Today we have in front of us one of the most emblematic figures of the electronic scene, woman warrior, determined, producer, presenter, Dj. We have the great pleasure of sharing a few minutes with Anja Schneider.
1.- IBR - Hello Anja, after being at the head of the Mobilee label for so many years, what made you close that cycle?
Anja Schneider.- The simple truth is that I really felt that after 12 year of Mobilee being my one and only focus I needed a new challenge in my life. I wanted to be more concentrated on my own music and less all about managing a big brand. Mobilee had become too big for me with not only a record label but a bookings agency and a roster of artists plus I felt increasingly my vision for the music and the business was different from that of my business partner, Ralf Kollmann. Mobilee was to much responsibility and my priorities changed .
2.- IBR.- Tell us news, secrets, about your Sous Music label.
Anja Schneider .- Last week we published our 23rd release - Matrefakt “False Promise” including a remix from myself. I am very pleased and proud with all we do with Sous Music but it is very hard to achieve successful results and has gotten harder since the pandemic.
Labels are expensive to run if you insist on the best mastering, design and promotion, and while every time Sous Music is growing it does not easily make a profit every time. Sometimes we lose a lot of money or even sadder is when a good track does not get the attention it deserves. Sorry to be depressive but maybe it is interesting for your audience to hear some truth? But I will carry on because its my passion and I wanted to work with artist I admire.
3.- IBR.- Do you think that being a woman in your early days made it easier or harder for you to enter the electronic scene?
Anja Schneider .- It was certainly harder in the early days - during this time I started and for sure it was not easy. For example you got judged by your technical skills much more than male colleagues.
I am happy that these times have changed and I can see more great woman in the business doing it better then anyone else, but we are far away from being equal and it is important that clubs become a safer place for anyone. We have to be attentive and we have to be loud and not be silent about problematic issues anymore.
4.- IBR .- Many women DJs when they go to play, tend to put harder music, more underground than other male artists, do you think that is, by removing the image of being a fragile and docile woman?
Anja Schneider .- Honestly I dont know that answer but of course I m aware of it. I hope it has nothing to do with any strategic idea because I believe that people play and liste to music what they like and love and be pasisonable about. Everything is possible.
5.- IBR.- It is already known that you have been and are , even today , a reflex for new artists and that you have helped many others (who are already considered great in the current electronics), what motivates you to support new talens?
Anja Schneider .- I never get bored of hearing new music and I love to listen to demos. It is very interesting to me how young talents interpret the everything from the sounds around them now to the music I was listening to 20 years ago. There is movement and development all the time. That what’s life about. Judging is never a good thing but understanding is the key.
6.- IBR.- How do you see the current market in which models, presenters, pilots, actors, celebrities, people who have nothing in common with the music world but appear iin the media for being famous , perform as a Djs , as professionals?
Anja Schneider .- I have to be honest and say I don’t like it and I have never felt comfortable with playing the the social media “game”. Of course I come from a generation when non of this existed and I didn’t grow up with it.
I am coming from the underground and for me that’s still a holy place but it is good to let more people know about it and what it’s all about. If they using it for themselves its okay. Its not my style and Im not playing the marketing and business techno game.
This new world is very strange to me and not something I am comfortable with. I feel the scene as a whole has lost a lot of credibility and lost focus of what is important. I think it will only be a fantasy but I have a hope that after things become normal again post-pandemic that there will be a return to the underground ethos of rave culture being for everyone and being only about enjoying the music
7- IBR - Those same celebrities hire producers to make music for them, to get a space on the music industry. What is your point of view about that ?
Anja Schneider .- That approach is for me totally okay. I am also working with a producer since the beginning and I was never silent about. I named it from the beginning and share all the respect and attention. Its a normal thing in the music industry as a whole but in electronic music scene its seen a problematic. Its amazing that you have to be suddenly a producer, social media pro , model, PR agent , and looking always healthy and fit. It’s impossible.
But If you are listening to my tracks already 20 years ago you will hear my style and you will recognise an Anja Schneider Track. I know exactly how I want a track to sound, I have my ideas and I am constantly working within the studio. I need a technical hand because I was never enough of a the nerd to be an expert in the studio. I need also the interaction. I get very bored alone in the studio.
8- IBR: Celebrities , when they enter the market, the people go to see them not because of his know-how, but because , they are famous.They choose the most famous tracks to create their sets , do you agree with ? What do you think should be done to change this type of intrusion?.
Anja Schneider.- I think there can be space for both the commercial and underground to exists but the two should never mix. Sadly, the whole world is corrupted by greed and this has entered our world of underground music because it has become so popular. Only we can change this but it is not the same everywhere. For example this picture looks very different where I am in Berlin compared to how things are in Ibiza.
9.- IBR.- Many artists go through moments in their life that make them vary their tendencies, , in some moments minimal , in other moments techno, others to deep house, do you think that it is very important that the artist play just one single style always, to have his own fingerprint?.
Anja Schneider.- I think a DJ can have their own style and not be fixed to one genre.
This is the fun of being a DJ. Exploring and discovering different genres. I think I know what you mean though if a DJ becomes famous for Deep House then all of a sudden they are playing Techno it is a strange transition and maybe you question their motives.
10.- IBR.- Has your vision of music been changing over the years?
Anja Schneider.- Always. Thats why I am loving my job so much. I am learning every day and music can help me in any situations and will be constantly with me.
11.- IBR.- What do you think you have left to do in terms of music?
Anja Schneider .- I would love to be an writer or of course a journalist. Through the pandemic I have enjoyed having the extra time to explore this sort of this which with my radio shows and Talk Podcast and doing a weekly documentary series at Radio Eins Berlin.
12 .- IBR .- When you enter the studio, what do you like to work with ? Where do you get your ideas from, do you look for your ideas in the classics of the 80s and 90s, in the new trends, or do you simply let yourself be carried away by the moment you are living and express your feelings without looking for reflecting in other musical trends? ?.
Anja Schneider.- Sometimes you have a very defined idea but you have to be able to let loose and be open for something new. Then you can get into this “natural studio high“ from exploring. This is a moment of joy but sometimes the next day it sounds different to your ears and the great idea you had is now a joke. You have to learn to let things go and to take a risk. Its the most difficult thing.
13.-IBR .- Music to listen to :
Anja Schneider.- While cooking : Anything 80’s
On the sofa : Downtempo from the acid jazz times
Driving : Completely into Pop songs on short distance and for longer ones, all Depeche Mode
On the beach : Waves
For dinner : I love very very quiet music because I love to talk and listen . I am so sensitive if it comes to music for dinner
For exercising: my Club Room radio show!. By the way is scheduled on your station every Saturday at 23:00 CET.
For intimate moments : I love to listen to my partner
For meditation : Im not meditating I am running and it has to be quiet
It has been an honour and a pleasure to share such intimate moments with one of the veterans of techno, Anja Schneider.
Thank you so much and much success in all your projects!!