Lee Ann Roberts is one of the new breed of techno stars making her mark right now. 2021 has seen the launch of her own label and a string of high profile releases. We caught up with her to talk music, the label and what inspires here.
Lee Ann Roberts - Interview with MinimalMag
Hi Lee Ann, welcome to Minimal Mag. We understand you’re from South Africa but based in Amsterdam? Please can you tell us a little about the things you miss from back home and the things you love about the Dutch capital?
Hi guys, thanks so much for having me. Yes, that is correct. I mostly miss my friends, family and the delicious food. The way of life in Cape Town is also superb and I don’t think there is anywhere quite like it. I absolutely love Amsterdam, it’s one of my favorite cities, great vibes, amazing people and the best music! The Dutch have a specific way as to how everything works and how everything is connected which I think is smart and in turn makes things easier and efficient.
Your music has you firmly enmeshed in the techno scene, what was your journey into this as a clubber, Dj and music maker?
I grew up in the Psy Trance scene in South Africa, so I guess that’s where I got my first taste. A few years later, my boyfriend at the time was putting on the best underground events in my hometown and the country which gave me a rare insight into the industry.
I learned to play at Soul Candi and spent the next 4 years playing in my room and anywhere they would let me, ha!, I always had a strong love for electronic music. This led to me having a radio show on MuthaFM in Cape Town and I guess that’s when I realised there was a career move for me to take. I then moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and studied music production twice actually, once at Garnish Music School and then I took private lessons with DJ Rap and started to create from there.
2021 has seen the launch of your own NowNow record label, what’s the story behind this and what are your plans for the imprint? Will you be featuring other artists or is this a vehicle for your own music?
I wanted to create something of my own, to have complete artistic control. Having my own vinyl imprint is special for me. I am trying to create something unique, not only with my own music but am also signing 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.
What are your favourite 3 albums of all time? Please tell us a little about each and why they’re special to you?
This is always tough as I have so many favorites and all for different reasons, it’s kind of like asking me what my favorite country or city is. They all hit a different part of me in their own way for certain reasons but here are 3 of them 🙂
1. Nirvana – Nevermind, This is my favorite album of all time. I have always been a huge Nirvana fan, Kurt Cobain is a genius , and has been a big musical influence for me. There is so much soul in these songs, it makes me feel so many emotions all at once, thye take me to another dimension.
2. Faithless – Insomnia, is a piece of art, and really hits deep especially when those iconic keyboards come in…goosebumps all the way. For me it’s one of the greatest tunes in electronic history, and it always goes down well in any circumstance. This moves me mentally and physically, It’s a real masterpiece.
3. Michael Jackson – Thriller . I grew up listening to Michael, dancing around the house to his music. I can remember it like it was yesterday, so many special memories shared through his music. He is one of a kind and one of the best musical artists to have ever lived. Legendary!
Away from the studio or DJ booth, what are your passions or interests?
I am a wildlife activist and I have been working with different organizations for a long time now. I think if i wasn’t djing i would work at a farm or at a wildlife sanctuary in the Kruger Park. I have joined MAAC, which is a cause close to my heart helping wild animals that are in need.
I love to learn new things, be it studying something new or just reading/googling random things. I am hugely passionate about health and fitness and the environment. I love running, training to hopefully do a marathon soon. It’s my goal but with all the covid rules it pushes me back a bit but i will get there. Once i have something in my mind no matter how difficult it is i will do, i’m psycho like that haha its like i’m competing against myself which is the best way to compete. I’m in touch with my spirituality and Yoga/Meditation and Self Improvement is always the way I prefer to start my day.
What have been your DJ’ing highlights so far? And where would you most like to play?
I played quite often at Avalon Hollywood. It was one of my first international gigs which I think it’s where it all started so that’s definitely a special one for me. Headlining one of my fav clubs in my hometown, i used to go there for many years before i started to DJ so it really for me is my biggest highlight as there is a lot of history there and my friends and family got to come. My mom was dancing flat out in the engine room, it was beautiful , so surreal.
Headlining reset in Cape Town, getting to play in different countries such as Switzerland, Iceland, Mauritius etc .. I would love to play Awakenings Festival… I have always dreamed of playing there, it’s really such a great festival from the lineups, the stages, the visuals are mind blowing and it’s based in Amsterdam 🙂 Time Warp, DGTL,, Possession , Tomorrowland , Voxnox, Verknipt the list is endless..
What else do you have planned for the year ahead and is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
We have a 4 track vinyl and digital bomb release in September on NowNow with MRD and D.A.V.E The Drummer remixes and 2 of my originals.,I play at Caprices festival in Switzerland in September, ADE in October, HOR in December and then BPM festival in Costa Rica in January. I have a few other things regarding the label and gigs up my sleeve but cant mention too much about it just yet… but lots of exciting things in the pipeline. Can’t wait to see you guys on the dancefloor soon.