Monday 26th October

| BY Paul Toner

10 Questions with Anz, The Manchester-Based DJ Starring in the ‘At Flannels’ Series

Is it just us or did you naively think that lockdown would only last a few weeks and we’d be back on the dancefloor by spring? Oh, how we were so wrong… Whilst clubs remain shuttered and festivals have been rolled over till next Summer, it seems like it’s going to be quite a while till we can hear this year’s bangers over a proper PA system.

One particular tune we’re gagging to hear thundering through the club is “Loos In Twos”, the lead single on Anz’s first EP released on Hessle Audio, the esteemed dance record label. You can usually find the London born, Manchester-based DJ shelling it across venues all over the country – blending UKG with breakbeats, peppered with electro, techno and a whole lot of bass. Alongside her Hessle Audio debut, Anz has been keeping herself busy during lockdown, making over 70 tracks from the comfort of her flat. She’s also been keeping us locked into her monthly NTS show, where most recently she celebrated 60 years of Nigerian independence.

As part of At Flannelsthe new series where Flannels shines a light on creativity and culture across the UK – Anz took the retailer round her favourite spots across Manchester, including her local offy on Wilmslow Road and Soup Kitchen; a venue near and dear to the DJ’s heart. You can take a trip through Anz’ hometown on Flannels’ Instagram, but before you do, we’ve grabbed her for a few questions about life behind the decks.

1. Have you picked up any new hobbies since all the clubs have been shut?

“I’ve always been really into baking and decorating extravagant cakes (like I don’t think I can overstate just how into it I am). But for years I’ve felt too busy to dedicate the time to it. Throughout lockdown, I am BACK in my extravagant cake bag, and it’s been so good to reconnect to this foundational part of myself! I’ve also been drawing and sketching regularly for the first time in years, taught myself how to do my own Senegalese twists and do my own gel manicures every two or three weeks, just to feel a bit nice. Ah and desperately trying to keep my plants alive without overcompensating and drowning them, now I’m here ALL THE TIME.”

2. For any nightlife lovers trekking up to Manchester once all this is over, which clubs should they go to?

“I used to give quite prescriptive suggestions when people asked me for recommendations, but honestly my best advice is to come here and feel it out for yourself. Whatever you’re looking for, there’ll be something for you.”

3. How do you amp yourself up before a DJ set?

“Oh, there is definitely a routine, especially when I’m playing at home. I’ll try my best to carve out time to sit and moisturise and get ready, while listening to music that I’m excited about. It’s a semi-sacred moment to check in with myself, wash away thoughts of the day and get my mood right. That and – I spritz some perfume on a few minutes before I start a set! It’s a consistent piece of familiarity and comfort that I can always give myself, no matter where I am in the world.”

4. You released your first EP on Hessle Audio during lockdown, how did you celebrate?

“Haha embarrassingly nothing too wild. Did my day job, chatted with the Hessle crew and my loved ones, painted my nails in the same colours as the record, made peach daiquiris and had a big nap with my phone on DND. It was a really lovely day, and Hessle Audio is one of my all time favourite labels so the record is up there as one of my proudest moments to date.”

5. How old were you when you decided you wanted to DJ?

“Oh god, I recently unearthed this memory of asking my mum and dad for CDJs when I was about 14 and getting laughed out of the room at the time – which was completely fair enough. Affordable controllers as we know them didn’t really exist, and barriers to entry were so high. So I played with Virtual DJ Free Trial on the family computer for a bit until I gradually lost faith. It wasn’t until 10 years later that I’d try again, after beginning production. Plus lots of experience ‘djing’ off YouTube and phone speakers at pre-drinks and afters. Although I’m not sure if that counts…”

6. Do you prefer being in the studio making a track or DJing to a crowd of people?

“Both are great! My ‘studio’ is chilling on my sofa with my old laptop on my knees, trying not to let the fan overheat. And I really love my setup (or lack thereof), because it adds this wild surreal feeling when a track I’ve made at home in my pyjamas and slippers resonates in clubs and venues too. But then the live interaction of DJing has its own surreal moments, through these wordless conversations with lots of people you might never actually meet. You just chat to each other for an hour or two via music and movement, and I guess see if your patter and your sense of humour lands with them.”

7. What’s your go-to dancing shoes? (Available at Flannels)

“Always comfy trainers, usually black. Resilient too! Ones that’ll survive walking through in the rain, if necessary.”

8. What’s one club that no-longer exists that you wish you could’ve played at?

“I just missed out on Hoya:Hoya, at the Roadhouse (RIP) in Manchester. I think I would have had a really fun time there.”

9. You’re about to put on your dream festival: who are the three headliners?

“Chunky b2b Jungle Joe // Finn b2b India Jordan // OK Williams b2b Afrodeutsche.”

10. Which is the better city to play in: London or Manchester?

“This feels like a trick question… But Manchester, because I get to catch up with my friends and sleep in my own bed after.”

Photography by Dom Fleming. Keep tuned into Flannels’ Instagram for the next instalments of the ‘At Flannels’ series.