on stage. It is all a visual enhancement of the music. It should connect to all of your senses.
How can Bangkokians prepare for your show?
I think you should eat a lot of papayas for breakfast because on the night of the Bonaparte show you will sweat, sweat, sweat—and sweat! You could, of course, prepare by learning the lyrics to songs like "Too Much" but, most importantly, be there! Be there when we play our first ever show in Bangkok! We are very excited that you will have us.
What’s your favorite outfit for performing live?
I always wear the same shoes. For seven years now, I’ve only performed in my old white boxing shoes. I used to joke that the day I can't find old white boxing shoes anymore, I will have to stop performing as Bonaparte, but I don't think this would actually happen. As long as I have my shows and a guitar nothing can go wrong!
What's your first music memory?
I guess my mother playing the cembalo when I woke up on Sunday mornings as a child was quite magical. It's almost like what dying must be like, when you have done everything right in life and you arrive in heaven in a soft feather-bed and someone is serenading you. Sweet!