Gorana Romcevic is a music industry vet who has been making serious waves in the PR, music, and events industries across Europe and Asia. This year, she’s launched her own agency, Bleach. A music-centric communications agency that will offer public relations, communications, creative, events, digital, and artist tours, Bleach, headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City, is set to put Asia’s electronic scene on the map by ensuring emerging local and international talent are seen and heard in all the right ways. We caught up with her to find out how she sees Vietnam and Asia’s scene evolving and what Bleach has up its sleeve.
Electric Soul: How did the concept of Bleach come to be? Has having your own agency always been a goal of yours?
Gorana Romcevic: Having my own platform has been a goal of mine for a long time. I have been in the communications business for the last 15 years, working across different industries. I was responsible for numerous corporate and lifestyle clients in the biggest PR agency in southeast Europe, while simultaneously managing music and entertainment projects. When I moved to Bangkok six years ago and took over the best underground dance club in town, my life changed for the better. I was always passionate about bringing new music and good energy to people. When that blended in with my love for Asia and the possibility to connect different cultures – that’s when the concept of Bleach was conceived. I’m happy that the rest of the Bleach team shares my vision. We aim to bring music and art trends to Asia while at the same time, present local art and music internationally. We hope to do this while nurturing the spirit of togetherness and providing excellent service to our clients.
ES: Bleach is a full-spectrum agency. Are there particular services you think you will cater more to? Will it be more so about executing events or managing artist tours?
GR: Our main operations include a wide range of communications services, from strategy to implementation in the fields of Public Relations, Creative, Digital and Events. We have extensive experience with local Asian projects as well as large regional and global ones. We have a strong track record and proven results with regional press, promoters, artists, agencies, influencers, and electronic music enthusiasts. The development of the tour section is in the pipeline right now. Asia’s scene is growing, and we’re happy to support it through all our activities, including gaining exposure of fresh international and local artists.
ES: Tell us about the team behind Bleach.
GR: The whole idea and concept came from me and I’m running and overseeing all activities. The Bleach art director, Varda Sundown, who is in charge of our branding as well as of creative solutions for future clients, is based in our hometown of Belgrade. He’s also a killer music producer -check him out! The rest of Bleach team is currently based in Vietnam and Singapore.
ES: Why Ho Chi Minh? Has this city been unofficially dubbed the electronic music capital of Vietnam? What other Asian cities are seeing a surge in popularity in terms of the electronic scene?
GR: Ho Chi Minh City has one of Asia’s most interesting scenes that connects international and local artists, clubs, and promoters. At the same time, it’s a great, buzzing city that offers a good mix of the traditional and contemporary. Asia’s scene is generally emerging, with Japan and Korea at its forefront. Last year, China was recognized as the fast-growing market by NetEase’s Cloud Music research which showed that the number of festivals has grown from 32 in 2016 to 150 in 2018. The other SEA countries are in constant motion as well and it’s super exciting and rewarding to be part of this process.
ES: It seems that the future of electronic music is in Asia. Why do you think there has been a shift? Do you think that the music scene in Europe is fizzling out?
GR: For the last few years, Asia has certainly been the focus of international brands, industry people, and ravers. It’s sometimes considered to be an untapped market where unique homegrown artists are rising. Also, Asia can bring new influences and fresh energy to both artists and party-goers. Famous duo Red Axes recorded an EP in Vietnam, inspired by the local culture and in collaboration with local bands and students. Furthermore, lots of festivals are happening during the high tourist season, which brings even more attention to the scene. This exciting growth is one of the biggest drives of the whole Bleach team. We will be sealing Asia’s position as one of the destinations where electronic music thrives and has more to offer.
ES: Is the Asian shift a trend or is the electronic scene in Vietnam sustainable?
GR: Vietnam is becoming one of the hotspots of the SEA region. Epicentres are Ho Chi Minh City, with clubs such as The Observatory and The Lighthouse, as well as Hanoi’s club Savage. Knowledgeable people behind the scenes are bringing forward-thinking artists that you can listen to at top Europe’s clubs. Young talents are emerging and some of the local artists are making big international waves. Ouissam (the owner) of Hanoi’s Savage regularly plays at Berlin’s Berghain, one of the most famous techno clubs of all time. And when you consider challenging regulatory circumstances at most of Asia’s scenes, then these efforts seem even more significant and look like the growth trend will continue.
ES: Vietnam’s local culture is so vibrant and paramount to its people. How do you hope to celebrate and incorporate it in the work you do with Bleach?
GR: We would be delighted to be able to incorporate local cultural heritage in our events and events of our clients. We are hoping to be able to showcase Vietnam’s amazing dance, theatre, cuisine, street parades, and much more to the world.
ES: How has your previous role at Epizode prepared you for this new endeavour?
GR: I’m happy and grateful to have been a part of such a great and ever-growing project as Epizode is. My role was highly challenging, as part of my responsibility was growing the festival from scratch to a top global event in only three years. It was an important step forward on my journey which sped up my ambitions to launch my own platform. I’m glad to see the guys are doing a great job in Phu Quoc, continuing to put Vietnam and Asia in the global spotlight. I’m sure they will be even more successful in the future.
ES: Can you speak a little to the upcoming world tour?
GR: We had a Bleach launch party, symbolically, on January 1st at the hottest Belgrade’s club – DOT. The music and vibe were awesome and I’m super happy we kicked off in the manner of the new beginning! The tour will include a series of events at the world’s hotspots. I’m coming back to Asia in February, where the tour continues; Europe shows will follow later in the year. Besides all the things we’re doing, we simply love throwing club events and dancing with friends. Please, keep an eye on our socials and join us in your city!
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