Anna Lunoe Talks Dance Music, Coachella, & Her Baby Bump
At last year’s renowned Electric Daisy Carnival in Vegas, multitalented DJ-producer Anna Lunoe became the first solo female to perform on the festival’s main stage. When asked about the formula for success for a hardworking female maverick in the male-dominated dance music scene, Lunoe answers assuredly with, “Work really hard. No one can deny you if you work really hard and if your work is good. Promoters more than ever are ready to embrace women. They’re not trying to hold you back. They want to see you succeed. Keep your head down, have something different to bring to the table and work twice as hard as everybody else and you’ll be fine.”
Lunoe’s high regard for her Renaissance role of DJ, producer, songwriter, and vocalist has aided in her success and open-to-anything approach to music composition. She possesses a penchant for what’s “right,” keeping it fresh with electronic dance music. Needless to say, we’re straight up basking in her radiant brilliance.In addition to releasing her new boisterous bass-filled single, “Godzilla”, on her newly founded HYPERHOUSE imprint, Lunoe launched the label out of “necessity” from hearing tons of exceptional records that didn’t really have a home. In her own words: “I can’t do anything without the right artists and the right songs. I’m not just going to release anything. It has to feel like an expression that’s not being done.”
Listen to “Godzilla” below, then keep scrolling for our full interview with Lunoe, where she reflects on the many professional and personal career changes in the pipeline (spoiler alert: there’s a baby on the way!).
Since the All Out EP in 2014, how do you feel you’ve grown creatively?
Oh my god! That sounds like a long time ago to be honest.
I feel like so much has happened in the past few years. The American club climate has changed so much. I really embrace a heavier sound which I’ve played with throughout my career. I just found myself on these festival stages most of the time and I wanted songs that would reflect that—songs that I could play in those situations. So, that’s sort of where my sound headed to. It headed to a place where I needed to play in front of 5,000 people. So, that was my goal and I really played with those sounds and sonic and tried to work out a way of doing that that nobody else was doing and like I thought what felt fresh to me. Yeah, it’s been nuts!
You’ve been a busy woman. Just this past month, you’ve released “Godzilla”, “Stay Awake” with Sleepy Tom, and “Bullseye”. You have a ton of music going on! What’s helping you to maintain focus?
I think a big change that happened in my career was starting to do my radio show again. Before I left for America from Australia, I had a really cool radio show on a community station that did what I do with HYPERHOUSE now, which is highlight new music and new artists and what I think is exciting in dance music. It was forced in me to have a lot more structure in my life in order to get the work done and complete a two-hour mix of new music every week. It meant that I had to structure my work week really seriously and it also meant I couldn’t tour quite as much. It meant cutting out a lot of the mini touring that I was doing that stopped me from being in the studio. It meant that I was more accessible and around in my routine. I’m very much a routine-based producer and writer. I feel I’m at my most productive when I know all my shit’s been taken care of, my washing is clean, my emails are being replied to, like I know where I’m at in life. I do the best creatively when I feel settled. It meant that I had more time at home being more settled, even though I had more work to do. It meant more structure in my life and that made me more productive.
Totally. In addition to being a producer, you’re also a songwriter. You really exude so much confidence. I admire that. What helps you to conquer any self-doubt or overthinking when it comes to the songwriting process?
I think it’s been years of working on that. I started as a DJ first and even though I song wrote a lot when I was a teenager. It took a lot of confidence and a couple of years to put my hand up and say, “Actually, I write songs too. I want to make songs and I’m going to make songs.” It’s a different time. Some years ago you could just be a DJ and you could be a great, successful DJ and not have to make songs. Making music was definitely the other side of the fence that I wasn’t on. It took a lot of courage to step outside of the box I was in and break through that wall and own the fact that I wanted to start being on my records and releasing them myself. It really happened organically—me taking very little baby steps and building the confidence that I needed through my actions. I’ve made that pretty clear every year that I’ve taken a step out of that box. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and I’m starting to really get my stride. I sang live at Coachella. I did six of my songs live. That’s something I’ve been flirting with. I had just been jumping on the mic. If I was at a gig the last year or two and the crowd was really into it and they knew all of the words and I’ve got a microphone, I’d just grab it and start singing in it. It’s not something that I’ve rehearsed ever or thought about ever. I just did it because I know DJs don’t normally sing, but that’s me singing on the record and I’m singing out loud now. It just felt natural to me, so I started doing that every now and then.
When I was putting together my Coachella set, I thought, “All of these other DJs are getting guest vocals, but I do all of my own vocals. So, I should perform them. Like I just need to do that.” Even when artists sing on their own tracks, they’re not doing that live in DJ-ing really. So, I felt that I was ready to take on that challenge. The only reason I was ready is because I’ve been doing this for however many years, you know? I’ve built the confidence on top of experience and that’s what gave me the strength to do it.
That’s awesome. I was wondering whether or not you actually planned to sing those songs at Coachella, but you answered that.
I did plan for it. I actually rehearsed it. I got a mixing guy to help with the mixing and the vocals live. I was really nervous and I don’t think I did a great job, but you got to start somewhere. [Laughs] Even just doing it two weeks ago, I did four shows this past weekend and I was so much more confident in singing so much more. I think that even just breaking that barrier. Sometimes that first step isn’t the prettiest one, but you just have to take it to take you to the next step.
I want everyone to know that you’ve been doing all of this while being pregnant. Congratulations on the pregnancy!
Thank you. It’s exciting!
How has this pregnancy affected you as an artist or just as an individual?
It’s a process. Anyone who has been pregnant can tell you that the first three months are really difficult because your body is changing. Luckily, I actually scheduled two months off DJ-ing to make music, but I was so sick this year in January and February. I was so sick that I couldn’t really work. I was really nauseous and uncomfortable. I couldn’t eat very well. My body was hurting. Even though the second trimester is when you start showing more—like now I’m showing more—I feel kind of back to normal. I’m really active now. My body feels really strong. I think just emotionally I’m getting used to the idea of what I’m going through which has helped a lot. At first it was such a shock to the system and everything I had planned was suddenly out the window. Emotionally it was really tricky for me to get my head around and now it’s exciting. I’m seeing the baby grow every day. My belly is getting a little bigger.
It’s so exciting to me and it’s also very interesting in how it’s effecting the industry. There’s not many women who have been pregnant on the main stage before and doing major press. I’m interviewing with people and we’re having these discussions and fans get to see this happen. A lot of the male DJs have kids, but they just don’t post about it. I don’t have the luxury or the desire to hide this because it’s here and happening to my body. I think it’s just an interesting time for dance music in general to have this story line playing out. Honestly, I’ve been overwhelmed because people are so excited. They’re making me gifts and bringing me presents to shows. Any fears that I had about the industry reacting, I’ve got to say that I’ve been blown away by the support that I’ve felt by not only by people who go to the shows and people who’ve followed my music for a long time, but from other promoters who are just embracing the idea of a pregnant DJ who are supporting what I need physically at shows. I need a little bit more support now because my body’s changing. I need air conditioning and food at certain times and I’m very sensitive to certain things. I’m being accommodated so beautifully. I’ve got to say publicly how I am so grateful for that. I think it really bodes well for a new generation of girls coming through who don’t have to choose between having a family and having all the things we have to naturally do with our bodies and a career.
I have to agree with you. From what I gather you’re already being selfless, yet balanced with your career.
Talk to me when the baby’s four months old. [Laughs] I really don’t know what I’m in for. We’ll see how it all plays out, but I’m excited. I’m really excited for the new challenge and I feel like I’ve overcome so many challenges in my career—who knows how this will affect me? In life you just have to jump through these hoops and see what happens on the other side.
Images courtesy of Maria Jose Govea
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