ABOVE: ANNA LUNOE. PHOTO BY KATIE FISCHER
Anna Lunoe made a soft landing on U.S. soil last year. She’s a Californian transplant who’s acquiring a name for herself stirring dance music revelers into a frenzy from behind the decks as well as weaving out her own sound—as vocalist and producer—that’s as much bucolic melodies as it is shrewd house beats.
She’s the first female to curate CDs for Ministry of Sound in Australia and has made an imprint on the fashion world, creating runway music for Chanel, Prada, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton.
Since beginning collaborative productions of her own in 2011 with Wax Motif on “Love Ting,” she’s been heralded at home and abroad to critical acclaim, with single “Real Talk” reaching Number One on the Beatport Indie Club chart. Her releases with Fool’s Gold, Fjordin, Future Classic, and Yes Yes Records have cemented her trail onto global stages and airwaves, and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon.
HOMETOWN: Sydney, Australia
CURRENT CITY: Los Angeles, California
YOUNGEST IN THE FAMILY: I had two big brothers and one big sister. The closest age gap between me and any of my siblings was 16 years. My mum tells me in a very loving way that I was “the accident” [laughs]. But my brothers were really into music: One played guitar, one played drums, and there was a room in the house where they’d always be jamming. My dad used to play bass in bands, so he was the ringleader of their little troupe. I would sit in the corner of the room and just sing at the top of my lungs. My brothers were quick to point out to me what music and which genres were good, which sucked, and which were disgusting. I would listen and learn all the words because I was interested, and because I wanted to be part of that conversation.
CHANNELING HER SOUND: It’s been a journey. Moving through different genres and being influenced by so much, I find sounds all the time. The sound that I’ve got at the moment is definitely a really strong indication of my history in dance music and it’s a real cultural print of what’s influenced me.
STARTING OUT: I had a radio show when I first left school. I was obsessed with British indie-rock bands at the time and after that I was obsessed with MSTRKRFT, and 2manydjs, and Daft Punk… From there I started doing DJ gigs because people would hear my radio show and assume I was a DJ too. But I wasn’t. So I just played a lot of indie-oriented nights where you didn’t have to mix and could just play what you thought was fun. From there it was just one step at a time, saying, “I’m just going to do this… and now this… and now this.” After that I was quite influenced by hip-hop artists who were bringing the tempo up into dance music. There was MIA, Spank Rock, and Diplo had started to emerge… That was the scene that I was in, so when those guys came to Australia I’d be playing with them and touring with them. Then I was really into disco, and then house. I mean, it’s about mixing it all together and finding your own unique thread.
SPEAKING UP: I always thought that I would sing, but I didn’t really push it. I was happy with the DJ thing, and I got quite distracted. I thought that at one point I would put my hand up and start doing more of it. It felt like the right moment when I started making my own music. Just like a producer has their own unique way of doing hi-hats or snare drums, I thought that using my voice as a tool would be a nice thing that I could add. The more that I worked on music, the more I found that vocal lines would come into my head. I’d be playing a song on my radio show, and then I’d start singing a top line for it. So I started making bootlegs of other people’s songs with my own lines on.
FASHION FORWARD: Playing music at fashion shows was really the way that I got to know my own production style. I was always making mixtapes on music software, and then fashion music was taking it to the next level, because I would start really creating music for those shows. I would go and talk to the designer and ask them what their influences were, then I would craft a piece of music to fit their vision. I could get much more creative with that than I could in the mixtape. You know, really make it my own. But I’m not interested in fashion in the way that I like spending lots of money on clothes. I’m very practical, actually. I suppose I’m more into popular culture than I am into fashion.
THE TOUR: It’s a really unique tour and a great pairing with Banks and The Weeknd. It’s totally different from doing club shows. I’m getting exposed to a lot of people who would never be exposed to my music, because I’ve always existed in a club space, so it’s a pleasure to be invited into another world. People should expect a bridging between hip-hop and house music, old and new. I’m playing a few records that might be older than some of the kids there… but also the latest hip-hop stuff. I trust the music and trust that I’ve judged it correctly and that people just vibe it.
LA SCENE: It’s a really exciting time in L.A. right now. I’ve been seeing the transition and watching it change, and it’s become much more of a home for dance music. You can get what you want there. It’s not just one scene or one style. There’s always great people moving through, and it’s a great place to be. There’s such a depth there.
IN THE RECORD BOX: There’s songs in my DJ box that I’ve kept for 10 years, and some that have only been there for two weeks. There’s those songs that I pull out every three years that keep coming back and will sound fresh again in the context of new music. That’s the music I want to create, the music that you can rely on and that in five years from now you can pull out and it still sounds relevant.
ANNA LUNOE WILL PLAY RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL TONIGHT AND TOMORROW IN SUPPORT OF THE WEEKND. FOR MORE ON THE ARTIST, PLEASE VISIT HER WEBSITE.