The Amsterdam based duo ANOTR is a true revelation within the scene. From day one Jesse van der Heijden and Oguzhan Guney have been called “a breath of fresh air” and “producers to watch”, due to their fresh and innovative approach of music which makes them unique.
With their distinctive sound and unmatched, on-stage energy, they have graced the stages of Awakenings, DGTL, ANTS at Ushuaia Ibiza, Ultra Resistance, Tomorrowland and plenty more internationally acclaimed clubs, venues and festivals. With plenty of projects and experimental compositions looming on the horizon, the vast expansion of ANOTR’s foothold in electronic music territory had already begun.
We caught up with ANOTR to talk about their current musical projects.
Electronic Groove: Hey guys, thanks for your time today. How are you, what’s good right now?
ANOTR: Hi guys, thanks for having us. We’re all good at the moment, summer is here and the madness has started. We just came back from a tour through Ecuador, played 3 shows for Lost Beach and the next tour is already next week. Also recovering from our sold out No Art event in Amsterdam, always good to play in front of your own crowd in your hometown. Australia, Bali, Tokyo, Poland, Italy, Ibiza and Argentina are coming soon. Next to that we’re doing loads of shows back in the Netherlands when we’re around, so we’ve got some busy weeks ahead of us.
EG: Tell us about how you each got into dance music, what parties and labels you first loved?
Oguz: Growing up in the Netherlands, I already got in touch with electronic music at a young age, but what got me into this genre was the moment I broke up with my girlfriend around that time. I went to my first techno festival in Amsterdam and got hooked to it straight away. Shortly after that, I started digging into a lot of techno and I was a huge fan of the Awakenings parties where they hosted label nights with Adam Beyer’s Drumcode. It didn’t take much longer to get into house music as well. That’s where the collab between us all started.
Jesse: For me, the first time I got into some form of dance music was at a really young age listening to Daft Punk. After that, I started listening to the Dutch house sound that was big at that time like the stuff Sneakerz and NOPEISDOPE were releasing. I think that influenced a lot. From there I went experimenting making all sorts of music and then Oz introduced me to techno and house music.
EG: How long till you started making music together?
Oguz: Because we grew up in the same part of Amsterdam, we already knew each other through mutual friends, but the first time we actually started to hang out was about 8 years ago. We were both 16/17 years old and Jesse was already producing music since he was 12 years old. Trying out a lot of different genres, such as progressive house, dubstep, and drum & bass. That was about the time I just recently got into more techno/house parties and I was already recording some sets on Traktor and posting them on Mixcloud. Shortly after that, we started making music together as Jesse showed me all the ins and outs to producing. We knew we had some cool projects laying around, and after we posted some of them receiving so many cool responses and even the first few gigs, so we decided to continue as a duo.
EG: And why does it work? Are you similar or different, musically? Do you bring different things to the table?
ANOTR: We’re quite similar when it comes down to taste, we hardly ever have any doubts about each others view on music. It’s most clear when we separately look for new music and then show each other the stuff we’ve found. Same with producing, as we both produce together and separately, we listen to each others stuff, then adding that ANOTR – sauce to it to get to a final product.
“It was all about experimenting, trying out different styles and finding the right sound that fit us both”
EG: Tell us about your Amsterdam attic studio where you first started making music?
ANOTR: That’s where it all started until our parents and our neighbours had enough of the loud music that was pumping from that attic. It was all about experimenting, trying out different styles and finding the right sound that fit us both. Even when everyone was outside in the sun, we were up there with 2 fans and ice coffee to cool us down making beats and experimenting with new ideas.
EG: How different do you sound now versus then?
ANOTR: Obviously a lot of things have changed, that was the experimenting phase where we were looking for the right sound, samples, ideas and inspirations to work with. You can hear we’ve developed and improved our sound, but it’s always good to know where it all started to notice the progress you’ve made in the last couple of years.
EG: Do you have any favorite bits of gear in your studio, any bits that really define your sound?
ANOTR: We’ve just recently bought a Ableton Push, and with that we switched from Logic to Ableton. This has opened up a whole world of new possibilities inside the producing process. We can easily say that’s the best piece of gear in our studio so far.
EG: Where do you start on your tunes? Always in the same place like bass or melodies or is it different every time?
ANOTR: Most of the time we start with the drums, to get a nice drum beat going and then we build it up with leading elements, so you can easily hear where the track is going. It’s all about stacking up the sounds untill it sounds like a complete loop and from there on we build it until it’s the final product. Then we add the finishing touches with the mixing, to make the first playable club track. If it goes off in the club, that’s when we know it’s a banger.
“Release wise we’re keeping really busy the coming months”
EG: When you DJ how does it work? Do you play one each or a set amount of time then swap or what?
ANOTR: When we DJ it’s always that we play one track each, we find that it works best if we both choose our tracks and than adapt to each others choices. And sometimes we suggest tracks to play after another track.
EG: Now it is summer and warm, do you play differently than usual, do you play more fun and playful sounds?
ANOTR: Definitely! We noticed even our productions go more playful and happy. I think the summer reminds us of festivals, outdoor vibes, sunrises and sunsets, so you can say it has an effect on the way we play and produce.
EG: What else have you got coming up?
ANOTR: Release wise we’re keeping really busy the coming months. We’ve got releases coming on labels like ORIGINS, Solid Grooves, our own label No Art, Moan, OBLACK and we’ve just released on James Dexter’s label Inermu. Next to the music side of things we’ve got a really busy summer schedule, No Art parties coming up as well, and we’re looking to throw illegal pop up parties in Amsterdam.
Catch ANOTR at Decibel Festival in Florence, Italy on June 22-23. Grab your tickets here.