Music and the Soul – Interview with Anjunadeep

Renowned record label Anjunadeep is visiting Budapest for the first time. Before their show, we got a chance to interview the kultic label’s A&R manager, Dom Donnelly, who will also perform during the night.

Since 2005, Anjunadeep has given the world dozens of artists and producers, hundreds of real memories and unforgettable parties. Budapest had a few chances to taste the brilliance of the London based record label, but this time the 4th birthday bash of Budapest Calling invites us to a kickass Anjunadeep party. We were lucky enough to ask a few questions from Dom Donnelly, not only as a DJ, but as the A&R manager of the label, too.

Above & Beyond and James Grant founded the Anjunadeep in 2005, and you are one of the hottest labels today. What was the idea behind the new label next to Anjunabeats and what’s the key of success nowadays?

Anjunadeep originally began as an outlet for the music played at the deeper end of A&B’s DJ sets, and kicked off with ‘Larry Mountains 54’ by David West which laid the groundwork for the label’s early sound. Since then the sound and tempo of Anjunadeep has evolved, but it’s still about the emotive and melodic dance music.

How could you describe the Anjunadeep label, what kind of music or feeling would you like to deliver to the electronic music lovers across the globe?

The key for us is releasing music with a soul and with emotions that you might discover on the dancefloor, but can still be enjoyed at home.

Which releases were the most successful in the last 10 years?

There have been some great albums released on the label over the last 10 years, from Michael Cassette and Jaytech’s LP’s in the early days of the label through the Dusky, Lane 8 and Cubicolor albums in the recent years. Dusky’s LP ‘Stick By This’ was a bit of a breakthrough moment for Anjunadeep and has paved the way for some of the new acts that have come through the label since.

With the growing number of e-music labels how can you stay at the top of the charts? What is your plan for 2017?

I don’t think there’s any secret ingredient to a label’s success, we just want to be consistent and always deliver the music that we believe in and that we love, and we don’t want to get sucked into following trends or chasing hits. This year we have two new artist albums lined up for release, from Way Out West and Moon Boots. They’re both quite different and showcase two acts we’re really excited about from different ends of the label spectrum. Beyond that we’re starting work on Anjunadeep 09, and planning some more Anjunadeep events around the world.

Could you tell us a little bit about your job in the label? What exactly and A&R does?

In my role at Anjunadeep I work very closely with all of our artists giving them feedback on their music, and working out which tracks to release and when. Along with James, Jody and our A&R team in the office we’re always scouting out new talent and sharing demos to try and find new artists to join the label family. I also work with our marketing and PR team to oversee the promotions of all our releases, and am involved in organising Anjuandeep events and tours.

The roster of artists on the label have some new acts like Cubicolor, Kidnap Kid and Matthias Vogt with more established names like the Jody Wisternoff, 16 Bit Lolitas, Dusky, Martin Roth. How do you determine which acts to sign?

Ideally we like to sign artists that we feel are a natural fit for the sound of the label, and who we can work with long-term through their careers, as we’ve done with some of those acts you mentioned.

When did you first get in touch with the Anjunadeep Budapest guests, Lane 8 & Yotto? Which is your personal favourite release from them?

I think it was Jody who first discovered Lane 8 back in 2013, and then Gareth from the Anjunabeats team was in touch with Yotto a few years back. Very tough to pick favourites! My favourite Lane 8 track changes all the time, but after hearing him play it on our UK tour last weekend, I think the Lane 8 remix of RÜFÜS is my current fave, it sounds so great in his sets. And my favourite Yotto track is a new demo that he still hasn’t finished yet – if you’re reading this Otto, you know which one I mean!

What do you prefer as a DJ, small venues with more „intimate” athmosphere or big festivals?

I love both, although I haven’t really played on too many big festivals myself, so I’d have to say the intimate ones are my favourite. You can’t beat a small Anjunadeep daytime party!

Have you ever been in Budapest?

I don’t think this really counts, but I once spent a morning trying not to fall asleep in a McDonalds at a Budapest train station waiting to travel to Berlin on my way home from Exit Festival in Serbia…

What can we expect from the first Anjunadeep label night in Hungary? Lots of own releases in the DJ bag?

Hopefully an amazing night! I’ve heard great things about Terem. Lane 8 and Yotto will smash it for sure, and I’m looking forward to playing a load of unreleased Anjunadeep music and some new demos, too.


Anjunedeep Budapest, 5 May, TEREM Budapest – EVENT.