Image credit: Patrice Brylla
Anja Schneider releases her first album in nine years on new label Sous Music.
Sometimes you need to step away from everything that’s familiar to really grow and challenge yourself as an artist. Or in Anja Schneider’s case, hit the reset button entirely. A new album. A new label. The Berlin-based artist has never felt more out of her comfort zone. Or inspired.
The musical manifestation of this bold new era is ‘SoMe’, a nine-track calling card that not only represents Schneider’s own creative apex and the freedom that accompanies it, but the freewheeling nature of new imprint Sous on which it finds its home.
As is the case with all Schneider’s productions, this is a deeply personal work. But what makes it shine above everything else that has come before it, is how expressive and free it is, while remaining entirely authentic to her own musical history, passions and personal story.
The project begun in November 2016, in Anja’s basement to be precise. Getting back to her music digging roots she whiled away the hours among the dusty boxes of her vinyl collection – re-immersing herself in old jungle and D&B records, classic house and the Berlin-bred techno of the ’90s that she fell in love with when she first moved to the German capital in 1993. If she was to look forward to her new musical vision, it had to pay due respect to her past.
Alongside her co-producer and partner Jan-Eric Scholz, set studio dates turned into lost afternoons, then weekends. If Anja wasn’t touring or spending time with her son, she was engrossed in free-flowing productions sessions, channeling musical impressions past and present, recent trips to South Africa that cemented a love for ragga and crafting outstanding vocal works that rate among the finest of her career.
The album begins with the dusty panoramic tones of ‘The Sun’: “I wanted this track to turn out like a big electronic band with attitude – but I failed,” she laughs. “Instead it’s more Chicago and Detroit, but I love it anyway!”. Other highlights include the catchy ragga tones of ‘All I See’, inspired by her trip to Cape Town for CTEMF in 2015 and exemplifies Schneider’s knack for creating music that feels at once fresh yet familiar. “Overall I’m really interested in these ragga vibes coming into house and techno – I love how these kids are combining their roots with electronic music.”.
Elsewhere she flexes her song-crafting muscle linking up with the Stereo MCs after a chance meeting with vocalist Rob Birch in the apartment of Terranova’s Fetish, in a situation that could have only happened in Berlin. A big fan of the group’s ‘Connected’ LP, the normally shy Schneider floated the idea of a vocal contribution to her fledgling album project and the irresistible earworm ‘Sanctuary’ was born.
A raver first and foremost, long nights at influential Berlin clubbing institution WMF characterized the late 90s for Schneider, of particular impression the Friday night D&B residency at the club. With a deep love for this sound till this day, she eponymous track pays dues to this heady period.
An artist with tried and true roots in techno, ‘SoMe’ of course reflects an Anja Schneider DJ experience, with cuts such as ‘Got Me With A Bang’ and even ‘Night Out’, that mines the spirit of her own debut album ‘Beyond The Valley’: “I’m still getting requests for tracks from that album almost 10 years later, so wanted to put something on there that pays homage to this period as I still love this Berlin techno sound and I wanted something on the album that connects with it.
Rounding out the album on a particularly personal note comes ‘Shadows’, Schneider smiles as she speaks about it. “I originally wanted to do an ambient track and I wanted to sing on it, but thankfully I have the right people around me telling me that’s not a good idea, she shares with a laugh. “In the end it came out a lot more spacey and features the vocals of my boyfriend. I think he may have a new career ahead of him!” she chuckles.
Anja will complete an album tour in key cities including Barcelona, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Berlin, London, Zurich and Munich over the coming months. Full details TBA.
1. The Sun
2. Secret Escapes
3. All I See
5. Sanctuary feat. Stereo MCs
6. Got Me With A Bang
7. Night Out
8. Look of Love