Electronic Beats did put the spotlight on Berlin-based ANNA Z:. A part of Fjaak’s mighty SPANDAU20 gang, producer, DJ, graphic designer, fine art connoisseur, A/V live artist and a student in architecture at the university of arts in Berlin, Anna is busier than ever and much worthy of this acclamation as a notable figure in the future of Techno, Electro, IDM and beyond.
Since 2015 Anna has been an integral part of the WERK imprint and events series, initially handling the visual guidance before becoming a part of the events themselves with regular live, modular-led shows alongside co-member and her partner, J.Manuel. She has since released material on a SPANDAU20 locked groove compilation, remixed the legendary Modeselektor and has plenty more on the horizon, a lot the Anna’s work though can only be heard through her live sets experienced in clubs.
(More on Anna Z below the video).
ANNA Z has seen how the scene often booked females as a way of affirmative action. Today she tells women in the scene to keep going and can notice a change within the male dominated scene.
She moved to Berlin in 2014 for her architecture studies, although it didn’t take long until she got in contact with the electronic scene and learnt how to produce herself.
”Before moving to Berlin I got my diploma in graphic design and arts. During the architecture studies my interest in acoustics, sound and all the interdisciplinary practices grew. I got in contact with WERK, who created parties at ://about blank, and started to make visuals for them. Something that suddenly became a big interest to me.”
”However, when I got my visuals online, Instagram deleted them because I didn’t own the music that I added to the visuals”, Anna laughs and continues; ”I only used them for myself, but still. That’s when I decided to start creating the sounds myself.”
Playful Magazine wrote this background about ANNA Z.
”It was never a struggle for me since I found it relaxing to play around in Ableton.”
Taking the first step to start producing yourself is often the first introduction to Ableton. Anna got into Max from Cycling’74, as she was already familiar with similar programming that is based on blocks, patching and coding.
”My friends encouraged me in my learning process with Ableton and gave me short lessons. That together with looking at tutorials helped a lot. It was never a struggle for me since I found it relaxing to play around in Ableton.”
In the beginning Anna only used Ableton for her short videos, and later on she started using it on its own.
”I think it’s very cool that Ableton gives you the opportunity to try it out to see how it works with the Demo version, as well as offering a Student version. In this way you can take it step by step. Later on, I invested in a modular synthesizer and today I have all of this”, she says and shows her production table that is now filled with gear.
”In the last few years’, many of my friends founded the label Spandau20 together. In this context I mainly work as a musician and play hardware live sets at the parties together with my fiancé J. Manuel.”
It’s well known that the music industry overall is dominated by men, and that it’s harder for women to make a name for themselves. The electronic scene is trying to break with these constructions, and Anna can notice a change since the last few years.
”I get uncomfortable when being asked to play in the very last minute, when it’s clear that the only reason is to reach their «Female Quota»”
”I am noticing that the electronic scene is aiming for a change and want to book more women. Many clubs have a code of booking 50-50”, Anna says and continues;
”I get uncomfortable when being asked to play in the very last minute, when it’s clear that the only reason is to reach their «Female Quota». But I don’t think they’re conscious of it, they just live in their bubble and are too lazy to discover new female artists”
”Although 2020 was a good year in that way, because so many people were active in social media and had more time to discover cool women within the scene and realized that there are plenty. They even found interesting new artists instead of only noticing what was already highlighted.”
”Get started yourself and support will follow, don’t be afraid of the technical aspects.”
Anna wants to encourage more women to believe in themselves as artists.
” If you have an interest in joining the scene actively; be brave. Get started yourself and support will follow, don’t be afraid of the technical aspects. The electronic music scene is really friendly and encouraging. Platforms like Radio80000 are setting a very good example with a pretty diverse list of residents and I am happy to be part of this platform with my own radio show called KOMI.”