I saw the name “Anaxander” about a thousand times before I heard his records. That’s a slight exaggeration, but only a little one.
Anaxander has released a spectacular series of records, including From the Dirty South… of France for Love What You Feel, An Orderly Life for Chicago’s Tasteful Nudes and a whole series of deep, raw, and energetic records for labels like Local Talk, Quintessentials and Dame-Music.
Anaxander has a couple of new records out now that you should absolutely check out (and are embedded in the interview below): Chords + Theories (People Of Earth), Dance Till It Hurts (Modelisme) and Wishes & Memories (TH Pressing).
A 5 Mag Mix by Anaxander
Anaxander: The 5 Mag Interview
I never knew much about the people that made the records I liked as a kid. But things have changed so much that I feel like you have an air of mystery about you, just because I don’t see you posting selfies and moody headshots all the time. So who are you?
Hello, well perhaps it’s because there’s nothing exciting to know about me. I am a sort of private soul – I can’t explain it, it’s simply how I feel. We live in a time of ultra-fast communication and information: it’s easy to “know” about something without being sincerely involved. It’s easy to get a picture (false or truncated, most of the time) of a situation without any deep research or personal effort. And as a result it’s also easy to forget: I am not in symbiosis with that. And last but not least: how do I reveal more than I usually do without being boring?
Fair enough! What’s the distinction between the labels you own?
One I keep secret as I release some personal material under fresh and unrevealed monikers. The other one is home for some of the artists who drew and continue to draw the path of House and Techno. It’s a dedication to their talent and their message to eternity.
You’ve done records with a lot of important figures from Chicago’s House scene but not the obvious ones. With Brian Harden, for instance: what drove you to look him up and get his new material out?
Brian is a true living legend and a wonderful and very approachable person. I first met him on Facebook and we chatted several times about this project. After a few details, we soon got enough material to make a record. He is a very positive and generous cat. I am honored and very happy to have him onboard, I wish everyone (including me) was as cool as he is.
I’ve talked to people who have been making records for 20 years and still think of themselves as DJs rather than producers, or vice-versa. Do you view yourself as a DJ making records or a producer being a DJ?
I’ve been playing records for audiences since 1994, but I admit it’s not as important to me as it was even 10 years ago. A DJ is somebody that makes the people dance with some records, and he does it for a living, so I’m not a DJ anymore, only from time to time. And for the producing part: it’s probably what defines me the best between being a DJ or a producer at the moment. But still, I don’t think of myself as a producer. I collect synths and production gear and I make a record from time to time, but I am too weird to be a producer in the most common sense. For example I can’t play an instrument decently, so I’m learning to play the piano and learning music theory. It’s my plan to become a good producer someday.
What sort of things make you happy? (musically and non-musically)
These days, I’m happy with my piano, a few pals and my synths. One or two good beers a week, to learn something new, to cook for a few friends, to call a member of my family, to hang out with some pals, go to a concert, visit a friend… Simple things…
Since this is a DJ set — what was the last great set you heard in person?
Ron Trent last summer, but I don’t go out as much as I should.
How about your favorite set? It doesn’t have to be the biggest, the most recent, etc. — just your favorite and why?
I can’t say, I’ve heard a lot of very good sets in person – Garnier, Mills, Pullen, Trent, the list is very long as you can imagine. But curiously the one set I remember each time I think about this is Laurent Garnier’s X-Mix 2, a CD I bought around 1994 and was crazy about.
What can you tell us about this mix?
I wanted to record something fresh and sunny, but not cheesy or disposable, so it’s made up of some my favorite artists’ recent works mixed with some fresh blood and it mostly is about House and its derivatives. Technically it’s not the mix of the century but at least I hope it’s enjoyable enough. Thanks for the invitation Terry, and good listening to all…
Disco, Love and the DJs that brought House Music to the White House: originally published inside 5 Magazine Issue #131, featuring Al Kent, Quentin Harris, The Chosen Few DJs in Washington, Anaxander and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music – on sale for just $1 an issue!