Posts Tagged ‘ana sia’

WANDERLUSTING WITH ANA SIA | An Interview

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

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.

B-rookie WANDERLUSTs 2010

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Contributing Writer/Photographer : Brooke Kettering aka B-rookie, your Kali Kinect

Wanderlust Music Festival

Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, CA

July 30-August 1 2010

Wanderlust was a festival I had been anticipating for months.  Yoga all day and music all night, in the same place, for three days!   As luck would have it, I broke my arm the Sunday before the festival…changing my plans for the festival weekend drastically.  Still, it was wayyy worth the 30 hours spent driving to and from.

It was my first time at Squaw Valley which is a beauuutiful, picturesque little mountain resort with Alpine-looking lodges and restaurants.   There was no on-site camping so my friends and I booked camping about 10 miles away ahead of time.  We weren’t able to get to the venue until mid-day Saturday (halfway through the festival weekend).  This meant that we missed Moby’s DJ set and Pretty Lights (major bummer).  Still way worth it.  I heard that Pretty Lights killed it, even from people who were solely there for the yoga classes and completely unfamiliar with electronic music.  We made it to the venue just in time for Moby’s 4:00 acoustic set.  But first things first.

We had to drive to the resort which was good and bad—it meant we’d have to drive home but also meant we could bring our own food and booze which we could have easy access to all day and night!  We approached the resort entrance, beers in hand, with trepidation.  Much to my surprise, we discovered that we COULD WANDER LUSTFULLY AROUND THE RESORT WITH OUR OWN BOOZE…and WATER!  The conversation went something like this.  Me: “Can we walk in with these?”  Wanderlust volunteer, “Ya!”. Me: “So I could, like, bring a bottle in…and walk around… and drink it?!”  Volunteer, “Uhh…yep!”  I was impressed already.  Though there technically were some rules and restrictions (like no booze in the main stage area), security was so lax it didn’t seem like it.  Another thing that contributed to the weekend’s blissful atmosphere…it smelled of Palo Santos wood EVERYWHERE!  If you are unaware of what that is I suggest finding some and burning it.   On top of that, the valley was crawling with bright-eyed, smiling, hard-bodied yogis and yoginis, cultivating a laid back, laissez-fair vibe to the whole thing.

After perusing the many yoga/fitness related vendors we made our way to the Yogi Tree tent where Moby was performing his acoustic set with a woman named Kelly Starr.  I had never heard of her but am definitely a new fan.  Everyone filed in the concert area, laid down their yoga mats and gracefully sat down.  There was a very casual, sing-along vibe from the get-go. All attention was directed stage-ward, ears wide open.   The backdrop of the stage was the beautiful mountains that cradled our wonderful weekend haven.  It was pretty breath-taking.  Moby and Kelly opened with a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”.  They went on playing in an impromptu manner, playing unrehearsed songs that sounded just as lovely as their fine-tuned ones, including “Porcelain”, “South Side”, and “We Are All Made of Stars”.  They even included the sound guy on stage as the fuglehorn player (Google it).  The most heart-warming part of the set was toward the end, when Kelly Starr played her lullaby song, Neil Young’s “Helpless”, to her son upon Moby’s request.  Moby sat himself down with the audience, front and center with Kelly’s adorrrable son, who was comically more interested in the jelly beans he was snacking on than the angelic voice of his mother.  Audience members were visibly moved, many shedding tears and left even more zenned out than they had been upon entering.

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER PHOTOS!

After Moby we explored the venue some more.  I was pleased to see the familiar Om Shan Tea setup in the Anusara Village area, which is a staple at Do-Lab productions, where I became familiar with them.  Om Shan Tea is a tea house that operates on donation only, so whenever you’re cold or tired at a festival you can go to their bohemian, Buddha-inspired layout for some tea…even if you’re broke J.  By the time we were done sipping tea and conversing with like-minded, kindred spirits it was time for the Yard Dogs Road Show performance!

I’ve seen Yard Dogs before and they were just as entertaining as ever, with their trombone playing beauty, tap-dancing accordionist, flapper dancers, and over-the-top emcees.  These people really know how to entertain and are certainly a sight to be seen.  They’re a unique bunch of talented troubadours who never break character and are pretty much unclassifiable…you just have to check ‘em out for yourself.  Up next was the highlight of the weekend…Bassssneccctarrr!

As the sun went down during the Yard Dogs’ set the Beat Freaks began to trickle in.  It was pretty clear that many people in attendance either snuck in or came just for Saturday night’s show as the audience grew exponentially.  I think there were more people in the crowd for his set than there were at the whole festival all weekend.  The whole Pulse Stage area (the main stage) was shoulder-to-shoulder Nectarphiles, with curious new initiates intermixed!  Lucky for me, I got to rock out in the media pit the whole time which was clutch for two reasons—I could protect my broken limb from the throbbing, thrashing crowd and, more importantly, I could stand right in front of the sub-woofer J.   I’ve spent a good amount of Bassnectar shows front and center and even I, healthy limbs or not, would probably not have subjected myself to the unavoidable compression of that highly coveted spot.  There were some technical difficulties at the beginning of the set, causing a slight delay, but Bassnectar’s fans waited patiently knowing they would soon be treated with bombastic beats.  Sure enough, he opened with some new material and got right into Bass Head.  I had just been at a Bassnectar show exactly one week before this performance but the set at Wanderlust was entirely different from the previous one.  He played songs I had never heard live, including his remix of DJ Cheb I Sabbah’s “Alkher Ill Doffor” along with other parts of his non-album stuff.  He also mixed in some Missy Elliott and threw down his newest release—the remix of Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy”.  A couple things stood out to me during Bassnectar’s set.  For one, and I mean this with the utmost respect and appreciation, there were old ass ladies gettin DOWN!  Even in the chaos of the front row, right alongside their now not-so-different raver contemporaries.  The other aspect of this set that stood out, which I’ve witnessed at previous Bassnectar shows, was that the energy of the audience escalated and descended in complete synchronization with the beats.  There seems to be a sort of mind-body dualism between the man behind the laptop and his sea of zealots.  It’s hard to distinguish, at times who is leading whom…whether Bassnectar mixes in response to the vivacity of the congregation or if the crowd’s energy is being manipulated in time with the knobs on the mpc’s.  In any case, as soon as things would begin to approach mosh-pit level madness, the tempo slowed and the harangue of writhing Wanderlusters were coddled back into a tranquil acoustic trance.  One thought occurred to me…I wonder if they’ve ever considered setting up subs and speakers toward the back of the audience so people wouldn’t cram so tightly toward the front and could give each other more room to move freely.  Bassnectar was obviously the brightest of the zillion shining stars of Squaw Valley for the weekend.   Security seemed to basically give up on enforcing anything, which worked well for attendees.  They probably weren’t prepared for the drastic shift in age, intoxication level, and wardrobe that characterized the contrast between the day and night event-goers (I even met a couple guys backstage who had just walked right into backstage, accidentally, as they were trying to figure out where to buy their tickets).  Bass Heads were feeding off each other’s prajna, or life-force (had to throw that in there) and, thus, were buzzing with exhilaration throughout Bassnectar’s set and well into the night.   Lucky for us there were more bass-heavy beats to be heard by the beneficence of the beloved Ana Sia!…At least until the event’s early ending time of 2 am.

My excitement to see Ana Sia DJ was soon snuffed out…seems everyone at the Bassnectar show had the same idea and the bar/lodge she was DJing at rapidly reached  capacity (despite the fact that it was strictly 21+) right after Bassnectar’s set ended, with a huge line already manifesting.   There was some other electronic music projecting somewhere but I was pretty set on seeing Ana Sia’s set, since I had already missed the one she had the night before, so I hung around at Om Shan Tea until the line died down.  I was able to catch the last half hour of her set.  My friend described the setting like so, “it’s like a really dope, really bug house party.”  Summed it up pretty well.  Everyone was groovin, creating about a 30 degree temperature difference between inside the lodge and outside.  This was definitely the place to be.  Ana Sia was DJing alongside the soulful voice of live singer Erica D., creating a surprisingly well-entwined, creative collaboration.  The place was packed and spirits held high.  Though it would’ve been nice if she were set up at an outside tent so more people could listen in, the bar served as a nice (and warm!) change of scene and filtered the bass-mongers into a slightly more mature, toned-down audience.  End of a fantastic, free-spirited day.

Sunday brought even more, unexpected delights!  Ana Sia was kind enough to give me some of her time and agreed to set up an interview.  Her manager had requested that she find a serene, quiet place for this to occur.  What better a place than at 8,200 feet elevation, poolside, over-looking Lake Tahoe, which could only be reached by an exciting, awe-inspiring ten minute gondola ride up a mountain!?  What a lovely, sunny Sunday afternoon!  We chatted for about a half hour, she revealed to me in her nonchalant way that she actually is as cool and down to earth as she seems.  She brought the chick who had been singing over her mixing the night before, Erica D., as company and to graciously videotape the interview.  Ana had to take off for other endeavors so I decided to stay at High Camp (the location of all the activities that could only be enjoyed by regular festival attendees after an additional $25 payment to get there) and hang by the hot tub while my friends took their  yoga classes, which also overlooked the dazzling Lake Tahoe.  A few things were reported back to me about the yoga classes…mainly that they were hard as fuck…challenging in the way a great yoga class should be.

The poolside turned into a Sunday afternoon rager with DJ Leif supplying the tunes.  People were moving their rock-solid bodies either off on the outskirts doing inverted scorpions on top of boulders, gyrating, drinks in hand on the dance deck, or whirling around the whirlpool.  We pulled ourselves away in order to make it to The Pulse (main stage) in time for Beats Antique.  It felt sort of odd seeing them while the sun was still up but it was still an awesome set.  Zoe Jakes was sexy as ever.  I’ve seen better shows of theirs, with more contributing band members, but this one was good nonetheless.   Band member David Satori sarcastically asked the audience if our kundalini had been ignited yet.  They played one of their most recent recordings in addition to their older, more well-known material.  The next and last performance we saw was Brazilian Girls.  I LOVED LOVED LOVED them, especially the lead singer.  She’s interesting, funny as hell, and beautifully comfortable in her own skin.   She spoke directly to the audience throughout the show, at times to specific people.  She smoked cigarettes on stage (American Spirits only) and shared words of wisdom.  One particularly memorable quote was when she said, “We must get together and rebel, and once you start rebelling, don’t stop!”   She kept emphasizing how we are all the same, all loving and suffering the same.  She reached out to audience members and made sure everyone was shakin their ass.   At one point she commented on the fact that, despite everyone illegally downloading their previous album for free, they’d soon be releasing another.  Even though I had never even heard Brazilian Girls until this performance, I felt bad realizing this is true on many levels for many of the performing artists that festival-goers appreciate and regard so highly.  Whether it’s downloading an album or sneaking into concerts, music fans seem to have forgotten that their dollars are what allow such talented people to come out and entertain us, and that they DESERVE it.

After reflecting on all the beauty of the people, music, and environment of the weekend I decided something: all of us music aficionados need to prioritize and direct our budgets less toward personal ‘party favors’ and more toward supporting the artists that make these incredible events and experiences possible.

All in all, Wanderlust was a legit festival.  Security was chill, there was a great sense of freedom, they supplied drinking water, we could use the lodge’s toilets, the weather was perfect, and the music was phenomenal.  Only way it would’ve been better is if The Do Lab had put it on J.

Love,

B-rookie, your Kali Kinect