Anja Schneider Talks Success of Mobilee Label, Women in EDM, and Gig at Electric Pickle on Friday
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?
Anja Schneider: 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.
Mobilee celebrated 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 studio?
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.
What 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. 305-456-5613; electricpicklemiami.com