We fell in love wikth Lulu James hook, line and sinker when she teamed up with Hostage and Kidnap Kid for "Be Safe". So we're pretty stoked that Annie Mac cherrypicked James' track "Can't Stop" for her always eagerly awaited yearly compilation.
We caught up with Ms Mac herself to pick her brains about how she, umm, picks the tracks that make the cut and where she sees Lulu's honeyed vocals going into the new year.
Hey Annie. Liking the look of the Annie Mac Presents tracklisting for this year–have you got a favourite?
There’s a few for different reasons. There’s a favourite on CD 1, which is the Disclosure track. It’s a joy to be in the position to be able to pick an album track for the compilation rather than a single. It’s my favourite off the album so I’m glad I managed to get it on there. Also, a track called "Bassline" by GotSome, it’s quite new. It’s two guys from Bristol. I heard the tune and loved it, I played it out a lot.
What’s the process of putting it together, how long does it tend to take?
Over a couple of months I think. You spend about 6 weeks making a list of the tunes you might want on there. It’s really frustrating because you could keep going, because it is the best tunes of the year. I think my deadline was the end of July, but even by the first week of August I was thinking “but we’ve got to put this on it!”, but we couldn’t. You have to be strong willed about it. Then I take them and start mixing them. I’ve realised after years of mixing that it’s best to take a few different versions of it and just live with them for a bit. Make a mix and go for a big drive with it, take them out of context rather than sitting in front of computer screen with Ableton.
Is there anything in particular you’re annoyed didn’t make the cut?
Roc Nation never let their artists do compilations. I wanted to put on Just Blaze and Baauer, so I was upset about that. I couldn’t put Kanye on either, he wasn’t having any comps. Not a lover of compilations.
It sounds pretty bureaucratic.
It is I guess. Luckily for me I’m in the situation where I’ve supported a lot of the artists that I’ve put on there, and alot of people want to have their tunes on there. It has got easier over the years, the comps have got bigger, they’re selling well, so it’s in an artist’s interest to get their track on there.
Did you have any idea that they would become this big? They kind of are a ‘go to’ compilation for dance music.
Not really. I hadn’t really thought about it. What happens every year is that I go mental making it and then I drive myself demented and I can’t even listen to it for about six months. In terms of thinking about how well it would do, I never really try to aim high. I never really think “I have to get it to this point, I have to get it to this amount”, so I’m always pleasantly surprised. Last year was the first time it did really really well, it was number one on iTunes. Now that’s happened, I’ve got the pressure for it to happen again. I don’t mind if it does, but the label do. I just want people to like it.
Have you had your fill for the year then?
I haven’t listened to it since I’ve made it. I said to myself yesterday that I’m going to have to start listening to it soon because I’m going to have to talk about it.
You’ve got the Lulu James track on there that’s an exclusive. What drew you to her in the first place?
She’s just one of those artists whose incredibly talented. She’s an incredibly beautifu lady who dresses insane, like super high fashion but really fun. I heard her music before I met her, and I loved her music. Lulu’s really good at finding people to work with, and it really reflects on the music. I think her voice is incredible, really strong, and her personality ticks the last box for me, because she’s so fun. She’s got this amazing Newcastle accent, so you’ve got this statuesque black lady and then she opens her mouth and you’re like “bloody hell, where’d you get that from?!”
You had AlunaGeorge as your exclusive last year. They’ve come very far since then– do you think that’ll happen for Lulu?
I hope so, I think she deserves it. I’m going to support her as much as I can and hope that she gets there. She’s got a really big fanbase at the moment, but I think she could definitely do better. More people could know her than they do already, and hopefully this tour will open her up to a new audience. Her music isn’t club music. It’s not banging, rave music by any stretch. She’s coming on this tour, and she’s kind of altering what she does for the club. It’s just her and the DJ, standing on the decks and just properly going for it. She’s mad into clubbing so she understands what people want in a club at three in the morning.
I’ll be looking forward to it. Cheers Annie!
Annie Mac Presents 2013 album compilation comes out next Monday 14th Oct.
AMP COMPILATION LAUNCH PARTY @ KOKO LONDON - 12th OCT
AMP 2013 TOUR – 8TH – 30th NOV 2013