Hanoi-based British song writer, EP, talks to Herdailydigest about the Youtube hit “Oi Gio Oi”,  a video that went viral in Vietnam.

I was so excited when he replied to my DM on Twitter. I have never met him, to be honest, but he is very sweet and kind to grant us with his presence. This is actually our first interview on this site. Enjoy reading and don’t forget to click play at the bottom to listen to “Oi Gio Oi”

HDD: First, tell us about your group.

Ian: Hanoi Sessions is a collection of people who are making music in Hanoi. Members come and go, styles will vary. Oi Gioi Oi was made by JC Smith (UK) and Hanoi Funkmaster (Japan) on the production, with EP (me, UK) on the lyrics. If you need a fourth sentence: none of us are full time musicians, it’s just a spare time thing.

HDD: Describe Hanoi in three words.

Ian: Charming, unpredictable, mind-blowing. And it’d be rude to not use “ngon” or “dep” in there somewhere too.

HDD: When was your most ‘Oi Gioi oi’ moment?

Ian: I don’t think I actually said Oi Gioi Oi at this moment, but the time I discovered that the road to Lung Cu (in Ha Giang Province) is quite possibly the most breathtaking stretch of tarmac in all of Southeast Asia – from what I’ve seen. While in Hanoi, I probably use Oi Gioi Oi most when talking to locals, or when things shock me. Like dog poo on the floor of Xoi Yen restaurant – a sticky rice joint that’s always really busy.

HDD: Apart from Oi Gioi Oi, what other ‘uniquely Hanoian expressions’ do you like? Why & when do you say them?

Ian: Hmmm, other Hanoian expressions. I like to joke about calling it Ha Loi. And as above, I like joking about how “Ngon” and “Dep” are used for everything, even for things that blatantly aren’t delicious or beautiful.

HDD: How would you like to make a ‘Troi Oi’ in Saigon?

Ian: Will probably leave that to our friends in Saigon. I’ve only been there a few times. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but for me it’s all about Hanoi.

HDD: Which 5 places in Hanoi would you recommend to my readers and me to visit?

Ian: Top Five Places. I like suggesting simple things. Like tra chanh and banh cuon Phu Ly (a northern special) on Dao Duy Tu street or Nha To (the latter is tra chanh only – by the church). Hanoi Rock City and CAMA ATK bar for music. Long Bien Bridge and the island underneath for history. My Dinh for the city that sprouts from the rice paddies, which will more than likely be the place to work/live/play in decades to come. Finally, as well as the Old Quarter, wonder through the alleyways of Ngo Ngoc Ha in Ba Dinh District and try to find the felled B52 bomber still rusting in a bright green lake.

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