Since its inception 10 years ago, Anjunadeep has helped launch the careers of many influential acts in the house and deep house scenes, including Dusky, 16 Bit Lolitas, Jaytech, and many more. In addition to its weekly radio show, the Anjunadeep Edition, Anjunadeep regularly discovers and exposes some of the hottest names in electronic music via their celebrated Anjunadeep mix compilation—the seventh installment of which is set for release September 10.
In preparation for the upcoming Anjunadeep takeover at the Nocturnal Wonderland 20th Anniversary this Labor Day weekend, where the crew is hosting a curated stage Sunday, September 6, we sat down with some of the label’s heavy hitters—including Lane 8, Jody Wisternoff, Cubicolor, and Beckwith—to discuss the imprint’s legacy and future.
Anjunadeep is turning 10 years old this year. What progress has the label made throughout this past decade?
Beckwith: They’ve done a great job of staying around, which honestly is not something you can say for a lot of labels. Not only staying around, but thriving and moving from what I think a lot of people saw as a boutique, progressive house label to a major player in the international house market on the music side, as well as now on the live, festival, and club side.
How do you help contribute to Anjunadeep’s unique and diverse sound, while working within the label of deep house?
Jody Wisternoff: As a prominent recording artist on the label as well as a member of A&R, I’d like to think my individual sound as a producer and DJ has helped shape the direction taken over the last few years. Playing clubs most weekends and checking promos every day really keeps you on the cutting edge, which is crucial knowledge when it comes to defining a label’s identity. The stuff we all seem to like just happens to be on the deeper, more melodic, and emotional end of the spectrum, so it comes natural sticking to the deep house ethos.
Beckwith: Well, that’s just it, isn’t it? Deep broadens the spectrum—including my more house-y sound all the way to the deepest of the deep and even to the progressive side as well—at the same time remaining cohesive.
Cubicolor: We do our own thing. I guess it falls somehow in the genre of deep house, but we don’t really understand how these genres are defined anymore. I guess just by our failure to understand what deep house really is, we create our own unique (mis)interpretation of it. If we’d really understand the genre, then maybe we’d lose a lot of uniqueness and diversity.
“You don’t have to be cookie-cutter to be relevant. Good music can stand on its own.”—Beckwith
What is the biggest challenge that Anjunadeep has faced as a label?
Cubicolor: Maintaining a brand and growing it, keeping true to certain important principles in the current, very tumultuous music industry is something to be admired. Surviving and to grow and to flow with the changing times is at any moment in time the biggest challenge both labels and artists face.
If you could sign any artist to Anjunadeep, who would it be and why?
Jody Wisternoff: Burial. The collabs he did with Four Tet—“Nova,” “Moth”—show that his style sits beautifully within the 4/4 context. This guy is the master of haunting atmosphere and is just totally unique.
Beckwith: Thomas Bangalter, simply so I could say I was labelmates with Thomas Bangalter, one of my most inspiring heroes.
Cubicolor: Hope Sandoval, the most amazing songwriter/vocalist.
How did you get involved with Anjunadeep?
Jody Wisternoff: They originally signed a track of mine, “Lassoo,” back in 2009. We started to build a strong relationship, releasing more singles and an album, which culminated in them bringing me on board to mix Anjunadeep 05 in replacement of Jaytech, who they felt better suited to Anjunabeats. The rest is history.
Lane 8: Like several of the current artists on the roster, I was recruited by Jody Wisternoff in 2013, when he and James [Grant] were on the hunt for Anjunadeep 05 tracks. Jody had been playing some of my music on his radio show, and he asked for some unsigned material for Anjuna. It was a pretty surreal moment to have him reach out, as I’ve been such a big fan of his since I got into dance music. That summer, Anjunadeep released “Be Mine,” and we lived happily ever after.
Beckwith: Through my homie Andrew Bayer. He, Matt Lange, and I all went to school together.
Cubicolor: Our first release on Anjunadeep was “Murder Weapon,” as 16 Bit Lolitas, if I remember correctly. That track was quite a big track for us and started off our relationship with Anjuna on a very good note.
A lot of Anjunadeep artists have started releasing their songs on vinyl again. What do you think about the vinyl resurgence and how does it effect how we enjoy and experience music?
Cubicolor: Nothing beats having an exclusive track on vinyl. Downloading MP3s is quite an impersonal business, and you can’t accidentally delete a vinyl.
Beckwith: People love a physical copy of something to hold in their hands, to read. It connects them more with the music than clicking on different fields of an iTunes browser or moving through pages of the included PDF artwork. Plus, nothing smells like vinyl. Don’t laugh, it’s true!
What is something your fans don’t know about you?
Jody Wisternoff: I turned down the chance to work with Electronic (Bernard Sumner [Joy Division/New Order], Arthur Baker, Johnny Mar ) back in the early Way Out West days. Big mistake.
Beckwith: I cook a mean porterhouse.
Cubicolor: I eat my food very slowly, in a Zen-like fashion.
What’s a facet of the current dance music landscape you could not have predicted 10 years ago?
Jody Wisternoff: Maybe the scale of production at some of the festivals. Next level stuff, visually.
Lane 8: I was just talking about this phenomenon. It’s 2015 and tracks I used to play in my sets during peak hour are now being played at H&M at 11am on a Tuesday.
Beckwith: How prominent it is in the US. If you had told me 10 years ago it would be like it is now, I would have told you to go check into a mental hospital.
Cubicolor: “Air DJing.”
Which tracks would you pick as Anjunadeep hallmarks and why?
Journeymen “Crash Reel”—Just an incredible record, one of my all-time Anjunadeep faves, and I still play it to this day.
16 Bit Lolitas “Deep in My Soul”—Soooo catchy, plus super warm and soothing. A great Anjunadeep moment.
Lane 8 ft. Solomon Grey “Diamonds”—The ladies’ favorite. Solomon Grey’s vocal totally nails it, and Daniel is on top form.
Choir Of Young Believers “Hollow Talk” (Jody Wisternoff, James Grant and Lane 8 Remix)—A huge fan of the original. It was a privilege and pleasure to remix this alongside James and Daniel.
Jody Wisternoff ft. Sian Evans “The Bridge”—Shameless self-promotion here (laughs), but very proud of this one as I feel it has really connected with a lot of people.
Martin Roth “Beautiful Life”—It comes to mind as a true Anjuna classic. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Martin drop it at some of our recent events. It’s a huge moment when it comes on, which is something you can’t say about that many 3.5-year-old tunes.
Cubicolor “Got This Feeling”—Although it’s a newer one, I think Cubicolor’s “Got This Feeling” will also go down as one of the finest records Anjuna will ever release.
When all is said and done, what will be Anjunadeep’s legacy? What is the label’s ultimate, long-lasting message and/or life lesson?
Beckwith: You don’t have to be cookie-cutter to be relevant. Good music can stand on its own.
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