Let the music play

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DJ Jonathan Glaser, 27, came to Saigon three years ago and doesn't imagine leaving any time soon.

Soon after his arrival, the Swedish DJ established AnyArena.com, a cultural news and events website that provides visitors with an interactive calendar of things to do.

The site, which is aglow with images of budding artists, lusty party girls, and waifish models reflects Glaser's nocturnal milieu.

"My brain works better at night," he said.

At the opening ceremony of Flow, a new restaurant in District 1, a mostly French crowd pulsated under Glaser's heavy house beats. Though the clock neared midnight, the crowd showed no signs of wanting to head home.

Glaser can typically be found playing music at high-end late-night bars (like Q bar and Lush) and private parties. He says he spins wherever he goes and thrives on the city's bass heavy, sleepless club scene.

He had just returned from a trip to Hanoi, where he played at the Angelina at Sofitel Plaza Hanoi. Starting November 5 he'll have a regular Friday night gig at ZanZbar.

Glaser says he started getting into music while at a school party in Stockholm when he was 19 years old. Before coming to Vietnam, he spent five years as an event planner in the coastal town.

Every May, right in time for student graduations, Glaser says he coordinated 180 music "trucks" to travel through the capital, loaded with singers and serious speakers.

After a lifetime of suffering through Sweden's long dark winters (where gigs were few and far between) Glaser said he'd had enough.

"In terms of energy," he said,

"The hotter countries are better and I need to live somewhere with sun."

Glaser is branching out and becoming a major part of an emerging Saigon scene. His website includes interviews with the city's emerging artists and man-on-the-street fashion photos.

As a DJ in Saigon, demand is high and money is good.

He is also engaging in collaborations with some of the city's up-and-coming musicians.

David Duong, a saxophonist and teacher at the Ho Chi Minh City conservatory performed with Glaser at Angelina at Sofitel Plaza Hanoi last week.

Duong says he thinks the young Swede has a knack for reading audiences and keeping crowds going for four to five hours on end.

"It was a nice surprise when Glaser invited me to perform with him," Duong said. "Combining DJ music and saxophone is a new and bold experience."

With it's energy, Saigon is House music

Glaser says he wants to be a part of a developing country. And he has learned a lot from watching Vietnam grow.

"In Sweden it takes 10 years to see the development [experienced] in one year in Vietnam," he said. "During my three years here, there are always new things opening up and old things closing down. There is a lot of action in Saigon. When I come back to Sweden it is almost the same every year. Maybe one of my friends has a new girlfriend or a new course of study."

Glaser believes that Saigon's chaotic development gives off a lot of energy and, for a dealer in the earsplitting, body-rocking narcotic of house music, energy is key.

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