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For a dj, vocalist, and producer who has put together sound pieces for major clothing brands, hosted her own radio show, released works on labels like Fool’s Gold and Future Classic, and headlined shows in some of the world’s largest cities, Anna Lunoe is a surprisingly down-to-earth person.

She’s a pleasure to be around with a relaxed demeanor, infectious smile and charming Australian accent.

Focussed on the personal journey toward artistic fulfillment, Lunoe approaches music production as if it were a muscle needing regular exercise; which helps explain the abundance of work she’s been releasing over the past couple years including a collaboration with Van She keyboardist and producer Touch Sensitive on “Real Talk,” which became Beatport‘s 4th highest selling indie/nu disco track of 2012.

Our interview takes place in a stairwell above Nashville’s High Watt club where she’s about to perform. There we sit, geeking out about dance music and sweating from the rising heat, occasionally pausing to enjoy one of the songs being played bellow.

Joseph: Having grown up in Sydney, why do you think Australia is such a safe haven for dance music?

Anna: That’s a great perception people have on Australian dance music. I think it’s because Australia’s largely a really positive country. We’re not talking about Berlin’s underground late night minimal techno sound, we’re talking music made for open-air bars and festivals with positive with hooks and synths. For the most part it sounds like summertime.

Joseph: There are a lot of Australians like yourself who’ve migrated to LA. Do you have a group of friends out there?

Anna: We do! We’ve got a little clique.

Joseph: You, Bag Raiders

Anna: And then there’s Felix (Plastic Plates), Tommy Trash, Hook & Sling, NervoWax Motif, Bass Kleph, Pnau and others passing through all the time like Light Year, Flume and Cassian. So many people are gravitating to LA right now, which is cool!

Joseph: The first time I saw your name was on “Love Ting” with Wax Motif and then I kept seeing you popping up on various collaborations throughout the year. What does the back-end look like when you’re working with someone?

Anna: Every time it’s different. Sometimes we’ll sit down in front of a blank Ableton session and work it out from scratch. We might intellectualize it before or we might not.

Sometimes it starts with one of us making a sketch or someone will come to me with an almost finished track and ask if I want to write a top-line for it.

Joseph: What’s a top-line?

Anna: So a top-line is a vocal line. When you see a Swedish House Mafia song with a girl singing on it, they’ll send that out to a bunch of different vocalists, get them to write lines for it and then they’ll pick the one they think is the catchiest.

Joseph: It’s good to hear though. I know it’s sexist but I’m always skeptical of whether some of these girl dj/producers are actually making their own tracks.

Anna: Well yeah, It could be any producer, not just girls. I could tell you a bunch of guy producers who have ghost writers working on their stuff. People you’d never think. It’s very common.

I’ll be the first to tell you though, a lot of people get help. I don’t think that’s always a bad thing, but I do think it’s not so great when no one talks honestly about it.

Joseph: Well I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “help,” but it’s not always transparent as to whether somebody’s name on a track means they did it, you know?

Anna: Yeah. It’s something that trickles down from pop music. Obviously Rihanna and Beyonce aren’t writing or producing their own music and their name’s all over it. They are the brand.

It’s a very grey area but If I wrote it with someone, I’ll tell you.

Joseph: So do you have some tracks you’ve made on your own from start-to-finish?

Anna: Ya! The track “Up and Down” off of the Fool’s Gold release was me start-to-finish. And plenty more coming out next year.

Joseph: What kind of sounds are inspiring you right now?

Anna: Right now I’m really going against the loudness of everything. All the songs I want to make are really stripped back, or maybe just not so heavy.

Joseph: I feel like a lot of Australian music is headed that way as artists continue to change and grow — but I feel like there’s something missing between the super pumping “EDM” and all the casual disco and deep house out there right now.

What happened to the fun, gritty, vocally-driven dance sound that surfaced around 2007 when all of this was just taking off? Is there just not as much good indie-pop to make awesome remixes? As an Australian, what do you think about all of this? [laughter]

Anna: I have so much to talk about on this!

So basically, 2007 was when I first gatewayed into this type of music as well, so I can personally vouch that it was really exciting.

And then the EDM thing started to build and we all got channeled into this huge beast and it all kinda just blew out.

I think a lot of people feel the same way, like “hold up, we’ve lost something here.”

The other problem is, since no one’s buying music anymore the labels are pretty much only going for short-term pop turnover to pay the bills and not focusing on developing artists.

In this climate, one bad album gets you dropped. Think about what that would mean if a band like Radiohead got signed today — we mightn’t have Ok Computer, Kid A or The Bends because their first album only had one crossover hit on it.

In the long term, this might be costing us albums that unite a generation. I’m not saying, ‘things were better before,’ because there were problems with the old system too. My point is, the way we consume music has changed.

Some things about that are really exciting though, like seeing underground producers getting big pop opportunities — like Diplo working with Usher and Lil Wayne or Santigold being sampled by Jay Z.

I love the access it gives artists. You can make something, upload it and if it’s good, people will spread it. That’s cool.

I guess the downside of having more listening platforms is that our attention is more divided. It’s rarer for an alternative artist to make a really big impact — like a generationally uniting impact. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but it is rare.

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photo: Justin Vague & Studio Das Monk

Joseph: As an artist in this generation of music business, how do you keep from getting jaded?

Anna: At the end of the day, I’m just fortunate to get to do the thing that makes me happiest right now, which is making music in as many different situations as possible.

I had a few years before I really started working on music where I knew what I wanted to do but didn’t know how to action it and found myself getting pretty frustrated — especially because I wanted to do everything myself and not ask for help.

Joseph: I think a lot of people considering music production go through similar processes; and end up kicking themselves for not starting earlier.

All these kids…

Are there no more normal, late-20’s producers? Do they all have to be 15?

Anna: Ya, if you’re not 15 forget about it! [laughter]

Don’t let all these young producers scare you.

When you think about all of the sounds your brain has been consuming over the years — whether you’re a blogger or a DJ — that gives you a unique view to bring to the table.

I met this awesome 60-year-old parks and recreation guy once and I’ve never met anyone so empowered with dance music in my life!

He was making techno! He was making house music! He was making disco! He knew everything about every software. If you can keep learning as you move through life and continue to move forward artistically, that’s the journey right?

Good on you young producers, you’re very inspiring but you’re also scaring everybody! So the message here is, if you’re over the age of 21, you’re not dead!

Don’t worry about it, just fuckin’ work!

Joseph: This’ll be the last one because I know you have to go. Have you ever considered yourself something of a role model to aspiring girl producers?

Anna: I don’t think anyone thinks of themselves as a role model but I’ve always looked up to the strong, idealistic women of the music industry. I still love Bjork, Fiona Apple, Annie Lennox, Robyn, Sheila E, Ladybug from Digable Planet — any woman who’s doing something different. People who go with the grain and do things that are already there and do it well, that’s cool too but for me it’s all about contributing something. That’s what inspires me. I don’t know if I’m executing that just yet but that’s the goal I am working towards.

Joseph: Well good luck!

Anna: Thank you!

Listen to Anna Lunoe’s recent Scion Radio mix below, check her free downloads on soundcloud and show her some love on facebook and twitter.

Surprise Hotel

Nov 5 2009

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Fool’s Gold is a Los Angeles collective that weaves together western pop aesthetics with African rhythms and melodies. Not too long after their communal beginnings, Fool’s Gold developed into a full-time band and their music has been described as: made for hot nights in a sweltering desert. Their new single “Surprise Hotel” will be released on limited 12″ in early November, followed by an album in January. This is the Mad Decent AKA Toadally Krossed Out remix which with the help of some croaking turns it into a surefire club hit.

Fool’s Gold – Surprise Hotel (Mad Decent remix) (Sendspace)

BONUS: The remix from Micachu & The Shapes + the remix of “Nadine” made by Weird Tapes.

Fool’s Gold – Surprise Hotel (Micachu & The Shapes remix) (Sendspace)

Fool’s Gold – Nadine (Weird Tapes remix) (Sendspace)

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Two of our favorite production/dj duos, Acid Girls & Jokers Of The Scene, got together for one mighty fine mix where Jokers Of The Scene mixed the Acid Girls part and the Acid Girls boys returned the favor. They’re about to embark on a joint tour and this mix was done to promote what has the makings to be one whirlwind of a ride.

Bright Black Magick- Mixed by Jokers of the Scene and Acid Girls (Sendspace)

Tracklist + tourdates after the jump.

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Mix of the year? Let’s give it up for Kingdom!

Kingdom is a Brooklyn-based producer and DJ whose signature sets and productions have been gathering a following since he released his first mixtape in 2006.

“For this mix I wanted to showcase tracks that moved me physically and emotionally, and tracks that represent the new sound aesthetic of a small unit of future-minded DJs worldwide. Syncopated drums, heavy bass, and female vocals can be found throughout the mix, including several original tracks, remixes, and edits that were created while making the mix. This mix is also a prequel to my first official release which will be out via Fools Gold and Acephale next month.

Download: Kingdom – Mix for Discobelle, Oct 09 (zShare) (alt link)

1) Kingdom – Wine & Stomp (Intro)

Dark trancehall you can wine your waist and stomp your feet to.

2) Jam City – In the Park (Kingdom Refix ft. Allure)

Jam City is a new London-based producer who is making very open-minded club music. I added some bass drops and vocals from the acapella of R&B group Allure’s 1998 hit “Head Over Heels.”

3) Bok Bok – Ripe Banana

I was staying at Night Slugs HQ in south London when Bok Bok was finishing this track, and I would wake up to the subs pumping this track each morning. I think it’s imprinted in my subconscious because I am transported every time I hear it. 10 out of 10.

4) L-Vis 1990 – United Groove (Kingdom Remix)

This remix will be released on the United Groove remix EP, out next month on Mad Decent. Ethereal vocals and echo pianos drifting over broken drums and trance stabs.

5) Cooly G – Jus Wanna

Cooly G is the most intriguing producer to me at the moment. Her productions are simple, experimental, and entirely unique. On top of that, she does all the vocals on her tracks. So instead of found vocal samples, she is recording her own vocal samples, and the results are incredible.

6) KG – 808

Each time the beat progresses and a new part kicks in, it comes as a welcomed surprise, and when the strings finally break through, it feels like freedom.

7) Roska – Elevated Level (Kingdom Edit ft. Brandy)

It’s an old Roska track at this point, but I play this vocal edit out a lot. This is the track I play when it’s time to bring the energy level up. Even a tiny vocal sample from legendary vocalist Brandy manages to make this track into an anthem.

8) Marcus Price & Carli – Mat, Bira, Kvinnor, Weed (Kingdom Remix)

There are certain tracks that I am magnetized to and have no choice but to remix, even though they didn’t ask for one! This was one of those.

9) Dubbel Dutch – Throwback

Brand new track from Texas’s own Dubbel Dutch. The mixing and compression on this track are so nice. Chopped diva vocals and clean sub-bass. I love the drifting cool-down moment in this track too, and when the breakbeat kicks back in, you know you need to brace yourself for a huge drop.

10) Lil Silva – Different (Kingdom Remix ft. Jazmine Sullivan)

It seems like some of the best UK funky beats are just begging for vocal versions. Here we have a sample of the incomparable Jazmine Sullivan going off over a Lil Silva’s grimey funky banger.

11) DJ Makency – Ragga Jump

My Los Angeles family NGUZUNGUZU and DJ Total Freedom turned me on to tribal guarachero, which is a fusion of tribal house and cumbia, and it has become my favorite genre of late. Intensely syncopated hand percussion mixed with stomping kicks and serious sub-bass. Interestingly this track has a reggae vocal sample on it, adding to the mixup.

12) DJ Alan Rosales – Claps

Another banging tribal guarachero track, this one with an indescribably fluctuating arpeggiated synth lead.

13) KS-20 – Fun-key (Instrumental)

KS-20 is a Japanese baile funk producer (!?) who incorporates influences of classic house and dubstep to his tracks. This is an instrumental dubplate he made for me of one of the tracks I heard on his MySpace player. The kids go off vogueing to this one.

14) Lil Silva – Pulse vs. Flex

I got into this track hearing it played by Bok Bok and L-vis 1990 last year, and I am still obsessed. It combines the bass from Musical Mob’s grime classic “Pulse X” with Silva’s signature “acoustic” snares and hi-hats. That persistent hissing open hi-hat that never closes is so unique to this track.

15) Kingdom – Mindreader ft. Shyvonne (Bok Bok Remix)

I’m really looking forward my first release. We have remixes from Todd Edwards, L-Vis 1990, and this dark-drone-triplet-garage banger of a remix from Bok Bok.

16) Lenny Fonata – Spirit of the Sun (Bump & Flex Mix)

Give me classic 2-step with organ bass and diva vox and I’m all good.

17) DJ Corlando – Passa Passa (Kingdom Remix)

This is a kuduro remix I made for my set at Night Slugs last year. I finally finished it while making this mix. By the end of it, it’s a totally different track, with a pleading Keyshia Cole sample near the end.

18) Kingdom – YOU

This is the B-side to my upcoming Fools Gold / Acephale release. Bubbling-trance with an SWV sample on helium.

19) Terror Danjah – With U ft. Shola Ama

Rhythm & grime was my favorite sub-genre. The soulful side of grime that never got enough shine. I’m still upset it didn’t yield big chart hits. Davinche and Terror Danjah were working with Sadie and Shola Ama, and the results were mind-bogglingly beautiful. This skittery track from 2004 reminds me of the innovation and elegance of Timbaland’s early work with Aaliyah. Terror and the sisters Ama are apparently linking up again, so I’m hopeful.

20) Young Dot – DPM Remix / Threat Misses – Juke Ya Girl (Kingdom Remix)

A shorter version of this blend was on my first mixtape in 2006. I recently revisited it and expanded it, adding melodies and drums.

21) The Dream – Fancy

The Dream and Tricky Stewart are the most important R&B production team in America right now. The way the track slowly builds and the details in the arrangement are truly amazing. Listen to this track on your mobile phone on top of a mountain in the desert for best results.”