Originally from Hanoi, ling:chi began her creative trajectory in life as a photographer and graphic designer. In 2019, she relocated to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and it wasn't long before she soon assumed the role of a full-time selector, playing at just about every respectable DJ booth in the city.
Fun fact: ling:chi’s name is derived from the ancient Lingzhi or Reishi mushroom — it’s known as the mushroom of immortality and divinity, and keeps you safe from harm.
ling:chi recently took on the role as Mixmag Asia Vietnam's Creative Director and has treated us to a mix packed with eclectic treats. From afro and pan-Asian influences to acid grooves and funky breaks, tune into Mixmag Asia Radio with ling:chi below while discovering more about one of Vietnam's most promising talents.
Where are you based and how did you get there?
I am originally from Hanoi and moved to Saigon 3 years ago, just before the pandemic. I was a 19-year-old sophomore, one year into DJing and got invited to play at the first Boiler Room in Saigon. It was an early and fortunate milestone that encouraged me to explore music and club culture in a city that's really shaping up at night.
What’s your favourite thing about the music scene there?
Saigon’s party scene is getting better and better everyday. There are good events with international bookings every weekend, and festivals organised every month. Different music genres have created diverse communities and they are all broad-minded, eager to support each other. Relocating from Hanoi to Saigon, it is easy for me to notice the differences in the way people party. People here tend to drink more so they prefer funky, upbeat tracks with vocals, which I have to adapt to as a DJ. I changed my style quite a lot and got out of my comfort zone as I moved here. And I really embrace a 'no limitations' approach to my music now.
In five words, what do your DJ sets sound like?
Moody, groovy, energetic, no boundaries
And in three words, how would you describe yourself?
What recent trends in music have you been paying attention to? Have you caught onto them?
I have been seeing more and more dance tracks embrace sounds from exotic traditional instruments or folk music samples. As I discover these kinds of tracks, I also learn more about culture and history of the world. South American, African and Asian countries have the most beautiful music materials in my personal opinion. I always try to play and make it a highlight between my beats. It is a great way to breathe life into the past and celebrate the present.
Are there any producers and DJs in Asia that have recently caught your attention? Please name up to 3 and tell us why.
3 of them are: machìna, Mr. Ho, Trà Đá Connection
Tresor Berlin resident machìna is one of a few female techno artists that can do no-DAW live performance and sing her own tracks while dressing elegantly all at once. Her punchy, cheeky beats can keep me dancing all night.
Hong Kong based Mr. Ho has constantly been my top favourite Asian DJ/ Producer. I was so surprised to discover he comes from a country just next to mine. His subtle, analog acidic sounds together with precise vinyl mixing skills hypnotise me the first time listening to him.
Trà Đá Connection is a French producer living in Hanoi. Trà Đá actually means iced tea - a popular street drink in Vietnam, so I guess he’s been here long enough to show his Asian side. His productions, using noises from the streets, neighbourhood, Buddhist scriptures remind me a lot of where I come from, and he twists it with a touch of house and breakbeats.
From pre to post pandemic, what has changed & what hasn’t changed about your life in the music world?
During the pandemic, I was more focused on finishing my bachelor dissertation in graphic design. Soon after that I became Art Director of Mixmag Asia Vietnam and I am happy that now I can combine art and music together. I couldn't be more thrilled about this opportunity as it gives me a chance to connect deeper with the scene, support the community, by being involved in more ways than from just inside the DJ booth. I've also been learning music production and am patiently working on a few demos.
What hasn’t changed: I’m still a sleepy panda.
Tell us about the inspiration behind this mix - what drove your thoughts and emotions, and how did you curate your selection?
This set particularly describes the way that I build my sets: from slow tempo to gradually faster and heavier beats, shifting though various shades of music. I especially wanted to feature 3 talented Vietnam-based artists’ tracks : “Be Like This” by CHICHA22, Kim Chi Sun, CHARLES., “173 Hoàng Hoa Thám” - Trà Đá Connection (which samples Buddhist scriptures) and an ID by Humb & Dani, each of these is a different music genre so I tried to work on a composition to combine them together. First couple of minutes into the mix is an exotic journey, giving a feel of the multicultural aspect I dig about music. l Then we enter the by the middle of the set where we get groovy on the dance floor. I close the mix with a few of UK garage and breakbeat gems as the sun rises.
What equipment did you record this mix on?
I recorded this mix on an XDJ XZ.
Where can we hear you playing next?
I am doing a mini tour around Southeast Asia in December, follow my instagram to see updates!