All Out: Anna Lunoe Talks New EP & Not Fearing Accessibility
Capable of tearing up clubs and festivals alike with bouncing basslines and relentless beats, Anna Lunoe has mastered the art of spinning serious house music.
Of course, one of her most defining artistic characteristics—particularly in the context of electronic music—is the use of her own voice on many of her productions. Her warm vocals are laced with undeniable hooks that complement her joyous soundscapes.
This past year was a big one for the Australian DJ/producer, as it saw the release of “All Out,” her first Ultra Music EP, plus a set of collaborations with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Treasure Fingers and The Alexanders. Lunoe wowed audiences on her first headlining tour of the U.S., and even Skrillex was impressed enough by her Coachella performance that he mixed her then-unreleased track “B.D.D. (Bass Drum Dealer),” so that he could release it on his OWSLA NEST imprint.
DJ Times recently connected with her to discuss her big 2014.
DJ Times: How did you get into DJing and producing?
Anna Lunoe: I started volunteering at a radio station called FBI, and I later got a show on it. I started getting sent promos from record labels and I was listening to 200 songs a week and working out what I really liked and didn’t like. That was a real first step in feeling confident about my music choices and working out what other people like and how they respond to my selections. DJing was the next step from there, and producing was the next step from there.
DJ Times: What was that process?
Lunoe: I’d been writing music on acoustic guitar and piano earlier, so I’d been flirting with writing, but it took learning music production software, taking Ableton courses, and learning to speak the language of VSTs to learn how to translate it through that medium.
DJ Times: How did your singing come into the mix?
Lunoe: Well, it kind of just happened that way because I found that when I was writing, I would use my voice to get a line out quicker than I would use a keyboard. It was easier for me—because of my crappy keyboard playing—to sing it than it was to work out how to play it and then lose the idea. I started using my voice to quickly get ideas out, and then sometimes I started leaving those in. Around this time, I heard this song by Justin Martin called “Sad Piano.” I was playing it on air on my radio show, and this song came in my head. I thought of a topline for it, and I started singing. I told my cohost, “It’s so funny. I just thought of this song,” and he said, “You should record it!” I recorded it and thought, “This isn’t so bad.” I sat on it for six months. One of my friends heard it and told me I should send it to Justin, so they gave me his email address and I did.
DJ Times: What inspired your “All Out” EP and what went into its creation?
Lunoe: It’s a collection of songs that I’ve been working on and collecting for the past two years, but it’s not a definitive collection. There’ve been a lot of releases that have come out in the middle of making it: the [Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs] release, “Bad MF,” and “B.D.D.” It’s by no means a definitive collection of what I’m into, but it’s a cohesive set of house- and club-oriented songs that have real accessibility. It’s a nice collection of music that stems from club culture but could ultimately exist anywhere.
DJ Times: The lead single was a move a bit more into the pop realm.
Lunoe: It’s definitely not a conscious decision, but I’m not afraid of accessibility. It’s something I really admire in other artists. Look at Duke Dumont: he’s had No.1’s on the U.K. pop charts and he’s had No.1’s on Beatport. That’s something he can make coexist, and that’s something I want to make coexist.
DJ Times: Your productions run a wide range of styles—from tribal bass of “B.D.D.” to tech-house on “Bad MF.” What elements pull them all together?
Lunoe: I think what pulls it all together is the immediacy of it; there’s a certain energy that can thread it all together. You can get away with a lot with structure. No matter what I’m doing, what kind of music it is, or what sort of sonics are the focus point of the song, I always try to make the structure really clear. I think that can really direct people into understanding what they’re supposed to be doing and when. As long as there’s a very clear build, growth, and drop, it has an arc to it.
DJ Times: Do you have any plans to add vocals to your live shows?
Lunoe: I definitely want to do that, and I want to do it in a way that makes sense and feels good, but also isn’t a huge production. Touring is already really expensive and I don’t think people realize that. I need to keep the cost of the production down, so it has to be quite simple and effective. I’m just starting to brainstorm how I’d like to do that, and I’ve got a few support offers that would allow me to experiment with this. I’m hoping in the next year to find a way to do it because people have started to want it more as I do more vocal tracks.