Annie Hall is a DJ, producer and vinyl cutter based in Windsor, Canada. She lives in Detroit Underground HQ, and from her home she can look down on Detroit, a city that has evidently shaped her output as a producer; whether she is making complex IDM, possessing techno, or lush classic electro. Three years ago Hall and her partner Kero invested in “the machine”, as she refers to it, the invention that allows the couple to cut vinyl from the comfort of their own home. Dunkel Radio’s Najaaraq Vestbirk caught up with Hall for a chat about her love for classic electro, her business with producer E.R.P and this rare vinyl cutting machine.
Najaaraq: I found these classic electro sounding tracks of yours on YouTube called Afterfunk and Nostalgic beats... When did
you release them?
Annie: Afterfunk? I don’t think I have that track released. Yeah that is an old one, I actually never released it.
Annie: Yeah, well now I am starting to release some of those old tracks, because here in Detroit there is a huge stream of that kind of classic electro music. So now I have released one on a label from here called Cryovak records. But yeah, I have tons of those tracks I never released.
Najaaraq: When did you make these?
Annie: Woah, this is like 8 or 9 years ago now.
Najaaraq: Electro had a major comeback the last year, also in Europe and New York with all the L.I.E.S. releases and stuff like that.
Annie: You mean in this year? Yeah, the last year this whole Drexcyian kind of electro has really come back. That’s a good point, because thats how I fell in love with electro, first I was listening to more that kind of robotic electro, like more kind of Miami stuff, but after that I discovered Drexciya and James Marcel Stinson - that is like my style, electro soul. So that was like, really, really, important in my life, all the Detroit esteem and electro - that was my main influence.
Najaaraq: Do you remember what releases you loved from back then?
Annie: My favorite record in that kind of music was released on Warp Records. It was when James Marcel Stinson was part of Drexcyia and he started his own project called The Other People Place. The album is called ‘Lifestyles Of The Laptop Café’. It’s still my favorite record, it’s something I can listen to every day, even if I’m just at the house, it’s amazing, you know: Soul and beats together.
Najaaraq: When you first heard that stuff, what was it that was so great about it?
Annie: When I was getting into electro, even techno, I found that the kind of music I loved had more soul - its not so cold, and even if it was electro. It was like a mix of soul and technology because the beats are electro, but it still keeps the soul. You can tell it’s from Detroit. It’s a city where soul music is very important because of all the Motown stuff. Even the music that came after as techno, it’s got that kind of soul and emotional feeling. I like that.
Najaaraq: Talking about electro, there was an E.R.P remix on your album ‘Random Paraphilia’. He’s not releasing that much stuff, how did that come about?
Annie: I’m lucky because we’ve known each other for a few years. I had a show in London like 7 years ago where I did a live set with DJ Stingray and E.R.P playing at the same party. I met him there, and after 3 years or something he had a show in Madrid, so we met again. He is one of my favorite artists, if I have to chose in that electro kind of music I would always say Drexcyia and E.R.P are always in my top 5. So I just contacted him, just sent him an email and was like, ‘I would love you to be on this album’. I wanted to have all my fetish artists remix this album, and he was one of them, along with Richard Devine, Shadow Huntaz and Valance Drakes.
Najaaraq: You run Riverside records, what’s that about?
Annie: We bought this machine so we can make records for different artists and labels as a vinyl cutter.
Annie: Kero and I actually went to Germany, to the mountains, because that’s where the guy who made it was. You can’t buy it from anywhere in America. You have to go to Germany, and you have to do this training - it was actually pretty hard - and if you pass the training, pass as in: you can make your own record in 24 hours, then you can buy the machine. Otherwise you can not buy the machine.
Najaaraq: What is that place called?
Annie: I don’t think it has a name it's so wired but the website is here:
It doesn't even have a manual. That’s why you have to go to the training. When you go back home, you have to deal with the machine all on your own. But he is always nice, you can always send him an email, and he is there just to answer any questions.
Najaaraq: How long does it take to make a record on it?
Annie: It takes as long as the tracks are. It’s a handmade process, this is not like a press where you can make 300 copies. We can only make them one by one. So the fact is the machine is making the groove in real time, so if the EP is 20 minutes, its going to take me 20 minutes. I don’t have to listen to the music while I’m working, but I have to be there until all the tracks are done.
We just work with super-limited editions, what we are doing is more for local artists that say ‘I just want to make 6 records for promo’ or ‘I just want to make a record for my girlfriend with all the tracks from a concert we saw together.’ I make them for labels too, but we don’t make more than 50.
Najaaraq: What’s the most recent project you’ve been working on?
Annie: Recently I have been working on a techno EP that I’m going to release in July on a Japanese label called Torque Records. I’m pretty excited about that, because I am just talking to them right now, and I think I am going to Osaka and Tokyo to play in July, which is exciting because I have never been there before.
Words: Naajaraq Vestbirk/Dunkel Radio