Meet Levi Oi: a Vietnamese DJ who was born and raised in Germany and set herself up in Saigon in 2018. Set on a fresh career path, it took only a matter of months for Levi to quickly make an impression on clubs and promoters across the country; today, you'll find her regularly shuttling between Hanoi and Saigon, flexibly playing for luxury fashion brands and fashion influencers, whilst hosting her own nights at underground establishments like Arcan (Saigon) and Warehouse (Hanoi).
Levi's open-minded approach to music gives her sets a curious edge, as she dabbles the fine lines between house and techno. For her set for Mixmag Asia Radio, Levi's taken a slight detour to share her more uplifting side of sound, featuring her own original productions as well as tracks from the likes of Mr. G, Karmon and Rampa.
Where are you based and how did you get there?
I am based in Saigon and moved there at the end of 2018 to start over a whole new chapter in my life. My journey started with making events and getting involved in the music industry and ended with my decision to pursue my DJ career.
What’s your favourite thing about the music scene there?
I enjoy that every genre has its own community here. No matter what kind of music you like, you will find a bunch of different people who are willing to support you. As we are still in the beginning of development, everyone tries to help each other out, teaching how to DJ or getting each other's shows. I feel it is a very warm and welcoming environment
In five words, what do your DJ sets sound like?
Eclectic, pumping, bass-heavy, fresh, playful.
And in three words, how would you describe yourself?
Curious, adventurous, hyper-active :D
What recent trends in music have you been paying attention to? Have you caught onto them?
I recently got more and more interested in other types of electronic music, such as amapiano. But also into Vietnamese pop music. Mostly because of my network and community in Saigon. To be fair, my music taste has become much more diverse and I grew into a more open-minded DJ thanks to Vietnam. Especially the people here embrace Western music so I should then also become more tolerant of local music and alternative genres.
Are there any producers and DJs in Asia that have recently caught your attention?
1. In Thailand I came across the coolest duo in Asia: Wildealer. They play such intelligent, high quality, fun and upbeat house music that will make you dance all day and night. Catch them at Baba Beach Club (one of my favourite locations in Thailand for parties) or at Wonderfruit.
2. In Vietnam I am surrounded by many young & talented musicians and artists. I love Wren Evan’s music, Larria’s latest album and Monotape’s remixes.
3. My girl Tuimi is a producer, songwriter & singer and I cannot wait for her new album. She co-produced my first track “Banh Khuc Banh Gio” and for me she is soooo talented, because she can feel and produce all kinds of music, it is truly inspiring.
From pre to post pandemic, what has changed & what hasn’t changed about your life in the music world?
A lot has changed since the pandemic started. International tourism stopped and local musicians and promoters have conquered the music scene, especially the underground community has grown significantly. They reunited and became promoters hosting events and music festivals around Vietnam. In 1.5 years a whole new wave of artists and collectives were rising and evolutionizing the nightlife industry, which was mostly covered by expats and international artists before.
Tell us about the inspiration behind this mix - what drove your thoughts and emotions, and how did you curate your selection?
I recorded this set in Hanoi, in a professional recording studio called HUM (Hanoi Underground Movement) Studios overlooking the beautiful Westlake. I picked the sunset time because this (next to the sunrise) is my favourite time of the day. For this mix, my plan was to touch many different moods reflecting me. Most of the times when I perform in clubs I play rather dark music and I really love it, but for this mix with Mixmag Asia I wanted to open up and show my other sides, the housey, colourful, bright side of my music selection.
Hanoi is deep and a bit dark whereas HCMC is bright and buzzing. Both reflect very well who I am and I tried to explore these two sides in my mix. Starting very smooth and calm and then going from deep and a bit dark to more colourful melodies and songs. Don’t we all love music because we can explore our feelings?
There are some Asian elements in this song that I really like, and it is blending in naturally. Soon we will have enough Asian techno & house, I can feel it!!!! Asian persuasion!
What equipment did you record this mix on?
CDJ 2000 Nexus2 / Funktion One Speakers F101
Where can we hear you playing next?
I just play at Warehouse and Tach Space last weekend, and will be at Kasho on Thursday 27 October for the first time. This month is very exciting for me and I cannot wait for the future of Vietnam and electronic music, especially now having Mixmag Asia Vietnam to push and educate the local community.