WANDERLUSTING WITH ANA SIA | An Interview
Contributing Writer : Brooke Kettering
Wanderlust 2010 | Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, NV
After riding a ski gondola in Squaw Valley at Wanderlust Festival to the pool deck stationed at 8,000 feet, I had the memorable opportunity to sit down and chat with Ana Sia. Let me give a disclaimer here…this was my first interview…ever.
Me [Brooke] : What’s your favorite event that you’ve DJ’d at?
Ana: Burning Man probably, but they’re all different. That’s the one I’ve done consistently and it’s always incredible.
Me: How long have you been doing Burning Man?
Ana: I’ve been going for 7, DJing for 4.
Me: How did you get into DJing?
Ana: It was a happy accident. The short version is I learned how to run CDs and one day I accidentally beat matched. I started DJing at small events on Hawaii’s Big Island. I moved to California ad was doing it on the side. I kept getting asked to DJ and eventually it was like “I guess that’s my job.” I think I realized it the first time I was flown somewhere to DJ. I’ve been taking it seriously for like 3 years.
Me: Did you have any career path before you started DJing? Ideas of what you’d be doing professionally?
Ana: I was a cook in Hawaii but I’ve always been involved with arts…playing instruments and dancing. Especially dance.
Me: Do you break dance?
Ana: Breakdance? No…I fake dance! But yea, it was a natural unfolding [becoming a DJ].
Me: So do you like where you’re at or do you aspire to headline festivals and stuff?
Ana: I have no attachment to being the biggest font on a flyer…I’m in it to entertain people so where I’m at doesn’t really matter.
Me: How does it feel to be one of the only chick DJs on the scene?
Ana: Ugh, I get so charged by being asked as a female DJ. I don’t like sex getting involved. I would DJ in a bear costume if I could handle the heat of it. When it is acknowledged by people, it inspires and it’s a push for them and it’s great and rewarding but I try to erase those borders. There’s a flyer out there, my friend played at this venue and no one had a photo on there except me and right under my picture it said ‘Female Dubstep!’ If someone wants to come see me because I’m a female DJ then I don’t want those people at my shows. It infuriates me.
Me: Speaking of that, you can’t really have complete control over your career right?
Ana: Oh absolutely I make my own decisions and I have a great support system behind me. Jamie [Madero, of Madero management] actually found me. We made a great team.
Me: What music did you listen to growing up?
Ana: (laughs) I’m a nerd…I listened to classical. Prince…soulful stuff.
Me: What lead you to Burning Man?
Ana: I had heard about it…stories from my brother…and I was like “Take me with you!”
Me: Do you do yoga? And what style?
Ana: Yes…I practice. My own style now. Iit’s a mix of all the ones I’ve done.
Me: Did that have anything to do with your performing at this festival?
Ana: No…but I’m excited about it—people who use and love their bodies. It’s something I like and take part of.
Me: Where are you from?
Ana: I grew up in Minnesota, then lived in New York, Hawaii, and now California.
Me: What advice would you give aspiring DJs?
Ana: Take risks. Work on developing what you like…not what you think is cool or hot. What moves you is what will be carried across best. You gotta create your own sound. If it’s unnatural you’ll fail.
Me: What inspires you? What causes you to create a new track?
Ana: It’s a spontaneous emotional release. Whether that’s driven by love or fear…It’s a cosmic purging of emotions.
Me: Haha, I like that. It’s obvious that bass-heavy music has a way of drawing people in…what do you think it is about bass that does this?
Ana: How can it not grab you? It forces you to get out of your head. It’s very grounding. It’s the most natural reverb you could possibly experience.
Me: So I know Bassnectar and Moby have their charities that they’re aligned with…do you have anything like that goin on?
Ana: I don’t subscribe to any one specifically.
Me: How do you feel about medical marijuana and Prop 19?
Ana: (Thinking, grumbling) I support people’s choices. I don’t myself use so it doesn’t really affect me much either way but I think it’s better if it doesn’t pass. When anything reaches the government it becomes like Wal-mart. I think the ease with how people use it will be changed, but it doesn’t affect me directly.
Me: It seems to me that there are very few things that really unite the youth of America these days. Music is one of the only things but then there’s the addition of drug use being a factor. How do you feel about dubstep and electronic music being associated with drugs?
Ana: The youth in America doesn’t really have any kind of rite of passage. Broken homes and stuff, it’s unfortunate. I think the tradition of picking up and moving to a space as with festivals is something beautiful. The association with drugs and alcohol is really unfortunate. I don’t know if there’s a solution. I pride myself on being one of the most sober DJs. I used, but I’m so far beyond that. But I think when it’s used as a tool it can be healthy. I am NOT condoning drug use.
Me: Okay, I think I’m done with all the music-related questions. Now can I ask some silly ones?
Ana: Ya! Ask me some silly questions.
Me: When was the last time you swung on a swingset?
Ana: Really recently, actually. I love swings. It was a few weeks ago, in Louisville, Kentucky, in a big park.
Me: So I know you tour up and down Cali, but where else do you go?
Ana: I play less in Cali than anywhere else. I’m all over the country.
Me: Do you prefer playing smaller venues?
Ana: Eh, I don’t. I mean playing Red Rocks (in Colorado) to 10,000 people is pretty awesome. But I don’t have a preference, each serves a different purpose.
Me: What’s your zodiac sign and do you relate to it?
Ana: My birthday is August 29, 1977. I’ve been told that makes me a double Virgo. But I don’t subscribe to that stuff. But I know about traits about it (Virgo) and it’s pretty spot on.
Me: If you broke your arm and couldn’t DJ for 6 weeks, what would you do?
Ana: I’d make curry with the other hand and learn to play tennis. I’d sleep normal hours. Take walks.
Me: What show is coming up that you’re most excited for?
Ana: Lollapalooza. It will be my first time.
Me: What’s your favorite drink?
Ana: Champagne…and tequila. Kombucha and coconut juice.
Me: You said earlier you are into health and fitness and stuff…what do you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Ana: I play tennis, swim, bike, eat well, enjoy life, have a cat, gathered love. All those things are pretty conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
Me: I noticed your tattoos…mind if I ask what they represent and where you got them done?
Ana: A lot of them are family genealogy symbolism. I got them all over the place [got tattoos done in different parts of world].
This is where I wrapped up, having asked a lot of questions and knowing that she was now running late for her next appointment. We parted ways…she got ice cream and I proceeded to spend the rest of the daytime sipping a cocktail called “The National” (as it was red, white and blue) next to the hot tub, which turned into a full on pool party with DJ Leif keeping ambient tunes drifting through the air. This was one of those times when I thought…
…Damn, it’s good to be American.