You may not know her name, but Anna Cavazos has paid her dues in the scene. Djing and producing since the early 2000’s from New York to Berlin, Anna’s soulful vocal has been providing the warmth and texture on many a record. After starting up her own label – Little Giant Records – Anna releases her ‘Love Interlude EP’ on her home label. We get the chance to talk to her about her new release, being in the studio with Kerri Chandler, and about how her priorities have changed these days with her chosen art.
LHM – Seems like you’ve been active in the music scene for some time Anna.
Anna Cavazos – I started playing in the early 2000’s and I pretty much just started playing out despite being awful at mixing and stuff. I was pretty determined.
LHM – What were some of your first gigs?
AC – I played at this underground club called West 8 and I had a residency at BarB on the LES and I played at restaurants where nobody was paying attention. It was that moment in the early 2000’s where having a DJ was trending and I got lucky because I barely knew how to play and Sandy Rivera showed me how to mix a bit and lent me about twenty or thirty records and I was off.
I was playing very French-inspired house and I also loved Chicago house, so a lot of Derrick Carter cuts and stuff.
LHM – Who are the DJ’s that inspired you when you first began?
AC – I met Sandy Rivera when I was singing on one of his records and he was the first DJ who got me interested in playing out. Then, it was Hector Romero and the Subliminal DJs like Arman Van Helden and of course more local acts like Neil Alene and the Body and Soul crew.
LHM – Has there been someone who has been a mentor to you musically?
AC – Honestly, along the way, I think there were definitely folks who gave me a chance and let me play, which was difficult in the beginning. I collaborated a lot and those collaborators were also a part of my journey like Sandy, Bah Samba, Steve Mill, Sam Haas etc.
LHM – Where is it you are based exactly and is there a house scene there?
AC – At the moment I’m living in Colorado where we moved during the pandemic and there isn’t much of a scene here. Denver has a decent scene, but nothing mind blowing. I’d say the sound is more tech-house, which isn’t my genre of choice.
LHM – Are you playing out on your local scene?
AC – No, I still play in NY on and off and when I’m in Berlin or there’s a cool gig, I’ll play.
LHM – What’s the most recent DJ gig that you’ve played ?
AC – I played at Mr. Purple rooftop in NYC recently and have an upcoming release party in Brooklyn with Rissa Garcia.
LHM – What kind of vibe would we hear in an Anna Cavazos DJ set?
AC – I’d say deep is where I’m the most comfortable, but I don’t stick with a genre, I usually have a track that fits a mood and match the mood or vibe of the night/venue/crowd. I’m also really good at warm up sets. I love playing them.
LHM – Can you tell us one of your current peak time heaters?
AC – Ben Gomori – Radical Acceptance (Eurodance Mix) – True Romance, Dam Swindle – That’s Right (Original) – Heist Recordings, Jhobei – Viral Vendor (Trance Mix) – Up the Stuss
LHM – Anna Cavazos the producer. How did this begin?
AC – I started producing because I found that I was being taken advantage of by many producers and decided to take control of my creativity. I also had really solid musical ideas in my head and needed a way to express them and create them myself without anyone in the room.
LHM – What other labels have you released on?
AC – Defected, King Street Sounds, Nite Grooves, What Happens, Yes Yes Records.
LHM – Your ‘Love Interlude EP’ is out on Little Giant Records. Can you talk us through the original track and how it came to life?
AC – I started playing around with an old Novation synth and the bass sound I stumbled upon was so deep and just reminded me of an old Wolf music track or something, so the bassline came first. I accidentally bounced it so that it was a bit late in the mix and it sounded cool, so I kept it and then moved onto the keys. I played the chords I wanted and then asked my friend Matt Smith who’s a composer to re-play the keys and he absolutely smashed it! The vocal came after hearing his keys. I wasn’t in a rush and I wanted it to sound a certain way, so I took the track with me to Italy where my friend Fabio Verardo and I really worked on making it sound rich and beautiful. I also recorded the vocals in Italy.
LHM – The release sits on your own label Little Giant. Tell us about the label.
AC – I started the label because I wanted to curate a sound based on what I was having trouble finding at the time (2016). I was getting tired of the endless promos that sounded exactly the same. It was a constant influx of tech house tracks with R&B vocal samples and four bar drop outs and rinse repeat.
In terms of artists, I’ve featured friends like Sam Haas, Ben Gomori and Giles Dickerson. I also wanted to highlight underground, up-and-coming artists, so we released an EP from Blaq Sons and duo Kiano & Below Bangkok. Jules Ettiene is a Berlin based artist and he introduced me to Matthias Vogt, which has led to many more beautiful songs. So, mostly underground deep house music.
LHM – You’ve attracted some heavy talent on board, our fave is the Rick Wade.
AC – I just wanted the remixes to be balanced sound-wise and I wanted some Detroit representation on the record, so Rick Wade was a natural choice. A friend of mine is very close with him and connected us. I reached out and he was interested and I paid his remix fee. All business. Lol..
LHM – But you have 3 solid remixers on this release/ Which cut is your fave or is that too hard to choose?
AC – It’s super hard to choose, but I absolutely love Matthias Vogt’s remix because he’s a jazz musician and that really comes through in how he works with music. I love it!
LHM – You’re also singing on the track. Were you a vocalist long before you started to DJ?
AC – I started singing when I was about ten years old and never looked back. I studied classical opera and sang in choirs throughout my youth and even in high school, so house music was a natural progression.
LHM – Tell us what other projects have you been involved in as a vocalist?
AC – There are TONS, but these are a few highlights:
I was working on a track in Sabaudia Italy with my friend Fabio Verardo and immediately after we finished I was in a room with Kerri Chandler and he wanted the track for his label. That became the “Can’t Hold Back” track on Madhouse.
I was in London staying with Steve Mill at his place, so he and I went to this really cool studio where Sade had recorded and made a track in a weekend called “Upsidedown” that also came out on Madhouse records.
Probably one of my favorite tracks that has become quite popular is called “Back” and it was made in Berlin with another producer/DJ Alley O. We were both broke and just surviving on doner kebab and cheap white wine recording in her studio for weeks. I can’t think of a time I’ve been more creative and had more fun. The CC Disco remix of this track is quite popular now.
LHM – Your vocal gives me Naked Music vibes. Are you familiar with that series, were they ever on your radar?
AC – I have every one of the Naked Music’s releases on vinyl. I was a huge fan girl and met Lisa Shaw back in the day. I love her sound, but I’ve never been compared to Naked Music, so thank you! I’ll take the compliment.
LHM – Who are some other female vocalists that you admire?
AC – I love Dani Siciliano – especially the track on Herbert’s album “Leave me now”. I also love Yumiki Nagano from Little Dragon, Rosin Murphy, Tracey Thorn and so many more.
LHM – Label owner, producer, DJ, vocalist. What are your next ambitions as an artist?
AC – Honestly, I’m just trying to make quality music and express myself through music at the moment. I used to want to be a famous, touring DJ, but now I just want to touch people hopefully and share good music out into the world. My priorities have changed with my art.
LHM – What projects are you working on right now that you can share?
AC – I’m working on a more commercial deep house song called “Your Love” which I haven’t even picked remixers for yet. This will be a digital release on my label and will hopefully be a spring/summer release.
LHM – Thank you for talking to London House!
AC – Thanks for having me!
Anna Cavazos – Love Interlude is out now on Little Giant and you can listen and purchase your copy here…….