Ming and Ping

Ming and Ping

Hong Kong born identical twins Ming & Ping have been winning audiences over with their catchy synthpop tracks, incredible multimedia shows, and their meticulously crafted visual style. Their music is also a staple of extreme sports videos whose frenetic visuals go hand in hand with Ming and Ping's upbeat synth sound. While the twins use a wide range of both new and vintage gear to craft their signature sound, they're especially fond of using FourTrack to lay down new ideas. We caught up with the twins to learn more about the first of a double EP set, "Darkness of Night."

SWW: How did you guys start making music?
Ming: We actually just started as a crazy idea. We met in San Francisco our good friend and creative director, Bao Vo, in 2002. Then we mess around with some music because we have common love for 80's New Wave and electronic pop music. We never made any music before this, and so it was brand new to write some words and match to some music that mostly Bao made on some equipment that we borrowed from our friends around the North Beach and Telegraph Hill neighborhood. First song we ever finished was called "Unbelievable" but also working on a couple of other songs from our first record called "mingping.com".

Ping:Actually we wrote some of the chords on piano and then we work with Bao to made the rest of the song. We were listening to a lot of old music together, so we "get in the mood" for spicy. We listen to "Let Me Go" by Heaven 17 and this inspired that fatso bass line from "The Bright Sunlight". Also we listen to some David Bowie and some Gary Numan, who influenced the way Ming sings his lead vocals. We basically copy everybody we love to listen to.

Ming: And we still do! Haha!

SWW: What are your influences? How would you describe your sound?
Ping: Well, we said a couple before like Bowie and Numan. But definitely we are influenced by perfect pop of The Beatles and The Beach Boys> combined with the excellent electronic production of New Order and Giorgio Moroder.

Ming: After we met with Bao Vo, we also quite get interested in Italo-Disco genre. I guess the Vietnamese people love this stuff for some reason. Is it true? Haha!

Ping: I guess our sound we try to make many wonderful layers of vocal melodies, as many pop hooks as possible, and overlay with some very basic electronic sequencing. I think we sound like Pet Shop Boys songs, but with New Order production. Like if you take the singing from "West End Girls - Please" but with the musical production of "The Perfect Kiss".

SWW: Who discovered FourTrack first, Ming or Ping?
Ping: Actually Ming discover the FourTrack first, and we've been using it ever since. We still use it now for some first baby ideas.

SWW: Do your song ideas ever start in FourTrack? Has FourTrack helped you get ideas out?
Ming: Oh yeah, it's quite easy to use. Like you can create idea for a song with just tap on your knee or hum the melody. Then we bring into computer and we make those ideas more real and more complex. Maybe we still have some of the FourTrack recordings for some of our popular songs. Maybe one day we share them with the world...

Ping: On each of our albums, we probably have two or three songs that we start on FourTrack. We also use DopplerPad - Retronyms sometimes to start a beat because we quite like the unexpected patterns that come out from the unique interface. It's wonderful and it's with us all the time on iPhone!

SWW: Tell us a little about your new album "The Darkness of Night". How is it different from your previous work?
Ming:The Darkness of Night EP is a short record of 7 tracks. All good tracks. It will be part of a pair of twin EP's, so next one will be called The Light of Day. For now, Darkness EP is available as digital download only and you can find our record on iTunes and other digital music stores.

Ping:It's been more than two years since our last record, and this work took quite a long time. It's a little bit like we wrote these songs twice, because we made some of them long time ago, but we never felt like they were spot on. So some time pass and many difficult things happen with our lives and our relationships and we finally come back to these songs and made them perfect for us. You can see in each song, we chose every word and every sound very carefully.

Ming:This record is different because mostly we wrote and produce without our usual producer, Bao Vo. At first, we overload these songs with detail, but then we go back and made them very simple. Only a few sounds per song. For us this record is very powerful, very focused, and very different from our previous records. And we quite looking forward to releasing The Light of Day EP next!

SWW:Will you guys be playing any more shows this year? If not, how would you describe your shows to someone who has never been to one?
Ming: In June we headlined a short West Coast tour with Mike Diva and NVR-NDR. We also had special guest, The New Division for a couple shows. We don't have plans to play many shows in 2012. We would like to work on East Coast tour in 2013. Maybe we should have Kickstarter to help pay for it?

Ping: Our show is quite a wonderful visual and aural experience with Ming and Ping and some wonderful stage performers. We've got brilliant costume and makeup and video, created by bao Vo and his team. Actually we looking forward to some tour videos produced by Mike Diva in the near future. We think it's a much better way to describe our live show than with words.

SWW:Where can our users learn more about you guys and your music?
Ming: We've got quite a boring website at mingping.com but we also love to hang out on the Twitter @mingandping and we have lovely friends on our facebook page at facebook.com/mingandping. Best way to find out about Ming & Ping is to ask us. Haha, we're totally friendly boys. Except for when Ping is hungry.

Ping:Hey, I am nice boy! Hey don't forget we added some remix stems on our website this month. We have some excellent remixes by some very talented people and we would be very happy to hear some remixes of our new songs! We are planning to release a remix album in the next few months and we are excited to hear some great variety of remixes! Thanks so much for inviting us to have a chat!

Interview by Daniel Codella

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