The Australians are coming, and Anna Lunoe is definitely a name to know amongst them! The Sydney-bred babe has built a name for herself over the past eight years as a distinct DJ/Producer/Radio Host/Music Curator. Showcasing her vocal and writing talents now as an artist, she earns another slash with the breakout of her new EP this Fall—the dance-like, sultry and all-around fun collection of tracks was preceded by the music video of her lead single “All Out,” which follows Lunoe on a fun and flirtatious excursion around Los Angeles. Before continuing on a celebratory circuit of shows across the US and Europe, we caught up with Lunoe on her humble start in Sydney, stepping up her music game, and going all out on her debut as a songstress:
LA CANVAS: What a long way to come. You started out volunteering at a community radio station, right?
ANNA LUNOE: Yes! I did so right out of school, to meet people who worked in music and who really shared a love for music. It was all very exciting times, and then more things started to happen for me step by step.
LAC: What were your first DJ gigs like?
AL: I remember my first 2 gigs, so scary and stressful but I was very happy at the same time. To keep calm, I listened to D’angelo to fall asleep the night before (laughs). The gigs actually went well.
LAC: Did you have a musical upbringing? What was it like growing up for you in Australia?
AL: My older brothers and dad were big into music. That’s all they talked about and, of course, I wanted to keep up with them. As a kid, I also used to make mix tapes for family and friends. I would give them away and I would host them. You could say that it was my first radio show. I always knew that I wanted to pursue music more when I got older but I didn’t know anyone in music or anyone that did it professionally.
LAC: So little Anna grew up to be a DJ, and then music producer. Tell us more about that evolution.
AL: I grew up playing some piano and guitar, and I had dabbled in music before becoming a DJ. DJing is where I really found my voice though. 2 years into it, I started to learn Ableton for production but there was no hurry initially because I was so in love with DJing. I was very serious about it and I wanted to know everything about music. I practiced or played out like 4 or 5 times a week, more if I had the time. Around 2009, I really started to get into production. I began collaborating with people like Wax Motif, Them Jeans, Flume, and Touch Sensitive. It was truly a great experience collaborating because it really helps to build relationships and to push ideas.
LAC: When did you add singing to your repertoire?
AL: I’ve always had musical ideas in my head and I would sing them out loud. I feel like I’m pretty competent on piano but often it’s much easier to just sing something. I build songs this way, and then add the other elements like bass, keys, etc. “The Sad Piano” by Justin Martin was the first track I ever vocalized, and I put it on Soundcloud bootleg style. It was the first time that I felt OK to put myself out there like that. There’s a process, sometimes it takes yourself a while to accept that you can do something. I now feel more confident as a singer and songwriter, and to share ideas or tell people that I produce. It’s a great feeling, and it’s really cool when people come up to me about my songs.
LAC: You’ve been on a roll with an array of new tracks this past year, a current fave of ours being your new single “All Out.” The real question is though, who is the song about? We promise not to tell.
AL: It’s about anyone you want it to be, baby (laughs)! Yeah, this one does have a late night love song undertone but the truth is that I like to write songs as characters. My songs don’t necessarily have to be from or about my life.
LAC: You’re heading out on the road this fall. Tell us more about your tour.
AL: The tour is a celebration of my new EP, which I’ve been working on for the past year and a half. I wanted to make music that would work whether you’re at home or in the club, and now I get to play it out for everyone. I’ve really noticed in the past 6 months that people are not only coming out to just see me DJ, but they’re coming out more to hear my tracks. I’m putting the music, visuals, and vibe all together myself for the tour. The routing is based on my favorite spots in different towns around the US. I’ll also be having local talent and people I’ve met along the way come out to each city. After the US, I head over to Europe, then I’ll probably take a vacation.
LAC: Many of the artists that you’ve collaborated and have shared a bill with, like Flume and Touch Sensitive, are apart of a long list of Aussies that are dominating the music scene right now. What do you suggest is contributing to the Australian boom?
AL: Musical and social diversity helps. I think we have great training ground for up-and-coming artists to play in good-sized venues for good-sized crowds. I also feel that the Aussie mentality resonates well with the US audience. Our music is positive, you can hear it in the chords and hooks. That’s in comparison to music from, like, Berlin. Their sound can be a tad darker, which may not appeal as much to the masses.
LAC: What’s LA life been like for you?
AL: I’ve been here for about 2 years, and I’m sort of becoming a soccer mom. I have a garden and I’m learning how to make cake. I haven’t really gotten home sick because one thing that’s cool about LA is it’s the first stop on the plane from Sydney, so a lot of my Australian friends stop here on their way elsewhere. It’s nice to have Bag Raiders down the road from me too. I’ve been able to meet so many cool American & Australian people here, but the challenge is finding non-DJ friends (laughs).
LAC: Have you driven on the wrong side of the road yet?
AL: Yes, a couple times! I don’t think I’ve hurt anyone though, I hope?
LAC: So with 8 years of DJing under your belt, is there a gig that you can remember where you just absolutely bombed?
AL: I’ve had my fair share of bad gigs, it’s all in how you look at it though. Bad gigs are just as valuable as good gigs. You gotta realize that just because you crushed it one night doesn’t mean it’ll be like that every time. Sets change, crowds change, clubs change, everything changes. You have to evolve.
LAC: Opposite then, was there a time you knew that you absolutely slayed your set?
AL: This summer, at the Lollapalooza after party. I flew in from NYC dead tired but I went straight to the festival and stayed up all day. I got back to my hotel so out of it, but I still had to make it out to play the after party with Flume and Duke Dumont. I got there, went in stress free, mixed so well, and danced my butt off. It was a blast!
LAC: What wisdom have you received along your career that you’d like to share with aspiring DJs and artists?
AL: Confidence! I know that it’s a big deal to stand up and say “I want to DJ.” I can remember myself stumbling over the words when I was starting out. Sometimes, it’s hard gathering the courage to do whatever it is that you want to do, but you have to try! My next advice is that you have to do your own thing. It’s not enough just spinning a Beatport playlist. Discover and curate your own style! Last thing is don’t expect music to always be free. Honestly, I don’t care to be some music rights advocate but it’s crazy sometimes. People get so aggressive and super cranky when I put music up that isn’t for free, after I spent a week or more of my time working on it. If it was that easy, you would do it or dig it up yourself.
LAC: Amen! Any final words for the people?
AL: I hope that you all will enjoy my new EP. Dance to it, listen to it, love it (laughs). And be sure to check out my Spotify, lots of good stuff!
*In LA? Anna Lunoe performs at Lot 613 on October 10th and The Fonda on October 12th. Elsewhere? Plenty o’ places to turn up to her tunes: new EP on iTunes, playlists on Spotify, Luney Tunes series on Soundcloud.