ANNI B SWEET
Anni B sweet is the stage name of Ana Lopez Rodriguez, a mesmerize Spanish indie/Psychedelic singer and songwriter. Born in Malaga in 1987, Ana came to music very early, at the age of seven she started to compose some music. Being involved in many musical projects all along her teenage, she manly released music on myspace. As a solo artist, she released her first musical project in 2009 named « Start, restart, undo » with one of the biggest Spanish independent label: Subterfuge Records. Then came « Oh, Monsters! » in 2012 and « Chasing Illusions » in 2015.
Last year she released « Universo for Estrenar », her first spanish sang album produced by James Edward Bagshaw. The album recently received two prizes, one for the best production and a second for the song of the year for "Buen Viaje".
We had the opportunity to saw her opening for temples last yearn Paris, it blew our minds.
We had the opportunity to ask Ana a few questions:
Hey Ana, could you tell us how you came to music?
Since my very young age, I've always listened to a lot of music and loved making songs. My brothers used to play very good vinyls on the record player and I used to be fascinated with that. It has always been important for me to be surrounded by music.
During my childhood I used to hang out with friends that played some instruments and listened to very good music, they used to play the guitar and I used to sing, we spent our time playing music.
Few years after, when I went to Madrid to study I started to learn on my own how to play the guitar just by looking at my friends doing it, and I started to put melodies and chords to the lyrics I had. I've always loved to write.
One day I sang to a friend and he thought that I should record some demos and upload them so people could listen to them and that's what I did. To my surprise I got many listens. Then some times to times I used to go to open mics and sing my songs and from then, everything happened very quickly! My actual record label, Subterfuge Records, contacted me and I recorded my first album, it was all very unexpected but very natural at the same time.
Could you give us your 5 most important records? And maybe 5 that recently caught your attention?
It's hard to choose just five but maybe I would say:
1. All the Pink Floyd albums, specially the first ones like The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Ummagumma, Obscured By Clouds... and of course The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall... (could all these albums count as one please? hahahahah)...
2. Beach Boys- Pet Sounds
3. Electric Light Orchestra- Time
4. Jefferson Airplane- Surrealistic Pillow
5. Jethro Tull- Aqualung
But then I would say many albums from bands like Wallace Collection, The Kinks, Vanilla Fudge, Yes, 13th Floor Elevators, The United States of America, Ultimate Spinach, Small Faces, Zombies, Ennio Morricone, Triana, Lole & Manuel, The Who...
Recently I've loved:
1. Melody´s Echo Chamber- Bon Voyague
2. Temples- Hot Motion
3. Boogarins- Sombrou Dúvida
4. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard- Gumboot Soup
5. Alexandra Saviour- The Archer.
What's your relation with clothes?
I like clothes but I don't always like to follow fashion, I don't take it very seriously, I try to have fun with it, although it depends on the moment I'm going through. Above all, I like the fashion of the 60s and 70s, I am a big fan of vintage clothes and brands that remember these types of garments. It's great to see how new brands and designers follow this kind of retro vibes, I think the old patterns fit the body better and were visually more original, but this is something very personal.
Do you have any icon when it comes to gettin dress?
I really like Bowie, not only his looks (and music), but he represents freedom and a lot of imagination. I think he did and dressed how he liked, I like when people dresse with no particular fashion rules, that makes it interesting. As well, I’m a big fan of the space age aesthetic and he was very into that style.
How do you approach your outfits for the stage?
I usually try to dress according to the music I make so the live shows have a visual plus, but always as long as I am comfortable with what I am wearing. On stage first comes music and then the rest, but at the same time I give a lot of importance to the way we dress on live shows. When a show sounds great and is accompanied by a good styling it strikes! So is not only the sense of hearing but also the sense of sight, that makes a perfect couple.
We recently saw that you received two prizes for "Universo for Estrenar ». One for the best production and another one for the song of the year with « Buen Viaje », Congratulation, fully deserved! How was it to work on this album?
Thanks very much for the congratulations!! I am very happy about these two awards, this is thanks to James Bagshaw (of Temples) who I recorded the album with, he's a genius, he always has great ideas and knows how to get there with the right sound. As well thanks to Javier Doria who mixed the album, Noni Meyers (of Lori Meyers) who played some instruments and Angel Lujan for the mastering.
This album was very important for me, my first spanish album, I wanted it to sounds special so I worked on the album alone in my basement for more than a year, I recorded the demos to have a rough idea of what I wanted, I recorded bass, drums, guitars, synths... etc all as rough ideas and once I had the demos I got in contact with James and send them to him. He liked the demos and understood everything perfectly so we started to work together, I went to the UK and he made his beautiful magic on the album, it was a great experience to see him work so good and put so much love into the songs, respecting them and making them bigger.
« Universo for Esterna » is also the first album in which you fully sing in Spanish, why?
I've always listened more native english bands than spanish. I went to an english school, all my friends were english, so I guess in a natural way, when I started to write songs, it's just the way it came out: in english.
Few years later, I started to think about singing in spanish but I took my time to do it properly.
English language sounds softer and it's more melodic than spanish so it was harder for me to find the way to sing and feel good with my language. Nowadays I don't speak as much english as I used to so I guess it was natural for me to change the language of the songs. This doesn't mean I won't sing in english anymore. I would love to as long as it's natural and not forced. As well I'm a huge fan of english language but I think I write better lyrics in spanish!
How do you approach songwriting?
As inspiration can come from different places, I don't have a specific way of making songs. Sometimes I start with a sentence that has a meaning for me and then I put a melody to that and carry on with the rest of the lyrics. At times, I have a chord sequence that I like and then write some lyrics on top of that and occasionally I just imagine the song in my head and then try to make it real.
For mostly all the songs of "Universo Por Estrenar" I had the melodies first in my head and then I had to translate them to a guitar and a voice. Then come the rest of the instrumental. This is my favorite way to work.
When the mood of the song and the melody comes to my straight from myhead it's great. Imagine the song and have clear ideas feels really good. Unfortunately it doesn't always work this way.
How do you deal with actual context? We’ve seen a lot of artist having troubles with the lack of gigs, how’s it been for you?
This situation is very sad, I was in a very good moment, better than ever I could say.
This record was doing very well and we had a big tour planned so we had to cancel all the concerts.
Now I have some acoustic shows with reduced capacity. It is not the same because this album was made to be played with the band, but at least I'm playing, I can not complain... it could be worst... and people are having the opportunity of seeing a different kind of show with the songs performed only with my guitar and voice.
At least, music in my country, has always been from crisis to crisis and this is another hard blow for art and culture. I just hope that this situation will end soon and with the least possible damages.
When everything will be cooler, do you plan to go on tour ? If yes, any chance you come to Paris?
There is nothing that I want more than to continue the tour and repeat in France. A year ago, the band Temples gave us the opportunity to open their concerts on their European tour, one of the best experiences of my life. Paris was fantastic, I would love to repeat it as soon as possible, it would be great!
As a parting question, what would you like listeners to take away from your work?
Hard question this one, there are many things I would like people to feel. Above all I would like listeners to just enjoy, make them feel accompanied with whatever they're feeling and to have a good journey (Buen Viaje) going through the songs.