On the day after Halloween our team was lucky enough to meet up with one of EDM's fastest rising stars at Hard's Day of the Dead festival. Australian based DJ Anna Lunoe has created a solid identity for herself globally through her viciously catchy beats spanning the deeper genres of house music. After dropping a killer set on the Pink Stage we were able to catch up with Anna to find out more about her musical roots and her opinions on the current state of EDM culture.
DB: Where did your music career start?
Anna: I started making music in bits and pieces. As I kid I used to write music all the time for fun. I remember I used to try and impress my dad by just playing the piano in any way. I knew introductory piano at that point it was more so just like banging on the keyboard and singing made-up words. I used to pretend like I was French but really I was singing made up gibberish. This was all at the age of 5.
DB: How did you progress beyond that?
Anna: I learned some instruments in early school but didn’t start writing again until high school. I was able to write songs on acoustic guitar at that point and I wrote angsty teenage love songs inspired by my crappy teenage boyfriends at the time.
DB: What music were you into back then?
Anna: My friends weren’t particularly musical which led me to dig through the past, something that my family was more into. I was always aware of the pop music at the time but the music that my brothers and father liked were what really hit home. My dad was a blues musician so he was into stuff like Jimi Hendrix. We had a big record collection at our house that I always dug through. We also had a jam room in the house where our entire family would jam out. We were all into music but in a fun not-so-serious way.
DB: So when did you get into electronic music?
Anna: The first electronic song that I remember loving was Born Slippy by Underworld. I was maybe 10 years old and this song totally woke up a part of my brain. From there it branched into artists like The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Groove Armada, and Bassment Jaxx. What inspired me at that age was just simple fun dance music. My music stems from that place of tunes built for the club. Music that’s serious but also fun. A lot of the energy in Bassment Jaxx is really cheeky and I dig that.
DB: Did you start DJing when you got into this music?
Anna: I started DJing around the age of 19. It was when being a DJ wasn’t really part of the serious music scene. At the time there was probably one DJ from my high school who played on vinyl. Now everyone’s a DJ! The culture is so big but when I was a kid it wasn’t like that at all. As soon as there was digital music I was in. This was way more accessible, buying songs instantaneously really turned me on to spinning. You no longer had to be intimidated by the older men hanging out at a record store.
DB: How long did it take you to take DJing seriously?
Anna: Well it started out as a hobby, a good way to earn a bit of cash and although I was really into it I never expected much. I went in and thought “oh this could be fun”. My first few gigs were hard to get but I was able to score a residency really quickly at some bar that paid me to spin 4 hours a night every night. I remember the first time that I mixed a song together this light bulb went off. If nobody explains the mechanics of DJing to you and the mathematics of it then you just fumble. You might press play on everything and wait for something to happen. When I worked out how the songs were structured and how to properly mix them it was like baby jesus came down and kissed me on the forehead. I remember walking down the street with this spring in my step thinking to myself “oh my god I can do something good”.
DB: Was there anything else you were into aside from DJing?
Anna: Well since I left high school I knew I wanted to pursue something in music so I began by doing music journalism. I used to interview bands taking music related odd jobs to pay the bills. Looking at the industry now and the climate in America it seems hard to make a living from music now. It’s hard to be heard because theres so much out there and everyone feels that from the top to the bottom. I'm thankful that I came from a time and place that made it work out allowing me to focus on what I love.
DB: Any tips you can give to young producers on the come up that are trying to be heard?
Anna: I think that the most important thing is that it all starts with you and your mentality. I’ve been through various stages of creativity and it came down to how much courage I had. My biggest struggle was the courage it took to create something and facing it even when I thought I felt it wasn’t good enough. Being able to push through that fear to continue improving is what separates the nobodies from the headliners. To this day I can say that I’m still learning and that’s something that matters when you're pursuing a creative career such as music.
DB: Were you always confident that you'd become successful?
When I started I had very little confidence but I knew that I wanted to do this. I basically threw myself into DJing and became really competent at mixing a bunch of different genres. Once I got good at it I knew that I had something that I needed to pursue. I knew that if I didn't chase this then it's something that would keep me up at night. I just need to make some time to go on studio lockdown to get these skills together.
DB: Now that you’ve reached a strong following in the EDM community do you feel content with where you are?
Anna: It’s amazing. It’s almost hard to believe because I had this going on in Australia and I threw it all away by coming here. So I basically did it twice and its been a really long hard journey. I worked for about 10 years to make it to where I’m at now. Imagine if you did something for that long? In the end it feels like it was all worth it because I turned up today at Hard Fest and despite my early set time there was around 5,000 people there. I really appreciate all the love that everyone’s showing and I'm stoked to perform at more festivals in 2015.
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