“When I was young I thought I was going to become the new Beethoven,” said Carsten Lehn, the manager of the sound studio Little Planet with a smile. Until then he is among other things composing music for Vietnamese Pepsi commercials from his sound studio “Little Planet” in Ho Chi Minth City. Last week Little Planet finalised the details about a joint venture with Supersonic – the largest sounddesign and music studio in Copenhagen. From January 2008 the new company “Little Planet Super Sonic” will start its production.
“I got the idea because I realized that Little Planet would be able to work more professionally in cooperation with Supersonic. Also it would be an advantage for Supersonic to outsource some jobs. So it is a win win situation,” said Carsten Lehn. The idea with the new company is to produce international music and sound-seisgn for the Vietnamese commercial marked.
Music, dog food, and furniture
Music has always played a big part in Carsten Lehn’s life. He has played the piano and the guitar in several bands and studied music on and off in different school and through private tuition.
However, life led the Danish musician and businessman down a different road. Along the way he was producing dog food in Thailand, composing songs for well known Danish pop musicians such as Kjeld and Hilda Heik, as well as several songs for the Danish Eurovision. Carsten Lehn eventually ended up in Ho Chi Minth City in 1989 where he was looking for a new place to produce his designs for his furniture, ceramics and mosaic company Tropicdane. The company has today three factories out side Ho Chi Minth City
“But in 2003 I just couldn’t stay away from music anymore,” said Carsten Lehn. So he opened the studio “Little Planet” in Ho Chi Minth City and started composing and producing songs for Vietnamese television commercials.
“In the beginning there was not so much money,” he said. But the Vietnamese media world develops very fast. “And with the appearance of large western companies such as Coca Cola the demand has increased,” he said.
This development is according to Carsten Lehn represented by a new generation of Vietnamese. The MTV generation. “There are lots of young people who want to listen to international music now,” he said. And these are the ones the new company Little Planet Super Sonic aims to reach.
“We want to find new Vietnamese talents and compose and produce songs for them with an international sound, ”said Carsten Lehn. He assures that the quality will be as high as in Denmark.
“We make sure that we get the best and most advanced equipment so the studio is a hundred percent convertible to the studio in Denmark. In this way we can work closely together over the Internet”. In the future the company hope to be able to produce to a larger Asian market and maybe even to Denmark.
In his compositions of music Carsten Lehn hopes to make use of his knowledge of Vietnamese as well as Western culture and music tradition.
“Because I have been here so long I understand both cultures. I hope to combine this in my music, so it will be international but still Vietnamese. I have already used the local instrument the mono string in the background of some of my music, ” he explained.
“Vietnamese love music. They use it much more than we do in Denmark, but their taste is very different because they have not been exposed to the same development as the West because everything was closed during communism. And then they are hopelessly romantic”.
However, Carsten Lehn is not worried about how to satisfy the Vietnamese taste. “I have been in Asia for almost 20 years, so I am starting to understand what they like our here and what they don’t like”. According to Carsten Lehn the recipe for a good song does not vary much from country to country.
“In the end of the day it is more or less the same things that works all over the world. A song has to be easy to comprehend, easy to sing, and easy to remember. And then it has to give you a good feeling inside”.
What happened to Beethoven?
“Beethoven will probably never become Beethoven”, Carsten Lehn acknowledges. “But I am just as creative today with designing furniture and ceramic as I could have been with music. And as long as I get to do some music on the side I am happy.”
As a matter of fact Carsten Lehn has composed one symphony, which he as asked a professor of music to transcribe. “I hope to be able to perform it somewhere here. That is something I would not be able to do in Denmark,” he finished.