A.Fruit: A unique name for a unique artist.
Following her appearance on New Blood 2018, Russian artist A.Fruit – real name Anna – returns to Med School with her debut label EP Obsession. Five tracks heavy, rich in all the gully vitals her name alludes to, it’s a freeform trip around the 160 axis taking in footwork, techno, halftime, drum & bass and all things in between. Even a little spot of 130 thunder. It sounds a bit like this…
The EP boasts four more equally forthright fusions and it’s the latest in a decade long career devoted to a craft to the point of obsession (the clue is in the EP title). It follows a whole career scoring and producing music and engineering for games and TV shows and a whole string of singles, cuts and remixes that go back to 2015 on the likes of Rua Sound, Worst Behaviour, Iberian Juke, Sequel One and many more labels that specialise in forefront fusion around the jungle/footwork/beats playground. The same can be said for her own Moscow based collective Get High On Bass, a growing community of artists and DJs holding down parties in the Russian capital.
Obsession, however, is her most high-profile dispatch to date. Coming on strong like a mini album, thanks to the seamless signature and dynamic flow between the tracks, it marks a whole new stream of beat consciousness and a summer-long tour around Europe for Anna. We caught up with her to find out more…
Obsession is a loaded title for an EP. What are your obsessions?
It comes from my feelings about what I do. Music production and everything that’s connected with the culture… It’s my main obsession. My theory is that a lot of people are driven by obsessions. For me it’s music for others it’s their children or their work or getting attention from other people. Obsession is a moving power.
Many of us have multiple obsessions
Oh we do. I’m also obsessed with time slipping away too quickly, I’m obsessed by judging my own work and getting responses. All this is the reason why I do what I do.
Interesting point about time… Especially with another title on the EP. Music Lasts Forever. A few people have said this in interviews recently. None of this should be throwaway, right?
Yes I think we have been through this torrent of information. We’ve been saturated and we still are. Music has lost its value in that way. You release today, they forget tomorrow. But if the person who makes art considers that he’s making it for art’s sake, for the universe if you like, then it’s more honest and will last forever. To talk about my obsession with losing time, I wonder if people who share that anxiety feel more pressure to leave something behind before they go? I know I have that feeling.
Yeah I think so. The honesty of art for art’s sake is all about being true to yourself. Only you know why you’ve made something of it’s for the universe rather than yourself?
Sometimes you don’t. Not at first. You have to question why you’re making anything. Being honest with yourself and understanding yourself is difficult. Whatever you do in life that is important has these questions to answer.
Your EP is important. Would you say it’s your biggest to date?
I’m very proud of the EP. Being on Med School is next level, for sure. It’s interesting. There are tracks from different times on this EP. For example, Music Lasts Forever was made three or four years ago. I’m happy I collected these particular tunes together and they’ve worked in this way. I have a lot coming out this year but I’m trying to teach myself to not expect anything so anything that comes from them is a pleasant bonus.
Interesting that there’s years between them but there’s a shared sound between them. Nothing feels dated or out of place, they feel like they’ve been made together during a certain time…
I agree, they share a particular mood don’t they? I think it’s the sound I’ve been chasing for all these years. That dark vibe. I think my works are getting darker and darker…
That often happens when more gigs come in and you play higher up the bill.
I do play out regularly so that could be one of the reasons. Sometimes I just want to play my own tunes but they’re a little bit too chill for the dancefloor. But I also love that heavier, darker sound. So perhaps it’s a combination of these things. Also I also like the reaction of people when they see a little girl make heavy and dark music. It surprises them, which is cool.
Although it’s a shame these assumptions are made…
Yes it is. To be honest when I started to DJ and produce I was thinking a lot about how to interact with the audience and how to show my music and myself. I didn’t want people to check out my music because I’m a girl. I didn’t want to show my gender. I wanted people to hear it first and then find out I’m a woman. Like an additional plus but not the main reason.
When did you stop being anonymous in that way?
A while ago when I developed an audience and people knew. I have proved that I can make music at the level I want to. The results in my career give me the ability to inspire other women to produce and DJ. It’s a great feeling that women are now beginning to get the recognition they should be. Definitely no more hiding.
Definitely. It’s an exciting time. Did you see Rupture have a full female DJ line up next month?
Yes I heard about Rupture and have talked to Mantra. I really respect what they do there and her actions. Hopefully it’s inspiration for more females to come through, too.
Is that why you picked your artist name? A fruit is genderless.
That was part of it, yes. I just wanted a name that meant ‘someone’. I found this phrase ‘who is that fruit?’ It’s similar in Russian when people say ‘what fruit is that?’ They mean ‘who is that?’ So I picked the name and it became familiar to my friends who started calling me fruit. I wanted to change it for a while because I felt it was a bit infantile but my friends stopped me.
Biggup your mates. You MUST have been asked this before but what’s your favourite fruit?
Ha. I have been asked this many times. I love tropical fruits like dragon fruit. I don’t visit Asia very often but when I get the chance to have dragon fruit I’m very happy.
Nice. Let’s go back to when you started producing. That was 10 years ago which I understand to be what Russian D&B fans call the ‘golden age’. What are your memories of this?
Yes you’re on point. It was around 2007 to 2011. It was golden time, especially in Moscow. There were a lot of parties and DJs coming over. My favourite parties were Steppin’ Sessions. We went to every one of them. I love the drum & bass scene at that time. It was a very inspiring time. And I was also listening to Bop’s music at that time. There were a lot of people breaking through internationally. It was very inspiring actually.
I was going to ask about your fella Mr Bop. Do you share tips and advice and talk shop all the time?
Well by the time we met we were both making music for a long time and releasing already. I produce in Ableton, he produces in FL studio. So we don’t share many things but sometimes I ask his advice about certain sounds or compression and more general topics. We give each other feedback or give advice.
Would you make music together or would that be cause for arguing?
For now we didn’t make music together. I think we will make something at some point. When the right time comes. We are both busy on our projects but in the future we’ll try and start something together. I think we’d enjoy it and not argue, though, because I trust his opinion, he’s a great musician and if he says a sound is cool or not, I would believe him. We need to find a good time for it. We’re not in a rush with it. It’s just like planning children I guess!
Haha. You mentioned you have a few releases en route, what can we expect?
There’s stuff I can’t announce yet but there’ll be anther EP in the middle of the year and it’ll be my first vinyl which I’m very happy about. There’s a few more tracks and remixes. I’ve just appeared on a new label called Worst Behaviour run by my good friends. And there’s a fresh label called Shoot Recordings which I’ve done a remix for. I’ve also remixed Mel G on Black Marble collective. This year I’m also planning to tour a lot and have gigs confirmed in the summer. So hopefully I can release everything, then tour and then hit the studio. I’m playing for two Hospitalities, too. One in the UK in May and Hospitality On The Beach. I’m really excited for these.
As well as that I also run a collective and social network group called Get High On Bass. We post releases, we translate articles and interviews into Russian and want to educate young people that our music exists. There are difficulties with currency so we don’t get as many artists playing from abroad at the moment. So we have made a series of parties. We had some guests from abroad; Itoa from Exit, Shield and a special woman edition with Worst Behaviour’s Anna Morgan and Bell Curve. On March 2 I’m doing a second all female line up in Moscow, which should be good fun. I am really happy with what I am doing right now…