It’s been a little over a year since we last caught up with Anna Lunoe, and she’s made a lot of big changes in the meantime. She launched her Apple Music / Beats 1 radio show (HYPERHOUSE), she put together one of the best curated tour stretches of 2016 so far (her upcoming dates include support from Madeaux, Dombresky, Mija, Sleepy Tom, DJ Sliink, Vindata, Nina Las Vegas, Uniiqu3, Ducky, Cray, and Rickyxsan), and she just released her new single and video for “Radioactive” with OWSLA.
NHQ: What are your proudest achievements over the last year?
Anna Lunoe: The last year has been a huge year of change for me. I pretty much rebuilt my whole team and changed my outlook. It was kinda the first time I came up for air since I moved to America in 2012. I moved here from Australia because I felt like I needed a change but I really had no plan and I had to start again. The first couple years here I took every job and spent all my energy and time trying to plant new seeds in new places. It was fun, and I’m proud of what I achieved then, but it was taxing on my body and mental health and truthfully I was quite exhausted.
When I approached by Beats 1 mid last year, it made me feel like maybe I’d made the right choices; like I was on the right path. After that, I forced myself to stop touring as much because I really wanted to do a good job at the radio show. I needed time to create it. And then being off the road gave me time to think about what I really wanted… It was pretty confronting actually, I was faced with lots of problems maybe I had been too busy to deal with. I had to grow a lot personally to overcome fears and shake off some old pains that came with that journey, but once I got into a better place things started heading in a better direction. So even though lots of cool things have happened this year, I guess my proudest achievement was more personal. Shifting focus on the things that were important in achieving my goals, and working at not sweating the things that are going to help me get in the way of getting where I needed to be.
Was the move to LA a comfortable one?
It was scary but for me it was just a big adventure. I loved all of my early touring. Every time I was in a new city I was like, “that’s that bridge from that movie!” I was so in love with the experience of it. Then I quickly realized how hard the touring was going to be.
I feel like that’s a topic that doesn’t get discussed a lot, mental health on the road.
I mean yeah, we are not robots and if you don’t treat yourself well you get sick. In Australia, the flights between cities is like an hour and a half. In America, going from Seattle to Toronto to Denver and Boston is a very normal weekend. You’re looking at at least 8-12 hours of travel a day. Then there is the late nights and performing part, and maybe getting a few hours of sleep. Bad food, no sleep, spending a lot of time alone…. All very normal triggers that may result in your mental and physical health suffering after a while. Its an amazing thing to do, but you have to work out your limits and take care of yourself.
How do you feel about the OWSLA release?
I’m so relieved to have it out! I’ve been playing it at shows and hyping it up on the internet for a year. People have been tweeting me funny memes, like, “Oh cool, it’s finally out!” with a picture of them like dead in a chair as a skeleton. The cool thing is now, for the first time in my life, I’m sitting on three tracks ready to go.
Oooooo! Tell us about the video.
The video was really fun, it’s a kind of a crazy end of the world type scenario in the desert; just a bunch of girls being crazy on golf carts. It was so fun to shoot but I beat myself up! I’ve still got bruises all down my leg.
I was hanging off a golf buggy… I don’t even know how I got scratches, but ya, suffering for my aaaarrt! (laughs)
What do you think makes powerful songwriting?
To me, it’s a combination of an accessible and interesting vocal mixed with the right sounds that reference the right things. As someone who also listens to hundreds of songs every week, I’m sure you know that sounds can be just as important as a lyric. The choice of bass sounds, drums, all that is just as important as what the song is about. I’m looking to be surprised by all elements of the song.
There’s nothing wrong with a trap snare or a Cymatics pack, but surprise us on their context! Find your own way to spin it so it’s inspiring to people. That’s what I think makes an enduring sound.
Do you have any advice for people just getting into production?
Take your time. If you spend six months and you learn how to produce and you start putting out stuff but it kinda sounds like everybody else, it’s still cool, you’re doing you thing, but I think it’s much more valuable to dig another step deeper and find something fresh and new in what you’re doing… actually it honestly depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
Better advice is probably that you should ask yourself what kind of artist you want to be. If you want to be in everybody’s faces all the time uploading 50 snapchats a day, and an edit every week, that’s really cool and some people do that really well, but for me, I try to think, “Is this adding something? Is what I’m doing worth putting out?”
There’s so much noise around us all the time, I try not to just add to the noise without adding something to the culture.
Anna Lunoe’s “Radioactive” single is out now on OWSLA and her HYPER HOUSE tour starts October 13th. Check the dates here.
Photos: jasmine safaeian