|Andreas Tilliander performs at the Monsoon Music Festival in Hanoi on October 20, 2023. (Photo credit: Swedish Embassy in Hanoi)
Bao Tram: Welcome to Hanoi and welcome to VOV24/7’s English program. Please tell us something about yourself.
Andreas Tilliander: Hello, my name is Andreas Tilliander. I’m from Sweden and I’ve been making electronic music for, I guess, my whole my life, but professionally for 24 years.
Bao Tram: You’re in Vietnam now for the Hanoi Monsoon Music Festival. How did you learn about this music event?
Andreas Tilliander: It's super fun because a friend of mine played here a couple of years ago before the pandemic with the band Kites, a Swedish synth pop band, electronic pop music. They played here, maybe, I don't know, 5-6 years ago, something like that. On Instagram I got a text message from somebody called Christopher and I read it. In Stockholm we have a listening club for electronic music called Hosoi. And I read a text message saying, “Hello, hello, my name is Christopher. I'm interested in booking you to Hosoi.” And I was, “Oh, that's nice. Yeah, yeah, it's, you know, around the corner from where I live. It would be nice to go there and play.” And I continued to read. And I read, “I know that your friend Christian played there.” And I was like, “No, he never played at Hosoi. This can't be right.” And then I went back to the text and I said, “No, it doesn't say Hosoi. It says Hanoi. Oh, that's nice. Oh yeah, that's so nice. That's lovely.” I’ve never been here before so it’s super exciting for me. At this hour I think I’ve been here for 24 hours. It’s my first day.
Bao Tram: What do you bring to the Vietnamese audience this time?
Andreas Tilliander: I think it's going to be a sitting audience so I’m not gonna play too many rhythms. It's going to be more about listening, and all the music that I'm going to be playing is unreleased. It’s new music so nobody has heard it, even if you’ve followed my music for a long time. I'm not going to play anything you've heard before. And since you know I come from Sweden, I‘ve prepared some sounds from my hometown, which is super small. And I've been preparing some field recordings, I've been recording some Swedish birds and stuff like that, which I hope to include, maybe manipulated, but you're going to have a small taste of Sweden in the music.
Bao Tram: Before this trip, did you have any impression of Vietnamese music?
Andreas Tilliander: Yeah, because of this trip, I started to listen to some electronic music from Vietnam that I didn't know about before, and I hope to meet them this week, at least a couple of them. I think that Christopher, again, will try to set something up, a meeting. And I've been listening to some traditional Vietnamese music. I can't remember the name of, the Vietnamese name of, the instrument, but you know, the monochord that you play with one string. And I really, really like it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And again, I've only been here for 24 hours, so I haven't really been seeing any electronic or traditional music here, but I hope to, since I'm gonna be here for 10 days, so there's plenty of time.
Bao Tram: Many Vietnamese people know about Swedish artists like ABBA, Roxette, and Avicii. Most of them are pop artists, not electronic or chamber music. Tell us about Swedish electronic music.
Andreas Tilliander: Since the 90s, Swedish techno music has been, like, super, super popular around the world. We were, not me, because I got into it a bit later, but in the early 90s there was a lot of Swedish, especially Stockholm producers, who made, like, you know, really great techno music. And we've also had, and still have, an institution called electronic music. EMS is a studio in Stockholm that has been pioneering electronic music together with Phil Kingham. It's been around since…I think, actually, this year it celebrates 70 years. So it's been around…what's that?, since the 50s, I guess, or the 60s, maybe. And it's more about, you know, art, electronic art music. Like when I used to go there in the 90s, it was more or less like a laboratory, like super serious, mainly men, older men, working there. But all that has changed. So when I go there this year, there's, like, a lot of young female artists as well. So the electronic music scene in Sweden has been around since, more or less, the start of electronic music, but I would say that since the 90s it's been really pioneering.
Bao Tram: In your opinion, what’s the most distinctive feature of Swedish electronic and techno music?
Andreas Tilliander: I guess we've always been good in the actual producing of the music, like really great production, really good engineering in the music, I would say, which, in most cases in electronic music, is more important than the melody or something like that. And since, at least the electronic music that I produce and that I listen to, it's often without vocals, and sometimes there's not even any melody. So the production is super important for that kind of music, you know, compressors, EQing and, like, having a vision of the music, and you have to have a great sound system to appreciate it. Maybe you don't listen to it with your iPhone speaker or something like that.
Bao Tram: You’re an electronic, drone, and techno producer. Why did you choose to pursue electronic music?
Andreas Tilliander: I actually started out playing the violin, but I discovered I was more into actually making songs myself than playing, you know, classical music or what not. So I started to collect synthesizers because then you could be the band yourself. And I was never into any other kind of music. When I was a kid. I got into, you know, Depeche Mode and Cuffed Back and all those, you know, pioneering electronic artists. So I never listened to rock music or anything like that. So it was an easy choice for me to get into electronic music.
Bao Tram: Is there anybody who motivated or inspired you to pursue this genre?
Andreas Tilliander: I started when I was, I don't know, 10-12 years old, because I had a lot of older friends and we would all be into the same kinds of things. I started doing martial arts because of them. I got into skateboarding because of them. And then when I got a little bit older, I also got into music. And, you know, I grew up in a working-class area, but there were a few people who had synthesizers and I could come to their house and try it myself, try to do sampling, you know, when you record a little bit of music. And I remember we sampled Whitney Houston. I want to dance with somebody and, you know, put it on keys. So like, I want to, I want to dance with somebody. I was like, oh, this is so cool. This is so cool. So I got really inspired.
Bao Tram: After the show with the Hanoi Monsoon Music Festival, do you have any plans to continue to work or cooperate with Vietnamese artists?
Andreas Tilliander: When you mention it to me now, I have some ideas, but I didn't think about it previously. But you never know, if somebody's listening now and you have some time, well, maybe we should collaborate this week.
Bao Tram: It was interesting to talk with you today. Thank you, Andreas, for visiting VOV. We wish you more success and hope to hear Swedish music featuring Vietnamese tunes in the future.
Andreas Tilliander: Thank you very much for having me here at the studio.