“How would my ma introduce me? She’d say, ‘This is my little son. A DJ. I’m super proud of what he’s doing in Vietnam, but when is he gonna marry a nice girl?!’” Minoto laughs, “But sorry Ma, I’m married to the music.”
Đọc bài viết bằng tiếng Việt
Music is Minoto’s wifey, yes. But it is also his therapist. It sits patiently through all his moods and emotions. It supports him. It also gives him the vocabulary to express moods and emotions. And there are few things more valuable to mental health than that.
Hailing from Berlin, Minoto has lived for the last two years in Vietnam. He is a music and talent curator. And he also hosts events.
Back in Germany, he was a part of a DJ Collective called BASSGANG. In Saigon, he largely performs under that name Mino. He’s played Lush’s bumping front room, Drama Pub, Piu Piu, and Boiler Room at Baroness just to name a few. So we asked him to give us some musical goodies while we grabbed some photos at Landmark 81’s Ice and Spice Bar in tribute to his years growing up in Germany and the icy synth stabs of the grime music that’s inspired his mix.
As did many others of this generation, Minoto got his first walkman in elementary school. “I used to record all my favorite songs from the radio on a tape,” Minoto continues, “I made my own compilations.” Minoto’s friends would ask him for the tapes. He would copy them and share them. And so, Minoto’s first DJ mixtapes were born.
As a youth, the DJ was a hip-hop head. Exclusively. But as his tastes evolved he realised something: he got bored. Fast. “Now, because I built a more complete grasp of the workings of music,” Minoto explains, “I can usually predict what’s coming up next.” So he’s constantly hopping on the new making his way through other genres of music like Chicago footwork and baile funk. With an ever-broadening palette of beats, he’s always got a soundtrack to his equally fast-changing moods.
“It’s fuel for the soul,” he smiles about constantly listening to music. “Before I go out to enjoy the nightlife, I put on my favourite tunes to get a buzz going,” he laughs. Then, he sets off to paint the town red…
What’s the most underrated genre of music? And the most overrated?
Even though I’m from Berlin, I was always very drawn to the UK underground movement. Garage, Grime, DnB, Jungle. I wouldn’t say these are particularly underrated genres. But the followings they have outside the UK are small. Media and radio outside the UK, have not quite picked up on the underground yet. Here’s to hoping they will.
What do you listen to secretly when no one’s around?
Cai Luong! Just kidding. But I am open to a lot of stuff.
You have one track to make someone love music. What do you play them? Why?
It very much depends on the person. I like to connect with people through mutual music interests. If I know who is in front of me, I always know what to play to catch their vibe. In the situation where I have no idea who the said person is, I prefer to dig deep into oldies and play them one of those. Something like Outkast’s The Way You Move.
And which track would you play someone so they understand you?
Zed Bias has a track called Neighbourhood. It’s a little trippy. A little ethnic and eccentric. A little soulful. A little funky. A little retro. And it’s about feeling good. This is me. Many things wrapped up in one package.
What song would you like played at your wedding? And which at your funeral?
Oh my god. This question. Wedding. Bobby Caldwell’s What You Won’t Do For Love. Funeral. No, don’t want to think about death…Not picking a song for this.
Describe this mix in a few sentences.
I was inspired by one of your questions. About which genre I feel should get more attention. I created this playlist centered around some of my current favourite grime tunes. British hip hop has influenced me just as much as the hip hop coming out of America. So, I make sure to include that. Also, I grew up listening to some great German rap, which I also included in the playlist. It’s a good “getting ready” playlist that sets you up for a great night. Whatever vibes the gang and I are going for is reflected in the songs we play during the “getting ready”.
Where would be the perfect place to listen to this mix? Why?
Listen to this when you wanna get good and active. If you have excess energy you wanna exert or if you want to summon some up, these will be your jams. That also makes it a good gym playlist!
Finally, describe the tracks you’ve chosen to us!
We start off with a hit of straight carnival vibes with Jump Up Quickly by an artist called Mungo’s Hi Fi. This Caribbean-vibed banger is not for the faint-hearted. Reminds me of times at Notting Hill Carnival. So much energy, jumping to the deep bass.
Then we move into the track W, something a little cleaner by up-and-coming artist Koffee. She’s young. She’s talented. And she makes a sick, mid-tempo beat.
If that didn’t make you start dancing, Kojo Funds is swooping in with Caribbean dancehall vibes. His song I Like is a bit of a departure from classic dancehall. This modern UK-inspired twist features Nigerian icon Wizkid. I’m a big fan. I think this track is perfect.
Then I give you one of AJ Tracey’s latest releases. Kiss and Tell features Skepta. Both artists are keeping it up for that good grime culture.
You know a song is fire when you cannot get it out of your head. Black by Buddy featuring A$AP Ferg does just that. I blast this when I’m cruising with my boys. Gangshit.
Then we go a little clubby with the next one. It’s by the very underrated Tierra Whack repping female artists. Her track CLONES is extremely repetitive but in the best way.
Next, we got a mosh pit track: Pattern Chanel from ESSIE GANG and Octavian. For me, Octavian is an outstandingly spectacular UK rap artist. He is so UK hip hop yet so unique in his style.
The following beat has a place in my heart. Little Simz’s 101 FM has this adorable Asian sample playing through. I’ve been following her career since the beginning and am in awe of her talent.
Another artist to watch is Baby Keem. Baby Keem’s ORANGE SODA blew up out of nowhere and shot up to club banger status.
We then have something a little more hard-hitting Fendi Drip by Luciano, one of the childhood homies I grew up with. I’m so proud seeing his success today. Working with Ufo and Lil Baby on this track is a crazy achievement.
Berlin represent! Vintage by RIN is just some nice, classic, dirty hip hop. The track was actually produced by Minhtendo, one of my closest friends from BASSGANG. Since day one. Now my man’s a main producer for one of the biggest German rap artists. As you may or may not be able to tell by his artist name, Minhtendo is also Vietnamese. Vietnam represent!
Up next is my long-time celeb crush Jorja Smith, bringing us sweet and deep vibes with The One. Sir Spyro killed this remix. He is one of my favourite grime producers.
Inglorious by Slowthai featuring Skepta is produced by JD.Reid, one of my London homies. He’s also one of the characters who entered my life in its early chapters. Seeing his current success makes me so happy.
The following track Topper is another Sir Spyro production. It features Tedder Bruckshot, Lady Chann, and Killa P. A dynamic group of music makers. I enjoy playing this one when I’m DJing a club. It’s always well-received.
And I’m closing this grimy goodness off with the late Pop Smoke’s Dior. This artist has played a major role in the drill scene today, but recently passed away. I’m dedicating this playlist to this G. May he rest in power.
Photos by Nam Tran Duy and Khooa Nguyen