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We Asked Anja Schneider What Makes a Truly Great Club Night

The Mobilee boss on the importance of sound systems and senses of humour.
September 25, 2015, 1:42am
Fotos von Giannis Kokkas.

Anja Schneider is one of those figures in the music industry who, if removed, would have a pretty destructive knock on effect. She's a bit of a techno Kingpin, with her own label Mobilee, her immeasurably long-running Dance Under the Blue Moon radio show on Fritz Radio, as well as playing out around the world as an international touring DJ. And you thought you were busy.

Despite being based in Berlin, and mostly partying either there or Barcelona, this October Anja is heading over to East London's 'The Steelyard' for a very special night, billed as Anja Schneider Invites. Now while that might sound a little bit like an early evening Berlin-based chat show, it is in fact lining up to be one of the most exciting nights of the autumn. Not only will the evening be bringing Anja's magnificent legacy as a selector to our shores, but she is also bringing two special guests with her. Mobilee released artist Igor Vincente will be in attendance, as will Citizenn — a name we've been especially excited by since he turned in this slamming mix for us over the summer.

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But throwing a party isn't as easy as just booking DJs, there's a lot of other things consider and it takes a wealth of experience before the process comes even close to second nature. We caught up with Anja, in the middle of a Mobilee office move, to ask her about throwing parties, particular cities and picking lineups.

With your radio show, and running Mobilee, you must have such a massive pool of talent at your disposal — how do you know how to pick to join you on a lineup?

Of course it's not easy to pick certain people. I have such a huge pool of talented people around me. On this occasion, working with LWE (London Warehouse Events), we came up with the Invites party which is a completely different thing to Mobilee. I have so many talented people around me that I can't take on Mobilee, or they are happy on other labels, so this was a chance to represent some people I haven't signed.

Like Citizenn for example, his is a very exciting name at the moment…
Absolutely, he is young, ambitious, and he absolutely has his own style, which is super interesting.

So the personality of the DJ is very important to the night?
Absolutely! Before the party you want to be able to go to dinner, have a laugh. If you don't like each other it won't be a good night. You need to be able to work together, have harmony, and then create a great atmosphere together. I knew I had to bring Igor and Citizenn together, but they don't know each other, so we'll have to see how it works out.

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Have you got any team building exercises?
I think we'll just go out for dinner! They are both very funny people and great DJs. For me it can make me a bit nervous playing with such great DJs. They have such a cool taste in music and have tracks you won't hear anywhere else. It can be a challenge!

For you what are the most important element in making a night amazing?
The most important thing is for sure the sound. With a crap sound system, nothing will transfer to the audience. It's nice to have dancers, and decorations, but I come from a scene where we started in dark basements, sweating it out and playing for 20 hours, and we liked it that way. So for me, it's the sound.

Photo by Kirstin Zu Pan.

Are there great parties you remember that you always hold up as your favourite nights?
I definitely think, one of the greatest promoters ever was Derren Smart, who sadly died recently. He threw A Night With, where he would only invite one DJ and they would play for 8 to 10 hours by themselves. I did this for him once in London. He took it back to the roots of one DJ on one night. You have to work hard as the DJ, figuring how you are going to build up the night.

Must have been intense playing for that long…
I only went to the toilet once, I was very proud of that.

Do you remember the first party you ever threw?
It was way back in the day, as part of a radio show. During the Love Parade in Berlin and the station I was working for wanted to be a part of it. I came up with the idea of broadcasting from a boat and moving alongside the parade. We would have a different DJ every hour and broadcast it. It started friday at 6, and was outside, and free. After two hours, I realised, oh fuck — this is going to be the biggest thing ever. In the end there were 60,000 people there. They were closing the streets. All the clubs hated me after that.

Do you ever try and predict what a crowd in a certain city will be like?
The great thing about Mobilee is that we always have an international crowd. Our most recent party in Barcelona had more Australians and French people there than anything else. It could happen in Berlin, but loads of Italians will come. The locations could be different, but we are lucky to have the strength of the Mobilee brand.

And how much do you like partying in London?
I love to hang out and party in London, but I'm also quite glad to home. It's a bit stressy for me. I'm usually happy to be back in Berlin to breathe again. In London it takes so long to get everywhere and it is so busy, it stresses me out. You have to plan everything in advance!

Anja Schneider Invites happens at the Steelyard in London on 3 October with Anja Schneider, Citizenn, Igor Vicente and K.I.F.F.

You can purchase tickets here.