AniMe is undoubtedly one of the longest-standing female artists within Hardcore. Hailing from Italy, she adds a unique twist to the genre with the undying energy that she’s renowned for in her tracks as well as her positive attitude to the scene. After piloting hardcore music for over five years, a short time ago this Italian beauty announced the big news about her debut album “Exterminate.” Due to hit the stores on the 21st of January, we decided to catch up with the ‘A-bomb’ herself to talk about her early days in hardcore, some of her highlights of 2015, her thoughts about the direction of hardcore and of course, her upcoming album!
– Hi Barbara, thanks a lot for chatting with me today! First of all, can you give me a little recap of 2015?
2015 started for me in a very scenic way; I had the pleasure to be chosen as the closing artist for Freaqshow, which was held at my favourite venue – the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam! I played at 6 o’clock in the morning – it was a beautiful way to start the New Year. To close down 2015, I had my very first performance in Los Angeles which was amazing!
Another highlight for me was performing at parties around the world and also at some of the biggest in The Netherlands where I was fortunate to meet lots of AniMe supporters! Also, together with the Traxtorm crew we broke new barriers and spread our sound through countries that haven’t yet experienced hardcore in full force, such as Croatia.
Music-wise, I had the honour to work in the studio with Mad Dog and Rob Gee and my releases “Terrordome,” “You Get Me High” and “Ama Shishi” generated a huge response! I also started working on my debut album “Exterminate,” which you’ll hear more about later in this interview.
In terms of some personal milestones, I brought my first house in The Netherlands which makes me very proud and my sister gave birth to my beautiful niece Beatrice who I love so much! All in all, I couldn’t really ask more from 2015!
– Let’s get down to business! Can you tell me about how you got into hardcore in the first place and what inspired you to start DJing and producing?
When I was a teenager I was very passionate about electronic music and around that time I heard of a nightclub in Italy called ‘Number One,’ which played a super ‘powerful’ type of music. My curiosity grew and I decided to check out what kind of music that they were playing. When I entered the club I felt completely at home; it didn’t take me long to figure out that hardcore music would be my world for a long time.
After that night I started visiting more clubs with my friends; sometimes we’d drive for many kilometres to reach this Hardcore music.
At one point I realised that this music had become so important to me and I needed to take this passion to the next level, so I began DJing which helped me express myself and spread the music to others. I ended up purchasing a set of turntables with a friend and I would practice for hours on end! It was not easy, I was the first female DJ in Italy for any type of music and DJing was not considered a job by the Italian government, but just a hobby. I then formed a group with my friend called “Radioactive” and we began producing our own music. Back then, music was a need to communicate, not a desire to gain popularity which is something that I see a lot nowadays.
– Back when you started, what was the hardcore scene like in your home country, Italy?
Hardcore was very popular mostly in cities in Northern Italy and Rome. There were hardcore clubs everywhere and there was even a record shop in the next city that specialised in Hardcore vinyls and gabber clothing. This shop was a meeting point for gabbers; we met each other there to listen to music and talk about our common passion.
– You just announced the news about your new album “Exterminate” that will be released on the 21st of January. What inspired you to do an album and what is the aim of this album?
Making an album has always been my dream and finally I’ve reached my goal. As said earlier, I became a DJ to send messages through my music and see people receiving the messages, understanding them and agreeing with them. This is really satisfying and also makes it worthwhile.
This album is for me and for my fans; I love the fact that they can go on a mental trip whilst listening to my music by listening to a sequence of tracks that represent me, my essence and my soul.
– You’ve got previews up and running on your channels; how has the public’s response been on the tracks?
I had a great response on my social pages, lots of people are very excited for this album and they can’t wait for the release date. The time has almost come, so their suffering is almost over! 😀
– You also have some remixes on the album! Can you tell me a little bit more about them and why you chose those particular artists to remix your tracks?
I have 4 remixes. First of all I chose The Sickest Squad to remix “Detonate.” It’s a difficult track to remix, because it has been a huge success and the original version is still played by many DJs, regardless that it was released back in 2010. I could only imagine the track being remixed with a high tempo and a happy, banging vibe, so for this reason The Sickest Squad were the perfect artists to choose for it. They did exactly what I expected and the result is mind blowing!
Secondly, I asked Art of Fighters to remix one of my tracks and Cristian chose “Bass For Your Face.” I asked him because I deeply respect him as an artist, I appreciate everything he has done in all these years for the scene and I absolutely wanted to have his name on my album! I think it’s a plus.
I also wanted to give space to some new talent, so I chose a new recruit on Traxtorm Records, the Spanish artist Koozah. He remixed “Hunting For Your Soul.” I chose him because his tracks have the right energy to keep a dance floor “alive.” I believe that if he works hard in the coming years that he could really become someone in the hardcore movement.
Finally, I have the new Italian duo The Anunnaki. They proposed themselves for remixing a track and I chose for them to remix “Hands Up” because I thought it was the right track for their style, and it was! They did a great job with it and I’m totally satisfied; I’ve even played the track at a few parties and it’s absolutely smashed it!
– My personal favourite track so far is “Fucking Jump,” can you tell me a little bit more about this track?
It’s a fun, energetic and happy track that’s made to crush the dance-floor. I like when people “hakken” but I prefer it more when the crowd explodes and jump on the drop, because from the stage I can see the whole crowd moving. For this reason I had the idea to use a sample saying: “Welcome! Fucking jump!”
– I want to talk about your 2015 release “Terrordome,” which is an amazing track! Did you expect it to become so popular and get such a great reach among the fans?
Whenever I finish a track I can tell whether it will work well or if it’ll be “one of the many tracks around.” With “Terrordome” I had a good feeling. I heard that it had big potential and it also gave me great satisfaction. When it was released it was reviewed on DJ Mag (UK) and was defined as a big hit! It also took a high ranking at #9 which I’m really proud of! 🙂
– You’re a part of Traxtorm Records, Italy’s biggest hardcore platform. What does it mean to be a part of this label?
Becoming a part of a major record label can really help you jump start your career. Traxtorm is a great stepping stone, but you have to be extremely dedicated to your work if you want to become a renowned DJ.
– You’ve collaborated and performed together with Mad Dog a lot; can you tell me what it’s like working with him?
Working with Mad Dog meant a lot for me and my career. I learnt a lot from him in the studio; by watching him I learnt techniques within a few weeks that sometimes take years to perfect. He does his work with great passion; he is always self-studying and updating himself on anything concerned with producing music. I feel blessed to have had the possibility to work with him.
– In recent years, Hardcore has gotten harder and faster; what are your thoughts on the music nowadays and the direction of the scene?
I think it has gotten faster, but not harder. The music that people call “uptempo” is just faster hardcore, but not necessarily harder; the BPM has nothing to do with the hardness of a track. Furthermore, tracks from 180 to 22BPM and above have always been a part of Hardcore; the only difference that I see now is that many mainstream producers have reduced their production and others stopped indefinitely. This has permitted new producers to enter the movement by making the easiest hardcore to produce and in this way they’ve filled up the market with faster music.
I’m sure that the ‘mainstream’ hardcore sound will be back very soon because trends always move in circle. I’ve already heard that some uptempo producers are starting to make slower tracks, however we shouldn’t forget the other side of the spectrum, raw hardstyle, where producers are continuously pushing the BPM’s higher.
The mainstream sound will be back; the only thing I’m not sure of is whether raw hardstyle or uptempo hardcore will reach us first! Regardless, I’m just going to keep doing what I like and wait for them at my place. 🙂
– You’ve performed at this legendary party before and you were also at the die-hard day in December! Can you tell me a little bit about your experiences and memories at Thunderdome?
I remember playing at Thunderdome in 2009; I was a new name in the scene and they trusted me which was very important and I’m forever grateful. In December, it was a huge honour for me to be chosen to perform at the Beatport for the Thunderdome die-hard warm up – I can certainly add it to the list of goals I achieved in 2015!
On the night, the live videos posted on my Facebook reached around 500,000 people and received more than 1500 comments – it was such amazing feedback! On a side note, I was a big fan of ID&T; I also had the Wizard sticker on the back of my first car.
– You’re one of the leading females not only in hardcore, but in hard dance in general. For you, what is it like to be working in a scene that’s male-dominated?
I think that being either male or female is the same in this line of work. I don’t feel that part of the scene is dominated by men, I feel that part of the scene is dominated by people – both men and women.
– Italian or Dutch hardcore?
Both, if they have that power that I like the most. Normally, I find that aspect in all Italian and Spanish hardcore and in a few Dutch artists.
– Can you name some hardcore artists that our readers should keep an eye out on in 2016?
AniMe of course, because I’m releasing lots of new music on my album and I’m already working on some follow-up releases for after the album. Also, keep an eye out on Mad Dog, because he’s going to be releasing one track per month; the quality that he brings is unique, only a few other names in hardcore bring that same standard. Finally, I recommend that you all keep your eyes on Koozah; he’s a promising name for the future!
– All in all, what does hardcore mean to you?
Hardcore is my life. Day by day it’s made me a better person and also a happy, free woman.
– What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
In February I will start the “Exterminate World Tour” with 2 stops in Japan, Osaka and Tokyo. I’m very excited because I’ve already performed there in 2011 and I know how crazy they can be. After that, I will be touring throughout the world and bringing my sound to many different countries. During the weeks and when I’m not touring I will keep producing music and working to reach exclusive stages which are only for strong names.
In my personal life, I would like to buy a second house soon, in a beautiful place where I can relax and get inspiration for my music. Also, because I love animals so much another resolution is to stop eating meat. I’m trying with all my forces, however I won’t stop eating fish, I really love sushi and sashimi.
– Finally, what did you eat for breakfast today?
Nice question… I’m still deeply jet-lagged from my trip to Los Angeles. I arrived back last Friday and on Saturday I flew to France for an amazing party. So today I woke up very late at 1PM, so I had a late breakfast/lunch: Mushrooms, potatoes purée and a café latte. Yes I know, a bit of a weird combination. 😀
Thanks to AniMe for this interview! We wish her all the best with the release of her first album “Exterminate” and we can’t wait to hear the great music she has in store for us! For those who want to listen to the previews from the album, be sure to check her YouTube and Soundcloud channels. For the rest of you, “Exterminate” will hit the stores on January 21st, so be sure to grab your copy!
For eager hardcore fans that want to pre-order the album: CLICK HERE.