Interview with ANOTR: “You’ve got to experience it to understand it”

“A breath of fresh air.” This is how Jesse van der Heijden and Oguzhan Guney were baptized when their music started to sound in most of the best electronic music clubs and festivals. Together, they form ANOTR, a super-young duo whose releases already got the likes of big labels like Origins Rcrds, Moan, Hottrax, Inermu and Solid Grooves. Indeed, their approach to tech-house music is fresh and innovative, presenting always a hot and amazingly clean groove. It is the same approach that is shared by No Art, an imprint created by themselves in 2017, and where they’re about to release their latest EP.

Jesse, Oguzhan… You are such a young duo, but your name is getting a big influence in the clubbing scene. How do you feel about it?

Oguzhan: Yes, we’re one of the younger ones. We’re both 25, but we’re part of the new generation of DJs and producers that all do a good job to keep the scene going and evolving. It’s nice to see the new generation grow bigger and bigger and it’s important that we will grow as a collective.

You are about to release a 3-track EP called Don’t Mind Ya Weight on your own No Art imprint. What can you tell us?

Jesse: The title track “Don’t Mind Ya Weight” is a track we made a long time ago. We’ve played it out so much before we decided to release it on our own label. It’s cool to see that a lot of artists are already supporting it and now that it’s finally coming out, we’re happy to share it with the rest of the world. This whole EP is meant for the dance floor, it’s meant to make you dance.

O: Only thing I can add to this is that Jesse played the guitar on this one, hahaha!!

How was the EP produced?

O: All the tracks were created in our studio in Amsterdam. Most of the time we use our Korg EMX 1 to start a drum groove until we get to a point where you have a proper drum loop. From there on, we start building on the leading elements and, once we have stood out elements that really grab our attention, it’s time for the bass that finishes off the idea of the track. All tracks are super bass-driven, which works really well on the dance floor.

What drove you to create your own label No Art?

J: Initially, No Art was meant as a way for us to put out music whenever we wanted. We were making so much music at that time, so it was hard to plan a good release schedule with other labels. All the labels out there have their own sound, their own style, and it didn’t always fit with the music we were making. We felt that by starting a label, we’d be able to find a way to really show the world what we like as artists. Now, 3 years later, No Art has become so much more than just that. It has become a movement, a platform for artists that work closely together, that share a passion for music. Basically, No Art is meant for anyone that feels connected to our brand.

As far as I know, ANOTR was born in an attic in Amsterdam. What are your best memories from your beginnings? Why ANOTR?

O: ANOTR was created out of our names combined. We took the “AN” out of Oguzhan and “OTR” out of Jesse’s second name Piotr. Before ANOTR, we had another project and that’s when we started producing together mid-summer, around 8 years ago. What we remember most is that when all of our friends were outside having fun in sunny Amsterdam, we were sweating like hell with nothing but ice coffee and a van to cool us down. The music we made at that time gave us so much energy and I think this is still one of the elements that keep us going right now. We just love to work on music.

You’re currently hosting your own No Art label nights at Amsterdam’s Loft, after featuring it in several venues.

O: Yes, it’s already one year doing so. So far, we’ve done De Waalse Kerk, Lofi, Loft, West Indisch Huis and Claire. No Art combines music, art, musicians and unique and exclusive locations. For example, when we had a party in the church, we stopped the music halfway our set so that a church choir could take it over for a few minutes, and then continued playing after they were finished. At Lofi we had a dance group performing naked on the dance floor, just before the main room opened. We’re always trying to surprise and challenge our visitors by giving them an experience they will never forget. The best thing about all this is that we’re always hyped to see how the crowd is going to react to it, and you can tell that from the energy they give back to us that they like what we’re doing. And of course, it’s up to the DJs to give the crowd what they want: quality music, minimal to house to disco, everything is possible if it keeps the people going.

Image: © No Art

In recent times, you’ve played at London’s fabric and Printworks, at Ibiza’s Ushuaïa and Privilege, and at Quito’s Lost Beach Club. Not a bad CV for an electronic music artist… Current works and next goals?

J: We’re working hard to get to even better places. We know there are a lot of cool places and parties to play at, but we’ll see whatever the future will bring. We’ve noticed that if we focus on our own work and brand, we’ll get way more than we can hope for.

A message for those who still have to discover ANOTR?

J&O: You’ve got to experience it to understand it.


(Cover Image: © ANOTR’s Press Kit)