Vietnam’s electronic music scene has shaped into a sonic boom over the last couple of years. DJing, nightlife, techno, house music, underground, EDM — these terms have left the unfamiliar and joined the list of household conversational topics. Today’s kids in Vietnam are talking about where to go for Pho after a night of raving at a club. They’re talking about the latest releases from local DJs, booking tickets to club nights weeks in advance,
Kodeine could be considered as an ambassador to Vietnam’s new generation of local club DJs — as a member of the esteemed Dusted Recordings family as well as the country’s popular SpaceSpeaker pool of DJs, Kodeine brings a fresh and stylish perspective to his game as a DJ.
As part of a continuing series of Mixmag Asia club nights at Hanoi’s 1900 Le Théâtre entitled Resident Revival, Kodeine is the next artist under the spotlight to take the helm of the club’s 1,200 pax dancefloor this weekend. And of course, his set will be live streamed on Mixmag Asia’s Facebook Page.
And while we wait for the big night, Kodeine guides us through his views on one of Asia’s most exciting music scenes — get to know about him and his thoughts on electronic music in Vietnam in just 20 questions.
What’s the best part about living in Hanoi?
"Hanoi is the city for artistic souls. I feel like you can never rush life here. And from what I've seen and experienced, Hanoi is the birthplace of many talented artists and has its own in-depth culture and tradition as Vietnam’s capital city."
What’s the worst part about living in Hanoi?
"You can’t rush in Hanoi! Everything takes more time to start, finish and do when you’re in Hanoi."
Take us out in Hanoi — from dinner, drinks, party to afterparty?
"Let’s start with a delicious bowl of Pho Thin (Pho noodles with sauteed beef), followed by a cup of Giang egg coffee. After that, we’ll head to a random bar for a round of cocktails as a nice warmup for the main party at 1900. And if you still have enough energy for the afterparty, Savage offers a proper closure for a serious night out."
Go-to hangover food?
"Pho, of course! Plus, anything fried or soupy is the best hangover cure for me."
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happening from the DJ booth?
"Too many to recount, but one I do remember well was a girl in the audience trying very, very, hard to climb over the wall of the DJ booth to try and kiss me. She tried several times, for most of the night. Does that count?"
What’s your role in shaping the future of this planet?
"I’m here to spread positive energy through music."
Who’s the most underrated DJ in Asia?
"A Vietnamese group of DJs named Candy Juice. The group consists of four already well-known DJs who decided to do something fun and different together. They only recently debuted their first set but it got loads of love from listeners here."
In one sentence, describe your music?
"It's uplifting, energetic and sometimes dark."
If you could invite anyone in the world to b2b with?
"I once had a dream that I did a track with Anna Lunoe and it felt really good."
Being a part of the Dusted Recordings crew, do you prefer producing as a team or when you’re alone?
"I like to brainstorm and come up with the idea on my own. When I feel the track is about 80% finished, I'll go to the team to get their feedback before doing final touches."
How do you separate yourself from the crew as an artist?
"My background is in fashion and I have a Bachelor's Degree from the Hanoi University of Architecture. I think it has big influences on the way I produce and play music as well as making a statement for my personal style."
Check out Dusted Recordings latest release here.
If the world were ending, what song would you play?
"It would be my track ‘2gether 4ever’ since it implies an optimistic message, and regardless of the situation, we’ll be together forever."
What three songs could you play in your DJ sets forever?
"It's a hard one. I would pick BYOR ‘Don't Stop The Disco’, Touliver & Dustee ‘Haus of Dus’ and my latest remix of Soobin ‘Van Nho’ which you can exclusively listen to in my set for Dusted Nation."
Check out the video of Kodeine’s set for Dusted Nation Episode 3 below.
What are two main reasons for the rise in popularity of electronic music in Vietnam?
"It's definitely because of the rising popularity of the internet and the social media sites in Vietnam over recent years, and also thanks to the introduction of EDM festivals and clubs like 1900 that make electronic music more exposed to the public — it helps build the cultural bridge between Vietnam and the world. That’s two reasons, but I’d also like to mention another significant point, which is the rise of artist collectives like SpaceSpeakers and Dusted Recordings. They provide creative shelters for electronic artists and support them career-wise. When artists are well taken care of mentally, we will see better quality productions and the scene will grow much more sustainably as it will thrive off local talent."
How was your experience of touring Europe at the end of 2019?
"It was a memorable trip and a real ride of emotions. It was right at the start of the pandemic so my family got worried sick, of course. Some of my shows got cancelled but luckily I got back to Vietnam before the situation was serious and the other shows went off really well."
If there was one thing you could change overnight about Vietnam’s music scene, what would it be?
"I would say the copyright issue — it's been a headache of a problem in Vietnam for decades. But luckily, both artists and the audience are more aware of that problem now and on a mutual mission to improve that. I feel fortunate to have Dusted Recordings back me up in that regard. My music’s copyright and royalties are transparent and well protected now, and that really gives an artist in a place like Vietnam a really big boost of confidence."
2020 has been a mighty tough year for the global music industry. How has it affected you and the scene in Hanoi?
"It’s been a bit like a negative bubble that’s trapped all of us around the world and in every aspect of people's lives. For a creative field like music, it affects artists' productivity and mood/energy of the tracks. I can feel that at some level and see that on both national and global scales. Vietnam has been luckier than most other countries, so we are grateful here in Hanoi."
There is a lot of pressure to play popular music and sell tickets. What’s your stance on that?
"I don't feel any pressure at all. I try to find a balance that works for me. In the end, it's all about the positive energy that I want to radiate through music."
As a resident DJ of 1900, what kind of trends and changes have you seen in both your music and the crowd of the last year?
"When I started working at 1900 back in 2016, EDM was on a downward trend at that time, making its way for other genres like bass house, Brazillian bass, trap, future bass etc. In the course of 4 years, I've seen the crowd getting more and more updated and proactive in the way they approach music. They are patient to explore and are more open to new genres."
What are your predictions for Vietnam’s club scene in 2021?
"The emergence of more underground music-driven clubs in the country is something I’m excited to see more of!"