Anna Lunoe reflects on her time at Coachella & planning new music around motherhood

Anna Lunoe remained a standout artist of Coachella 2017 – from afternoon slam circles in the Sahara Tent to performances of new music, the Australian expat made sure her time out in the Cali desert counted. Backstage at Weekend Two, Jaime Lewis caught up with Anna to find out how the experience had treated her, and what’s coming up in the pipeline.

How did your set go?

It was so much fun. Yeah, I had an absolute blast, the tent was absolutely packed at two o’clock, which is insane. There was a slam circle! There was a slam circle going at 2:30 p.m. in the Sahara Tent. Slam. So I am stoked. That’s all I can ask for.

And how was this show? Because I know last weekend, there were a couple of…you sang five songs live for the first time?

Yes, for the first time, yeah.

New edits, and then you also had a surprise guest; it was a big show.

It was a big show and that really wasn’t the half of it too, like on a personal level, we had a lot going on. I had all my family here from Denmark, and we actually had some really terrible things happen in the family the night before. I didn’t sleep all night, so it was a very intense 48 hours. I announced, well I went public with my pregnancy, and…

Yeah, you’ve got a little musical coming out of your family with you now.

Yeah, I do. And it was really… There’s no pregnant women in dance music. So just putting that out there to the world took a lot out of me. To have that done, to have the set out of the way – two things that have been on my mind for four and a half months – to have them both out of the way was a real relief. So this week was a real celebration and I was able to just go out there and enjoy; do what I do best and not be so in my head about everything, which was really really great.

Nice. And tell me about singing live, because I saw on your Facebook that you said you didn’t wanna talk too much about it, just gonna do it and not overthink it, and then you also had someone join you. You know? Tell us who it was…

I toured with Skrillex a couple years ago and he’s a great friend, and a really supportive figure in the dance music community. We actually first met when I played Coachella three years ago. We met that week, and he always said he was gonna come to my set but I never expected him to. I’m like, “Oh yes, I play at midday dude. You’re headlining the whole festival, you probably don’t wanna come at midday and watch my set. Don’t worry about it.” He’s like, “No I really wanna come, I really wanna come!” But he didn’t come.

Then this year, I didn’t even ask him to come at all, but we’d been texting the day before because I announced the pregnancy and he was really excited about it. We were texting back and forth and then he just surprised me. Just showed up, and turned up on his own, without his crew; he got up early and came out to the grounds in the heat for me. It honestly meant the world to me. To have someone like him so publicly embrace me at this point, when I’m probably one of the first girls to do it so publicly in this country, to have a baby on stage with me so publicly, in America anyway, it’s such a great show for the industry to have his support, and generally just love him for it. It was such a sweet thing to do.

On top of that, I was singing all my own songs too, so that was pretty scary. I’ve never really sung live, I’ve been dabbling with it and I just sort of like to be punk about it. When I’m DJing, if people seem to know all the words, I mean, I’ve got a microphone, I may as well sing along with them. I don’t mind if it doesn’t sound like the recording, because it’s kinda punk; I like that it’s kinda punk and unpredictable and that it’s raw. If it’s out of tune it’s out of tune, but I’m jumping around crazy and I’d rather give my all and just go as hard as I possibly can for people, than make everything crystal-perfect.

For this, I got a sound guy to mix the vocals; it’s big step for me, instead of just singing straight into the mixer. I’m professional now! But no, it was really fun, and this week I really enjoyed it too. I’ve actually got a flu this week, so I wasn’t gonna sing at all. I only decided to sing like two hours ago. Two hours before the set. It was a lot more relaxed this week ’cause I was more comfortable. So that’s great, and maybe I’ll keep doing it.

Nice. Let’s talk a little bit about your music. You just released “Stay Awake”, and you also just finished up a tour on home soil with Diplo?

So I finished the tour with Diplo about a month ago, and then released “Stay Awake”. “Stay Awake” was released on Spinnin’ Records, followed shortly after by “Bullseye”, which was a collaboration with Valentino Khan and Wuki, which came out on OWSLA Records. I’m about to release “Godzilla” this week, which is a song just my own, and I’m releasing that on my own label. I really just wanted to get it all out there before my tour. It’s unusual for me to release so many songs since the session, but…

You have the club working against you now.

Yeah, I don’t have that much time to tour before this baby’s gonna get in the way, so we’ve gotta get all the music out. I just want people enjoying it and it forces me to make new music straight away, which is gonna be great for me. As much as you can minimise the time between creating the song and getting the song out, that is the golden rule. It’s amazing how you can make a song and then it ends up sitting around for a year and a half before it makes it out. That is something I’m trying to ban from my life. Just trying to make that a quicker process, basically.

And what was it like being back on home soil, with Diplo? And I know that you’re appearing at Greatest Day Ever later in July again with him. Can you tell us about that?

Look, there’s so much history there. Me and Nina Las Vegas, we put on one of the first Diplo shows in Australia, years ago. So to have him invite us out on tour with him because he wanted us there, because we’re friends, you know? We go so far back. We don’t normally play together that often, but it was just such a perfect lineup of fun friends, and good times, and the shows were crazy.

We’ve been playing clubs together for 10 years; we started out with just like 50 kids in a sweaty room in Kings Cross somewhere and now we’re playing and selling out the Hordern, 8000 people or 7000 people, whatever it is. It’s a really great full-circle moment for us all.

The live music scene has changed a little bit since you moved. Was that anything that impacted your tour while you were there, or that was noticeable while you were there?

I’ve noticed it for the last couple of years, yeah. Obviously I go back and I do club tours every six months to a year, and I’ve noticed the city changing a lot. As far as it affecting me, the way that it affects me is that I have less rooms to play potentially in Sydney, and I tend to just play festivals because that’s what makes the most sense now. Not all people have that option, so it’s not ideal. It does break my heart when I think about how much fun and how vibrant it was for our whole generation of DJs. Everyone who’s over here playing, What So Not is here as well, Jono Ma with Jagwar Ma, we all grew up together, and we would just do four gigs a night running from Kings Cross to Oxford Street and back again; that’s how we paid our rent, that’s how we had time to make the music that got us here overseas. It’s a bit of a real shame to think that some kids won’t have that same opportunity, really.

Just kind of to wrap up, tell us what does the rest of 2017 hold for you?

I’m doing a club tour for the next couple of weeks, I think its three or four weeks long, and then I go and do a bunch more summer festivals here in the States, which is my favourite time of the year. I love the summer festival season. Then I take some time off. I think I take like, three months off. And then I hope to be in Australia for New Year’s Eve.

Photo by Marie Jose Govea.

The author travelled to Coachella from Australia via Honolulu with Hawaiian Airlines. For bookings and more details head to http://hawaiianair.com/