13 Sep Anakim Interview + Veins EP
Quickly making a name for himself in the growing underground scene of Los Angeles, Anakim is a graduate of Icon Collective who has a massive dark and sinister style.
We meet Anakim this past year on Holy Ship while on a discovery mission and once we walked in on this set we were blown away by his sound. We recently caught up with Riccardo to see where he comes from, what inspired him and where he wants to go with his sound.
Anakim comes in swinging, with this massive tech sound that checks off all our boxes on the musical satisfaction check list. Low, rumbling basslines, expertly curated to perfection in between the perfect blend of swells and arps keep you fully indulged the whole way through. Here is a list of words that describe the Veins EP: Thunderous. Huge. Ferocious. Fierce. Did we mention massive already?
Nightenjin: Why Anakim?
Anakim: This is a loaded question! I’ll try to sum this up as quickly as possible so I don’t spend the next hour explaining the entire story of Anakim, but here’s the gist of it.
When I was thinking of possible names I had three criteria: 1) My artist name starts with an A so it’s at the beginning of lineups in alphabetical order. 2) It references a mythical being of some sort. 3) The meaning somehow describes my music. So…
The Anakim are an extinct race of giants from biblical text who are descendants of the Anunnaki (Look up the Anunnaki). According to my friend from Israel, “Anak” means giant or huge, “-im” means “of the people.” Anakim literally checked all of my criteria. It starts with an A. It means huge, which is how I’d like people to perceive my sound. They are descendants from the Annunaki (who come from Space, which is an important theme in my music I’ll talk about later). Thus, Anakim was born.
NE: What inspired you to start DJing and producing?
A: It’s funny, dance music quite literally changed my life. The first rave I went to was EDC Los Angeles in 2010, the last time it was in my home city. My friend Brandon asked me to go and at first, I was skeptical because I had a preconceived notion of what raves were like. Once I was there I realized I had never before been in a situation where you could literally strike up a conversation with any given stranger next to you and that person would be the most welcoming and friendly individual ever.
That’s when I knew I was “home”. I spent the next 5 years attending every rave / numerous shows across southern California. So many beautiful memories being in the crowd, listening to the music, and just enjoying complete freedom left me wanting to inspire people with my music the same way all those DJs had inspired me over the years. That’s when I miraculously ended up at Icon Collective Music Production School beginning of 2015. The rest is history…
NE: Who or what are your biggest sources of inspiration for your music?
A: Deep Space, interstellar travel, and constantly trying to make music that could be the soundtrack to either one of those. Those themes push me to create the forward-thinking, yet hard-hitting and danceable music I currently make.
NE: What do you think makes you unique in an industry flooded with talent?
A: The first thing that comes to mind is that I’m a student of the music. I’ve watched the industry as a fan for an extremely long time before becoming an artist. I feel like this has given me a perspective that not many artists have these days, and this perspective, this knowledge, helps me stay creative while remaining true to my vision.
Also, the vision behind my brand was meticulously thought out 100% before I even launched as an artist, and that’s because I knew exactly who I am as an artist, what I want to do as an artist, the sound I push as an artist, and the vibe I want to curate at my shows. What you’re seeing now is only the tip of the iceberg. We’re only just getting started and it’s beyond exciting for me and my team.
NE: If you could work with any artist, who would it be and why?
A: First off, Richie Hawtin. Over his entire career, he has always pushed the boundaries of technology and music. He always had the latest gear running to take his live shows in futuristic directions. His vision to see outside of the box and change the way DJs perform, the way shows are created, and the longevity he’s done so with has been nothing short of inspiring.
Secondly, Hot Since 82. What he’s built with his label, the brand aesthetic, the Knee Deep In (pick a city) parties he throws – you can tell it was all meticulously thought out as well. He had a vision and he’s been executing it brilliantly. That is something to applaud. I would relish the chance to play one of his nights.
NE: What are your goals for your music career for the next few years?
A: Over the next year I’d like to cement myself within the American festival circuit, pushing the Anakim sound I’ve been honing. I also have really big plans for the events company and record label I’ve recently started with two of my best friends, Andy Crane and Travis Reid. I’ll speak more on that later.
Many people may not know this, but I’m a dual national with the Philippines. I hold a Filipino passport aside from my American passport. Making a push into the Asian market and setting up a tour across Asia is one of my short-term dreams. I think the market there is in need of a deep but harder hitting sound. Why not be the one who brings it to them?
NE: How do you manage social media, music, events and interacting with fans?
A: Very interesting question. I’ve recently struck a massive balance between all of these so here’s my take…
When it comes to music, I create best in the morning. I have about a 4-5hr window every day where I’m at my best creatively and I just try to dive in deep during that time.
When it comes to social media, Instagram is by far my favorite since visual mediums appeal to me. I like the fact that I can tell a visual story in 3 posts, but I limit posts to max twice a week. Oversaturation is not who I am. Anything note worthy in terms of news I’ll post on Facebook. In all, my social media usage is low, yet still engaging. Exactly how I want it.
If you’re a fan and want to reach me, I am pretty responsive with Instagram. I love chatting with fans, especially when they have insightful questions to ask me. I am a fan, first and foremost. Dance music culture shaped me, so that’s why I try and speak with as many fans as possible. I love it.
Events! Here’s the funny thing about events. Now that this is my job, I tend to stay home way more than I ever did prior to DJing and performing at shows. If I’m not playing, I most likely will not be there, unless it’s a good friend performing or a beyond-stellar artist I’ve been wanting to see for years.
Hopefully, that shows how balanced everything is for me currently. I think?? (laughter)
NE: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not making or playing music?
A: I love going on hikes around LA. Griffith Park is like my zen zone. I’ll do the 4-mile trail and just immerse myself in nature (as much nature as Los Angeles allows me!), detach a bit and reset myself. I usually go hiking with my girlfriend. We like to explore a lot together.
I try to spend a lot of time with my little pup Maddy. She’s this 4-year old, 10lb terrier I rescued exactly one year ago. She was totally homeless before I rescued her, and now she suffers from myelitis, an autoimmune disease where your body attacks your spinal cord like it’s a foreign object. Not to sound like a downer, but I don’t know how much longer she has, so I try and make her feel as loved as humanely possible because she deserves it. This little dog is stronger than most humans I know and has honestly been an inspiration for me.
Last but not least, I’m a HUGE fan of the English Premier League and die-hard ultra fan of Manchester United the last 20 years (since I was just a little boy). I grew up playing competitively at a high level so I follow every bit of news going on in the soccer world. If I wasn’t DJing and producing music I swear to you I’d be a soccer agent based in Europe negotiating deals!
NE: Are there any new projects that we can know about?
A: Celestial Body is the name of the record label and events company I’ve found with my two buddies I mentioned earlier, Andy and Travis. We’ve teamed up with my fam over at Understated / Understated Recordings and are throwing our first co-hosted event with them on the 22nd of this month at a secret location in Los Angeles. Eric Sharp is headlining and I’ll also be performing. We got the Understated residents playing, along with up and coming techno master Von Gold, Nala, and also my friend Andy to close out the night.
Aside from that, Celestial Body (the label) is hard launching early 2018. We’re focusing on all shades of Progressive and Techno, with that intergalactic feel. The visual aspect we’re developing for our shows is crazy. Not many people are doing what we’re developing so definitely watch my label closely. Also, I encourage any and all producers in this genre realm to shoot me some demos!
Nightenjin: Anything else not mentioned here that you’d like to tell the fans?
Anakim: I love you and I truly mean that. If you ever get a chance to meet me PLEASE say hi! I love meeting new people and every interaction is a blessing to me.
Drink? La Croix
Car? BWM M4
Club? Sound Nightclub
Holy Ship? 9.0 (I played it)