Anna of the North is made up of Norwegian singer Anna Lotterud and New Zealand-based producer Brady Daniell-Smith; the duo make lo-fi dream-pop from opposing corners of the globe via Skype and the odd long-haul flight.
Although they’ve made a name for themselves with lush, electronically-tinged singles including Sway and Lovers over the last few years, Anna’s name was thrust into the spotlight recently after she featured on two tracks from Tyler, The Creator’s Scum Fuck Flower Boy alongside none other than Frank Ocean.
When we meet her, Anna is fresh off the red-eye from New York where she was supposed to appear alongside rap’s enfant terrible on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show. Unfortunately, the American government had other ideas; following a mix up with her working visa, she ended up in the audience looking at the stage as opposed to standing on it. It was a whirlwind trip that didn’t end as it should, and Anna is, to put it frankly, fucking knackered - “these things happen, you know. It was good to just hang out with Taco and Tyler backstage - I had fun anyway” she shrugs.
Post-NY and pre-a well-deserved holiday in Italy, we took her to Peckham, South-East London, loaded her up with coffee and put her in some of the best pieces for AW17 from Lanvin and Maison Margiela (she’s one for borrowing from the boys), before sitting down to discuss how the whole Tyler thing came about, Celine Dion-based inspiration(!) and FUTURENOSTALGIA, a selection of hazy, '80s-influenced tracks she and Brady have put together exclusively for the oki-ni Mix Series. Get to know her a little better below, or check out the mix above.
Hey Anna. How did you get into music? Music’s always been a big part of my life. When I was little I remember being really into Aaron Carter (covers her face and laughs) and I didn’t know how to play any instruments so I’d just make up lyrics like “I love you foreveeeeeer” in the shower or I’d be in the car staring out of the window, pretending I was in a music video. I’d always have these melodies and lyrics popping into my head and as I got older it kind of became my way of expressing myself, but it was only when when I moved to Australia and met Brady that I thought maybe I was on to something. So it was kind of a dream for a long time, but one I was a bit scared of realising until I met him.
How did the collaboration with Tyler come about? I heard he liked our song Sway - I think they played it on the Odd Future radio station - and then we both played at Oya Festival in Oslo so I met some of the guys there. That was in 2015, and Taco and I ended up staying in touch via social media - we’d talk every now and again. Then out of the blue he asked if I’d be interested in working with Tyler on something and obviously I said yes and it went from there. So yeah, it was quite organic. I love that those guys are true artists doing whatever they want to do, working with artists they want to - they’re not about bullshit label pushes. I really appreciate that.
So now you’ve collaborated with Tyler, who’s next? Frank Ocean (laughs)
That seems pretty feasible to us right now... Yeah, who knows? Aside from Frank, maybe Steve Lacy or Rejjie Snow, that kind of direction. Or Celine Dion! I love her. Ultimately I just want things to be natural, to just happen. I want to do stuff with people that I like, that like me and the music I make.
Things are really taking off for you. What’s been the most memorable moment of your career so far? This week definitely. Hanging out with Tyler and Taco was so much fun. It’s just such an amazing thing to be part of, you know. They’re so supportive. I feel like Tyler’s child (laughs).
If you could listen to only one song forever, what would it be? Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion.
I’m sensing a theme here... I love her, she’s incredible. But I’ve been listening to Boredom a lot recently (one of the Tyler tracks she features on). Can I listen to myself for the rest of my life? Probably not. Celine is my main girl, I’ll stick with her.
Moving on from Celine - how important is fashion to you? For me it’s all about feeling comfortable. I want my personality to shine through in what I wear, it’s a part of me and who I am. You know, I just hate feeling uncomfortable, and people can tell when you are anyway. Like, put me in heels all day? It’s going to come off in how I carry myself, people will be able to tell. I don’t shop too much. I’m kind of a vintage girl, and I make my decisions by doing rock, scissors, paper.
Who do you think has great style? Celine (laughs). No, I think Solange always looks amazing. And Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) too. I’m all about his dad caps. I got one in New York. He’s super cool, super talented and I’ve never met him, but I get the feeling he’s a good guy.
What’s your wardrobe go-to? The orange jacket I’m wearing today. I’ve hardly taken it off since I got it. I also have this black sweatshirt that’s seen better days with some embroidery to the chest. I went to Fruit of the Loom, bought a load of sweatshirts and had like ten of them embroidered so if I ever lose it or it becomes unwearable, I gave a spare. But I need to wear them all in otherwise they won’t feel the same.
So tell us a little about your mix... It’s called FUTURENOSTALGIA and it has a sort of contemporary '80s feel. Brady and I are really vibing on the '80s at the moment. Blood Orange is on there, Shura too. It’s the kind of mix that will make the summer last just a little bit longer. Who wouldn’t want that?