Growing and Exploring with Anika
Anika has lived lots of different lives. She’s been in and out of the music industry for years, popping in and out to focus on political journalism. Now she’s “married to music,” and taking risks through a hosts of different projects. She’s produced, worked with Portishead alum, delivered dreamy covers solo, and spun DJ sets all around Europe. Now, she’s settled in a more exhilarating, “emotional” project, Exploded View. The completely improvised post-punk that came out was potent and true, downtempo and deep-seeded.
Between all your different projects, how do you pick and choose which songs to use for each? Do they evoke different outcomes and/or influence each other?
Normally I only really ever take on projects that challenge me somehow or offer the potential for growth and exploration. If a project ever requires me to do exactly that which I did before, it normally goes no further. I've learnt so much from all the projects I did and enjoyed some kind of special relationship and learning exchange from each. That's the fun of it and the motivation for what I do.
How was working with Geoff Barrow from Portishead in BEAK>?
I learnt so much from Geoff and beak. Many invaluable lessons about the industry but also so much musical and production wisdom. It was an unexpected match. But that's life. It's good to keep your eyes open for the unexpected and be ok to change plans sometimes. One of the best things that Geoff reinforced is that it doesn't really matter what people think about things. Have your own reasons and own game and be worried about that. I also learnt a lot about recording techniques, about the importance of setting up well to record or for live shows. Many many things also about paying everyone you ask to do something for you, regardless if you're making money. Especially relevant in an industry full of expected freebies / exploitation. It's a respect thing.
What's a different objection/vibe with this band than previous projects or solo stuff?
This is really a project between friends. We're all deeply emotional. The good thing about friends is that they take the time to tell you things you might not want to hear but that will help you in the long run. This is essential for growth. The project is also freer than many I have experienced in Europe. It is of course self aware, as is everything but less so and less concerned with conforming to structural norms.
Tracks on Exploded Views were made on-the-spot, not premeditated, and recorded in one-take. What are the pros and cons of such an improvisational process?
The pros are that your true feelings become clear with no filters. It's sometimes disturbing what you vomit up. The cons are that these weird songs aren't so sellable. Maybe that's a pro haha. This was never at the forefront of the process anyhow. If it's a by-product, then great.
“The good thing about friends is that they take the time to tell you things you might not want to hear but that will help you in the long run. This is essential for growth.”
You jumped from political journalism to music, when and why did you make the switch and make music your priority? Does your past career influence your lyrics very much?
Of course it influences what I do because I live music, I am married to music, it is my all. Therefore, it is linked directly to my brain, thoughts and feelings. It is like a prism, which my reality passes through. I switched up because I thought I could do something more meaningful and expressive with music. It offers a platform for dialogue and investigation. I'd like to share hope and the overcoming of obstacles if possible.
Said you started in the music industry early on and then left for journalism, what made you leave initially?
It disappointed me in that many weren't so into the investigation part. It was very suspicious. No one was up for taking risks. This was a little disheartening.
Are you still doing journalism at all? How has the industry changed since you started?
I do bits yes. It's certainly a weird time. It's essential to remember the role impartial, quality and investigative journalism plays in a functioning democracy. In scrutinizing those in power and holding them accountable, in informing the public voters; it's something worth paying for. It must be paid for. Nothing is for free. If you're not paying, then question who is and what is their agenda?
You’ve mentioned with all your projects, sometimes those on the fence with your recordings switch gears after seeing you live. How do performance elements offer a different experience than the record?
Live is a different thing entirely in that you have more dimensions and senses to engage with. Touch, smell, taste, see. On record you mostly just have hear.
What kind of music do you play in your DJ sets?
It changes depending on what excites me at that time. I grew up with huge influences from bass to jungle to R&B to blues to 60s and 70s and 90s and later 80s, to now.
What's your response to folks who think politics should stay out of music and tunes should simply be bubbly escapes?
Each to their own. But in the end, after they came for the others, they'll come for you.