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Interview with A.N.J.A.
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I cannot answer this question about what got me into music without saying who got me into music -my mother. My mum has been singing for as long as I can remember and she was also the one that bought me guitar lessons.
I never realised I could sing though and apart from those guitar lessons, I didn’t really make much music until after graduating from uni when I needed to break free from the conformity of the academic and corporate life. I wanted more! I picked up my guitar again and it all went really quickly from there.
I always thought I’d become a writer, write novels and poetry, which is why I studied literature. I realised that writing songs is more my thing. Maybe these days, as I’m very into yoga, I’d become a yoga teacher or some kind of guru and who knows, lead a more spiritual life in order to find the happiness music gives me.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love watching horror films, doing yoga and working out and I’m very much into baking. My big affinity for horror cinema and literature massively inspires my songwriting. Every time I watch a great horror flick I pick up lines and visuals for my next song. When it comes to how yoga influences my creativity, I love the ritualistic repetition of a hypnotic riff.
How long has your band been around?
I’ve been gigging, recording and releasing music for the last 4 years, and I’ve been gigging with my full live band since Autumn of last year.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I was born and raised in Germany. Germany has a massive rock scene which certainly exposed me to a lot of great music in the genre from an early age on, but where I’m from, there’s sadly not much live music happening. Maybe hence my strong desire to play as much as possible was born!
In other ways, German folklore has always inspired me and that translates into my songs - witches, spells, rituals, twisted characters in the moonlight - I think Germany has a very rich history of all things mystical.
How did you come up with your name and what does it mean to you?
A.N.J.A. is literally my name, Anja - but with dots in between it has turned into a mysterious acronym. Music journalist Jerry JK once wrote this very cunning analysis of my name: “My research into the cool dark presence of A.N.J.A. has not yet uncovered what the acronym stands for. Maybe the full points are there to differentiate her from the Danish 2017 Eurovision contestant Anja. Maybe this A.N.J.A. is that Anja’s vengeful dark side. Maybe the acronym, once decoded, will reveal the words to bring about the apocalypse.”
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
My most memorable show must have been my most recent, a headline show in Belfast’s Voodoo, the coolest rock venue in the capital. It was the gig we’d been building up to for the last 6 months. And it was great - the atmosphere was electric and everyone was buzzing for it. We had some amazing support bands and we all just put on a great show, definitely a night to remember.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Voodoo would have to be my favourite venue I’ve played to date. What I would love to do is play festivals in Ireland and the UK as well as the rest of Europe!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Queens Of The Stone Age, PJ Harvey and the Courettes
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting started and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
You might think about giving up nearly once a day - don’t do it. Just keep going. Success is nor a linear path but if you stay true to yourself and do cool stuff you believe in, it will pay off.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Don’t underestimate your abilities and how determined and courageous you are. But be careful what you wish for - you just might get it!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
My song “Witchmother”. It’s a strong message of defiance against injustices, about that people will never learn and never change from history. It’s a dig against the patriarchy that has and still is trying to keep us women down, but we will not be defeated and we will get our revenge!
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Witchmother” is my favorite song to play live, the loud and quiet parts are fun transitions and belting out the chorus and seeing people sing along makes me feel very powerful!
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I listen to a lot of my favourite tunes and figure out what I love about them and if I want to bring that into my music, but inspiration strikes randomly. There’s either a cool riff at band practice or I hear a random phrase in one of my favourite horror films that inspires me to write a song about it. Other times I have to sit down and force myself to write and treat it like a job. I usually develop the riff first, the rest follows.
What inspires me other than horror is conversations with people I have, reading the news and my favourite true crime podcasts and magazines.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I want to remind people to be confident in who you are and flaunt it goddammit! But most importantly - never take yourself too seriously and don't ever lose the fun!
Other messages I like to get across in my music are to stay resilient against injustices and to take what’s rightfully yours as long as you don't hurt anyone in the process - unless they bloody deserve it!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
In the near future I’m going to release an EP and I want to play more live shows - hopefully tour the UK soon!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
My music is on all online platforms under my artist name A.N.J.A. and I have some merch available on anjamusic.bandcamp.com. You can check out my website www.anjamusic.co.uk and follow me on Instagram @anjamusic / Facebook @anjamusicuk!