Anja Schneider Talks Success of Mobilee Label, Women in EDM, and Gig at Electric Pickle on Friday
Anja Schneider is a veritable renaissance woman of electronic dance music. The DJ, producer, radio show host and record label magnate is a long-standing veteran of the Berlin scene whose renowned weekly show on Berlin's Radio Fritz has been going strong for a decade. But it's the success and brand impact of Schneider's ultra-chic Mobilee Records that really catapulted her to international status since the label's inception in 2005.
Founded alongside business partner and accomplished DJ/tastemaker Ralf Kollmann, Mobilee has become one of the most buzz-worthy and heavily-charted labels of the last few years, boasting releases by acclaimed producers like Dan Curtin, Sebo K, Pan-Pot, and Exercise One. With its sleek and decidedly Teutonic take on deep minimalist tech-house, Mobilee has come to embody the sound of the contemporary European EDM zeitgeist.
Anja Schneider is slated for a highly anticipated performance at the Electric Pickle on Friday night, along with Mobilee favorite And.Id, and we took the opportunity to catch up with her and talk shop.
New Times: How did you and Ralf Kollman first hook up, and how did the idea for Mobilee Records come about?
I had my show on Fritz Radio in Germany, so I was always receiving a
lot of new music from people as they wanted me to play it. Then a good
friend of mine, Kai, who is the owner of Word and Sound Distribution,
asked me to start a label. He wanted to use the fact that my name was
well known to help young talents and to give them the chance to release
their music -- that was the original idea of Mobilee Records. Ralf was
an old friend and seemed to be a good partner to work with on this
project, so I asked him to work with me.
its 5th anniversary this year. To what do you attribute the success of
the label, and what's the secret to keeping an independent label afloat
in this age of digital distribution?
I think above all it's
really important that you are completely authentic, and that you really
believe in what you are doing and love it. Then if you have a good team
and work hard, the rest should come naturally. In many ways, the "age of
digital distribution" has had a positive effect on the independent
scene as it has enabled us to promote our music all over the world at a
much cheaper cost. However, of course, it has also made things tougher,
as not everyone is paying for their music now. We at Mobilee are really
working hard to develop all aspects of our business and not just focus
on record sales -- as you can't these days. It's important to follow all
digital trends, and to think creatively and try to open up lots of new
areas of business.
You're known to produce strictly in
collaboration. What are the benefits of working in conjunction with
other producers? Do you plan to eventually gain more independence in the
Actually I don't have any plans to become
independent in the studio. I love interactivity and to work with other
people, in fact if I'm honest, I cannot work alone. I also don't have the
time to really dive into the production modes -- to sit for 8 hours and
learn all about Logic. I run a label, host a radio show, and am always
traveling, and I'm too old now to really learn something like this, which
needs a lot of time. It's also lots of fun when you collaborate. I'm a
team player. I hate sitting for 8-9 hours alone in a studio.
What do you consider a successful DJ set? What sort of feelings or reactions do you aim to illicit from the crowd?
To take the crowd on a journey, together!
What have been some of the highlights of 2010 and what do you have going on for the rest of the year?
This has definitely been a very busy year! We started off with Dan Curtin's new album Lifeblood,
which is his first in 3 years, and 9th in total, so it was very
exciting to release it on Mobilee. Then we started with our 5th
anniversary celebrations with an amazing party in London with the
Mulletover crew, followed by a great week in Barcelona during the Sonar
festival. This year we hosted nearly a whole week of parties! A label
showcase at City Hall, two rooftop parties, and also a party on a boat
out at sea. I always love it at Sonar, as it's a chance for us all to get
together, which are my favorite occasions.
On top of these events we released the Hi Five Mobilee!
compilation, which features 16 exclusive tracks from all our artists
and some friends. I'm featured twice on there, with one track that I
produced with Lee Van Dowski called "Shinkansen", and also "Something
Left" featuring Cari Golden. It's great to have this collection of music
to mark our 5th birthday and to have something to remember it by.
can you tell us about the Next Girl DJ contest, on which you were a
judge? Do you think women are on the way to making bigger impact in
electronic dance music?
It was a very interesting project
and the final winner, Sam Red, really worked hard putting together her
final mix for the competition. I hope it gives more female DJs
inspiration and encouragement to get on with it! I think women are
already making a big impact on the electronic dance music scene. There
are so many fantastic female artists out there now that it would be
impossible to list them all here, and they are all doing great things.
Keep it up, ladies!
What can Miami expect during your upcoming performance at Electric Pickle?
A lot of fun! [Winks].
Anja Schneider with And.Id, LINK Residents. 10 p.m. Friday, September
17. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Ages 21 and up.
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