Jun 07, 2021
By Celine Teo-Blockey
Happy Pride Month!
Celebrate by having a listen to Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, featured in the latest episode of the Under the Radar Podcast. She discusses coming out publically as queer for her 2020-released album, Temple, and how she is finally coming to terms with the internalized racism and homophobia she experienced growing up.
In the lead up to 2020’s Presidential election, Nguyen partnered with PIVOT and re-released her documentary Nobody Dies, to help raise awareness among Vietnamese Americans to get out their vote. The short film directed by filmmaker Todd Krolcyzk had aired originally on PBS in 2017.
Nguyen had written a personal essay, that was presented as a preface to the film’s re-release on the internet. She wrote: “I have not tried hard to promote or share this film and my unease with it has plagued me. I have found in my rewatching that I am always either giving too much or too little. In some instances, I am telling a part of my life I am not sure I was ready to tell.”
In the episode, Nguyen talks further about this discomfort that can come along with a career in music.
Last month, in line with AAPI Heritage Month, our mini episode featured tape that didn’t make it to the Emmy the Great (Emma-Lee Moss) episode. In it, Moss discusses her song “Heart Sutra”—which takes its name from the sacred Sanskrit text. Moss reveals how while working on her album April, she would listen to Faye Wong sing her version of the Heart Sutra repeatedly.
Wong was the heroine in Wong Kar Wai’s award winning film Chungking Express. Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins collaborated with her in the ’90s, writing two songs for her 1996 Chinese album.
Our guest on the episode is writer Jenny Liao, discussing how she’s been finding comfort watching Wong Kar Wai films and lately listening to Emmy the Great songs to reconnect with her mother tongue.
Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Adrian Younge, James Yorkston, Sleaford Mods, London Grammar, and more.
Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great.
On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).