Ana Sia on staying ahead of EDM trends
How do you think, as far as trends go, things are evolving? Dubstep got really big, then it almost went the way of moombahton, and now it's trap. I love bass music across the board, but how are you always staying influenced and pushing it? It's not like you are going from dubstep to, say, classical music.
It's funny: I am heavily influenced by bass music, but that is a huge umbrella and very broad, and I am influenced by classical music. I am influenced by deep dubstep -- that is still very relevant -- and rap music, and pop music, and I think because of genres, I like to try and melt them all into my own sound and in my sets, and being able to do it creatively presents this unique kind of signature sound.
I do dive into a lot of different things that other people like, whether or not they are popular tracks, but I try to stay away from that. I try to challenge myself by presenting something new and challenging the audience by giving them the opportunity to listen to something different and perhaps open their eyes and minds to something new, as well.
When you are walking into a show, are you walking in with something in mind, or is it a clean canvas to paint on?
I'd say it's a little bit of both of those. What it takes to do my job is to understand music. You don't want to alienate people, but I don't want to sacrifice myself, either, and my artistic integrity. I love pushing the envelope and entertaining people the best I can. I do like a lot of popular music, as well. I am not anti-anything in my sets, so I have an idea of what I want to do, but I am also very much paying attention to what is happening in front of me, just so I can fulfill my number-one goal, which is to entertain people.
Was there a point when you woke up one morning and said, "I'm done with everything else. This is what I want to do"?
I've always been involved in artistic fields, whether it was in music or with food or with acting. This was just one thing that started as something I enjoyed doing. I guess the day it switched for me, where I wasn't just doing this on the side, was the first time I was flown out for a show and realized that people are taking me seriously, so it's probably time I should start taking this seriously.
Definitely. What were you doing before, I guess, seven years ago?
Seven years ago, I was in the acting field and just kind of running a kitchen in Hawaii for a couple years and cooking. The DJ thing was something I was doing on the side, on the islands, just to have something to do. I kind of filled my time there and made a small community for myself there. When I moved, I brought the skills with me, but it wasn't my intention to do this professionally when I moved to San Francisco. It was something I was good at, and the first time I was flown out, I realized I could really do this.
Do you remember that first show?
I do! It was a good buddy of mine, still the best independent promoter in the country. I got flown out to Reno, and it was my first out-of-state job.
Were you nervous?
I have never been nervous when I play in front of people, whether it's twenty people or twenty thousand. For me, it feels very natural to be playing music and to be involved with this music scene. I was always the one in front of the DJ booth and very involved in rave culture and dance culture and club music. It was a very natural transition for me. There were some moments in my career where I was nervous because of equipment malfunctions, but, for me, that's where I feel the most open and comfortable.
You mentioned acting before that; were you involved in thespian troupes?
No, no, no, that was an eternity ago. I've always been involved in the arts, whether it was acting, music, cooking or really just any place I could find expression. It's a very valuable variable to have art in my life in some way, whether it's art, music or food, or anything like that.
Is there anything that you still do outside of music to feed that expression?
I still cook as much as possible, and I still stay active physically. I think that's one of the most important things, as well. Just the whole mind/body experience of everything. Yes, I practice art every day. Whether it's music or cooking or meditating, I can find expression in all things that I do.