Viet Nam News
By Lê Hương
The four-member indie pop band Ngọt (Sweet) has succeded in raising funds to produce their first album by asking for donations from their fans through their fanpage.
The group includes Nguyễn Hùng Nam Anh (drums and supporting vocalist), Trần Bình Tuấn (guitarist), Vũ Đinh Trọng Thắng (main vocalist and guitarist) and Phan Việt Hoàng (bass).
“I know of no other bands raising funds like this in Việt Nam,” Hoàng told the Việt Nam News daily.
On their first effort they raised more than VNĐ50 million (US$2,200) to make 1,000 copies of their first CD a few weeks ago. The copies sold out in four days and the band is now making another 500 copies.
The CD gathers ten songs of pop and rock written by Thắng himself.
“That’s really good for a first attempt, especially as we really couldn’t afford it ourselves,” he said.
Established in 2013, the band has won the hearts of young audiences with songs of simple daily topics like love, family and friends. They, all in their 20s, have performed at bars, cafes and events in Hà Nội and HCM City.
Before releasing their first album, many of their songs became popular on YouTube, including Quan Điểm (View), Xanh (Green), Cho Tôi Theo (Let Me Follow), Em Dạo Này (You Recently) and Cá Hồi (Salmon).
"Their topics come from how youth view daily life," said student Chu Đức, a fan of the band. "The lyrics are so simple to remember. They are just like what we say and what we think."
Thắng, vocalist and guitarist for the band, who is the best among the four in English and French, dreams to popularise their songs outside of Việt Nam.
"Many people who don’t know Korean have been lured by Korean-wave and K-pop," he said, "What about V-pop? Who stops us from dreaming?"
"I don’t think about translating our songs into foreign languages or writing songs in foreign languages," he said. "I strongly believe that we can create such a wave. Many Vietnamese are murmuring Korean songs and maybe somewhere in the world, young people are enjoying Vietnamese pop music the same way."
The band haven’t even thought of translating their band name into English to join the international playground more easily. Instead of explaining the name, Thắng said, "When Apple first joined the market, people thought the company offered fruit. What the company has done makes it distinguished."
Ngọt is among the few young bands in Việt Nam playing pop music.
Hòang, the oldest of the four members, plans to promote two music videos for the band soon. One for a single at the end of this year, and another for a second album at the end of next year.
"We have enough songs for three CDs," Thắng said.
Hoàng compared Thắng - the main song writer of the band - to many other noted composers.
"Before joining the band, I used to be a fan," he said. "I find Thắng’s songs mature and profound, but not too difficult to understand. Other members can compose, but no one is as good as him in composing songs."
Ngọt’s members share much in common. They all like the Beatles, started playing instruments at junior high school, and each define their musical career as their second career besides their own businesses..
"I used to think that I would just focus on my musical career, but I have changed. I want my art to reflect society. If I just stay at home, I cannot understand society properly to reflect it. So I have to interact with society through my work. I have a main job, pay taxes and experience work pressures. This way I can understand people and become a worthy representative of that society," Hoàng said.
The band is seen as being successful in the underground music scene, applying a simple, ear-catching way of mixing sounds with short guitar or drum solos during the songs.
“We don’t care if what we’re playing is underground, overground or mainstream,” said Hoàng. “The most important thing is we have chance to perform.” — VNS