Before stardom as well as before the inception of their name New Breed, 5 Hmong kids sought out their talents to perform as a tribute band covering the array of Hmong songs in reverence to the popular Hmong bands that came before them, a precursor to the establishment of what we know now as the band “NEW BREED.”
Before well-known eminence, they were known in the nooks and crannies of their township of Oroville, California, as aforementioned, now renowned as a top Hmong band on the rise in the Hmong market.
With their last project in their 3rd album being released a year ago this month, Hmoodle’s got some catching up to do, so we’ve contacted Yeng Vang of New Breed to get fillers in any upcoming projects and general insights on the band, in addition to gathering what we’ve been missing in their hiatus status as a group—maybe, a new and forth album?
Hmoodle: Could you tell me a little about how your group initially started?
New Breed: The band started with five members, Yeng Vang (Lead guitar and lead vocal), Xai Vang (Keyboards), Houa Vang (Bass), Ger Thao (Drums), and Jimmy Thao (Keyboards) in 2002 as a community cover band playing for small events and New Years. Along the way the group was composing their own songs and quickly caught the attention of Yang Thao (New Breed’s manager) who felt the band should expand their music goals to a new level. The band name “New Breed” was finally established in 2003 and within a year and a half of hard dedicated work, released the debut album “Tsam No Mam Xav Txog” in the summer of 2004.
Hmoodle: Briefly tell me about the name New Breed and the significance of the name?
New Breed: The band was exposed to so many varieties of music that when each song was created it had its own unique sound. Although the music was a mixture of ideas and influences from American, Chinese, Thai, and Hmong songs, the band kept their lyrics in Hmong to hold onto the heritage that the band is still Hmong. With that in mind the band decided that “New Breed” would be a great representation of their songs and sounds.
Hmoodle: What inspired you guys to get into the Hmong pop/rock scene?
New Breed: Our inspiration comes from being Hmong. Because of the hardships that everyone goes through as Hmong musicians, we felt that getting into the pop/rock scene will eventually expand our Hmong music industry and allow for bigger options for anyone to choose from.
Hmoodle: Reading your team’s bio on your MySpace page, your group was originally a tribute band that mainly covered other Hmong originals; which band(s) would you say your band mimics the best?
New Breed: The band pretty much grew up with some of the most popular Hmong artist out there and had pretty much played at least one cover from each artist. However, being a band it’s best to play music that best fit our style so we would say “The Sounders”. Their alternative rock genre was more enjoyable for the band to play.
Hmoodle: If you could collaborate with any Hmong group or artist out there, who would this be and why?
New Breed: There are so many great artists out there today and it is always a pleasure to see more and more emerging. However, we would like to say that it’ll be a pleasure to get the chance to collaborate with Kong and Shu from The Kong and Shu Project, Josh Kang of Proto-J, Mai Kao Thao, a new and talented artist and pretty much anyone who wants to collaborate with us.
Hmoodle: Were you guys here in Minnesota in 2008, in addition, did your group perform somewhere in the Twin Cities and how was the experience being in the most condense and populated area of our people in the United States?
New Breed: The band did not make it to Minnesota this 2008 but in the past we have and the experience had always been great. The people there were very supportive and positive towards the band. Although we had never given an actual live performance there we do hope to have one some time in the future for our friends and fans.
Hmoodle: Do you think you’re making progress in marketing yourself to the Hmong people since your inception?
New Breed: Yes, we’ve made progress along the way. Financially, we wouldn’t say that we’ve gained a good financial reputation for making music and giving out to the community. However, we feel that we’ve created something through our music that has made a difference to the community. And that’s what’s important to us. We look forward to continue to do the same for years to come.
Hmoodle: Out of the 3 albums that your group has concocted throughout the years together, which one song would you say is your bread and butter song that’s requested at every concert and why?
New Breed: We have many songs which we would always want to play in every concert. However, the one song that we’ll definitely play at every concert would be “Hnub No Mam Khuv Xim” because it’s a song that a lot of people enjoy and have requested for us to play over the years.
Hmoodle: So, if you could predict the future, where would you guys be in the next 5 years?
New Breed: In 5 years from now, including our 3 albums, we would have a total of 6 albums, as well as a number of concerts and appearances in California, the mid-west and the east coast. We will also be having some music videos to share to the community as well.
Hmoodle: I hear your group’s always traveling to N.C. as well as throughout your hometown state of California, but when would you guys take a stab at Minnesota, as this is the largest concentration in the Hmong market, to establish a fan-base here?
New Breed: The efforts for Minnesota will come along for our next planned project, which are a New Album and the possibility of other things on the agenda.
Hmoodle: Because time have changed—we’re in the era where Hmong bands aren’t as popular as it was way back in the late 80’s and 90’s era, especially in Minnesota, how do you see California different from Minnesota and do you believe that there are still avid fans out there like the past?
New Breed: Despite the changes in the industry, we feel that Hmong musicians can still make a difference and gain back the popularity of Hmong bands and Hmong music like the 80’s and 90’s again. It’s about changes that are needed to be made. Anyone, regardless, will need to move on in order to keep pace with the changes that are occurring everyday, every month, every year or every decade. We, as a band, do our best to meet the needs of listeners today. Things that we feel do not work any more; we leave it aside and switch into something else that will work. And that’s really the nature of ensuring that you’re in the right place and doing what you’re supposed to be doing. But again, there is always hope for everyone.
Hmoodle: What fan-base are you guys trying to aim to please and why?
New Breed: In regards to fan-base, we do our best to aim at anyone, regardless of age or gender. We believe in bringing everyone together and that has been the philosophy behind New Breed since the start. We do our best to create songs that can relate to both the younger and older generations. For example, even when every song in an album may not apply to someone, at least 1 song can and that has always been our mission.
Hmoodle: Lastly, is there anything you would like to ask Hmoodle or maybe just shout-outs to your fans or anything you’d like to contribute or tell our readers—maybe words of advice or just thanks?
New Breed: First of all, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Hmoodle for their hard work and dedication in doing something like this for the community. It’s an honor to be a part of Hmoodle and we look forward to working with you guys again! And lastly, thanks to all the fans, friends and families for all your support throughout the years! We look forward for your contribution and support for the years to come. If there is anything that we as a band can do to improve or if any of you would like to share ideas or work with us, we’re more than happy to be here and open to all of you! Again, thank you and Happy New Year!
Much appreciated for the response back and with the great World Wide Web in spawning out this vast networking mission to get new musicians on our site, we were able to get Yeng Vang of New Breed to finish this article. I know that you guys are busy working on your own lives in addition to carrying a band on the side that’s always making progress towards a passion the you possess to create more melodious hits for us untalented Hmong (referring to myself, so don’t take offense) people, so I would like to take the time now to thank you and your group for participating in our feature. Thank you!
Go check out New Breed on their MySpace URL: www.MySpace.com/newbreedbandmusic
If you’re a musician or belong to any Hmong pop/rock/alternative/rap/R&B or any other genre of Hmong music group out there and would like to be heard, hit me up anytime at [email protected] Yeah, sometimes I don’t get enough work here so the more the merrier, until next time, peace out!