Anja Schneider is one of the Berlin’s most respected female underground artists, and the founder of record label Sous Music. Her production skills are showcased on latest release‘Run The City’. The EP is the product after a year of transition for Anja, as she has been working on finding her self again as an artist and music lover. Her skills and experience shine through on the release’s sonic landscape, which seamlessly combines gritty basement jams and powerful 909 arrangement.
We were lucky enough to sit down with the multi-talented creative to discuss her secrets to a stand-out DJ set and her forthcoming UK appearance at London’s Steelyard.
How did you get started in music?
Of course, like many it started with passion. I was a huge fan of all thing’s music from a young age. It was in my teenage years that I developed more knowledge and understanding of all the music that was on offer. After some of my very first encounters with electronic music and clubs, I knew I was, and always will be a raver at heart. After working as a program manager and also a stint in marketing, I landed my own show on Fritz Radio in Berlin which was a huge leap into the unknown, but ‘Dance Under The Blue Moon’ continued to broadcast for 17 years. It was during this time that I started to work on my own productions, started to tour as a DJ and eventually launched my own label. Of course, there were a lot of steps in-between, but far too much to squeeze in one answer.
How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard it before?
That’s a hard question, as it really always varies on so many factors, not to mention that over the last decade, of course anyone’s sound and production skills become more refined and adapt with the constantly moving industry. I guess you can say a mixture of deep house and techno, but with my new label I wanted to really use this as platform to just release what I want, with complete freedom. My last EP ‘Run The City’ had a groovy Detroit beat, but of course it’s mainly considered techno. I like so many styles of music, so want to incorporate bits of everything where I can and surprise a few fans.
As an accomplished DJ, what’s the secret to a stand-out club set?
To be able to deliver a very natural set which you can lose yourself in. You play so often and sometimes you forget to enjoy it too. If you feel like you and the crowd are one, then that’s the key. The shared vibe, love and energy. So, it’s not necessarily a secret, but it’s rare.
Have you had any defining live music experiences?
As for live performances myself, I do not play live, as I feel this is just not an option for me that would work. Live artists play sets with all their own tracks, and I really admire so much different music out there, I want to play a bit of everything. I think I would also feel a little embarrassed to play all my own tracks anyway – a bit like when you hear your own voice?!
As for live musical experiences I have been a spectator though, I was blown away by Nizzer Ebb and loved the industrial energy combined with electronica. It was actually one of the first concerts I went to when I was younger. I’ve also seen a lot of Depeche Mode shows and will never get tired of them – endlessly amazing! One live show which perhaps changed my life completely was KRAFTWERK and their 3D show. I was obsessed with their records and finally had the chance to see them play live, it felt like my life was complete. It’s not only electronic bands who play a role in my music history, as this summer I had the chance to perform with St Germain in Lisbon, and I had goose bumps the whole time! Next year, I am going to see Neneh Cherry live, and can’t wait!
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
There are far too many names out there to mention, but I think that every collaboration can be fun, rewarding and interesting whilst a huge challenge. Challenges are of course good, especially for you to develop and if you have the opportunity, take it. I have been so lucky to collaborate with so many amazing producers and colleagues. I think if I ended up collaborating with someone who was my hero, then I would be a complete wreck and wouldn’t be able to get a word out at all, or voice any of my ideas. I would just feel so in awe and a little overwhelmed!
You’re the owner of Sous Music – would you care to talk more about the label?
Yes of course! Sous is my new baby, and I use that term as it only launched last year in 2017, so it’s very much still in its infancy. However, I am really happy with where it’s going – after the amazing Francesca Lombardo making her debut earlier this year, we next have an EP from Billy Turner, he really is one of the UK hottest young underground talents. The label is a very open platform, where I can release my own music, which might be a little different to what I have done before, as well as invite others to experiment and join the Sous vibe.
As someone who’s well-established in the electronic music industry, how have things changed with regards to female representation?
Well in the last couple of years things have changed a lot. Women have stepped up to the game and are dominating our scene right now, we are playing the main slots at festivals and clubs all over the world, as well as being in the face of media on a regular basis. The future is female – that’s important and it’s a fact. It’s important that we do not focus on the media angle, negative comments etc we see every day on social media but focus on what we are here to do – make music and make it well.
Your coming to London on the 23rd November to play at Steelyard – what makes you the most excited to be back in London? Is this a place you love to come and take some down time when touring?
London is always a special place for me to play because I have so many friends in the city. You cannot joke with this city, its big, rough, honest and wild – I love the energy and the hustle I feel every time I walk around it. It is also a city with so many options for everything, shops, food, bars and venues. It’s a melting pot of culture and that’s why I love it so much. Londoners and people in general in the UK also love and know how to really party, they are always the last ones standing!
What else do you have planned for 2018?
Well, the year once again is almost over. It has gone so fast, its run away before my eyes. As mentioned earlier, the Billy Turner EP is the next and last one of 2018 on the label and then I’ll start working on another one to kick things off with a bang in 2019. I am playing some great shows for the winter season, and then I cannot wait to take some time off with family and friends at Christmas.
Anja’s latest release ‘Run The City’ is available now, buy it here
More info for Anja’s gig at Steelyard here