Ngot's lead singer vu dinh trong thang on how to be normal

Ngot have sầu released two albums of pristine Vietnamese indie-pop. Lead singer, Vu Dinh Trong Thang tells us about creativity và staying normal.

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Ngot’s lead singer, Vu Dinc Trong Thang, baông chồng in his trang chủ city of Hanoi at Quan Cam coffe in Sixty Square. Vu Dinh Trong Thang originally formed Ngot with friends Nguyen Hung Nam AnhTran Binc Tuan after they graduated from high school together in 2013. Fan donations funded their first album and it featured tracks like “Không làm cái gi.” Tran Binc Tuan has since left the group, but Ngot continue to evolve adding diverse influences like French waltz music & gypsy jazz inlớn their indie-pop songs.

Ngot released their eponymous début album in năm ngoái, & their second album, “Ng bthg” (Normal People), two years after that. The trachồng “Em dạo này” from “Ng bthg” helped them win “Song of the Year” and “New Artist of the Year” prizes at the Dedication Music Awards—the Vietnamese Grammys—earlier this year.

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Ngot’s second album, “Ng bthg” (Normal People), featured tracks lượt thích “Em đi dạo này” which helped them win “Song of the Year” and “New Artist of the Year” prizes at the Dedication Music Awards—the Vietnamese Grammys—earlier this year. Vu Dinc Trong Thang who is “kind of turning twenty-four” has already arrived và is sitting with a group of friends at the café when we get there. He breaks away from his conversation with them about his show tonight to speak to us about the birth và evolution of his group—& how he stays creative in this digitally-distracting era. Then we met up with Vu Dinc Trong Thang again, in his trang chính đô thị of Hanoi, khổng lồ take some photos in Bang Khuang cafe’s kindred spirit in the capital, QuanCam Cafein Sixty Square.


Which three groups or musicians have sầu had the biggest influence on you?

The Beatles, Nirvana, and…let’s get into lớn jazz…Django Reinhardt. However, recently I have felt less & less connection lớn the Beatles. But the attraction was always their straight-from-the-heart compositions. They had a rule—at least in the beginning—that their music needed khổng lồ be catchy, it had to lớn have sầu a melody, and it needed to lớn be about something that’s relevant.

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Vu Dinc Trong Thang’s inspirations are “The Beatles, Nirvana, and…let’s get into lớn jazz…Django Reinhardt.” Nirvamãng cầu, however, were so effortless in being themselves. Trying to be unique is a waste of energy because uniqueness shouldn’t be effortful. If it is, then it becomes contrived. For our b&, we didn’t try and build a style that was alien khổng lồ us—all that effort would have sầu stopped the music from coming out.

And then there’s Django Reinhardt…because he’s just so good. There’s little else lớn say about hyên. You piông xã up a guitar hoping khổng lồ be half as good—lớn sound as somewhere cthua kém khổng lồ as free and lãng mạn và pure as his music sounds.


How did the music you listened to growing up make you the artist you became today?

Besides those three I mentioned, I grew up listening lớn anything that my brother, Hung, put on. He was the first khổng lồ tell me “rock is the shit, you have sầu khổng lồ listen to lớn it.” He played me music by some great first-generation Vietnamese rochồng artists và groups lượt thích Buc Tuong, Da Vang, Gat Tan Day, và Thuy Trieu Do.

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“I guess for a while I was trying khổng lồ be my brother. He played in the first grunge band in Vietphái nam called Cuoc Songs.” —Vu Dinc Trong Thang I guess for a while I was trying lớn be my brother. He played in the first grunge bvà in Vietphái mạnh called Cuoc Songs. He’s eight years older than me và my father wasn’t around much—he worked really far away and I needed someone lớn look up to. Hung was the first lớn play guitar in our family…which my father really hated. He kept pushing us towards more “serious” professions like architecture, while my mother wanted me lớn be a teacher.

But there came a time when I just started lớn be myself. It was during high school—right after secondary school—after a period of mistrust and disappointment in just about everybody.

See more: Các Món Ăn Từ Cá Chẽm - Các Món Ngon Từ Cá Chẽm


Which venues gave Ngot your big breaks?

The Doors Cafe & Hanoi Roông chồng City. The people at Hanoi Rock City in particular were amuốn the two percent of people who understood who we were. They’re the guys that actually listened to us và said “we have to get these guys on stage.” And from being on stage we worked our way towards making our first album. Then we had more money, & we could make the second one. We knew the chất lượng had khổng lồ go up…và it went up.

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Ngot’s songs are playful: “Thinking only about what a word means without thinking about the sound it makes is kind of boring, isn’t it?”

In your songs, you treat language in a playful way—“nghịch giờ Việt.” How vị you feel about the lyrics you write & the words you sing?

Thinking only about what a word means without thinking about the sound it makes is kind of boring, isn’t it? What a word sounds lượt thích is half the fun. They say music is a metaphorical language—arranging notes is a metaphor khổng lồ show a feeling. The same with the arrangement of words. They have sầu an effect beyond their literal meaning. I love sầu when artists don’t care what the word means, they just lượt thích the sound.


Which song would you play to lớn someone new khổng lồ your band?

“Be Cool” I guess because it’s a tuy nhiên about being in the group. It also asks whether being in a b& might be a waste of time. I do often ask myself the same. Should I be cultivating another skill that would be more useful in life?


You’re often cited as spokespeople for your generation. How is your 9x generation different to lớn ones that came before?

Sometimes I feel really connected lớn my generation…và sometimes I feel really disconnected. I also don’t lượt thích khổng lồ talk about our generation—as if everyone is the same age và can be grouped together so simply. However, if you look at the overall pattern of the generation it’s about the liberty of information & the accessibility of art and cultures locally & globally. But we are also a reflection of what earlier generations have sầu passed down and injected inlớn our minds.

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“Personally, sometimes I feel like I’m the exact representation of the world today.”— Vu Dinc Trong Thang Personally, sometimes I feel lượt thích I’m the exact representation of the world today—if everybody was summed up inlớn a single person then it’s me. Most of us are Asian, with a bit of Africa và whatever. I’m a guy, who’s a little feminine—there’s more men in the world. And if everyone divided their wealth, they’d have just a little…lượt thích me. It gives me a sense of responsibility lớn represent humanity khổng lồ aliens if they l& or something.


Why did you Gọi your album “Ng bthg” (Normal people)?

The album features songs lượt thích trachồng “Em đi dạo này.” And I chose that as the album title because I just lượt thích the abbreviated way it’s written, & I like the sound of it. Seeing that name for the first time was the first time I saw people not using vowels—just writing with consonants—but you can still understand the words.

It’s a kind of shorthvà which reflects how everyone is afraid of losing time. Time is the real currency of our modern lives, which is a theme of the album.


What does it even mean to lớn be normal these days?

Right. What is normal anyway? Look at all these people in here who are on their mobile phones constantly. It’s a kind of ADHD everyone is having. It’s good for me—because I don’t feel compelled to always kiểm tra my phone. It’s a tool that I value but that’s all. Concentration will be a currency in the future. Maybe I’ll be the one person who can focus for fifteen minutes…


Besides not checking your phone too much, how vị you get the most out of the time that you have?

It’s a leap of faith for me that instead of trying khổng lồ write music or thinking about writing music or planning the next album I just meditate. I vị that for twenty minutes twice a day. By leap of faith, I mean that when you’re in a concentrated enough state your intuition rises beyond words, and it positively affects what you vị when you write. Meditation is cultivating the mind, so when you don’t focus on cultivating the mind you practice the concentrated mind. Every day I’m fighting the fear of wasting time.


What’s your usual creative sầu routine?

I write everyday…something little like a melody or a lyric idea. If the idea is in words, I’ll put some music to it, and visa versa—if it’s a melody I’ll add words. It helps me keep up my creativity.

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Vu Dinh Trong Thang stays creative by writing “everyday…something little like a melody or a lyric idea. If the idea is in words, I’ll put some music to it, & visa versa.” I know I’m a creative sầu guy, but I’m not creative all the time. It fades a little, lượt thích something is getting in the way. Is creativity a skill that you can hone? If you practice it, will you be better at creating something like a knife that can be sharpened? I’m sure I can learn more about that, but for now, meditation is the main way I cultivate my creativity.

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Did you ever fall inkhổng lồ the roông xã ‘n’ roll lifestyle?

I vì have a tiny problem with drinking—we got in a drunk fight last night. For now, it’s not an everyday thing. And the bvà usuallt doesn’t drink. They vày worry too much though, so their health suffers from stress….

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“I’m concerned with having a deeper understanding about the experiences I’ve had…”

Do you feel life experiences translate into great songs? For example, bởi vì you need to lớn have sầu had a broken heart khổng lồ sing about love?

I used to lớn think that way. But my responsibility is to lớn sing about what I know. It’s a simple rule—write about what you know và stay quiet about what you don’t. I’m not worried about having more experiences, I’m concerned with having a deeper understanding about the experiences I’ve sầu had…