Five Questions with Anja Schneider
Label founder, internationally renowned DJ and producer, world-traveler, and charming personality all rolled into one, Anja Schneider might just be one of the hardest-working individuals in the business. We sat down with this one-of-a-kind artist and businesswoman to talk about her recent trip overseas and mobilee’s 50th anniversary as well as its past, present, and future.
So you just got back from North America a couple of days ago where you were playing gigs at the WMC and throughout the States and Canada. Can you give us a run-down of what you were up to over there?
I started off in New York playing a Resolute party in Brooklyn. I was kind of worried at first after hearing about some recent parties in NYC being shut down by the police but once I got there all my doubts immediately faded. The space—this enormous warehouse—was completely packed with a really enthusiastic crowd who partied hard. So yeah, it was a ton of fun.
After that I went down to Miami for the WMC and played three parties—another one for Resolute, Listed’s Freaky Tiki Boat party and the mobilee showcase at Studio K. My favorite was definitely the Freaky Tiki Boat party where I played with Steve Bug. Listed found some crazy boat and decked it out with all this twisted tropical décor, the crowd was all these Americans going crazy dressed up in ridiculous costumes…it was a really, really good time. When I wasn’t playing I tried to hit up as many parties as I could…Sunday School for Degenerates, the Cecille Showcase, the Ghostly/Spectral party and a bunch more.
Then I headed out to LA with Dan Curtin for a warehouse party put on by Compression who are really great promoters and who throw consistently great parties. I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd too—they really like it hard in LA!
Then it was off to Montreal for my birthday party…unfortunately the weather was kind of cold and rainy so I ended up taking it easy and not doing a big celebration…I just got a really long massage which was great after all that traveling. On my birthday I played at Metor…all it all it was a fantastic two weeks…presents are still welcome of course!
Mobilee’s 50th anniversary release just came out last Monday courtesy of you and Lee van Dowski. Can you tell us a little about the creation of this record and what it was like to work with Lee?
Well to be honest it kind of started out as this vague idea because we really like each other’s music and get along really well as people. So I went down Geneva for a couple of days and headed straight into the studio without aiming for any specific sound…I only kind of new what I didn’t want to have. So the production was really spontaneous and not planned at all but Lee and I really just clicked—we have a really good rapport and share the same sense of humor and all that stuff. So we just sat down and started working and ended churning out three tracks in a really short period of time.
Sometimes the whole collaboration process can be really strenuous but it wasn’t like that at all—it was a really fun and laid-back experience. I really love working with other artists and collaborating because it’s really nice to try something different and get new inspirations. In Lee’s case I feel like he really brings this funky, jacking house sound of the old-school days that I really miss. At the same time, La Roulette ended up being more in the vein of an older minimal style.
But yeah, it was a great experience and we both want to continue this collaboration. We’re going to meet again and work in the studio this May when he comes up to Berlin to play at Panorama Bar.
50 releases is a benchmark, especially for a label that’s been around for a relatively short period of time—do you have any thoughts or reflections on mobilee’s development as a label and roster since its inception?
Well I think that it’s really great that we’ve made an effort to develop all the artist we’ve been working with since the beginning (Sebo K, Pan-Pot, and Exercise One) while, at the same time, they’ve made efforts to develop themselves as well. I’m really happy that we are still working hard with most of the artists we started with and it makes me proud that all of the artists have developed in their own right. When I hear our old records alongside the new ones I really notice the progress they have made. I’m also really glad that we have the capacity to get new artists like And.id, Dan Curtin, and Hector on board. It’s also been really important for us that every artist has their own style—we don’t want to have two Sebo K’s or two Pan-Pot’s—and I’m happy that each artist has successfully be able to carve out their own path and create their own sound.
Of course we’ve still got room for improvement; for us it’s a continual process that we are constantly working at. We want these developments to continue. At the beginning the idea behind mobilee was to create a platform for young, fresh talent. Of course we’re still doing that but we’ve been getting more professional about it: we’ve started doing our own bookings, working on more artist albums, doing our own press and licensing—that kind of stuff. We’re kind of at the point at which we are starting to turn into a fully-fledged company. As a label you always have to build on what you started: the vision we had from the beginning is definitely still here but we’ve expanded upon this vision and have been following it in new, exciting ways.
What can we expect from mobilee in the months to come in terms of releases?
We’ve got a ton of stuff coming up…in the near future are Exercise One’s new album In Cars We Rust which drops at the end of May and a new release by Hector at the beginning of June. You can also expect new tracks from Pan-Pot, And.id and Dan Curtin as well as another artist album at the end of the year…but I can’t say who yet! ;-) After the success of Sebo-K’s Back Up Vol. 1 we’re also going to be doing another Back-Up compilation presented by someone really special…also can’t say who yet—but hey—I gotta keep some things secret!
Do you guys have any big events, tours or showcases planned in the near future that we should be aware of?
At the end of April we’re throwing an album release party for In Cars We Rust with Exercise One and Deadbeat playing live and bunch of other mobilee DJs spinning. We’ll definitely be doing our rooftop party at Sonar again which I’m looking forward to—it’s going to be on a Thursday so book your flights early! We’ve also got plans to hit up a bunch of summer festivals, we’ll be heading to Ibiza and are planning super-special big mobilee event here in Berlin perhaps in conjunction with another label…But yeah, there’s a lot coming and a lot to look forward to!