Recommendations: Ouissam helps us hit up Hanoi - Features - Mixmag

Recommendations: Ouissam helps us hit up Hanoi

In conjunction with new podcast IOM Recommends, each week we'll be getting insight into the places artists call home

  • Words: Megan Townsend | Photos: Ouissam
  • 13 April 2022

In partnership with Identification of Music's (IOM) new podcast IOM Recommends, each week we'll be giving you a travel guide that you can't pick up at your local bookshop — as your favourite artists give us the lowdown on their hometowns.

This week we've got French-born, Hanoi-based DJ and Savage founder Ouissam. A true connoisseur of all that is great and joyful, Ouissam has built a career on delivering hedonistic, liberating dancefloors full of shared love and cutting-edge sounds. In his own sets, you can expect a heady mix of disco, house and techno — but expert selections aren't the only feather in his cap. Having founded influential labels Cliche Records, Homesick and Fragrant Harbour in Hong Kong, he moved to Vietnam and the "city within the rivers", establishing the revered nightspot Savage. Alongside throwing his own queer night Snug at Savage, Ouissam has also been running Equation Festival, which just celebrated its fifth edition in Mai Châu earlier this month.

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So we can really see Hanoi like a local, we asked Ouissam to give us the heads up on what we should get up to in his city — from getting around on a scooter to Pho for breakfast.

What's the best place to listen to music?

Sunset time on the rooftop of HUM Studios or Saturday & Sunday afternoon at Kali.

Where's the best place to head on a Friday night?

Via20, Longer than a Summer, Arch and Savage.

Where should we go to buy some records?

Totem vinyl, Pond Records and Đĩa Than Vintage.

Read this next: Savage is the club at the epicentre of an underground awakening in Hanoi

Where should we catch a bite to eat?

For breakfast get the best Phở at Phở Bò Khôi Hói (50 Hàng Vải, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội), For lunch get the best Bún bò at Dilmah (32 Điện Biên Phủ, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội) or veggies at Sesame and for dinner the famous Hanoian dish “Chả cá” at Chaka.

What about a place to grab a drink?

Lang Thang in Truc Bach, Tadioto and Mangetsu.

A place that tourists don't know about?

Tach Spaces, Birdcage and The Warehouse.

Somewhere to get lost?

The Botanical garden (Vườn Bách Thảo) & a ride around the Long Biên Bridge.

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What musicians should we check out?

Cong, Humb, Tiny Giant, Tobes, Mishouju, TaoFu, Manikk, Di Linh, JustHilda, Jauge, KMG, Hocking, Janko, Viet Anh, TrinhNu, Techa, Min8, Barke, Marco Yanes, Steve Obi, Declan, Shandon, Zwi, Quan (who is now based in Montreal) & Nyjah who is now based in Saigon

What's the best way to see Hanoi?

By renting a scooter or using a grab driver.

What's a Hanoi party we should check out?

Choi Doi Hang, Electric Baazar, Peach, Snug, Metro, Studio Adventure, Atipik and Equation nights.

What time of year should we visit?

The dry season (October to December are the best months)

Read this next: "Only about the music": Southeast Asia's underground is in a golden era

Can you give us a piece of advice for anyone new to your city?

Get ready to try some of the best food in the world — and also prepare for the humidity!

Sum up your city in five words?

Time does not matter anymore.

You can listen to the next episode of IOM Recommends featuring Ouissam below.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor, follow her on Twitter

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