ANNA talks DJing in clubs at 14 & her Brazilian heritage
Seen as a prodigy in Electronic music from an early age of six years old, and playing in clubs since she was 14, now ANNA has gone on to massive success in Europe after dominating the scene back in her homeland of Brazil. Jake Dodd caught up with ANNA about her upcoming releases and her massive 2016 ahead of her show in District 8 with Matador and Darren Emerson on December 26.
Q. Coming from Brazil, would you say that your heritage has any influence on your productions?
A. Brazilian music is not my main influence, but for sure, my music has something that comes from it, especially when we talk about groove.
Q. Clubbing culture has been in your blood from such an early age, I’ve read that you were DJing at the age of 14 in your Dad’s club in Brazil?
A. Yes, even before that I used to go with my father to some of his gigs at the club. We also used to record shop together when I was about ten years old, so I am into this for quite a while. When I was 14 years old, my parents allowed me to go to the club at night. Once I complained to my father about the DJ there and he told me ‘go and do it better’.
A. You moved to São Paulo later in life, what inspired you to move to such a massive city?
Q. Everything happens in São Paulo. I used to live in a small city in the countryside of Sao Paulo, most people move away from that city right after they graduate from high school, and also there was zero underground scene there. There was never a party or a DJ near there except at my father’s club.
Q. 2016 has been a huge year for you, with you winning the best breakthrough DJ at the DJ Mag awards. Were you expecting your career to achieve such great heights?
A. I’ve accomplished so much more than I’ve ever dreamed of. I’ve never expected to come to Europe and to tour there, it was such a distant dream to me. Today I live here, playing some amazing clubs and festivals and even got some awards! I am very very happy.
Q. You’re known for having a special trait in which you can control your crowd from the start of your set to the very last kick drum. What does this boil down to?
A. I care about the crowd the most, I am always paying attention if they are having a good time during my set, if it is not happening then I try to figure out if they want it groovier, harder, more trippy and try to adjust accordingly. Of course I stay within my style, but I don’t go there and just play what I want without even looking at the crowd, because for me it’s all about exchanging energy with the people. The more they give me, the more I give to them.
Q. You’ve released on some incredible labels, not sticking to one specific sound as you’ve had your music on Solomun’s ‘Diynamic’, Matadors ‘Rukus’ and even Hot Since 82’s ‘Knee Deep In Sound’. Do you have your own routine of preparation for specific tracks being released on certain labels?
A. No, I go to the studio with an empty mind, because I think this is the best way. If I go to studio with too many preconceptions in my mind the music that comes out is not so good. All these tracks you’ve mentioned were made with no labels in mind.
The remix on Knee Deep is still within my style, more on a dark techno tip, a bit trippy, even though the label is more geared towards tech house. So these days I never prepare or try to fit somewhere, I create the music that I am feeling and after I think about the rest.
Q. What is it like being approached by these massive names when they want you on their label?
A. It is a nice feeling. It comes after many years of experience and hard working, so it is not something that gets me overwhelmed. I see it more like an extra push to keep doing what I love.
Q. You’ve played all over the world, but what we want to know is where was your first ever gig and how did it go?
A. I played after a famous DJ in Brazil called Mau Mau, he is an amazing DJ so I was super nervous. At the time I was playing all different styles of records so I didn’t have much of an identity yet, so I remember playing a mix of trance, progressive and techno. I made a lot of mistakes; I knew how to mix but I wasn’t very good yet.
I was nervous because I was playing after Mau Mau and the club didn’t have a booth, so it was super difficult to mix. It was a disaster, and today it is funny to remember but at the time I was shaking.
A. Like I said earlier, 2016 was a massive year for you. How are you going to top it in 2017?
Q. I have no idea because 2016 was really special, but I already have some very nice things to look forward to in 2017: an EP on Rukus with remixes from Matador and Marc Houle, and I will be playing in some festivals that I’ve always dreamed of like Movement in Detroit, Awakenings, Ultra Music in Miami. So maybe it is gonna be even better, let’s see!