Wednesday, 08 November 2017 10:44

Phuong Le

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One of the best-known names on the Swiss house and techno scene, last year Viet kieu DJ and producer Phuong Le headlined Quest as part of her duo act ME & her. This year under the auspices of her record label, Die Empathie, she is running a stage and curating her own line-up. She’s also performing under her new artistic presence, MYLE


How did you get into music?


Music has always been part of my life. I grew up in a musical family and started playing piano and listening to music early. Music is a way to express myself. It’s a source of stress relief, inspiration, freedom, a way to lift you up and get you through your day.


What drew you to DJing and production? What’s the story behind ME & her?


I loved going out and dancing all night long, but I never thought that I would be a DJ one day. A friend of mine, Jen — DJ Yeni — was DJing solo back then and she got sick of travelling alone. So, she asked me to join her as a duo. That’s how ME & her started.


What were your first impressions of Vietnam when you returned to the country aged 16? How about now?


The first time I returned to Vietnam, it was overwhelming. To grow up in a society like Switzerland, going to Vietnam was a culture shock. So many motorbikes and honking, I needed time to adapt, but then I fell in love. At the time, Vietnam was so pure, the landscape was untouched and there were not so many tourists. Everyone was super friendly and I didn’t feel like a foreigner. The country has progressed really fast, especially Saigon. So many new buildings every year, and everyone is eager to do business with the world; the young generation is curious and open-minded. But every positive development also has its negatives. I was shocked by the amount of tourists or foreigners that come to the country who don’t care about the environment and treat our culture with disrespect.


What is your impression of the electronic music scene in Vietnam?


It is still very small compared to Europe or other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand or Singapore. It’s dominated by EDM and Vinahouse. But we have some great people who are really trying to build up the scene like the people behind Quest Festival, The Observatory, Heartbeat, We Groove or Haustek. Unfortunately, laws in Vietnam make it difficult to run a club, bar or a party. Most of the promoters need to find a way to ensure they’re not shut down.


Why did you move to Bangkok rather than Vietnam in 2016?


I’ve been travelling to Bangkok every year since 2007. The city has so much to offer and every time I go there, I find new inspiring stuff. I chose Bangkok because I know the scene, the people and I feel at home. I always wanted to move to Asia, not only to escape the cold but also to help build up the music scene and find new inspiration and talent. I’m now getting more and more involved in the scene in Vietnam — so I will definitely consider it as a base in the future.


In your opinion, what makes Quest such a unique festival?


The Venue. It’s a beautiful location in nature surrounded by a lake, and it’s the perfect size, with 4,000 people making it an intimate festival.


The Programme. Quest is not only about music but also arts and culture. There is not one genre of music; the programme is very diverse. So, there is something for everyone. I like it that Quest is not focused on bringing in big acts but is more into supporting local or Southeast Asian acts, and giving them a platform to show their talent.


The people behind it and the festival-goers. Many of the big festivals have lost their meaning; they’re a money machine. But at Quest it’s not all about money. The organisers do it with passion and are putting a lot of effort into the details. They look after the environment and try to improve it every year. As the festival is not that big, it’s easy to meet new people. You go in solo and end up with a lot of new, like-minded friends.


What can we expect from your performance there this year?


Last year I headlined Quest as a techno act. This time I will not only showcase another musical direction with my solo project MYLE, but our label Die Empathie together with support from The Council in Singapore will curate the sunset/sunrise stage. This means hosting 10 artists from all over the globe including Rey&Kjavik from Germany, Troja from India and Estray from Serbia. We want to bring a new genre to Asia which is already well established in Europe, and we want to create a unique experience for everyone and show that you can have an unforgettable musical journey with slower, melancholic and more organic music.


What marks out your solo project, MYLE, from work you’ve done in the past?


I realised early on that only playing the techno we were playing as ME & her didn't fulfil me music-wise. So my new persona, MYLE reflects myself 100%. I was seeking new challenges, more experimental sounds, more in-depth music, more downtempo, more organic. It's a totally different experience from banging out techno in a warehouse or a club with everyone’s hands up in the air. Instead I’m playing downtempo music in intimate venues with people closing their eyes and letting themselves go. I still love techno, but I prefer giving the crowd some space to breathe and communicate at a deeper level.


For more info on MYLE click on Quest Festival runs from Nov. 10 to Nov. 12. Click on for details.



Last modified on Wednesday, 08 November 2017 10:53
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