Interview: Anja Schneider

An early adopter of European techno, Anja Schneider has been involved in club music for several decades, pioneering the Berlin scene via various successful record labels and radio shows.

Now in 2020, she’s undoubtably one of Germany’s top club DJs, and with projects such as her Sous Music imprint and Club Room radio show, is pushing emerging talents to a global audience.

Recently she added a new interview segment to her weekly broadcast and is about to return to Sous for the release of her new Seduction EP.

We got a chance to ask her a couple of questions about the release, her Club Room show, how she’s been dealing with isolation and more.

You’re about to return to Sous Music in a few weeks for your new Seduction EP, tell us about the tracks? What was the studio sessions like for this one?

‘Seduction’ I wrote at the start of the Corona virus pandemic when we all heard that we would have to stay at home and that times ahead would no doubt be massively changing for everyone. I needed some positive energy at the time, and the early 90s rave vibes was where my love affair with techno began. I wanted to get back those feelings and emotions that music bought to me at that time, so this is where the inspiration came for this release.

And what can you share about who we can expect on Sous in the coming months?

After my own release at the start of June, we’ll be welcoming an amazing EP from an Italian duo called Reform which has a sexy hypnotic energy to it. I can’t wait to release it but I’m really sad that I am not able to play this out at clubs right now. After that you can expect releases from the awesome Markus Suckut and then Subradeon who brings a full package of Detroit techno to Sous.

You also have your own radio show, Club Room, which broadcasts on Radio Eins, can you describe it in your own words?

Radio has been a part of my life for 20 years. 2020 actually marks the 20th anniversary for me as a presenter, so it’s a landmark achievement which I am very proud of. Club Room has been a regular fixture on Radio Eins for 3 years now already, which airs every Friday night. It’s a three hour show which showcases all the new music I have discovered, some of my current favorites and I sometimes have a guest DJ mix. One thing you can be sure of, is that it always has one hour of exclusive music. Club Room is now syndicated over 300 different stations all over the world, and can be found on my Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Apple Music etc.

And how does it differ from a set you might play at home, or in a club?

I love the fact that I can play a lot of different styles of music in that hour on the radio show, which is something I cannot do in a club. Everything seems possible on the radio show and I can go into electro, some deep house and of course techno. When I play at a club, you know your audience is there to see you play, and they know your music and what to expect. But also, it depends on the country, club and set time – some places allow me to play totally different. One thing I am happy about is that I have a true crowd who follows me and allows me to play how I feel.

Recently you added a new interview section to the show, called Backstage, what’s the idea behind that?

Yes! This is a bit of a new project for me, which I am really enjoying. I have always wanted to do a conversational podcast, but it was a case of starting it and when. Of course, we all went into lockdown and it meant I had more time to start this project. Talking to interesting people from within the industry was the goal, which can be managers, DJs, booking agents, producers, promoters and more. I wanted to show an insight into things we maybe don’t normally talk about, and I feel that everyone has an interesting story to tell.

You started out in radio in the early 2000’s, what are some of the biggest differences that you notice 20 years later?

I can’t believe that 20 years has gone by that fast. I think the main difference is the numbers of listeners, as I feel that there are so many formats to access and listen to music these days that not everyone listens to radio like they used to. One thing we do have now is variety, we have so many shows and each is more specialist to a specific genre. I think this is good to have radio shows and hosts who know what they are talking about, know that genre inside out and therefore you always know what you are going to get when listening to their show. It would be weird listening to a show now which goes from classic, to rock and then dance music. It just doesn’t work.

2020 has of course not been kind to the music industry, particularly the events side of things, what changes do you think we’re going to see when things start to relax and clubs are able to organise parties again?

It’s hard to be able to answer this, as no one knows what is going to happen and whether this will be a lesson for all of us to reflect and learn from, or maybe human beings will go back to their old ways. I think it was necessary for this to happen in many ways, as it’s given the world time to breathe and reflect on ourselves and the life we live in. The basics in life have a new meaning for many at the moment, which is something we have all been guilty of forgetting. As for clubs, who knows what’s going to happen. I just sincerely hope that many of them survive this period.

And outside of music, what things are you missing the most during isolation?

Definitely going to restaurants with friends! I love to eat out and haven’t realised how much this is a big part of my social life until you can’t do it. I am a very affectionate person, who likes to hug everyone, so to not be able to have that physical connection with someone, I find very hard but it’s something that I need to change now to ensure we are all safer.

Lastly, before we go, can you give us one album that you think is important in times like these?

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy.