Name: Anna Tur
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current release: Anna Tur's remix of Carl Cox’s "Sand Moon and Stars" is out via World Famous Promotions.
Recommendations: I am looking forward to reading "The Death of the Artist" by author William Deresiewicz, which tells how creators struggle to survive in the age of billionaires and technology.
A piece of music that means a lot to me is "El Condor Pasa" by Simon & Garfunkel.
Painters, one of my good friends, known as "Caravaca", with a very characteristic and genuine identity that fuses cubism with street art.
If you enjoyed this interview with Anna Tur, stay up to date on her work through her official homepage. She is also on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.
When did you start DJing - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
My parents instilled in me my passion for music. They were both in radio. It was only much later that I took the plunge into DJing. It was a result of working in radio.
I was captivated by being able to express myself through music. Luciano was one of the artists who captivated me the most because of his almost unique way of connecting with the public.
For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
Yes, you're right. An artist is shaped by experiences and learning.
I think in order to feel like an artist and be 100% fulfilled you have to have a knowledge of music, to understand music. To have lived all possible situations; to have played for a club with only 10 people present, to have been a resident and the guests not showing up. Most of all, you have to go through the experience of developing the big part of the night in a small club, to do many many warm ups and go and listen to artists that inspire you. Always wanting to learn and not to conform, to develop your technique, to discover different musical horizons.
I could tell you a lot of things that I think you have to go through and I started from 0. Alone in my house for many and many hours, learning, understanding ... and then going through many of the things I mentioned before. (laughs)
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
I am an artist of proximity. It is the audience itself that helps me to create and build a musical story with them. The more I see them enjoying themselves, the happier I am. Always telling a story with a logical transition musically speaking.
What were your main creative challenges when starting out as a DJ and how have they changed over time?
I started doing it as a hobby and curiosity. Today, 14 years later, I'm in a sweet spot. Although every moment of my career has been sweet and special. I haven't felt frustration at any moment but at times (and it's happened to me twice), I've gone towards a musical evolution that has led me to reach my current sound.
My roots come from house and balearic sound, not the tech I'm working on at the moment. To get here I've gone through 14 years of moments, preferences and experiences.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
One of the things I always like to say is that my DJing comes from the radio world. Not production; I'm not known for making magic with a hit. That's one of my current challenges. I've been getting into the world of music production for 5 years now, but I don't allow myself to pick up a piece of software and make loops with libraries. I refuse ...
Thanks to the radio, I'm very good at audio editing and I know Cubase and, Ableton Live. Now I'm curious about Logic. I must say it's the one I'm most convinced of, but I know the least about. So far, I always work with producers and in a team, so that I can create the sounds myself - until I know how to fly alone and create without limits; my biggest challenge at the moment.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you perform?
Yes. The handling of the technology itself and all the features that the equipment you work with gives you is fundamental to the quality of a performance. Working a good mix and a good transition, making the audience enjoy is our biggest challenge.
DJing is a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation. How would you describe your approach to it? What do you start with, how do you develop a set, how does a form gradually manifest itself, what are good transitions between different tracks etc …
This is just what I've told you about in previous questions. It is very important first of all to know and have your music very well selected and ordered. Nowadays, we can carry all our music history with us if we want to. Either, simply with a good memory or in the case of those who play with their computer, as part of the set up, it's the same. This allows us to be able to travel back in time and present through our music.
Then it is important to know at what time of the night or day your performance is taking place. Whether you are the main artist or if you're supporting the main artists. Within your show, style and identity ... you have to adapt the music to the moment.
But the most important thing for me, and I think one of my strengths, is to know how to read the dancefloor. Interpret what the dancers want to hear, to travel and enjoy with them. Union and closeness; I love it!
In a song or classical composition, the building blocks are notes, but in a DJ set the building blocks are entire songs and their combinatory potential. Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening and perhaps also, if applicable, your work as a producer?
I love this question. I started my interview by telling your readers that my parents have influenced me in music. It all happened because they dedicated 40 years of their lives to radio. My father in different areas until he became the manager in Ibiza of a national radio station and also the creator of Ibiza global radio. On the other hand, my mother has been a radio jockey and a broadcaster and director of magazines for all her life. In our house, we have the whole history of our family on vinyl. I was born in the 80s and grew up with music from the 70s and 80s. That music was my first stimulus.
The 90s marked my adolescence and the 2000s, my real passion for electronic music. But classical music has always accompanied me in my life and I also adore lyrical singing. I would listen to it at home and from the age of 4 until I was 16 I did ballet.
By the way, I must say that I have been practising it again for 8 months now, two days a week. It inspires me and has always done so. I have just told you a secret! (laughs)
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
Yes. I'm a pretty methodical person. Before the pandemic, my life was work, work, work. Now I divide my day into 3 days; in the morning I do a little meditation, with or without music, a good coffee, I read my mail, the news, check networks and then I have a good shower and go out with my little dog Lola for a nice walk to my studio/office, very close to home. There I spend the first few hours prioritising and producing my day, with full equipment.
The afternoon is half mails and project management and the other part is dedicated to music or visiting the family or chilling at home. I love being quiet, it's fundamental to my new life. I spend my weekends listening to all the music I have been selecting during the week and downloading from the promo pools and mails from producers who send me their music.
Two days a week, I practice ballet and 1 day a week, physical preparation; breathing, treatments and taking care of my body.
Can you talk about a breakthrough DJ set or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
I've had many special moments, but without a doubt the most recent was the impact of my performance at Creamfields on the Carl Cox Invites Stage (Steelyard).
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
I could talk to you at length on this subject. What is clear to me is that yes, music is a tool of healing, of bodies and souls, of hearts and feelings. It is an explosion of all of these things at once, that can help you to have a better life.
To give you an idea ... music has been fundamental for the end of my father's life. The long nights I spent with him in the hospital, he would ask me for songs and I would make playlists, which I can tell you, I keep with all my love.
During this time of severe illness, especially the final 9 months, I only separated from him either to go perform or to organise my Ibiza global radio team every morning. The rest of the time, I was only there for him. Each of my performances during that time was very exciting, with a very dedicated audience: Dreambeach Festival, Untold, Neversea ... and at each of these great festivals, my heart was so full of emotion, that the performances ended up being a journey. I even cried with emotion. From happiness because of the connection between the audience, the music and because of the positive thoughts I held for my father. This would lsst for the whole year 2018.
Other moments where music heals me, is when I practice Kap (Kundalini Activation Process), you don't know what I have been able to feel, see and express. I keep it for myself and those who accompany me in each session. (laughs)
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
Yes, although nowadays I think we live in a totally globalised world, where there is an increasing attempt to make no distinctions between races, cultures and religions. But there has to be respect, absolute respect for all this to happen. Maybe I am very optimistic, but we are in a situation after having gone through this horrible pandemic, I can only be positive, optimistic and believe in a better and sustainable future.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
Art is a way of feeling, living and expressing. Especially the latter ... It is the channel through which we channel all our experiences and emotions and for one reason or another, we have the capacity to be able to transmit it to others.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
Everything. My family and me accompanied my father's death and farewell with music. Imagine what it represents: when I listen to music, I close my eyes and I see him. I'm sorry to repeat myself, but I tell you things that I wouldn't't usually tell anyone. But we are going very deep and then very curiously these ideas appear in the form of a question. Interesting ...