Annie Mac is the undisputed Queen of dance music. Event curator, ultimate tastemaker, talent finder, incredibly successful radio personality, and full time mother; she does it all. Everyone’s favorite dance music personality, Annie Mac has proven her reign of the airwaves. Every Friday from 7 pm-9 pm over 1 million listeners, tune in to BBC Radio 1 with Annie Mac to find the latest and greatest of all things dance music. Listeners join Ms. Mac to kick off the weekend with the best in new and upcoming dance music, selected by Mac herself. Mixmag states “From Diplo-Style Bangers to DirtyBird bleepers, Annie’s music is perfectly suited to these climes."
She has proven herself to remain current with her ability to find incredible talent within a wide range of electronic music. One day you might be listening to Skream and the next you’re listening to Route 94. And we have Annie to tell us that is ok. Annie’s reign of cool extends farther than the radio waves, she has built herself a steady empire. She has played almost every corner of the globe, graced the largest stages from Coachella to Bestival, hosts her impressive eponymous touring party, and has hit the top of the charts with her AMP series.
Mac states her “greatest love in life is music,” a claim she can back up with her impressive taste and experience in the music industry. Annie recently dropped her second Annie Mac Presents series, now in its fifth year, in both the UK (it instantly hit the #1 spot on the UK album charts) and for the first time it was released in the US via Astralwerks. I had a chance to chat with Annie to discuss everything from the AMP series to how she finds time to listen to an overwhelming amount of music. Check out the interview below and be sure to head over to iTunes to grab your own copy of the compilation.
EARMILK: Hi Annie! First off, congrats on AMP dropping Monday… How was the launch party?
Annie Mac: Thanks! The launch party was great, as you can tell it’s good to be through the clearing… We were actually a bit self indulgent, we had a private one on Wednesday for friends and family, and then another one Saturday at a venue/theater setup where we really showed the public a good time.
EM: Cool! So EARMILK is based in the US, and I wanted to ask why you’re bring AMP to the US and Australia for the first time?
AM: Well we’ve always wanted to bring it to America, it’s just been an issue with finding the right people to do it with. So we changed our record deal this year, and we were extremely happy that one of the conditions was that they were going to make it work in the US. That made me happy because I’ve been touring and playing in America for years, but it’s nice to show the people what I really do.
EM: Why did you decide to switch over the Astralwerks label? Did it just kind of fall into place?
AM: To be honest, we just went with them because a lot of the people who originally found us moved there, and we really valued the relationships we kept with those people. It was more important to us to choose people who we had solid relationships with, not just the label as a whole. If I have a good team, I’m going to stick with them.
EM: Definitely. So, what went in to choosing the tracks for the US side of things on AMP?
AM: Well, every year the point, although quite indulgent is to bring the people MY original take on the year, so a lot of the time I take it from a DJ aspect. What record goes all out, what is exciting me, and also what I think really reflects the sound of 2013. It’s been such a year for hype music, and there’s a lot on AMP that can reflect that.
EM: The hype scene is definitely filtering in to our underground house scene here in NY right now. Can I talk about two tracks off AMP? 1. Got Some – "Bassline", and Route 94 – "My Love…"
AM: You want to talk about Bassline???
AM: IT’S SOOOOOO GOOOD! That track is actually right down my street, as soon as I found it I started playing it while I DJ’d and people would tweet “WHAT WAS THAT TRACK!?” So I knew instantly it was a hit, and actually weirdly one of the two guys that makes up Got Some is one of my really good friends, which I had no idea, so that was cool.
EM: That’s awesome! What about Route 94 – My Love? I know you specially commissioned that track…
AM: Route 94 just one of those people who has consistently put out or sent my way good music. Also it’s played very well on my radio show. So when we put a list of people together for AMP, we want to choose artists whom we believe in and think could make it further. He kind of fit the bill, and we asked him to pull a few tracks, and that one just kind of stood out for me. It’s gotten some local support over here, radio and local DJ’s have been playing it. He’s a really young guy, a great guy, and I think he has a very bright future.
EM: What sources do you use to find music? Or at least how do you find the time to go through everything, if you do?
AM: Well you just have to incorporate it in to your life. My car is overflowing with promo CD’s from my studio KRX, stuff like that. Always when I’m walking or on the move, and then I have 2 days a week that I devote to my show and listening to new stuff. In terms of the people that send me music, it is kind of a network of people that work in music promotions, maybe 5-10 people, and you’ll have ones that you work with that are honest and you trust with their taste. And as for the rest, it’s the internet. Beatport, Hype Machine, nothing out of the norm, other than the people sending me stuff on a regular basis.
EM: Let’s talk about the upcoming tour kicking off in November, did you have a hand in the lineup? It’s spectacular.
AM: Yeah, the tour is decided the same way I decide the artists we feature AMP. We work hard because we book the tour April or March, and we hope the people by November will want to know more about the people we book. For instance last year when we had our AMP tour, we had Rudimental, Red Light, Magnetic Man, and Disclosure.
AM: I know! When we booked the tour with Disclosure, they were the biggest thing that people wanted to see, so it was jammed from like 9 – 10, so this year we’re trying to put a little less pressure on the lineup. So we have Duke Dumont – and we think he is bringing Uzoechi Osisioma Emenike/ MNEK, a super talented songwriter/producer who writes for everyone from Still Focus to Sugar Pit. He wrote the song "Need U," which hit No.1 in the UK. So he is going to come on tour with Duke, which will be an interesting element for the live performance. Also we have Cyril Hahn, who as you may know is Canadian, so he doesn’t get over here much, ya know…?
EM: Yeah, I actually saw him last weekend…
AM: Awesome! Yeah he doesn’t get over here much so it will be exciting for people to see him, or see him for the first time. And finally, we have Lulu James, a girl from Newcastle, who is a very interesting producer. I guess you could call it Disco, Soul, Dance music. She’s got a wicked voice and she’s wonderful live, so it will be fun to mix it up. We want people to see different styles, and provide something unique for people. We want to create a different experience.
EM: So do you have plans to bring it to the US?
AM: (laughs) Well, yes we have been making plans for the US next year. We’re trying to get to NY, but we don’t know yet. We’re working on it.
EM: YAY! That’s awesome, okay stepping away from AMP for a second… As a fellow female in the music industry, I want to know if you have any advice for women working in a male dominated field?
AM: I get asked this all the time, and I wish I had a more interesting answer. I guess to sum it up I’m glad to do it because I want younger girls to be influenced. The only way for that to happen is the more women there are, the more children are going to say “Hey I can do that, I want to do that!”
EM: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
AM: Marianne Hobbs told me “Never underestimate the power of your passion.”
EM: She inspired your career didn’t she?
AM: She inspired me to do my radio show. It was there that I found I could be someone on the radio, and could run my own show. She was a big part of my career.
EM: Any musical guilty pleasures? Or guilty pleasures in general?
AM: Well, I love pop music, I don’t think it’s a guilty thing though.
EM: What about a fun fact?
AM: I actually can play the mandolin. Traditional music was a big thing in my family, and that was my instrument.
EM: That’s amazing! Well thank you so much for time!
"ANNIE MAC PRESENTS 2013"
"AMP 2013" U.S. Tracklist:
1.Duke Dumont – Need U (100%) feat. A*M*E (Skreamix)
2.Hot Natured – Reverse Skydiving (Shadow Child Remix)
3.Gorgon City – Real (feat. Yasmin)
4.Disclosure – When a Fire Starts to Burn
5.GotSome – Bassline
6.Route 94 – My Love
7.Grum – Everytime
8. Jessie Ware – Imagine It Was Us
9. Avec – Disappearer (feat. Jake Shears)
10.Mike Mago – The Show
11.Breach – Jack
12.T Williams – Three Letters
13.Friend Within – The Renegade
14.Chase & Status – Lost & Not Found (feat. Louis M^tters)
15.Rudimental – Waiting All Night (feat. Ella Eyre)
16.Fred V & Grafix – Major Happy
17.Koreless – Sun
18.Breach – Everything You Never Had (feat. Andreya Triana) (Joe