Vietnam music history has developed and recorded a variety of music genres and styles, ranging from “trù”, “cheo”, pop, rock to electronic, and even bolero. However, “Electrùnic” is something unprecedented. The pioneer of this abnormally musical combination is a band whose weird name commensurate with their music – Limebócx.
The recent widespread proliferation of “indie” movement is a positive sign of the new music scene’s vibrant transformation. However, these “new things” largely repeat themselves or struggle in old tunes with a half-hearted attitude. From this scene, weirdo Limebócx has appeared as a relief like the way they self-describe about their music: “Through experiments, from a standstill, music was generated!”
From “massage music” to Electrùnic
Whammy: Hi Chuối (Trang), hi Tuấn! Could you share a bit of the formation of Limebócx for your audiences?
Limebócx: We met in a jam at the Rec Room community years ago. Though knowing each other for a long time, but it’s not until the artists exchanging trip in Korea that we – Chuối & Tuấn had a chance to play music together.
At first, when newly combined, we had hardly known what to do. Both of us wanted to play European music but struggled with adding some tunes from the zither. It turned out that we only play music by instinct which resulted in music with unknown genres that could belong to any country.
Until one day, Chuối found an old poem, firstly read then improvised in background music we had produced before that we suddenly felt suitable. Through many experiments, from a standstill, Limebócx music has been generated.
Whammy: Before starting Limebócx, did you guys get formal music training?
Limebócx: We wanted nothing more than a formal training but honestly, neither of us have solid musical root. We have mainly learned by ourselves. Sometimes, the lack of professional and intensive training may cause to the standstill in music. At those times, we would normally wish to be back in time and learn everything from zero.
Until now, when we decide to be more serious with music, we still can’t start over to learn from the beginning. Therefore, we just spend most of our time looking up everything on the internet and try to improve ourselves little by little, discover new materials, technique, and knowledge suitable to our music. Besides the obvious limitations, the fact that we did not get formal training also gives us a great advantage – the boldness. Sometimes, owing to the lack of knowledge, we’re not afraid to go beyond, do an experiment, and explore new things. And it was during these times that we found something even stranger and better.
Vietnam music scene: Open but not genuinely well received
Whammy: What is your opinion of Vietnam’s contemporary music scene: audiences and artists, as a young band?
Limebócx: In our opinion, people are getting more and more open to new styles of music these days. However, defining which one is new and truly good is something different. In this phase of openness, people only accept new things and welcome them as nothing evil. Getting to the phase that everybody genuinely loves the artists and advocate for their music is really a long way to go.
Just our subjective opinion, sometimes we think that lots of people do not truly like the artist’s music but only fancy their concept, idea, and “Instagram of music”. Knowing and listening to an artist can only mean an affirmation of the “coolness” of the listener.
Actually, the fact that people want to become “the cool kid” is nothing bad. However, just being that will lead them to nowhere. We hope that the audiences and artists will advocate more and more for listening and playing music. For the artists, don’t just be “a bedroom producer”. Be more serious, more thorough, and specify clearly what you aim to with your works.
One more thing, comments, and judgments, of course, are essential for the long-term development of the music industry. However, this period is probably not the time for people to severely judge each other. The reason is that our music scene is still too small, not only the old but also the young have too many egos. If everyone always makes judgments and be harsh with each other, people can easily lose their interest in making music.
Whammy: In our contemporary music industry, is there any artist that impresses you the most? If you have the right to choose one to cooperate, which artist will come to your mind?
Limebócx – Chuối: I love Thao Dong Co from An Nam. Her works like “Cho tinh”, “Hoa trong pho” were developed effectively in an electronic direction.
If have to choose one to partner with, I will definitely pick Clozee. Her Asian-style music is a great source of inspiration for me.
Limebócx – Tuấn: In the beatboxer community, I really appreciate Trung Bao, not because of his collection of prizes. I admire the way he works, explore, and do the experiment. It will be great if I have a chance to partner with him on some projects in the future.
Music is not a choice but a fate that we have to follow
Whammy: Honestly asking, do you guys make money by producing and playing music?
Limebócx: We only perform 2-3 shows per year which brings us money. No matter how much we earn from that, we will put everything into buying gears to continue making music (laugh). Sometimes, we feel that music is more like karma or debt. God has given us the fate, so let it be followed. We can hardly imagine being forced to quit music.
Whammy: Did Limebócx have any memorable accidents in producing music?
Limebócx: Absolutely. There was a time when practicing, Chuoi tuned the string wrongly, Tuan made a mistake in the beat then we had the inspiration to make the song “Yeu nhau”. Well, who knows “accidents” could be that useful?
Whammy: Could you share some memories with fans that you remember most?
Limebócx: Actually, Limebócx doesn’t have many fans, Therefore, we will appreciate and remember anyone who encourages and supports us. Recently, when Tuan’s girlfriend was quarantined in Saigon, someone came to ask about Limebócx and shared that she really liked the band’s music. Being told that we were much more euphoria than performing with money. (laugh)
Limebócx is neither Chuoi nor Tuan, but are both
Whammy: If you have a chance to develop a professional career with music, do you take it?
Limebócx: We always try to grasp at every chance that comes to develop our music, go anywhere to perform our songs for audiences. However, indie is still a more suitable way for both of us because we want to be fully independent in our music and activities.
Whammy: Can we – audience expect in Limebócx’s upcoming products?
Limebócx: The future is far from telling, but in the near one we will release a new single, an EP with folk materials and maybe a remix album of Limebócx by other artists. Hope you all well receive and support us!
Whammy: Lastly, how do you define Limebócx?
Limebócx: A hot pot, maybe? (Lol)
Well, to be said, Limebócx is neither Chuối nor Tuấn. Limebócx is precisely both of us. Missing one, there will be no Limebócx.