DEPARTMENT 2018: Radar interviews Anja Schneider

All co-existing within one person – Anja Schneider is  a DJ, producer, radio broadcaster, label owner, and not the least a tireless creative force. Schneider never ceases to surprise and create, and continues reinventing and reinvigorating herself this year. With her new label Sous Music and her critically acclaimed new album ‘SoMe’, highlighting a typically inspired past 12 months, she hits 2018 entrenched as one of electronic music’s most vital artists. Anja is well known as one of the hardest working figures within the industry who has already left a unique footprint on the scene she maneuvers in. Not only this – she is also well known for giving an early platform to the likes of Maya Jane Coles, Solomun and Nicole Moudaber, long before they became the household DJ names they are today.

Schneider made her most decisive career move during the summer of 2017 when she announced she’d be closing a long and very successful chapter of her life by stepping away from mobilee, the iconic label she founded in 2005. In its place, sprouted Sous Music, a deeply personal project named after Schneider’s mother. In collaboration with Department, we have the chance to ask Anja Schneider a few questions about her career, her creative process, as well as about what kind of set he will deliver at the festival.

Hi Anja! You are a real multi-tasker. A DJ, producer and radio broadcaster among other things. Where did you begin and how did your DJ career take off?
– I had a very classic start – as a radio program manager. I did marketing and production for some shows first before I started my own show. Through my own show, I got requested to start my own label and started my DJ career this way. It was all very organic and nothing was planed, but if I look back it makes total sense.

Tell us about “Club Room” – how did you end up with a weekly show at Berlin broadcaster Radio Eins?
–  I started almost 20 years ago on a different station called Fritz and last year I moved to Radio Eins, which is a part of the same network (RBB). The show is targeted at a slightly more ‘educated’ and older audience who are still into club music. I play new releases that catch my interest and tell listeners about them. The focus is not so much on a rave night or a DJ set. It’s more about new and interesting electronic music and the people behind them. Club Room has been exported to several countries, which I’m really proud about.

Tell us about your new label Sous Music and your coming EP ‘Prosperity’.
– ‘Prosperity’ is the most ‘techno’ EP I’ve ever done. I have loved this style since the beginning of my career and have always had a big love for Detroit and old school sounds. But of course you have to be really careful nowadays because techno seems like the new EDM and not everything is to my taste. For my label Sous Music I’m very strict and happy that I have this imprint that allows me to do exactly what I want. I’ve still got a lot of music waiting to be released :)

Who are your major influences when it comes to your music production?
– It’s for sure the old school Detroit influence which I fell in love with when I started going out. I’m still a child of minimal sounds and have grown in my musical way through this. I love melodies and I have a very female touch.

When did you know that you were going to dedicate your life to music? What where you up to before that?
– I knew this very early on, when I decided to switch from advertising to radio. I studied marketing and communication and worked in advertising, then I switched to radio. Because music was always in my life and around me all of the time and a part of my daily job, I really wanted to bring more cool electronic music onto the radio. Back when I first started in radio, there were these new sounds of acid house and I had the feeling the world needed to know about them and that the rock n roll era was over. I choose Berlin for that reason because I wanted to participate in the techno movement which we (Berlin) developed in the 90’s. It was an unbelievable feeling to be a part of this.
What is electronic music to you?
– EVERYTHING.

Can you describe your process when you produce music? Where do you start? How do you find your sound?
– First of all, my process will never involve deadlines anymore. I give myself all the time I need. Mostly it starts after a good weekend of inspiration, music and influences – especially if I hear a certain bass line that sticks in my head for days. It also always depends on my mood. As every day is different when it comes to my mood, then anything is possible. I’m very happy to share my ideas and workflow with my production partner (Toni Planet aka Jan-Eric Scholz) because I need the interaction between the two minds. It’s very inspiring and I’m learning every day.

Have you listened to anything lately that has stuck out to you?
– I’m getting a bit more quiet at home and enjoying getting into Max Richter.

We are really excited to see you at Department! What kind of set can we expect and can you leave the audience with a message?
– I’m really happy to return to Stockholm. For me one of the beautiful cities I’ve been to. I love the people and atmosphere. It’s very special. I always decide the same night what I will be playing. Checking and absorbing atmosphere is a part of the job of a DJ.