There are few Boiler Room videos out there that ever manage to capture the throng and energy of a night out in a packed club with a really good DJ. The two-dimensional format, filmed from some unimaginable angle pointing straight at the DJ, rarely does the setting justice as blank stares and conservative movements look over the DJs shoulder into some vacuous black hole beyond the camera’s lense, for what? A track ID, perhaps…
Everybody that’s ever been to a club knows that is not the way a club is or how people usually act in the absence of the hyper-self awareness that the age of social media has ushered in along with it. It’s a vibe that is incredibly difficult, né impossible to capture on a video… or at least that’s what I thought until I saw Anetha at Amsterdam on Boiler Room.
Squirming acid, thunderous percussive arrangements and a corporeal energy strikes the viewer from its virtual plain in a very physical way that even through some shitty laptop speakers, has you capitulating to the beat and energy of the scene. On the video, phones are stowed in pockets and panoramic views of the space relay a frenetic scene as bodies move with absolute abandon, submitting to Anetha’s oppressive stint at the decks where she doesn’t give an inch.
As a Boiler Room set, it’s up there with episodes like Danny Brown, Night Slugs in the hotel lobby and Skatebård as one of the classics, and as a set it’s a masterclass, defining Anetha’s unbridled and radical approach to DJing. “I really like (and try !) to oscillate between different styles of electronic music,” she said in a conversation with When We Dip. “(T)echno of course, but I also love acid, ravy melodies and strong grooves,” and that’s all there concentrated into the bare 45 minutes she gets at the decks, but makes a permanent impression on the listener.
Since coming to the fore in Paris through the Blochaus collective, Anetha has flirted with the darker, salacious and more aggressive elements of club music, that is certainly Techno, but a breed of Techno that favours shadowy corners in concrete basements. With tempos exceeding 135 beats per minute Anetha is a DJ and producer truly deserving of that “uncompromising” tag we like to throw about when talking about Techno, but which very rarely actually applies to the paint-by-numbers droning beats that define the genre today.
Andrea grew up in Bordeaux, but moved to Paris as a student, where she fell in with a crowd of kindred spirits. Raised on a selection of “new-wave and electronic stuffs” from her parents, Anetha turned to the natural evolution of those sounds and discovered the sounds and skill for Techno as she came of age.
“I met Farouk (which is my manager now) and his brother four years ago during a party in Paris, and we quickly discovered that we had the same passion for techno music,” she told When we Dip. She found she had “the same influences and the same ambition to do something for the capital’s night techno scene,” so when Farouk and his brother “were looking for a resident,” the answer looked them square in the face “and Blocaus was born!”
A club night turned label, Blochaus has had a serious impact on the French scene. Like Anetha’s sets they would leave a serious impression with their nights and records playing on that very same intensity and immediacy that she conjures through her sets. There’s never a moment to really think about it, before you are raptured into awesome power of the tracks she pieces together through her sets.
“After a year in Paris, thanks to Blocaus and other great collectives such as Sonotown and Concrete,” Anetha had “been progressively” able to find her niche in the French capital and as her records for the likes of Blochaus and Oaks made their way out into the world, it would bring her sound and sets to an international audience that reveres her uncompromising pursuits in music today.
Like her sets, Anetha’s music would drift between those elements of Techno Acid and ravy keys that define her sets. She quite simply burst onto the scene with her debut on Work Them Records, “Ophiuchus” with four Techno thrillers that culminate on the salacious and brooding finalé “Drive With A Dead Girl.” Mixmag called it a “A laid back trippy workout with an enchanting arrangement of gothic synths meandering around in the mids, with a slowly building atmosphere which is punctuated by a woman’s voice, leading into a slightly more frenetic second half,” which describes the track in some detail but doesn’t even come close to relaying the vibe she imbues on that track.
Apparently inspired by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, the down-tempo rhythm, the hypnotic, sequential bass-line and the ravy keys, reaching up to hedonistic heights, sets a sinister and alluring tone, that instantly draws you into the track’s beguiling construction, enticing you over to the more sordid depths of Techno music while those effervescent toms bubbling under the surface in 16th beats evoke the corporeal underground appeal of Anetha’s DJ sets.
“Underground or not,” said Anetha in an interview with Music Creations last year, “VIBE is now my reference criteria.” She brings vibe in spades to the dance floor in her music and, as we can see on Boiler Room, to her sets.
After making her debut on Work Them Records and a 12” on Blochaus Series establishing her career as a recording artist, it was a track on an Anagram compilation called “Acid Rain” that installed her as one of the future icons of Techno when the popular Techno YouTube channel HATE posted it. At the time of writing it’s reached almost 1.5 million views, which like the Boiler Room video shows no sign of slowing down. “Acid Train this track is the perfect representation of the ‘never give up’ proverb,” Anetha explained to Music Creations at that time. “It was part of a pack of tracks I sent to various label and each time they choose another track. Finally the Anagram label guys listened to it and they choose it directly.“
It’s a progressive track with something of that resolve Anetha mentions captured in sound. Through hazy fog of synthesisers and wispy noise a minimal wave gated snare and kick arrangement puncture the atmosphere of the track. As the name suggests a lysergic deluge ensues with a 303 raining down on the track. It’s a dynamic track that breaks up the monotony of the 4-4 kick, with that powerful snare and it’s in that kind of dynamism that is a big part of Anetha’s appeal both as an artist and a DJ.
It’s brutalist without being boring, or monotonous, with a kind of bubbling fervour hiding behind the crux of her tracks and her sets. There’s an unbridled passion there that just seems to cut through the shit and hits you straight in the cut, with her whole approach simply dedicated to the music. External factors like politics have no role in her music, and one of the few things that she does “not like is the question of the place of women in techno, which is (or should not be) relevant to me at all,” she told Music Creations.
Everything comes down to simple sake of the music and the vibe that she seeks out through her sets. With news of the new label, Mama Told Ya and the possibility of a future LP in the works, we’re only at ground zero in Anetha’s career and with the entrance she’s made, nothing it seems will stand in her way to become a dominating force on the Techno scene.
*Anetha plays Øyanatt this week with I hate Models, Skatebård and Daniel Gude.