[INTERVIEW] ANATTA Shares His Perspective on Minimal House + Plans for New Insomniac Radio Show 'ILLUSTRATE'
Since the debut of his project in June of 2020, ANATTA has quickly climbed to the top of minimal house scene. Fueled by his passion for music, the young artist has already dropped over 50 songs across prime minimal labels, such as Unnamed and Unknown, Whoyostro, Rawsome, and more. His infectious signature style has been supported by the likes of Paco Osuna, Lee Foss, Dennis Cruz, and other renowned artist.
Adding to his skilled sound design, ANATTA also brings flawless mixing techniques and a captivating stage presence to every set. He has shared the stage with the top-tier performers of Michael Bibi, MK, and John Summit. Playing at the the hottest venues across the U.S., ANATTA recently shocked his audience at his EDC Las Vegas debut. Now, with one of the first minimal radio shows, ANATTA continues to lead the movement for the exponentially growing genre.
Check out iEDM's exclusive interview with ANATTA below.
iEDM: Which artists and people in your life helped influence your passion for music? How did you first get into producing?
iEDM: You have had three #1 Minimal/Deep-Tech EPs. How is each EP themed differently from one another? Which EP presented the hardest challenge in regard to its production and why?
ANATTA: Each EP is a different style of the broader genre of minimal. The Whoyostro EP was pretty loungey and very Amsterdam-inspired. The Unnamed and Unknown Ep was a bit more driving and stripped beats. And then the “Step Up” EP was a bit more stompy and dark, which is the style that got me into this sound. I would say the “Leaving” EP on Whoyostro was the most difficult to make. At the time, I was relatively new to the sound and I just had no clue what I was doing for the sound design. As a result, I really had to pick my way through each individual sound to make it sound cohesive and up to par with the genre.
iEDM: What drew you to minimal house rather than one of the more mainstream sub-genres of house music? What is your favorite component of minimal?
ANATTA: My draw to minimal house was all in the fact that it’s understated compared to the rest of house music. There aren’t really gimmicks or aspects that are so in your face like the current state of a lot of other house subgenres. It’s also just so much more open to interpretation than other genres so I find it generally more enjoyable to make. I love other sub-genres of house music, specifically the progressive stuff, but minimal just really got me with how fun it is to produce.
iEDM: Lyrics in minimal tracks are often not too lengthy or complex. In your opinion, why do shorter vocals make for better, more rhythmic, minimal tracks? What is your process for creating or sampling vocals that blend seamlessly with your basslines?
ANATTA: In all honesty, I don’t think about this much at all. I am actually fond of playing tracks that have more vocals. I think it's a great way to pull audiences outside of minimal into the genre, especially when it's familiar with other stuff they like or listen to. That being said, you are definitely correct that overall, there are much fewer lyrics in the minimal stuff. I think this just goes back to the freedom of the genre as a whole because the tracks don’t need to lean on vocal hooks as much.
My process for sampling vocals (if I am going to use them at all) is usually three-fold. Find a hook that actually is a bit more sung out, find some phrases that have a rhythmic element and complement the track, and then run a sliced sampler through a sequencer to create a bit more of a looped chop vocal. Sometimes I do all of that, and others just some. I really just play with vocals until I feel like they are cohesive with the track.
iEDM: Which original track are you most proud of and why? Which one of your tracks pushed you the farthest out of your comfort zone or differed from your typical production style?
ANATTA: The track I am most proud of is actually coming out in early 2023. It’s called “Tobacco Docks”. I have had it for over a year now but it really pushed on me because there is a ton of original writing, sampling, and live instrumentation as well. Overall, it was just challenging to tie all that into one flushed-out idea. I have had such a crazy amount of support on it so I am super excited about that one.
iEDM: How do you crate-dig for hidden gems to include in your live sets? What specifically do you look for in a track that makes you want to play it live?
ANATTA: My live sets are kind of built around what I am faced with and the specific time I play. The way I am mostly looking for tracks is through 1001 tracklist of old sets, a global music promotion platform called Inflyte, and a record pool I am a part of. I try to pack my library with stuff that is slow and loungey all the way up to the edge of tech house, and everywhere in between. I just don’t ever want to play a gig where I miss the vibe the crowd’s feeling so I make sure I’m ready for anything (except dubstep).
iEDM: What has been your favorite venue to perform at? What is the funniest or most bizarre memory that has happened while performing or just being out at the club?
ANATTA: As cliche as it is, my favorite venue to perform at has to go to EDC Las Vegas. That's what all of us in America look up to though right? It’s definitely a bucket list show and to have a packed art car and awesome energy in the crowd was something I will never forget.
I think the funniest thing in recent memory was a rooftop show I played. This group of guys kept lifting up their friend and he was throwing his arms out like an airplane. They just kept him above their head and were moving around the crowd with this kid just completely horizontal in the air. The venue didn’t have much security so it went on for a while.
iEDM: Your show ILLUSTRATE on Insomniac Radio brings a new exciting experience to the electronic music community. What inspired the concept behind ILLUSTRATE? What are you hoping to accomplish through the radio show?
ANATTA: I don’t want to give it all away but I have a really cool plan for ILLUSTRATE. The radio show is a really nice opportunity to consistently deliver the musical vision for the brand as well as introduce people to the name and artistic vision. My ultimate goal for ILLUSTRATE is to be the definitive face of minimal music in America in multiple formats.
iEDM: Your first mix on ILLUSTRATE closed out with one of your unreleased tracks, “Set Us Free”. How did you come up with and create the groovy bassline for this ID?
ANATTA: From what I recall, writing that one is my moog (synthesizer) layered with a bass guitar emulation. Usually, I try to start my basslines by playing something on the keyboard that I hear. Ironically, while my theory is pretty strong, my playing is quite bad. I believe I played the rough idea of this and then ended up actually just programming it in MIDI (records and plays back music on digital synthesizers) and then going in and adding the portamento (a pitch sliding from one note to another) and swing by hand.
iEDM: What advice would you give to upcoming DJs who want to master overlapping and smoothly transitioning between minimal tracks?
ANATTA: Patience is so important in minimal, especially in the club. Sometimes you feel antsy to be mixing or doing something on the decks when you play, but the groove of a great minimal track is going to be so strong that it gets better with time. Be patient and let tracks reach their peak to get the most out of the tracks you play. I always try to remind myself people will rarely recall that “great transition” but they will remember those stand-out tracks you played.
As far as making it smooth and seamless it is about picking tracks in key that swing in a similar manner. The last thing you want is a straight groove clashing with a super swung groove, all ripping four different high hats and a bunch of detuned synths swirling around.
iEDM: Which artists would you like to collab with in the future and why?
ANATTA: I would really like to collab with Jesse Jacob. I find myself playing his tracks as often as my own honestly. Artistically, we would complement each other really well. Other than that, I would really like to work with more vocalists and studio musicians in general. I highly value perspectives from outside the minimal genre and I think that's what is going to allow me to push the boundaries of this music!
Photos courtesy of ANATTA
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