If you’re familiar with New York City’s multi-genre bass night HEAVY or the brand new label and party series Worst Behavior, the name Anna Morgan should be very familiar to you.
Anna has one of the most distinct sounds around right now, exploring the sounds of combing urban and tribal, finding a sweet spot of hybrid bass informed by her exploration of sound system culture.
You can feel her urban Carribbean roots influence in the unique sets she plays, with her signature fusion bass heavy sounds, inspiring a desire to dance to every beat.
She’s been booked to perform at huge festivals including Outlook, Shambala, Mystery Land, Bass Coast, Bamboo Bass, Hawaii Electronic Music Festival, and more, and she’s showcasing her sound and style in New York at The Paper Box later this week.
Before her show, Anna spoke to us a little but about her experience producing.
Can you tell us a little bit about what your day to day is like as a producer and radio host?
Everyday is quite different depending on my responsibilities and to-do list that day. On the daily, I’m balancing a lot of communication, emails, social media, promotions, talking with future guests and people I’m collaborating with on events or brainstorming, and reaching out about event planning.
Making space for creative time, like producing music or stabilizing practices like yoga and meditation, have been important to build into my schedule. Otherwise it just gets overtaken by sitting at the computer responding to messages and emails.
You’re a co-founder of NYC’s multi-genre bass night HEAVY. What inspired you to establish that? What was the process like? Any particularly difficult challenges you faced?
HEAVY was born out of a conversation with the other HEAVY co-founder DJ Ripley as we where commuting back to NYC after playing an all-women’s lineup in Philly. At the time we were both mostly getting booked for global bass events, which we love, but shared the experience of lacking an outlet to share heavier, darker more challenging sounds that we are also passionate about. So, we decided to create a night to fill the void.
We wanted to create an all-genres night that focused more on “left field” heavy bass music, serious music, not just turn-up party music but something for the heads. We wanted an all-inclusive space that showcased women, POC, and various sexual orientations presenting bass music because while the whole industry is dominated by straight white males, it’s even more disproportionate in bass music.
We want to change that, and to create a home for our friends to throw down and get weird while bringing together a community of like-minded people from different factions of the underground club world who are open minded, musically explorative, and nurture a spirit collaboration. The goal is to get all these people in the same room and foster cross-pollination of musical ideas and “scenes.”
It came together rather easy as the name came from our conversation, and then, a week later, Ripley was approached by a venue we were partying at about an event similar to what we had in mind. So it just clicked into place!
The most challenging part of this event is making it financially sustainable while accessible at the same time, as well as finding and keeping a good venue. The cops shut down the first space we were using, and the fire department did the same with the second. Our next event will be hosted at Elsewhere in conjunction with Bass Social on May 10th.
You have a new label and party series Worst Behavior. Can you tell us a little bit about it? What’re your hopes for it?
Worst Behavior also came out of conversations with my partner in the project Bell Curve. While brainstorming a party concept, she said, “I want everyone on their worst behavior,” regarding artists’ musical choices, to which I responded, “That’s a great name for the party itself! Or a label!”
At our functions, we want artists we book to feel free to explore all the realms they may normally shy away from due to things like crowd expectations. It’s like, show me your B-sides and take risks, let’s get weird. It’s essentially an expansion of the HEAVY concept but focused more specifically on the evolution of sound system culture and music with a bit less of a direct social agenda.
There are still some of the same ethos in bookings as HEAVY, we reach out to women first. Two of the three events we’ve produced or co-produced have had majority women lineups, which isn’t usual for bass music. We also curate eclectically, attempting to capture as full a scope of sound system music as we can into a night that works cohesively. We are both music producers making hybrid bass music and wanted to have a resource or place we could compile this stuff. We realized we have a lot of friends making this music, and how fun would it be to create a platform to showcase our and our friends’ work so that others can appreciate it as much as we do?
We are aiming to launch our first compilation later this month, featuring mostly lesser-known local and international talent that excite us. Our hopes are that we can get our friends’ work into the ears of people who will love them as much as we do!
Would you say New York City has shaped your sound as an artist? What’s your favorite neighborhood?
As an artist I have a lot of variation, or different “personalities,” just like the neighborhoods of NYC! I am so much a product of this environment. I grew up in a Jamaican household, in a Latin neighborhood in the Bronx, the birthplace of hip-hop, and went to punk and ska shows until I found that rave scene as a young teen. You can definitely hear my roots and history in my selections and productions.
Fave late night after the club food spot?
Fave pie spot?
Fave entertainment spot?
Spa Castle. I don’t have a favorite venue at the moment, but Jupiter Disco is very charming.
Favorite Party Crew?
Do you have any dream collabs? Favorite NYC artists?
I’m working on a dream collab right now with a rapper from Florida named Thast. This may be released soon very on a compilation curated by one of my favorite NYC artists, but it’s still in the works, so I can’t give more detail on that.
Some collabs of my wildest dreams would be Bjork, Jlin, Spice, Fractal Fantasy, Equinoxx Music, Dub Phizix, Branko, and Mumdance. It’s really hard to narrow down favorite NYC artist because there is so much talent here. But the ones who have had the biggest direct influence on me have been Jubilee, Doctor Jeep, Star Eyes, Zuzuka Poderosa, Joro Boro, Small Change, 2Melo, Uproot Andy, Mel G, and Liondub.
How do you discover new music?
One of the blessings of having a radio show is nice people send me tons of amazing music. I pay close attention to my favorite labels and artists for announcements of new music. I am not to proud to Shazam, I go out a lot, and will ask for track IDs when appropriate, but when not appropriate I so resort to Shazam.
What’s in store for 2018?
I’m very excited about finally launching the Worst Behavior label! And I’m excited that I got booked this year to perform at the festivals that were on my dream list, Outlook, Shambala, and a few more that haven’t been announced yet. They will be coming up this summer, so I’m really looking forward to these experiences.
I’ve got releases in the works with people I really respect but can’t really speak about yet, other then to say look out for them! As well, a slew of dream bookings coming up in NYC, Mexico, U.K. As for the near future, this Saturday I’m excited to be playing along side DnB, Kings, Paradox, and Jubei with Alex English and Adred at The Paper Box in BK.
Ready to check out Anna live? Here’s the deets:
Betty Ford presents Jubei & Paradox
Who: Jubei, Paradox, Adred, Alex English, Anna Morgan
When: April 14, 2018 | 10 PM
Where: The Paper Box, 17 Meadow Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Age Restriction: 21+