MASSIVE QUESTIONS with ANNE SAVAGE

I fantasised about conducting this interview, with this subject, in bed after a heavy night of romping, bonking, rumpy-pumpy and how's your father. Alack AND alas, the meeting was conducted entirely in the sexless metaphorical antechamber of an email exchange. No matter how hard I flirted and used the winking smiley face after suggestive sentences about the size of my long, proud and thick appeal, I was no nearer interviewing this DJ in the sack as I was a year ago in Brighton, where we first clapped eyes on one another at the inaugural Brighton Music Conference. But, I know: if the sun don't shine, then the sun don't shine.
Anne Savage is a name that should be familiar with all dance music fans. She's been around the block, up the block, round the side of the block and underneath the block more times than I've had hot dinners. Anne Savage is a name that is synonymous with an energy and sense of humour sometimes lost in this industry, and I'm the proud owner of quite a few of her Tidy Trax releases. When I can afford to buy a new pair of decks, I Need A Man will be the first record I play at WRDMHQ. The excellent double Tidy Girls Annual CD which she mixed with Lisa Lashes was released in 2001, the only year I ever kept a daily diary. I was 20 years old, shy and very emotional.

29 September 2001

Finally bought the Tidy Girls Annual from Virgin in Walsall. I'm so attracted to the girl who works the dance section there. I know she'd like me too if I had the nerve to say hello. I know I won't though. Morrissey won't let me. I love Morrissey more than I do the girl at Virgin. To sit beside a battered old fire place with the girl from Virgin Records and gently squeeze her paw. I wonder if she likes Morrissey. She probably has a boyfriend with "looks to kill" and a cock even bigger than mine. I long to lay here naked with the girl from Virgin in my arms, listening to this new Tidy Girls Annual. We could kiss during What Ya Lookin' At (Lisa Lashes & Anne Savage vs Ingo Remix) by The Crow on the Anne Savage CD. Maybe one day I'll get to meet Anne Savage and interview her on a popular blog that I'm running from a HQ in London. I hate living in Walsall. I hate living here as much as I love Morrissey...

Oh, I don't know. All I do know, is we're here and it's now...here's the very long awaited MASSIVE QUESTIONS with ANNE SAVAGE.
Q. For anyone unfamiliar with the name, Anne Savage, could you tell them who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A. Hello. I’m a DJ/producer/presenter who got into DJing because of my love of music, even before mixing was invented. My first gig was in 1987 at the Kurfew Klub in Accrington. I played the likes of Front 242, Salt-N-Pepa, Adrian Sherwood and The Revolting Cocks.

Since I got into so-called "dance music", Carl Cox has been my benchmark as a person and as a DJ; my initial and continual hero.

Q. Why did you choose the moniker, Anne Savage, as a DJ name? Did you ever toy with the idea of prefixing it with DJ, like a proper DJ (DJ Anne Savage), or suffixing it with something more exciting like Killa Savage (DJ Killa Savage) or Mistress of Beatz (DJ Mistress of Beatz)?
A. My first ever DJ name was DJ Fresh – I believe, before the "other" DJ Fresh (It was Freche first). My entire residency at Angels, Burnley in the early nineties I was DJ Fresh. It wasn’t until I left there and was taken on by Rob Tyrrell from ARK in Leeds in 1994 that we decided to go with just Anne Savage. DJ ‘this n that’ had become old hat. Alistair Whitehead, John Digweed i.e. real names were de rigueur at that time.
Q. After I met you in Brighton last year (at the BMC), I had an upside down tattoo of your face on my left thigh with the words, A. Savage DJ with the Sweetest of Hearts written underneath your chin in Old English Text font. It was so that I’d always be reminded of you when my trousers are around my ankles.

Apart from that, what is the nicest thing a fan has ever done for you?
A. The first ever person that I know of who showed me their Anne Savage tattoo was so shocking to me. I was devastated for them and since then there’s been a few more. I just never want anyone to see my name and think “that was a mistake” and despise it...

Q. Clap or snare?
A. Snare, obvs!

Q. What a lot of people who read this website won’t realise, or understand, is that you’re a veteran of not just the hard house scene, but the dance music scene in general. What illegal raves and free parties were you attending and DJing at in the late 80s/early 90s, and with whom?
A. All of my first rave - and nearly all of my first musical phases up until I’d been DJing for a while - were influenced by my two older sisters, Jane and Carol. There were warehouse parties in Preston I went to with my scooterist friends from Blackburn – mainly it was Jazz Defectors and Fac 51 up 'til then, but I was going to soul and all-nighters up to about 1987 too. I trained as a hairdresser in MCR at a really creative salon called Pierre Alexandre in Manchester, believe it or not. Beforehand, I went to Hacienda regularly where I further got my passion for music and desire to be a DJ from resident DJ HEDD (who took me under his wing), Mike Pickering and Jon Da Silva. I went travelling and whilst working in Italy at a club, Jane sent these ‘acid house’ tapes with this new music. Bearing in mind, her crowd previously were Blackburn Rovers football casuals. Burberry, Farahs and violence were ‘it’. Then rave happened. I’d been away for about 6 months and when I came back, we went to The Red Parrot in Blackburn. The smoke machine came on, I lost her and my shoes and that was that. The Red Parrot. Rave was happening, but the big rural parties were huge.

Before dance music as people know it now, i.e. in clubs, I spent a lot of time in convoys on rural roads hounded by the rozzers, heading to (hopefully) a rave, with my records in a crate where, when I got there, I would queue for a turn on the decks. I have queued in a DJ line up with Rob Tissera for one of these (you asked for names) I have also on occasion crawled through a tiny window of a warehouse as a punter in an industrial estate that was being built in Altham, round the corner of my house and danced in a swimming costume and shorts to a DJ with just a strobe light in the corner. I respect the people that took so many chances to make all that happen. Before the gangs took over it really was a youth movement and I’m so glad I was there and part of it.

Q. Will 53rd State ever get together to play one of them reunion gigs?
A. The bass player went to Stonehenge and came back a changed man with a potato hanging from his belt that he thought was a walkie-talkie, and I think the lead singer has passed away so it would have to be a pseudo line-up. Plus I sold my Gibson Les Paul for £750 to go travelling to Italy when I was 19. I’ve tried to trace it and buy it back as it was made in the year I was born, but fruitless, I have to concede that my 19 year old self knew best when she sold it.


Q. Most of the people who read the Weekly Review of Dance Music have only ever heard of Fabric, Berghain, Hydra/Electric Minds, Corsica Studios, Oval Space and XOYO. Do you ever go to any of the so-called trendy nights in London?
A. I live in Aberdeen now, there are no trendy nights here. I moved here to study but I do miss London. Having said that I have a shit hot motorbike and plenty of open roads which are an equal adrenaline rush to nightclubs.

Q. You’re a loud supporter and champion of female talent in the dance music industry. Female DJs in house and techno, in my opinion, are just as well respected and talked about as seriously as the men. Women like Tama Sumo, Kerri Chandler, Laura Jones, Rebekah, Paula Temple, Maya Jane Coles, Stephanie Sykes, Magda, Miss Kittin, Cassy…I could go on, all get written about on Resident Advisor, in Mixmag, FACT, etc, and they all contribute important podcasts and DJ mixes on those sites, and for long-running and credible series like Fabric, and guest/hold residencies at important nights across the globe.

When you talk about an under-representation of female DJs, I think that may be because hard house, the scene you’re closely associated with, doesn’t get the same attention on the main dance music media outlets anymore. Is that fair, or are we talking mainly about female DJs on flyers and festival line-ups (which is definitely not a 50/50 spread yet)?
A. Yeah hard dance is seriously uncool in the music press, but I still think females are under represented across all genres, except on radio.
Q. Are you still in touch with Sian Evans (Faking It)?
A. No.

Q. Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A. Time and a place for both. For example; now I’m about to commence the final year of my Hons degree, stone cold sober will have to be the norm. Handing in/getting A’s still entails a degree of tom-fuckery. I woke up at the end of one of my female (20 years junior) student pals bed after a night of beer-pong recently.




Q. Who is the tidiest Tidy Girl?
A. Not me. However I’ve heard that being messy can be a sign of genius - because you have more ingenious things to think about than being tidy.

Q. What is Lisa Pin-Up really like?
A. I don’t know her that well to be honest, she always goes home after her sets. Good fun in Ibiza though.
Q. What are your DJ and production plans for the rest of the year?
A. I realise now that I will have to sacrifice any new label plans until I finish my hons degree in May 2016, so watch this space. I’m in the studio next week and DJing most weekends though.

Q. Do you have any words of advice for any young readers of the Weekly Review of Dance Music who are looking to get a break in the music industry?
A. It’s a long game, be prepared to play it.


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What a lovely young lady! I could talk and email with Anne Savage all day - she's genuinely one of the nicest people I've met in dance music, and I've met Ali Wells. Hopefully, she'll move back to London one day and we'll be able to get pissed up down the Black Horse and reminisce about this interview.

Please try and catch Anne in a DJ booth near you (if you live near Worcester, Fort William or Arbroath). Check this site here for details: djannesavage/tour-dates

I'll be back next week with my thoughts on Farr Festival. It's this weekend. I'll be going up to Stevenage on the Saturday afternoon, so if you're going too...seek me out and buy me a drink.

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