AMN Interviews: Nhung Nguyễn (Sound Awakener)

CAMANhung Nguyễn composes and performs experimental music that straddles the lines between ambient and electroacoustic. Based in her home country of Vietnam, she has recently released a series of recordings on her Bandcamp page. She recently took some time to answer a few questions.

How did you get started in music composition, in particular, the type of music that can be found on your Sound Awakener releases?

I started composing and improvising music in 2009, after discovering experimental music at the end of 2007. In 2011, I formed my solo project Sound Awakener and eventually released my stuff in 2014.

What are your influences? I hear some GRM and maybe Robert Scott Thompson as well. Am I close?

Honestly, I have to say I don’t really have a certain musical influence and I usually have no interest in finding out the answer for that. It may be confusing, but personally I tend to focus on creating music more than thinking about one.

What is the scene like for experimental music in Vietnam?

It is a small scene but pretty active one. In Hanoi, where I live, there are about 20 – 30 artists working on experimental music, ranging from electronic, noise to free improvisation (to see an almost complete list of experimental artists, festivals and venues for experimental art in Vietnam, click here).

I have just finished my energetic March with 2 live performances. One was part of World of Sounds tour, including both performance and workshop with two artists I really admire – Vũ Nhật Tân and Nguyễn Hồng Giang. The other was curated by The Onion Cellar/Moon Gramophone at CAMA ATK in Hanoi. I admire their energy and enthusiasm a lot to organize the show and bring an upright piano for me. It was really nice to share the stage with thisquietarmy and Glitter Troff.

From your Bandcamp page, it appears that you are releasing music every month or so. Some of this music is several years old. Are you working through a backlog of recordings, as well as new material?

Yeah I love to release tracks that I have done a while before. I am now listening to the material done in 2013 and 2014 and considering release some of them, as well as working on new tracks

Outside of experimental music, what do you listen to?

My taste is wide. I still listen to pop, rock, jazz etc as well as traditional Vietnamese music. It is always good to discover the hidden beauty inside every genre.

What projects do you have coming up in 2015?

In 19th April the new album of me and Linear Bells will be released by Soft recordings (digital and CD). The album is titled Belonging to the Infinity and the material is mainly ambient. I also have other collaboration going on, upcoming shows (including playing on the opening day of Hanoi Soundstuff 2015) and lots of experiments to be worked on.

Read our reviews of Ms. Nguyễn’s recordings:
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September Traveler