Anna Lunoe is easy to spot. Standing tall in her white chucks, she walks into the room with grace. I catch her eyes and there is a moment of shared recognition. Her face is illuminated and she’s wearing a baseball jacket with a tiger embroidered on the back. She sits, orders an Earl Grey, and lays down the chronology of her life.
Hailing from Sydney but raised on a farm outside the city, the L.A. based DJ and producer is gaining significant traction in the club scene and with more mainstream audiences. Having just finished a stint on the road with Bag Raiders, she is currently on a national tour with The Weeknd. And on this particular evening, she’s scheduled to spin at the venerable Radio City Music Hall.
She speaks of her musical background, how her three older siblings constantly challenged and inspired her, and how competitive horse riding has made her fearless. “Every day of competition, we would literally be putting our bodies on the line...you learn this sense of strength and courage which has really come in handy. I don’t have any physical fear of what I do.” At the age of seventeen, she joined a punk band, started working a radio show, and began to DJ clubs and parties. Lunoe fell in love with the proverbial decks, and her reputation as a versatile DJ spread throughout Australia. “I was really obsessed with DJing, and I was really fascinated with understanding everything...I see all these guys doing [it] and I want to be as good as them. I want to know everything about dance music like they do and I want to understand all of these subcultures.”
So much contact with music inspired the pure-voiced DJ to undertake production and create songs she could play live and call her own. “I was working on production from the very beginning...but it takes a long time to get your production sounding good enough, especially when you know what you want.” The adaptive skills she has honed as a DJ carry over to production, but they don’t translate a hundred percent. Even more than technical chops and software mastery, the role of a producer demands assertion. “There comes a time where you have to be quite selfish, and just focus on your own wants, and that’s where being a DJ and a producer really conflict [with] each other.”
Live, Anna Lunoe makes it her business to force your feet to move. She has magic, and people know it. Like many of the venues on The Weeknd’s tour, Radio City is seated. In this sort of environment, Lunoe sounds great, but the true potency of her skills is lost in a cavernous hall with ushers and no floor space. I had the pleasure of catching two of her sets in the same day, the second of which was on home turf for the night-club bred DJ. Downtown on Bleecker Street, I watched a crowd of people hang out near the bar in a darkened, laser lit room. A man on stage was doing all he could to bring da funk, yet nobody moved. The majority seemed to avoid the dance floor, as if it would bite them. After thirty minutes, and a seamless set transition, Anna Lunoe took the tiller and the audience came alive. Within ten minutes, the floor was half full, and ten minutes after that, only the stragglers were left at the bar.
Photographer: Graham Dunn for weheartcollective.com. Stylist: Jimi Urquiaga at JimiUrquiaga.com. Hair: Jarrett Iovinella. Makeup: Roxy for themagnetagency.com using Chanel. Styling Assistant: Beau Reed.
Beauty Notes: liquid halo HD foundation broad spectrum spf 15 by smashbox cosmetics and Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow in Mystère and Rouge Allure luminous intense Lip color in rouge Noir by Chanel.