News & events > The new Vietnamese experimental vanguard music scene
31 Aug 2022

The new Vietnamese experimental vanguard music scene

Are you curious about the experimental vanguard music scene in Viet Nam? In this primer, James Gui outlines the key trends and bands, with links to their music online. If you have ever wondered how to get to know the scene and start collaborating with musicians coming out of Viet Nam, here is a good place to start. 

Just as Soulseek influenced music enthusiasts across Asia in the 2000s, the diverse music communities on the Web have given rise to a new vanguard of young musicians in Viet Nam today. Well-versed in the Western underground canon via RateYourMusic.com and /mu/, these zoomers are initiating a wave of energy in Viet Nam’s music scene.

But it was on Facebook—in a Coldplay fan group—that one of the current scene’s leading collectives first took shape. “I was a fan of Coldplay, and I posted Radiohead and Squarepusher on Coldplay Viet Nam to see if anyone was interested,” says Đỗ Tấn Sĩ, bassist and founder of Rắn Cạp Đuôi. “I met [guitarist Phạm Thế Vũ] on that group. We talked about recording flute kites in Northern Viet Nam, we talked a lot about experimental sounds, and then we became a band.” The two were barely old enough to have accounts for the platform on which they met. Naturally, they grew along with their music taste: “Vũ went from a Swiftie to a đàn tranh [Vietnamese zither] collector,” says Đỗ. 

Over the past decade or so, the bass-and-guitar duo has expanded to a collective that has explored sounds from noise rock to sound collage, alienating promoters and befuddling music journalists with their disregard for genre categories and multiple “debut” albums. Drummer and producer Zach Sch joined in 2017 after seeing them perform at a gallery…With a rotating membership of rising Vietnamese artists and musicians—including Lý Trang, Spencer Nguyễn, Trần Uy Đức—one only needs to search around their orbit to find artists and groups pushing new boundaries of sound in Viet Nam.

Read the full article on Bandcamp here.