Anna Lunoe may be reaching new heights of prominence these days, but it hasn't been an overnight success. Over the years she's gone from hosting a hugely popular mix show in Australia, to moving to Los Angeles to reach a whole new audience. She's been on tour with the Weeknd, and before you know it will be appearing in Miami for WMC and in the California desert for the equally legendary Coachella festival. Her single 'Breathe' has been making waves on Fool's Gold Records, along with the impeccable remixes, and she's about to release the exciting track 'Bad MF' with Treasure Fingers. We had the joy to sit down and talk with her about 'Breathe', the evolution of her performances, and how she got to Coachella...
Fingers on Blast: After going back and watching 'Almost Famous' a quote from Philip Seymour Hoffman's character stood out; "Real music chooses you.". That's something we've noticed happening with your single 'Breathe', seeing people's reactions to it, curious at first and by the end they're loving it. It's a powerful thing, people have approached me djing to find out what song it is. That's got to feel like a big win.
Anna Lunoe: Yeah, I completely agree. I've got songs that I just know when I play them someone will walk up to me and ask me what it is. Especially if there are other dj's in the room you know that if you set it up right that they're going to react.
Fingers on Blast: That's funny because looking back a few years, that definitely happened to me with Armand Van Helden's 'My My My'. I could never explain it to anybody, it was years after it was released and I was just waiting to discover what it was and a dj played it.
Anna Lunoe: Armand Van Helden is amazing, I constantly look to him. One of the first tracks I bought, and the first dance song I ever connect with was 'U Don't Know Me'. I was so obsessed with it, I got it on cd single and listened to it so much and I still play it, I still think it's fantastic. He's just incredible, I'm always digging deeper and finding more music. A fun fact about Armand Van Helden, I played guitar hero with him and I didn't know it was him. I was trying to figure out who this guy was, with all these records and guitar hero. That's all that was in his house, and then later I found out it was Armand Van Helden and I went crazy.
Fingers on Blast: That would probably make the average music fan really nervous, but to find out later...
Anna Lunoe: I sang 'Lump' by the Presidents of the United States of America at the top of my lungs...
Fingers on Blast: We first caught on to your music around the time the track 'Stronger' was released, I think it was specifically the John Roman remix of 'Voodoo' that got our attention. So often that's how we discover new music, finding a remix by an artist we know of a song by an artist we like.
Anna Lunoe: It gives you a bit of an understanding of what that artist's tastes might be aside from what they've made. I think about all the stuff that I like that people may not associate with me but is still sick, you know?
Fingers on Blast: Prior to that music being released you'd been a radio host/presenter?
Anna Lunoe: I was a dj with a radio show, I didn't start as a host. I had been djing and then got a dance show and I'd mix live on the radio every week.
Fingers on Blast: And the new Luney Tunes mix series is going back to that?
Anna Lunoe: Yeah, exactly. It's a bit of an ode to that. I like that format and I was looking for a way to give people more mixes.
Fingers on Blast: Listening to the first one I found it was not only a really enjoyable, energetic mix. In addition to that, it seems like you get a closer look at what music you really like. The fact that it's done over a few cities in the first two episodes, I can't think of anyone else who's doing that. To find a brand new idea in 2014 that is that inviting is pretty rad.
Anna Lunoe: Thank you! I'm really excited about it, it's just something fun that I hope people really get behind. Last night I got a kandi with 'Luney Tunes' on it. The thing that I love most about what I do is really just sharing the music and turning people on to stuff that they may not know. I'm focusing so much more on creating now than just djing, which was my biggest joy first. But I still really love sharing music that I think is exciting and I'm really excited to continue doing that with 'Luney Tunes'. I also want to start interviewing, and showing people a bit more about the artists that they like. A lot of people who write to me want to be producers, or want to be dj's and something like that could give them the inspiration to do what they really want to.
Fingers on Blast: That's key, I remember growing up whatever documentaries we could get our hands on with a behind the scenes view on how an artist made something so great, was very inspiring. Did you notice a boost in inspiration after moving from Australia to Los Angeles?
Anna Lunoe: Of course, changing your situation and changing your life is so invigorating. I think that our stuff really weighs us down. I can't tell you how exciting it was to come over with a couple of suitcases and start your life again. It was like pressing the restart button and just being able to set my life up the way that was most conducive to getting the best out of myself for what I wanted. I loved it, and I've just loved the last two years, it's been such an incredible journey. People asked me what made me want to move, and it's about work and music and all the things that America has to offer, but also it's just life. How cool is it to change your life and live overseas and experience a different country.
Fingers on Blast: It seems like there's a trend of a number of Australian artists ending up in Los Angeles, not just because culturally it's so significant but also because of a similarity in climate.
Anna Lunoe: It's really similar, it's a great lifestyle. Very similar to Sydney in a lot of ways. It's a bigger platform, and a springboard to be able to go all over the place.
Fingers on Blast: There were recently photos posted online of you joining Touch Sensitive onstage at a festival to do vocals for 'Real Talk'. You do vocals on your tracks, but is that something that is included in the live show?
Anna Lunoe: I wasn't actually doing vocals in that performance, but more of a live jam. He did live bass and I was on the MPC. It's a good question, I don't sing live at the moment but when you hear some of the new music that I have coming out, it'll make sense to you that I'm starting to lean towards more of a live show at some point. I think that there will be songs that people will want to hear in a live situation and I've always wanted to do a live show.
Fingers on Blast: When it comes to creating a single like 'Breathe' how do you begin?
Anna Lunoe: Each one starts out differently, 'Breathe' definitely started out with the sample, the bass that's in the beginning of the song.
Fingers on Blast: After touring with the Weeknd, and then heading out on your 'Road to Coachella' tour how do you approach two very different shows?
Anna Lunoe: The 'Road to Coachella' tour is very similar to what I've been doing for the last five years, which is touring constantly, doing shows in a different city everynight. So that's kind of what I've been conditioned for. The Weeknd tour was completely different, because it was a bus tour so we travelled with a team and slept on the bus every night. We performed in theatres instead of clubs so it was up to 10,000 person capacity in beautiful, big rooms where everyone is seated.
Fingers on Blast: You recently posted a screen cap of a tweet from a few years ago about performing with a live act at Coachella. How does it feel to know that something you put out there like that, after hard work and a few years time is around the corner?
Anna Lunoe: It's crazy, it is crazy. All I know is that you just don't know what you're capable of. I think that some artists believe that they are going to be massive, but I don't have that. For me it's always been a building blocks thing, where I've proven to myself at each step on the way that I'm worthy of the next step. To manifest playing at Coachella and to have that actually happen is a testament to the idea that if you dream it, and you really want it, and actually work your nuts off, it might happen for you. There's people who may seem like they're born for it, but they're not. The only way that they're born for it is in their attitude. Everyone just has to work really really hard, and I'm an honest believer that if you follow your passion and work so hard for something that there's no other option, that the world gives it to you.
I really believe that...