Young musician finds grandeur in epic genre

May 01, 2016 - 09:00

Dreamer Đặng Tuấn Phong dropped out of college to pursue his passion for the symphonic "epic" music genre, which is gaining popularity in Viet Nam.

Heroism: Peter Boe’s Sword of Orion.
Viet Nam News

By An Vũ

College drop-out Đặng Tuấn Phong is a dreamer and feels he is living the perfect life with his muse and formed a strong bond within the epic music genre.

He studied architecture, but soon realised the job wasn’t meant for him.

Exhausted after working on the computer for hours, Phong found music to be a stress-reliever. He cannot say exactly how he discovered it, but when he heard his first epic song, he felt completely revived.

An epic is traditionally a genre of poetry, known as epic poetry. In modern terms, epic is often extended to other art forms, such as epic theatre, films, music and novels, as well as plays, television shows and video games.

According to Phong, what distinguishes epic music from other genres is the use of symphonic material that creates a sense of heroism and grandeur, releasing stress and stimulating the brain.

Beginners to this genre can start with masterpieces like Now We Are Free, the original soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning best picture Gladiator, The Last Samurai musical album by German composer and record producer Hans Florian Zimmer, or Main Title, the opening song of the latest hit HBO series Game of Thrones.

Phong has started posting simple epic pieces on Facebook and other forums to share with friends and learn more about this genre himself.

Although Phong did not get much attention initially, he realised he needed to take his work more seriously so more people would know about epic music. He made a music video using all the images he had collected.

His first music video The Best of Epic Music 2012, comprising well-known epic pieces from around world, has now crossed 31 million views on YouTube.

The 27-year-old said three of his first and most-loved epic pieces are Two Steps From Hell’s Heart of Courage, Thomas’s Bergersen’s Immortal and Ryan Taubert’s Absolution.

Phong said if had not read a Facebook post on epic music, he would not have made the bold decision of quitting his job and committing himself completely to this music genre.

"It was fate. I accidentally read a post written by co-founder Đỗ Xuân Thành describing the genre on a Facebook page called Epic Music Vietnam (VN). I posted a music video I had made on the page and from that moment on my life changed," Phong said, clearly with no regrets.

He quit his job in 2015 to focus on expanding the Epic Music VN community and popularising the genre in Việt Nam.

But even though more and more Vietnamese are listening to epic music to reduce stress while studying and working, not many music lovers know much about epic music compared to other genres.

"They randomly listen to an impressive piece during a TV promotion, a game show or a blockbuster and love it, but do not know it belongs to the epic music genre. It explains why the members on our page were first mostly foreigners from countries where this genre is more developed. Thankfully, they love what we have been doing so far," Phong said.

Quách Tuấn Huy, a fan of Epic Music VN, said the music stimulates him and helps him relax.

"A few years ago, I discovered the masterpieces from Hans Zimmer, X Ray Dog, and later Two Steps From Hell and Audiomachine, which are really great. This genre is both meditative and explosive," Huy said.

Beside the main office on Trần Cung Street, Phong also has his own company on Bưởi Street, which professionally produces, sells and buys music products for enterprises, companies and co-operates with music partners, composers and songwriters of the epic genre who live overseas.

Fans may find their beloved songs at 

Songwriters keep the copyright, he emphasised. The chief technical officer said his job is finding authors who wish to promote their work, editing and posting music videos on the page.

"Authors keep all the money from the sales and give us a small amount for promoting the song."

At present, Epic Music VN has over 30,000 members; half of them are foreigners. The fans have their offline meeting on August 1 each year.

Phong’s ambition is to keep moving forward.

"Over the last three years, I have never wanted to give up the path I have chosen, and I will continue to walk on it. Besides increasing the marketing work, I also want to enhance the quality of each product so that more Vietnamese will learn and love epic music the way I did," he told the reporter. VNS

Busy bee: Phong works with thousands of songs each day. Currently, his epic library has 40,000-50,000 epic songs from various foreign composers.