Angina P doesn’t just create songs – she creates worlds. The Vienna-based producer has wowed audiences around the globe with her emotional yet danceable compositions. Best known for the atmospherically frantic “Tokyo 6pm”, Angina has enjoyed a long dominance on Mp3.com’s charts and growing prominence on traditional music channels (including radio airplay and rave reviews from international publications like Revolution Magazine). Fresh from a new song release -Belladonna D30- and a successful live show in Hungary, Angina P took time out to have a chat with Gods of Music about technology, music and what inspires her unique sound.
GOM: First things first – “Angina P”??
Angina P: =)…Angina, chronic throat pain, became a part of me. I was very sick as a child and teenager – I even got exempted from school for a whole year. So I spent a lot of time at home. I was never bored though – I had computers to distract myself. In a way all the angina stuff I had made me the person I am today and that’s why I chose that name.
GOM: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do when you’re not producing or performing?
Angina P: If I cut out everything music-related in the broadest sense there wouldn’t be much left. I’m just trying to get the “other work” done, drinking coffee. I’m thinking about getting a dog (not a good idea, I know) and if there’s still time I know I forgot something…
GOM: Describe the ideas and general inspiration behind your music
Angina P: Hard to tell. When I started making music I wasn’t aware of any concept – I just did what sounded right to me. I used (and am still using) instruments no clear thinking individual would use to produce drum’n’bass. I didn’t do this on purpose; I just didn’t quite know how other producers worked. But coming back to the idea behind my music: it wasn’t me figuring out that there IS an idea behind my music. The listeners had the necessary distance and told me “who I am”. Sure, music is reflection of oneself, but I was surprised how much my own music tells me about myself. More than I wanted to share. =) As of getting inspired…I never defined for myself what inspiration means, so inspiration is a term I can’t do anything with. I never feel particularly inspired by anything, and there are never times when I feel completely uninspired. The process of making music still happens on a highly subconscious level. Plus I don’t like to analyse things (art/feelings) to death. But obviously I like the idea of opposites, of subtleties and to point in a direction. If I can make listeners aware of borders, and of the fact that there isn’t just one (rather it’s opposites and in-betweens) I feel I succeeded.
GOM: You cite Amiga game soundtracks as being one of your early influences. From one ex-Amiga head to another I’ve got to ask – what game had the best soundtrack?
Angina P: There are quite a few composers that I like, with Chris Huelsbeck being my favorite. His soundtracks written for Turrican 1 and 2 are phenomenal. The game itself wasn’t in the foreground for me, cause the sound effects took away a whole channel of the music – the more game action the less Huelsbeck – a maddening situation… The pause button and the cheat mode saved my live and I could skip levels and listen to all tracks.
GOM: You recently released a track called “Belladonna D30” which has already enjoyed considerable success in addition to having a unique sound. How did this track come about and is there any particular meaning behind the title?
Angina P: I made this one when I was sick – no need to mention what illness. It happened to me for the first time that a track was finished before I could even think of a title. I had that little bottle standing on my desk – it said Belladonna D30. It’s a homeopathic remedy and in order to avoid that situation where looking for a title takes longer than the whole production I just stuck to it.
GOM: “Tokyo 6pm” has been your most successful release to date. When did you first conceive of and write this track? Is it your favorite release?
Angina P: If it didn’t sound so cheesy I’d say I was very true to myself when writing this track. From ‘98 to ‘99 I lived and studied at a university in Yokohama. Japan is a country that breaks so many of the little rules you don’t even know you follow. That one year was an incredible valuable experience. When I came back to Vienna I was full of new impressions I was dying to share but couldn’t cause there’s just no right “media” for that. So I packed all I felt into that song. I had no idea of what I was doing at all and never thought it would go that far. I think other releases like “Sidetracked” are much better from a technical point of view but “Tokyo 6pm” was a bit like my primal scream and I’m very happy it’s been so well received.
GOM: There has been much negative reaction from artists and record labels about MP3’s and free music on the internet. As an artist, you have elected to make some of your work available free of charge through Mp3.com and other web portals. Do you think this hurts your chances for releasing these songs on more traditional formats like CD and vinyl?
Angina P: I can only judge from my position – without the net I’d have nothing. Or in other words, all I achieved so far happened through the net, through various music sites. It’s sad to see many of them going down or feeling compelled to make major changes like charging money from artists and/or listeners. But for me these portals already did their parts, and I think I could establish a basis where I can move on from. Maybe it’s necessary to get a kick in the right direction. All songs I made available free of charge were appetizers, now I hope they have some effect when it comes to the point where people have to pay for my music.
GOM: Lately there have been a lot of developments in the area of music software, particularly with soft-synths and virtual instruments. Do you think software synths will eventually replace hardware? Will these virtual studios help the electronic scene or hurt it overall?
Angina P: I don’t believe in new media fully replacing old media. We still write letters and email, listen to the radio and watch TV and there’s still a need for vinyl. New media and old media usually complement one another. The old one gets a new image, a new niche. So what might happen to hardware is that it will be used only as complement or for specific purposes. I can’t tell if they help or hurt, you can be perfectly boring with both. What I’m trying to say is that what a producer would be able to do with a virtual studio already shows from the way he/she can handle hardware synths.
GOM: As a female producer in the traditionally male-dominated electronic scene, do you find gender often becomes an issue when dealing with fans or other producers?
Angina P: So far I’ve received much more positive feedback than negative. I often hear people saying it’s easier for a woman in the electronic music scene. That’s a very shallow statement. It might be easier to get attention, but dealing with people in general can be anything but easy. LTJ Bukem’s secretary once told me to keep on making music, “cause there aren’t many female producers” – of course I’d wanted the sentence to end with “cause you rock” or something similar, since being female is nothing I achieved. Not to be misunderstood…I’m fully aware we’re not only selling music, we’re all selling packages whether we like it or not. There’s nothing wrong with an interest what kinda person’s behind my music, but from the point where people reduce me to being just a female, things become difficult. Mail like “who is producing your tracks?” or my favorite “I love your tracks, could you sing on mine too?” are somewhat annoying – and show the pattern woman + electronic music = singing/or there must be a man around who does the real work. =) But as mentioned before – I’ve had so much positive feedback and there are many people supporting me regardless…
GOM: Give us your top 10 tracks of all time…
Angina P: Can I beat you down to 9? In random order? Squarepusher – Theme of Ernest Borgine Coldfeet – Scoff At The Hype Doug Osborne – The Spirit Autechre – Eutow Plastikman – Psykik Problem Child – Untitled Die Toten Hosen – Pushed Again Underworld – Dirty Epic Nasenbluten – Feel Discipline
GOM: What can we expect from Angina P in the future?
Angina P: Next to some compilation appearances you should keep an eye on these releases: Architecture Records: AR006 Angina P./ Edgey – “Second Opinion” (7”) New Vision America: Angina P. / Edgey – “Tokyo 6pm” (12”)