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Anne Savage: Hard Dance Clubbers Aren't Sheep

Author: Jonty Adderley
Saturday, 22 February 2003
Walking into an busy Carnaby Street pub on a freezing cold afternoon, it's immediately possible to spot Anne Savage, the strikingly beautiful DJ who remains one of club land's biggest draws. Nursing a mineral water alongside her PR manager, however, she's unnoticed by the suits scattered throughout the bar, presumably distracted by her serious and unapproachable aura.

In fact, she's down-to-Earth, straight-talking, immediately likeable character, whose personality and clear passion for what she does vastly outweigh any advantages her looks might bring. And her passion, after twelve years of DJing remains music, specifically hard dance music.

"Hard dance or hard trance, whatever you call it, has retained a really strong following and while everyone's talking about the general demise in club land, these problems really haven't affected our scene at all," she begins.

"It's the kind of music that's saying 'Sod it all', at the weekend. You're part of a club, you're part of a family when you follow hard dance, because it is underground. It's about getting away from your parents and jobs."

Getting away from her parents and a job (in Anne's case, a spot in her Dad's shoe shop when 18) involved a trip into club culture that's taken from the outskirts of northern hill town Burnley to a career that involves routine international DJing and a career as a music producer and CD compiler. Her latest mix CD Music for A Harder Generation comes out on Tidy Trax imminently, which is where Skrufff's Jonty Adderley began the conversation.

Skrufff (Jonty Adderley): Your new album's called Music for A Harder Generation, was it a intended to reflect the dance floor-

Anne Savage: "Tidy Trax approached me with the idea that they wanted to do an artist orientated album rather than just another standard Tidy Trax mix album with just their tracks, so I had a lot more freedom to select the tracks I really wanted. I'm trying to push my own particular sound with it so the first CD is intended to be for when you're setting off to a gig in the car. It's filled with jacking grooves and is quite tech-y. By the time you get there, towards the end of the CD, it's banging, with hard house and funkier beats. CD2 is for when you've come out of the club, you're on your way home and you're on a (natural) high, er, I mean you're feeling euphoric. There are a few more big tunes on CD2, that people will recognise and there's a lot more energy and emotional tracks. You can listen to it anytime though. I effectively separated the two styles so that for the first CD if you're into techno and the new sound of hard house you'll love it, whereas for CD2 if you like trance and big tunes you'll like that one."

Skrufff: Hard house is very much a niche specialist genre these days, how important is the dance press and mainstream music business for releasing albums-

Anne Savage: "It's weird because hard dance or hard trance, whatever you call it, has retained a really strong following and while everyone's talking about the general demise in clubland, these problems really haven't affected our scene at all. For me, generally, I've never actually had a lot of press and hard dance clubbers aren't sheep and they don't believe what they read in the magazines anyway. I don't think the press is as important for hard dance as it is for other genres, people make their own minds up."

Skrufff: Progressive house seems to be dying a death, why do you think hard dance is continuing to prosper-

Anne Savage: "I think because it's a young sound for young people and all the young clubbers that go out, want to dance like crazy. They want music that's energetic and they want to be part of a scene- they want a lifestyle. It has so much to offer and it's still a fun scene."

Skrufff: Do you see the hard dance scene as being about escapism-

Anne Savage: "Definitely. Hard dance is the kind of music that's saying 'Sod it all', at the weekend. You'
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