CONVERSATION | ANANSI'S MUSICAL JOURNEY TOWARDS GROOVY HOUSE
We went back in time with RADION Regular Anansi and asked him about his starting point in the Amsterdam club scene, the transition into spinning records and how his musical taste developed over the years, which led him to the groove House sound he's playing today and to his events with Paradijs.
Hey Anansi, tell us a bit where you come from?
I was born & raised in Amsterdam-Oost as 5th of 7 children. Quite early on, music played an important role within our closely tied family. My siblings had a lot of influence on the development of my musical spectrum. My older sisters were big Tupac and A Tribe Called Quest fans & my brother was bumping Biggie heavy, so I was introduced to Hip Hop first.
When they moved out, I started getting into music myself. That journey started with MTV, TMF & The Box, back when music television was centered around its origin, rather than reality shows. I recall hearing the new Tiësto and it led me to Trance music. At the same time, Gabber culture was prominent and me and my brother Souffian learned how to dance to it (hakken) with the proper tracksuits on. We weren’t even going to parties or going outside; just doing it inside the house, with the sweat rolling from our foreheads.
This was all prior to me going clubbing myself. By the time I was 17-18, I started going to spots like Escape (Franchise), The Sand and Bloomingdale where Gregor Salto, D-Rashid, Erick E and others played (Latin) House. I befriended Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano through a friend of my sister's and became a frequent visitor at Franchise (thanks for the guest list spots guys ha-ha!). Eventually I started helping out the organization Luxury Events and learned stuff about the nightlife. Though I shortly outgrew the music, this is where organizing events started for me.
Alright! These events had their own House sound, prominent around that time. How did you come in contact with the groovy house you spin today?
A regular Sunday for me back then would start at Bloomingdale and end with a hip hop night at Jimmy Woo. Eventually, I had enough of this routine and suggested to head over to Studio ’80 one night, where the Man With No Shadow was playing. This was my first introduction to groovy and Deep House. It made such an impact on me and Souffian, we almost immediately dropped all the previous venues we went to and started to discover Amsterdam’s Deep House scene. As you can see, we both never left…
A fortunate accident, so to speak? What a luck!
Yeah, and it expanded from there! As I wasn’t DJing yet, I would join Ici to his gigs and getting to know the (right) people. The scene then was young and in constant development. There weren’t specific parties for specific (sub)genres yet. The illegal parties were where the scene flourished; raves like Chateau Techno, Lazy Sundays and others. I’ve seen those events grow (together with the DJs affiliated with them, like Ici) and form an overarching electronic music family together, celebrating Deep House, Techno, Tech-House, Disco and more. And as I was went to all of them, they all inspired me.
Is that where the name Anansi comes from?
Exactly! Like the spider in the folklore, I maneuver in my web – my musical landscape – between the varying styles.
So now that the name is clear, could you explain at what moment you started DJing yourself?
Well, I was already learning how to mix records from my brother at home, just for fun. Since I was too busy with school and other projects, I didn’t took it too serious. It wasn’t my intention to follow through with it. My best friend Martijn, however, knew I was learning how to DJ. He ran a bar with a resident DJ every Friday & Saturday. But as he always came in late, Martijn asked me to fill his spot. He asked me to play Disco, which, at the time, I wasn’t all that familiar with other than the usual classics. So there I went, headphones in one hand and a USB filled with YouTube rips of Chic, Kool & The Gang and Sister Sledge in the other. 24 songs for a 4 hour during night. You’re probably starting to get the picture, right? However it is where I improved my mixing skills over time and my love for Disco started increasing.
And what about House?
House music will never die! It always stayed and will stay with me. As I said, it started with the ’08 sound of Man With No Shadow and from there on out I started digging deeper, exploring Chicago, Detroit and New York House. These styles give me a unique vibe, which I want to share through my sets. The sound of the Roland TR-909 & TR-808 drum computers, it just unleashed something in me! Larry Levan, Phil Weeks, Kerri Chandler, Mr Fingers, Glenn Underground, Boo Williams, just to name a few.
You’re mentioning drum computers, but the sound of the artist you just named is also very soulful, right?
Definitely! If a record has a piano with Jazz chords, I’m instantly interested. I can get so much joy out of a soulful record, I feel the love and energy the artist put into it. This is what I try to communicate to the crowd I’m playing for or with my Paradijs events: sharing my love for music with others!
Your journey took you through various phases of music. What did you learn from it and how did it affect your own journey towards starting Paradijs?
What I came to find out is that no matter what type of person a certain venue attracts, the individuals that make the crowd are on the search for an outlet, a little love, but above all, a good time. Scenes develop and that development is good, as I grew with them. The moment I traded the mainstream sound I mentioned earlier for the groove & old school house, I sticked with the latter. The kicks, snares, hi-hats & claps from the drum computers that provided records with that groove, I don't ever see myself leaving that now. As I said, it's both the maturation of the scene as my own. When I was conscious of that maturation, I knew it was the right time to emulate that warm sound with Paradijs. Jamie & Lars shared this vision from day 1 and that's what kicked it off. The fact that people who've ever visited Paradijs events aligned with that vision is amazing! That's the sharing of music and of experiences which brings me a lot of joy!
Catch Anansi Friday 4th alongside DJ Deep or May 20th with Luca Lozano, Awanto 3 & TITIA at Paradijs