The Musical Light from Myanmar: Radiant Light Unit and the Drum & Bass Revolution

In the pulsating world of electronic music, where new stars are born every day, a Burmese DJ and producer known as “Radiant Light Unit” stands out.

Born and raised in Yangon, he is known for his pioneering contributions to the scene and his unique approach to modern drum & bass.

For those unfamiliar with Radiant Light Unit, he is not just a talented musician but also an innovator, striving to shape and define the future of this genre in Myanmar.

In an exclusive interview, we asked Radiant Light Unit to share his experiences, inspirations, and views on the evolving drum & bass scene in Myanmar.

Here are some key questions we posed to him:

How would you introduce yourself to readers who might not know you yet?

Hi, my name is Ye. I’m a DJ, record producer, and mix/master engineer. I was in a house duo that disbanded in 2018, prompting me to re-establish myself as a solo artist and delve into bass music. I was lucky enough to perform in various cities and share stages with prominent artists throughout the years.

Radiant Light Unit is a project I curated during COVID as a dedicated outlet for drum & bass, breaks, and everything in between. Obviously, this is an ongoing journey.

What was your first encounter with drum and bass music?

Probably those breakcore tunes from R2R when I was installing stuff to my PC for the first time to make hip-hop beats. I hadn’t heard anything like that before and wasn’t confident enough to write something very complex like that, but I loved those crazy rhythms. Skip forward to 2019, that’s when G Jones and EPROM released their massive tune “Daemon Veil.” I was so inspired that I switched to Ableton from Logic and started brainstorming for my own drum & bass project around that tune. They’ve always had a huge impact on my music, even if they aren’t particularly drum & bass guys.

How does the Burmese audience respond to drum & bass?

It’s too fast! (haha) During my first show as RLU, people either left or lingered outside the venue because they weren’t familiar with any of the stuff I was playing, but I don’t blame them. Most Southeast Asian countries have traditionally favoured 4/4 beats, so I already knew I had to be patient and come up with ways to educate the crowd. Now almost every DJ here includes a few drum & bass tracks in their sets. Mostly main-room & jump-up but hey, still a win.

What are your favorite aspects of the drum and bass scene in Myanmar?

We’re still a very niche community, but the energy is unmatched compared to most of the shows we have here where people just want to listen to tunes they already know. I feel like our drum & bass community, especially teenagers, is the most receptive to new rhythms and sounds. You can play crazy tunes they’ve never heard of, and they still go hard! My headline show in Mandalay last week was proof of that.

Are there any collaborations with other artists, either locally or internationally, that you’re particularly proud of?

My latest release with BERY & WNDRLND! It’s a remix for Machinedrum & Holly’s track “Novaform” which the man Machinedrum himself blasted out during NYE weekend. (Thank you, Travis!) Additionally, I’ve written a few demos with producers from the UK, Germany & Netherlands, hopefully some will get to see daylight this year.

How do you see the future of drum and bass in Myanmar?

I’ve seen a lot of young Burmese producers getting into drum & bass now, and they are the future! I’ve been helping a few of them finish their tunes either by co-producing, mix/mastering, or consulting. My favorites have to be BERY, LOSTFIRE, STV3N & JACKPØT. These guys have serious potential!

Can you share any upcoming projects or releases that your fans can look forward to?

A follow-up original with BERY & WNDRLND, a solo EP, and some dubs now and then, and I’m currently writing a collaborative EP with Nautika, who is this really talented producer from Bristol, to pitch to some of our dream labels.

Finally, what legacy do you hope to leave behind in the Burmese music scene, particularly within the realm of drum and bass?

I’ve taken on the task of mentoring the next generations via Gawli Academy and have been scouting for young artists, who can actually produce, for a Burmese drum & bass collective. I would love to start a label at some point as well.

During the interview, we sought to delve into the depths of Radiant Light Unit’s career and artistic vision.

His responses revealed a fascinating perspective on the Burmese music scene and its evolution in the realm of electronic music.

It’s clear that Radiant Light Unit is more than just a DJ – he is a musical pioneer with insights into the future of drum and bass in Myanmar.


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