You may know them as Delicious, but when they’re performing under their alias, ANEK, DJ duo Karina and Denise Jensen deliver their signature funk-filled groove with a slightly more underground edge. With new releases out on Steve Lawler’s quickly-rising label VIVa Music, ANEK brings a style that’s deep, tech-y, and what we can only describe as handmade organic house. After making us an exclusive mix, the girls sat down with mybeatFix to shed some light on the underground and the DJ life.
You both grew up involved in the underground electronic scene in Copenhagen. How does that scene compare to the underground here in the States?
ANEK:Yes we started going out to underground parties in Denmark when we were about 15 years old. Back then in Denmark drum’n'bass, jungle and techno were very big. The reason why we ended up in this more underground scene was because we loved electronic music and were too young to get in to normal clubs yet. It’s probably because of these parties we later got introduced to house music.
It’s hard for us to compare the Danish underground scene with the one in the States as Denmark is a very small country with only five million people. Nothing can stay underground for too long. But Denmark is known for a very eclectic taste. What is classed underground is probably quite the same as what is considered underground in the States. In Denmark, at the moment, you have the more commercial electro house scene and then an underground techno and house scene, which in Denmark is very influenced by Germany.
Before you became DJs, you both took a trip to Ibiza and came back armed with records and a desire to learn how to mix. How does it feel being asked to play in a place that was such an inspiration to you?
It feels really amazing to play in Ibiza. That place has a very special place in our hearts. Why it feels that special to us is, that’s the reason why we are DJs — because of that island. We never intended that the ten records we bought on our first trip there in 2001 would be the start of a DJ career. We just loved the music in the clubs so much that we went down to a local record shop to buy the tracks. But the shop owner told us that those tracks we wanted were only available as vinyl and not on CDs. Because we could only hear our new music on record players when we got back to Denmark, we borrowed some equipment just to listen to the music in our bedroom to begin with. But because we had the equipment we realized it would be more fun to mix the tracks together.
Because Ibiza was the place everything began for us, it feels quite special to play there, and probably always will. Ibiza is still, for us, the clubbing capital of the world, where all artists from all over the world play every summer. This year we will be playing for Viva Warriors at Sankeys. We can’t wait for that.
You said in an interview that DJ’ing has become a lifestyle and a passion for you. How would you describe the DJ lifestyle?
Yes, for sure it’s a lifestyle. The DJ lifestyle is amazing. To be able to travel around the world meeting so many different people and cultures and being able to share the music you love with other people feels incredible. We would probably describe the DJ lifestyle as something that fills your whole life. It’s not like having a normal nine to five job. As a DJ you don’t really take time off, you live and breath music and DJ’ing. Because it’s your passion and you can’t imagine doing anything else.
How are your individual styles and music tastes different and how to you bring them together?
From day one, we have always had the same music taste. It’s a bit scary sometimes how similar our taste is. We buy our music individually, so often it’s a surprise what the other person is bringing on a gig. We like it like that – it keeps us on our toes, and we never know 100-percent in what direction the set is going.
In the past 10 years we have been DJ’ing together, we have never disliked any of each other’s music, which is incredible but probably also the reason why we DJ together.
You have a very groovy sound that’s different from a lot of the mainstream electronic we’re hearing now.
Thank you very much! We like to hear that our sound is classed as groovy. In the past years we have been DJ’ing, house music has changed sub genres a lot, but something we have always been into is a nice groovy bass. We like a bit of funk.
The thing is we have always been playing house music, but of course we have been influenced a lot by different sub genres. We think it’s important to develop your sound as time goes by. We have managed to play quite a lot of different sub genres during past years, from tribal to progressive house, tech and deep house.
In what ways has being two of the few females in the DJ world opened doors for you and how has it made things more difficult?
It did benefit us a bit in the beginning that we were a female DJ duo. We were basically the first female duo in Denmark. It did give us some opportunities that we probably wouldn’t have had as two guys, as unfair as it might sound. Back then we were so different to the other upcoming DJs, and people thought is was new and different that we were two young girls DJing together. We never really thought about the fact that we were female DJs. For us it was all about the love of playing records. Still to this day we get surprised when people mention the fact that we are female DJs which might sound a little odd. Because there are still fewer women than male DJs, people still pay more attention to a woman in the industry. Maybe it’s a bit like seeing female pilots, because you don’t see them as often as men, you pay attention to them. Our dream has always been that one day being a man or a woman DJ won’t really make any difference. The fact is that it still does make a difference. For example, a lot of people tend to compare female DJs with each other, which is a bit unfair. In reality a DJ is a DJ; it really doesn’t matter what gender you are.
You’re praised for having an eclectic and underground sound. What do you do when you have to play for a crowd that wants more mainstream?
As mentioned before we have quite a groovy sound, so even when we play underground then it’s a fairly accessible sound for most people. We always try to read the dance floor and create good vibes. We also like to mix up the sub genres a little, playing tech house, deep house, jacking hip house for example all in one set. We think it picks up the crowd more and keeps them interested, because if you play too much of one style for three hours straight, then people who are not really into underground think it’s too monotonous.
What has been your favorite city to play in and why?
Our favorite city to play in, apart from Ibiza, is London. We love the club scene in the UK. There are so many cool parties happening all the time. It seems like everyone here is interested in electronic music, and it’s also here that a lot of sub genres emerge. It’s very good for inspiration to go out here and the city is full of international DJs visiting every week. The clubbing crowd has a lot of knowledge about music, and they know what they like. They appreciate a good DJ and many live and breathe for the clubbing scene without being DJs themselves.
Is the ‘DJ lifestyle’ as glamorous as fans believe?
Being a DJ is great, you get to travel the world and stay in nice hotels, and so on. And it is really an amazing life, especially if you love what you are doing. It does seem like a glamorous lifestyle but people definitely don’t see the true reality. The problem is that people don’t see how you got to that certain country. You could have been traveling for 10 hours, by train, flight and car. You have probably only slept three hours from the night before.
When we have taken some of our friends on tour with us, they have been quite shocked to see how much traveling we do in one day, from getting to the airport, sometimes two or even three flights to get to the destination, and from there, often an hour car ride.
A lot of DJs say they get paid for the traveling. The DJ part is the fun part, and the reason why you put up with it.