San Diego played an ‘elemental’ part to DJ Anna Lunoe’s story, career in America.
In little more than a handful of years, Anna Lunoe has already changed the landscape of EDM.
The L.A.-based DJ, singer, producer and radio show host was the first woman to mix for Ministry of Sound in her home country of Australia, and in 2016, became the first solo female to perform on the main stage of EDC Vegas.
Skrillex has released Lunoe’s music and she has played the stages of Coachella, TomorrowWorld, Lollapalooza, and Ultra. For the last two years, she’s also run her own label, Hyperhouse, which doubles as the name of the weekly show she hosts on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio.
Before last year’s Coachella performance, Lunoe announced she was pregnant and gave birth to her daughter this fall.
The life-changing event not only didn’t put her career on hold, it provided invigoration in ways she never saw coming.
PACIFIC recently spoke with Lunoe about it all ahead of her appearance at CRSSD Fest this weekend.
PACIFIC: You’re well familiar with San Diego…
Anna Lunoe: Oh, yeah. My history with San Diego is pretty elemental to my story here in America. One of my first bookings was playing a festival in San Diego for the LED guys. That was in my first year. I had only been here a few weeks. And they actually ended up booking me for the whole rest of the summer supporting everyone that was playing at the Wavehouse — Clockwork, Tommy Trash, all those big room guys. That residency was the way that I survived my first year in America.
That was such a beautiful venue. And I remember hearing a rumor — I don’t know if it’s true or not — but I heard that crazy fun park behind it is where they filmed Mariah Carey’s Dreamlover video.
I have no idea, but will definitely have to investigate*.
I’m a San Diego tour guide, low-key (laughs).
And now you’re back for CRSSD.
Yeah. I played two years ago — right after Giorgio Moroder on the City Steps. It was really fun — such a beautiful setting.
You haven’t slowed down much, even while just becoming a first-time mother. How has that transition been?
It’s a learning experience. My first tour back was in Australia and I think the longest I was away was three nights. She was four months old then. Now she’s six months and I’ll only be gone for a night to CRSSD. It’s not that bad at all. If anything, it’s been quite amazing being a DJ mom. You get to be home all week and just go to work on the weekends. Not many moms can say that. There’s just a different kind of balance.
Obviously, I have to be really prepared to go away for a day or two or whatever. But luckily, I have a really easy baby that happily takes a bottle. It’s been amazing and a total trip – just a constant learning process.
And who knows? In three months, she could suddenly get really clingy and not want me to go anywhere. But so far, she’s just a really well adjusted little human being.
With some jobs, it just works out. Waking up at 3 a.m. to change a diaper or give the baby a bottle wasn’t so bad when I could get some work done.
It’s funny you say that, because I did the exact same thing. For the first three months, she’d be up every three hours. Midnight. 3 a.m. 6 a.m. And I could never get back to sleep between three and six. But I got so much music made in that time. And I got old demos whipped into shape. It was really cool.
DJ. Working mom. No sweat.
I was always like, “I can do anything a guy can do.” But there’s something about growing a baby inside of you and going through all of that. Now I’m like, “If I can do that, I can do anything.” It was so much harder than anything I’ve ever done.
You should see me on Twitter when these boys complain about stuff. I’m like, “Listen. Don’t even go there.” (laughs)
And that’s coming from me, who had the easiest possible, every-creature-comfort experience. You think about women who do it in terrible circumstances. It gives you a real perspective on everything.
And you also have a permanent reminder of the next generation.
I think I’ve always operated in a way where it was important to start out the next generation. I really believe that dance music is a family and community. I’ve always had that holistic sense of how I wanted to operate. I wasn’t just out to build my own thing. I always feed back into the machine. I want to raise, encourage, and empower the next generation of exciting talent because that’s what ensures the longevity of the art form. I always embrace the women who come after me and always try to lift them up as well.
Do you schedule work time or is it a constant cycle?
I’m constantly working. I’ve really never stopped working. There is definitely music in the can. And there are going to be some changes. Not that I took time off, but it was nice to get off the roller coaster for a few months and take a look at my career, as well as define new challenges. I’m ready for new challenges and, in many ways, having a baby was the most incredible and empowering thing.
I have this new perspective. When it comes to my career, I’m fearless now. There’s just so much more to my life than “if this goes well” or “if that goes well, then…” I just don’t feel the same kind of pressure. I just feel like I now have the courage to do all kinds of things that I may have held off on doing. And maybe I’m more decisive because I don’t have the same amount of time to spare. I don’t have the same amount of time to doubt myself. I just have to run with things and go for it. And in that way, I am so excited. There’s just so much that I want to try this year.
I have no more time to be indulgent. I’m really interested in being useful. I want to transport people’s moods and elevate them. That’s the most powerful thing you can do. I want to be happy, empowering, spirit-driven and grit-driven because that’s what is resonating with me right now.
CRSSD Spring ’18
When: Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4
Where: Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, downtown
Cost: Sold out