Boris Brejcha might be one of the world’s biggest DJs on the planet right now, but as anyone at the top of the DJ pyramid will no doubt admit, you don’t get to scale the summit without a passionate team behind you. One such individual who’s definitely had a massive effect on Brejcha’s career is his friend and long-time music collaborator, Ann Clue.
A lady who’s rightly beginning to enjoy her own time in the spotlight, Ann Clue has enjoyed a whirlwind 2019, and already has gigs booked in for 2020 at Sonus, EXIT, Time Warp and dozens of others. So you’d be thinking that this is a good time for us to check in with her, right? Right?!
Anyway, here’s what went down when we put some questions to Ann recently…
Tell us about your history with electronic music – when was the first time you heard it? And why did it make an impression on you?
I remember the first time I heard about electronic music was when my big sister went to the Love Parade in Berlin. I was still a little child and she came back from that weekend and was listening to electronic music and dancing in our living room in a very strange and new way – I’ve never seen before. She was basically “raving” on the carpet in our living room and I couldn’t understand why she moved the way she did. She showed me some music by Sven Väth and I didn’t get it either.
Then a bit later my mother was a gymnastic teacher and she was always searching for new uplifting music. One day she bought an MC with a track called “Hymn” made by Music Instructor. It was in the late 90s and I listened to it over and over again. I love it. It made me dance and jump around like nothing before. Music Instructor also did this track Super Sonic, who many people know.
I just listen to it now while I’m writing this interview and I have a big smile on my face cause it’s so weird and funny. But it was really my first contact with electronic music. I come from a family where music in general played a big role in social and family life. But its was mainly Indie music like the Doors, Nirvana or Metallica. So electronic music was something totally different, but it took some time until it caught me for real.
When I started to go out – I was around 15 – we didn’t have clubs in town. I’m coming from the countryside. And electronic music was so underground that we only had illegal parties in the forest or some vineyard of someone you know, who knew someone and so on. At that time we had no mobile phones so it was all about talking to people and making flyers so that everyone knew where the party is going to happen. One guy had a power generator ran on gas and others had the technical equipment like vinyl turntables and simple mixers. It was a very exciting time and I have great memories raving until the sunrise or the police came to shut everything down. It was a whole new world for me and from that time it kept me forever since.
What do you think it is about electronic music that sets it apart from other genres?
I would’t set it apart from other genres cause meanwhile everything in music is mainly made electronic. But when it all started it was very different – as the sound of synthesizers are often far from “normal” instruments. And also it was more made uplifting with a faster tempo and that made it very danceable.
Now nearly every genre is crisscrossed by electronic elements and it’s hard to make a big difference. I’m in love with music in general – it doesn’t necessarily have to be dance music as long as it sounds good to me.
What’s been the most surprising aspect of DJing full-time?
How people perceive how different my life must be. It’s so interesting to talk to people and also my friends who know me closely – they think if you have this dream job, you are fulfilled automatically and that it makes me as a person someone special. But that’s not the case. I love my life and yes maybe full time DJs have a different life than people who have a “normal” job or people who do music as a hobby. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have to deal with the normal things and struggles in life. Being able to travel the world and make a living with it is something very unique but also a huge challenge, mental and physically.
Being such good friends with Boris, did you have an idea of what was involved? What sort of tips did he give you?
Yes, I grew up with Boris. When I met him he had not much money to buy food or anything else. He had 2 chairs in his first apartment – one was broken. When we moved in together I paid our rent for over a year by myself as I had still a normal job as an IT specialist at that time and he just started to have some gigs here and there. But I still remember well the first time I talked to him and listened to his music in the very beginning. Then I already knew what he was capable off and that he is truly someone special! We grew together and learned a lot from each other. I learned a lot about music and also his perception of life – to do something you really love in order to make yourself happy, cause no one else ever will. I could write over pages now to tell you what I’ve learned from him and what we´ve been through together, but 2 things are the most important: Do what you love and be persistent – then you will succeed. That’s how we did it ever since and we will keep on doing for the rest of my life.
In terms of music, sound and style, how do you guys influence one another?
Hmm… good question. In the past, we did a lot music together just for fun. We did some trance music, some techno and also pop, just to enjoy ourselves in the process. I think nowadays we still respect a lot each others opinion but we keep on doing what we like. And that’s not so different as we have a similar taste in music.
I would say I’m more dark and deep and Boris is more melodic. But the real influence to our style and music is coming from all aspects of our lives. Not only from our friends and family but form all the situations, the travel, the struggles, the love we receive. Everything in music is being influenced by life itself – not really by ourself.
Can you tell us a bit about Fcking Serious? Would you say it’s been integral to Boris’ success? And can you tell us a bit about the team who make it all work?
When I met Boris he had his first release on the label Harthouse – the former label of Sven Väth. After a few releases he realized that he had basically become the label. And that all of the top releases on this label came from him. And as they were not so flexible – genre-wise – and always wanted to keep him in a certain direction – it was always his dream to have a label on his own. A place where he decides what will be released and how to promote it. That’s why we started to do FKNG SERIOUS. I would not say its been integral for Boris’ success – he would have succeeded anyway. But it was important for him and the people around him – like me – to make it not only a solo show instead of creating a team around him to support him and complete him. Deniz came to us quite early – and he was the third person to share this dream. So he was on board right away. Slowly but surely we grew into a bigger team.
The dream came to us around 2014, I hired another agent in 2016 (Carlijn) as I was travelling most of the time. In 2017 we teamed up with our manager (Alex) to help us grow even bigger and take everything to the next level. Where we are now wouldn’t be possible without the whole team working at its best. Everyone plays their own role and is 100% passionate about what they does. That’s what makes us so special. We are still a very small team but now we compete with Labels like Drumcode (we have a festival with Awakenings in Amsterdam this summer – where Drumcode has one day and FCKNG SERIOUS the other day).
And it’s crazy to see how everything grew that fast while it took others over 20 years to reach what we have now after 4 years. I’m grateful everyday for my team and what we handle together – it’s truly something special.
Back to music for a bit, and can you tell us a bit about where you’re at with everything at the moment? What DJs and crews etc really inspire you at the moment?
I am at the most exciting moment of my whole life right now. Everything is changing and evolving and that’s so beautiful for me on one hand and on the other hand it’s more than challenging. I try to grow more in production techniques, learn new instruments and to create an authentic sound for myself. Meanwhile, all this exciting opportunities come along.
Festivals like Awakenings and the Time Warp which has been always my dream since I started. Plus this is once again a peak time for Techno nowadays – and when I say techno – I mean this raw underground old school style that everyone is playing and digging. And that differs a lot from what I do, from the style I play and love. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand this loopy way of music as this is where I come from. That was my very first connection to techno in general and that’s where we all come from, But I love variety so much and I need variety in music in order to feel it over a long period of time. I love to see how successful techno became again and that it’s stepped out of the underground of being mainstream – which just means many more people love to listen to it and pay attention.
I also love to see how women have their peak time now and that we are able to show what we are capable off. I love Charlotte de Witte, Amelie Lens, Nina Kravitz, ANNA, OYVAA. I especially love Giorgia Angiuli as I think she has a unique approach to electronic live music and she is super special to me. As a person and as a musician. ‘m happy for everyone out there who can make a living out of music and I’m grateful to be part of them.
Have you played in the US yet and is this something that’s on your agenda over the next while?
I have played in the US twice already, in NY at Output. It was always my dream to go there and when I first was, it became a very unique experience. The US market is very different compared to Europe and I love to be challenged to change other people’s perspective. I’m waiting for my US Visa to be approved at the moment cause if so I’m going to play at EDC in Las Vegas and in NY together with Boris for Mirage in Brooklyn. I’m really excited about this one and it’s going to be huge both times. I´m so sure about that.
Having presumably conquered so many of your music goals over the last while, what are the next ones? Is it important that you never stand still and keep pushing yourself, do you think?
I love to challenge myself and I always keep pushing myself to the next level. So yes it’s very important for me to keep on going, to push myself further and further. Not only for the goal but for the challenge itself. It makes me feel alive to be able to compete and to go new ways and to always become a better version of myself. I´m quite sure I will never stand still as movement is a big part of my personality. I have so many dreams and visions, I still want to create and I want to grow as a person and as an artist as much as possible. I think this is just the beginning of my career and I´m so excited how 2020 will turn out to be. I have the feeling it’s going to change my life forever and by the end, nothing will be the same anymore.
To be more precise – music-wise I’m working on my album I´m in Australia right now and afterwards, I will go to Bali for 3 weeks into the jungle in order to take some time off for new music. Parallel I´m thinking about my album, I want to make a live act out of it. Not sure how this is going to look like but I want to make something unique and special. Stage wise, visual wise and of course music-wise. I want to tell a story with it and the story is already in my head. Now I need to transfer it into sounds and visualize it and I´m so excited to see what I am capable of.
Music aside what has been keeping you busy over the next while?
Personal development. ‘m diggin deep in personal growth and learn a lot about human’s function. I love to learn. I´m the most curious person you can imagine. I want to learn as much as possible in life, about everything I put my hands on. The past decade I focused the most on business to become a really good and effective entrepreneur. As I became very good at doing business – I now want to change my focus on me as a person and as an artist.
I read a lot, I take time off to reflect and realize what happens in my life. I learn new tools, new techniques and try to get better every day.
And finally, what are you most looking forward to about festival time?
I can’t wait for the summer to begin. The vibe when the sun comes out again, when people go out and live on the streets is truly beautiful. This year I’m going to be part of my dream festivals like EXIT, Time Warp and Awakenings and I will put all my effort into creating a unique experience for the crowd in front of me. I’m different, I’m not like the others. I think this festival season many people will realize that together with me. This is going to be the time of my life!
Ann Clue plays Time Warp on April 4th and Sea You Beach Republic on 18-19th of July