Interview by Arnold van der Walt
“For me, music still matters above all else.”
Anja Schneider, the acclaimed radio broadcaster, producer, DJ and label boss will be releasing her highly anticipated EP Run The City this coming Friday (19 October) via her own label Sous Music. Run The City will be her first release since her critically praised album SoMe that came out about a year ago. Known as one of the most hardworking creatives in the industry, Anja Schneider’s started her own label Sous Music after stepping away from mobilee, the iconic underground electronic music label she co-founded way back in 2005. Being one of the most influential producers of our times, she has no plans for slowing down soon as she will be form part of the influential ADE festival this coming Friday in Amsterdam. Ticket and event details can be found here.
Further cementing her role in the entertainment industry, she currently hosts a radio show on the prime-time Friday night slot at prominent Berlin broadcaster, Radio Eins with her show ‘Club Room’. Apart from founding another label, being a radio broadcaster and producing albums and singles throughout, Anja Schneider can also be seen performing at clubs and festivals across the globe.
We’ve had the honour of taking a listen to Run The City before it’s release on Sous Music this Friday, and it’s clear that Anja had one thing in mind; filling up a dance floor. She’s become a household name in the electronic music scene for doing just that over the last decade, so it comes as no surprise that she managed to do it again. On her upcoming release Anja Schneider said, “I finally finished my new studio, where I have enjoyed a lot of time this year, which lead to this release being very much an organic one. Music which feels like me and something I want to dance to”.
We sat down with Anja Schneider and spoke about the release of her upcoming Run The City EP, how the music industry has changed and gentrification.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Anja, especially seeing as you’ve been quite busy! Last year you launched your own label with the release of SoMe. What has the experience with Sous been like?
Actually, quite a good experience so far! I wanted a change and a new challenge in both my life and career, and that’s something that I have reached so far with starting the new label. This has all been about concentrating more on my creative output and going back to my musical roots. It’s been a nice journey and I can’t wait to see what else is around the corner.
What fuelled the reasoning behind the formation of Sous?
I was tired of running a big label and having to make decisions all the time. Some of those decisions were not inspired by creativity anymore, and I feel that’s where it lost me. I wanted to downsize everything and focus on myself as an artist.
Sous is actually my mother’s family name, and so it’s also like inviting everyone who loves the music to be a part of the family with us or at least ‘so us’.
Any big future plans for Sous that you can share with your fans?
Yes, there are many exciting plans! I am taking on more artists, as I did with Francesca Lombardo – she is someone who I respect so much, and her music was a perfect fit for the label. I have another release coming from the amazingly talented Billy Turner, cannot wait for this one! And in 2019 we will have some label parties to be announced.
On the 19th of October you will be releasing Run The City. I’ve been told it was inspired by your love of running?
Hahaha that’s a secret ☺ It’s actually about the hectic and difficult life in big cities where we all have the daily struggle with gentrification and less cultural space for everyone.
Tell us a bit more about Run The City. What can fans expect from this release? How will it differ from your other releases?
Not totally different, as you will always be able to hear Anja Schneider in the tracks ☺ I love melodies and I am not afraid to use them, and still have a huge love for Detroit and I’m easy with vocals.
Gary Numan is quoted as saying: “I have always been far more interested in sound than technique, and how sounds work together, how they can be layered. I think electronic music, (in its infancy anyway) allowed us to create music in a way that hadn’t really been possible before. It created a new kind of musician.” What are your thoughts on this statement?
I absolutely agree on this point, in that my fascination is more about all the sounds, music and harmonies, with a solid focus on the dancefloor, because that’s where I have come from. Electronic music is already been around for 30 years and no one expected it to last so long and be so popular for so long. It’s still exciting today, and it will always be produced in new and exciting ways to keep things fresh as time goes on and things change and evolve. Of course, we will not invent something completely new or ground breaking but it’s still fascinating.
Take us through your song writing process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
Yes, I work with my studio partner Jan Eric, and we have a very good routine when putting ideas together and interact constantly throughout the process. We produce with a lot of analog gear which brings the most fun for me, because I am not a big technical computer nerd ☺
If you had to choose between only being able to do studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
This is impossible to answer. I love both and I am thinking that both are very different from one another. You have to be inspired when you go into the studio and excited when you go to a club to play out your ideas and tracks.
What has been your most memorable performance so far?
If we are talking about this year, it was definitely the Brooklyn Mirage in New York, and in my career, I would say Love Parade for sure!
What do you always keep close by while performing a set?
As someone who’s been working in this industry for quite some time, how has the scene changed over the years?
It has changed a lot. As we all know the influence and important of marketing and social media is immense and only a few of us are able to skip this part. However, it is more professional and there is more money involved because the festivals are increasing and the about of club plays are getting lower I feel. You will never get booked again because a promoter loves you or your sound, and would love to genuinely support an artist, it’s all about ticket sales and promotion. For me, music still matters above all else.
Any new artists on your radar? How do you decide who to sign for Sous?
My favourite discovery this year has been Billy Turner. His music is so powerful and he creates tracks with meaning, without being too complicated. I asked Billy to remix one of my album tracks, ‘Shadows’, and he is also releasing an EP on Sous at the end of this year. This tells you everything about how I decide to what music to sign – if I love it and feel it I will sign it. Simple!
Before we say goodbye, apart from the release of ‘Run The City’, what can fans expect from Anja Schneider in the near future? (releases, performances, etc)
Something new is cooking…..always! Keep watching and listening to my weekly Club Room radio show to hear the news first! ☺
Anja’s famous last words….
Really my last words? I’m not good at giving any last words because I always still have so many things to say…..
Anja Schneider‘s next release Run The City is available on Sous Music on the 19th October.
Pre-Order Run The City here.