"I always like letting the improvisation flow and I love when something unpredictable happens - like taking the wrong knob and suddenly it’s a totally different story"
The dj sets and productions by Ana Helder are powerful statements, emblematic of her energetic and no-holds-barred approach. We're excited to share this interview with you, offering a glimpse into the mindset of an accomplished producer and dj exquisite, just released by "Boleto 101" under the fascinating label Optimo Music.
Hi Ana! Where can we find you right now? How did you start off your day?
Hi, I’m in Cologne, Germany right now. It´s Saturday and we have a nice sunny day. I woke up late and went to the Black Lives Matters demonstration here. Now back home, I'm starting this interview. Thanks for the invitation by the way.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
My first keyboard, a Casiotone with rhythms I was processing with a guitar pedal that has loop. But I never recorded anything with that set up.
When did the idea of starting a project begin to take shape? Has it always been something you’ve wanted to do?
Sometimes, I have an idea, or something I want to try out that can be to change the set up somehow or connect things differently. I don´t have a formula or preformed structures. I always like letting the improvisation flow and I love when something unpredictable happens - like taking the wrong knob and suddenly it’s a totally different story…
Which artists have your interest these days?
I liked a lot ‘Houses’, the last LP from Steve Spacek and all his way of producing with mobile apps. It was very interesting to read about that in his interviews.
The last long EP from Diegors on Müstique ‘Un Poquito De Jazz’. He’s an artist and friend that always impress me a lot.
How do you manage to combine such disparate genres? How do you manage to give them unity and harmony? What do they have in common for you?
Maybe it has to be with the question before about if I start a project and at the end I have what I wanted... well, no. I’m searching into different presets and sometimes a bass sound that it can be proper for funk or hip hop catchs more my attention in a techno base drum because it sound new, or exotic for me and I like those surprises. I wouldn't like to choose one genre and do only that style. I don´t like to put myself limits and rules... cause that cuts my freedom to create...
What did it mean to you to be part of the Cómeme label? How much have you learned collaborating with this great label?
I was very lucky with c and I’m very grateful for all the support and projection they gave to my music. Cómeme found the way to catch talents from around the world and connect them with a new audience.
I learned many things; it has been 10 years...and it’s a great team of artists and collaborators. Everybody there is very passionate and that is contagious.
How would you define your sound?
I never know what to say about that. There is some rawness for sure, jaking zones and disco projections. Pure sequences from organic improvisations.
When did you start producing?
During the last years of high school in the early 2000s. Internet was becoming faster and I discovered midi editors and record programs and I was very into that: playing, programming, editing...
What are you interested in transmitting in your productions?
Every track is a different story. Some of them are a kind of landscape - ‘Landpark’ EP is an example for that. And others are simply a spirit to inspire the dance.
What can you tell us about your last EP on Optimo Music?
I like Optimo and Optimo Music a lot, and I’m very happy they like the tracks. It’s very important that they chose the tracks for the release. I trust a lot in their music taste.
What were you trying to transmit on this EP? What inspired you to create this album? What did you want to transmit?
The first two tracks form part of an idea... I wanted to do something funky and was distracted in the meantime with psychedelic synthesizers. But those tracks share sounds in order to get the feeling that they are attached somehow.
The second part of the EP wanted to transmit something fresh and cosy, open air friendly... just in case they get the chance to be played in a sunny beach.
How much has your sound changed since you started? What sounds are you interested in?
The sounds of the Nord Lead, that can be so futuristic and so classic at the same time. I love the Minimoog, of course... well, both have very wide possibilities... and I love also the wah wah...
For every EP I had changed the record process most of all. First doing all by myself and then looking for a band trying to reach a dialog between the instruments.
How do you deal with C19 confinement with your work? Has this situation influenced your creative perspective? What social and musical implications do you think this situation can lead to?
This situation is like a forced vacation at home for me. It has been good to rest my ears and my back. I'm actually ok. Happy with the releases of this year. And I know many artists took this time to concentrate on their productions, so I bet great releases will come...
So what music are you currently obsessed by? Have you picked up any records recently that you have been playing in every set or have been listening to every day?
Now I’m reading a book about Prince… and it was also his birthday. So many DJs and people have been listening and playing his music and I’m always fascinated with his interminable productions. I’m also been listening to Patrick Cowley... I always go back to his music for inspiration.
Would you like to share a set? Can you tell us more about it? When and how was it recorded?
The last mix I´ve recorded for Les Yeux Orange. It has three tracks from ‘Boleto 101’ EP out on Optimo Music Digital Danceforce. And ‘Tuerca’ a track that was out a month ago on ‘Landpark’ EP, released by Müstique.
What makes a good mix to you?
I like to discover mixes with friends. When suddenly the music is the soundtrack of a great moment that makes it unforgettable.
I like the mixes that have some ambient components too... and also those mixes you can’t stop dancing
In which clubs have you played and have you felt at home?
I think that feeling you have when you go often to a club. But during tours I switch clubs all the time so it didn´t happen to me that often. Anyway, there are two parties I always come back to and feels great is Dengue Dancing and Fun Fun in Buenos Aires. Other place very special have been of course Panorama Bar, Berlin and Contact, Tokyo
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
Kamazu - Mjukeit
Junko Yagami - Kashimiya no hohoemi
Sumy - Going Insane
What makes you happy?
To learn new things that open my possibilities of creativity. Dancing with friends. A good goal of Franco Cervi...
Can you tell us something about your current or future projects?
I would like to finish an album, I think I have material enough for that...
Ana Helder ‘Boleto 101’ EP is out now on Optimo Music Digital Danceforce