he loud, naive sound of 90’s garage rock, beneath earnest vocals from the days of third wave emo, tell the story of da nang. “To be born in paradise,” the band takes its name after Đà Nẵng, a picturesque coastal beach town in Vietnam. Fronted by queer Viet lead singer John Thai —a first-generation Canadian, born to refugees in small-town Ontario—da nang is an intentional revisit to 90’s adolescence; a time when queer voices were never heard, or at least never this loudly.
Thai prefaces their new single, “don’t hate me,” explaining that “social anxieties and fear of being my authentic self made it near impossible for me to feel comfortable making music. There were no out and open musicians at the time who I could relate to, certainly not Asian ones. ‘don’t hate me’ is a retrospective anthem for that queer adolescent kid who so desperately wanted out.”
Distorted guitars, a driving bass and drum beat and aggressive vocals come together to create a feeling of anxiety and excitement, the kind that comes from getting bullied, or giving the bully the middle finger.