The music industry in Cambodia seems to be advancing on an almost daily basis. But while it does good work in preserving traditional Khmer and vintage pop music, developing original songs and creating opportunities for young performers, the local music industry needs to be quicker in picking up on international trends. Electronic dance music (EDM), which has been a very popular form in the West for some time, is a case in point.
EDM began to be promoted seriously in Cambodia a few years ago, after gaining support from young people. Kim Sopheakrakboth, aka DJ Yoku A, is a co-founder of the organization EDM Cambodia, which promotes the genre in this country. He and his team have been getting the EDM message out to Cambodians for about two years. Mr. Sopheakrakboth spoke about this form of music to Youth Today’s Va Sonyka.
First off, what is electronic dance music?
EDM is the acronym of electronic dance music. It started back in Europe, and most of the time, it was only played in nightclubs. EDM is basically a music genre. In EDM, there’re lots of other sub-genres, such as progressive house, tropical house, electro house, big room house, trap, future bass, heaven trap, and so on and so forth. EDM tracks are produced electronically on a computer, which allows producers to come up with endless possibilities, to create new beats and sounds, and even new sub-genres. People here often confuse EDM with a performance. It’s not; it’s just a genre of music. And since EDM has been associated with nightclubs and DJs, that’s why it could be confusing. Most EDM shows are done by DJs. DJ-ing is a skill that anyone can learn if he/she has a passion for it. How did I learn it? It’s pretty straightforward. I started by watching DJ tutorials on YouTube, and later put them into practice.
What’s the difference between an EDM show and a conventional music performance?
It’s different in the sense that in old-style musical performances, you needed a band to play live. For EDM, you only need a good DJ. I said “good DJ.” Someone who can beatmatch and transition from one song to the next smoothly and still maintain a good level of energy in the crowd.
Why bring EDM to Cambodia?
To be really honest, I can’t label myself and my group as someone who brought EDM to Cambodia. We’re just a group of friends who like EDM, and want to share it with people here as well. We’ve hosted a few events already. The first one was at Vtio Club; the second one was at Afterlife; and the third at Raveground at Koh Pich. I hope more people will become aware of EDM, and that one day we can host a show with an international DJ.
How do you see the local EDM market?
The EDM market in Cambodia is still very small compared to its neighbors, let alone the rest of the world. However, I am very optimistic that it will grow very rapidly, given the tech-savvy ways of Cambodian teenagers.