Off the grid techno. Music inspired by a melting pot of communities and cultures and a movement spearheaded by South African born, Amsterdam based Lee Ann Roberts. Bursting onto the techno scene in 2020 with her debut release on Spanish label Suara, Miyamoto charted at number 2 on Beatport’s ‘Hard Techno’ genre. Passionate and disciplined, Lee Ann is creating a real presence in the scene with her unrelenting sound, NowNow Records launch and a desire to create a community that knows no prejudice. Lee Ann has lived a rich, multicultural experience and throughout the years has taken inspiration from the Jimi Hendrix era of psychedelic rock through to the grunge era of Nirvana while staying grounded in her native African roots. The result of this unique blend has given birth to her signature techno sound that takes you on a vibrant journey, inviting you to taste soundbites from the past, present and future. DMCWORLD grab a world exclusive on the eve of the release of her new single ‘Space Yourself’ coming through Octopus…
Hi Lee Ann, great to have you with us today! How are you doing and whereabouts are you based at the moment?
Thank you for having me. I am currently based in Amsterdam although at this moment I am back in my homeland of South Africa.
How did you first get into music, and have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always been into music as a fan, it’s been a big passion of mine all my life… I was the kid who only asked for CDs & tapes for Christmas, or for merchandise from my favourite bands. I was also in the school choir! Our family have a dance & singing background, so music was always a big part of my life. I have been involved in the club scene since i was young. I studied at Soul Candi music school which eventually lead me to be a host on Cape Town’s famous Mutha FM station then I went on to study music production at Garnish Music school In Los Angeles. For me becoming an artist & a DJ in my own right has been a natural progression.
Growing up who influenced you musically?
I was actually a big rock & roll & punk fan and still am .I was hugely influenced by Nirvana , Alanis Morissette, Pearl Jam , Depeche Mode, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix.
Has where you’re from affected your musical journey?
Yes of course, you can hear African influence in my productions lots of African percussions. The sound of South Africa is very diverse so there’s a whole range of influences here……plus having spent so much time living in different places & cultures, I’ve absorbed them into a unique melting pot of influences.
Can you give us a day in the life of Lee Ann Roberts?
It varies greatly depending on where I am in the world! But I love yoga & taking care of myself mentally & physically. I invest a lot of time into my music career, this is a job not just a hobby for me. So recently it’s planning releases for my new label, doing interviews / photoshoots, mixes for online streams etc… I can’t wait to get back behind in the decks in front of crowds again!
You have recently set up NowNow records. What was the inspiration behind the label and it’s name?
I wanted to create something of my own, to have complete artistic control. Having my own vinyl imprint is something special for me. I am trying to create something unique, not only with my own music but I’m also keen to sign some diverse & exciting new artists to the label. The name is actually a South Africa phrase we use as an indication of time to say ‘I’m coming now now’ means I’m coming soon. NowNow Records is more than just a label but a movement that allows you to travel without actually going anywhere. To be in that moment where the music takes you.
Looking forward to the year ahead, is there anything else lined up for the label that you can hint at yet?
Yes so many exciting things in the pipeline . My next release ‘Bad Blood’ will be released in July with remixes from Jay Clarke & Lukas Firtzer, that’s followed by ‘Feel’ with remixes from MRD & D.A.V.E The Drummer, which will come out both on vinyl & digital in September. It’s great to be working with producers I personally admire.
What are you currently listening to?
Outside of music, do you have any other interests?
I am a keen activist, particularly in wildlife preservation & animal rights. I love travelling and learning about different cultures and I’m obsessed with architecture. I’m all about the outdoors and being in nature . One of my favourite places to retreat is the Kruger National Park; I actually want to buy property down there one day. I’m all about health and fitness, love the ocean and surfing and I love to draw.
How has lockdown been treating you generally? Increased productivity? Or struggling with motivation? How has it been for you?
For me it’s been the same as for most, feelings of isolation, missing the world & the club scene & playing to a crowd. But I’ve kept myself busy with new music & setting up the label so I’m excited for the year ahead & everything opening again!
Thanks a lot for chatting with us today Lee Ann! We wish you all the best and hope to catch up again soon!
Thanks DMCWORLD! Appreciate your support!
Lee Ann Roberts ‘Space Yourself’ is released 21st May on Octopus pre order link