A Sit Down With DJ Anja Scheider

Anja Scheider has been a permanent fixture within Berlin’s clubbing fraternity for over 20 years. In that time she’s seen it all, the Love Parade years, the legendary techno clubs like E Werk and Tresor, the gargantuan spaces afforded by the fall of the Berlin wall utilised by the city’s artistic youth. She came to Berlin in the mid 90s, inspired by the rave scene that was happening in the capital. A driven and constantly optimistic person, she wanted to become a part of it and found a niche.

 

“The deeper you become involved in this business, the further you get away from music.”

 

You’ve been involved in electronic music since the early 90’s, what changes have had the biggest impact on your music career?

Ffor me personally for sure it’s changing from playing vinyl to  cd. I’m still waiting for the next change to play finally with Traktor.

Are there any really embarrassing DJ moments you would share with us? Or if not what is your worst DJ scenario?

Too many to mention I’m sure. But I hope as I get more professional I’m getting better at my “cool face” when I mess up or play the wrong track—it happens to the best of us. I think my most embarrassing moments (and probably with alcohol involved) are when I think I’m dancing in a super cool way, when in fact I’m not and it’s up on the internet the next day for all to see. Social media is a curse for this.

Were there any obstacles in the beginning of your DJ career?

Of course I had problems when I started, because I wasn’t a pro directly, so of course I had a lot of really bad gigs, especially when the sound system is not right. I had to practice in my living room quite a lot; I used to be really nervous and sometimes I still am. But I think I was always kind of lucky, because there were always the really good gigs as well.

You entered into the world of DJing through a quite unusual route, first through radio production then through presenting. What advantages and disadvantages do you think taking that route had for you compared to the route others have taken?

I don’t think it was too unusual to come from that background because some other DJs started like I did. For me it was all quite natural and organic. When I started the radio show I was playing techno and electronic music and so I soon started to get requests to play in clubs. At the start it really was quite hard. When I started the show, radio had a completely different position, it had way more listeners than nowadays, but it was easy for me because I couldn’t see all those people. This was my first problem when I started as a club DJ, seeing the people and seeing the direct reaction. I was super, super nervous and of course I made really bad mistakes in the beginning, but going out to play my music in the clubs was one of the best decisions I ever made.

What is your favorite part of this job?

It definitely isn’t traveling. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and to discover new countries and meet different people and I feel blessed that I get to do this, but the time wasted in the airports and on planes really starts to get annoying. I love my job but if there’s one thing that I could change it would be that.

Scarily to some people, I know you have a life outside of techno too—what’s your favorite non-techno thing to do in the world?

A life outside techno! Of course I have to have life outside of this—I am a mother of a three-year-old boy, so a lot of my time is spent far away from techno. We like to hang out in the playground, play football, and our favorite time is in the morning at breakfast and our dance experiments together in the kitchen—best party ever.

What is your best gig ever, if you can recall a particular one?

Had so many good gigs and intense times. It’s always very difficult for me to pick one. But for sure the best moments are mostly when we are all together — Barcelona rooftop moments are always ones to remember.

You travel a lot with your work – is this as big a blessing as it looks to us non DJ’s?

To be honest, it must seem to be a lot of fun, but the traveling itself is a nightmare. You waste so much time at airports in crazy security queues (and most of the time they treat you really badly),  

you play a big part in destroying our environment, you are far from home etc.Although at the end you have the opportunity to meet the most incredible people all around the world, which really opens up your own  

horizons.

How does the music differ that you get to play on the radio compared to what you select to play in a club?

On the radio you can go much more wild and weird. And you can play some more pop-y songs. The last gig I had was in Ibiza, at one of the closing parties and there it was just ‘BLAM BLAM BLAM’, so you can’t do that kind of thing there. The radio gives me a lot more freedom. Also, because I have so little time these days, the radio really gives me the opportunity to listen to a record properly, from beginning to end. That sometimes really helps me decide what is really going to work for my DJ sets. T

Tell us about your new label Sous Music and your coming EP ‘Prosperity’.

‘Prosperity’ is the most ‘techno’ EP I’ve ever done. I have loved this style since the beginning of my career and have always had a big love for Detroit and old school sounds. But of course you have to be really careful nowadays because techno seems like the new EDM and not everything is to my taste. For my label Sous Music I’m very strict and happy that I have this imprint that allows me to do exactly what I want. I’ve still got a lot of music waiting to be released.

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