Anthea Marie Nzekwu, better known by just her first name, is a DJ-producer and label head who divides her time between London, where she was born and raised, and Berlin. She was introduced to music by her father, a bass player in a reggae band who took her along to practices. At an early age, Anthea learned how to play drums and the keyboard, and she supported her pursuit of a career in music through high school by jamming at home. A few years later, while studying at university in London, she started raving and digging into the work of Derrick Carter, Carl Cox, and Fat Tony, among others. She also became hooked on Richie Hawtin’s Decks, EFX & 909 mix, so much so that she spent her student loan on a pair of turntables.
After leaving university, Anthea’s career really began. Through the early 2000s, she could be found playing out across London’s hotel bars and high-end restaurants, and booking other artists, too. And by frequenting record shops, she landed a job at Flying Records in west London, where she worked for four years, before moving to Black Market Records and eventually Phonica, where she met Alex Cellar. In 2008, she teamed up with Cellar on The Playmaker, and from there the bookings came rolling in. “I thought [at that moment] that maybe I should DJ professionally,” she says, “because I realized that I was actually quite good at it!”
It was obvious, even during these early years, that Anthea possessed an amazing sense of groove and a great ability for exhibiting her natural charisma through her selections. She’s since relocated to Berlin, drawn by the city’s extended set times, and become a regular at places like Club Der Visionäre. Outside of this, she runs Partisan, set up after she left Brouqade Records, a label she ran with Dana Ruh. Oshana and Giammarco Orsini are among the artists she’s bought into the label, underlining her commitment to presenting new and original electronic sounds. “I don’t want to sign an artist that sounds like any of the existing ones,” she tells EDMjunkies, “that way the label is always offering something new.” In 2018, Anthea put out State Of Mind on Partisan, and she promises more releases soon.
Ahead of a busy year of touring, Anthea spent the new year’s period preparing to record a podcast for EDMjunkies. At just over one hour in length, it’s a mix filled with psychedelic excursions and killer grooves, piecing together her favorite music from the past with new discoveries and demos from Partisan. It’s perhaps a bit slower than what you’ll hear her play in a club, opting instead for trippy selections and hypnotic blends, but never does the mix step away from what Anthea does best: expressive and timeless house music that oozes in character.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I’ve just been touring.
02. How was your 2021?
At the start of 2021, we had been in lockdown for just over nine months. I was quite depressed. By then all my flaws that I could usually hide with all the business of touring were just in my face. I decided I’d had enough of it and began making a lot of changes. By the end of 2021, I was happy within myself; I had challenged myself to learn a language, and by the end of the year I had a great sports regime and diet. So 2021 was actually good for me; I didn’t welcome the break but I needed it.
03. Talk to me about Partisan. How does it work with signing new artists? What are you looking for?
I’m looking and listening for the artist’s expression, and their personality in their sound. I don’t want to sign an artist that sounds like any of the existing ones, that way the label is always offering something new.
04. Where and when did you record this mix?
At home in Berlin, just a few days before it is being posted.
05. How did you go about choosing the records that you’ve included?
I concentrated on the feeling or atmosphere the records created. It has been a few years since I made a mix, and I would say in its entirety it is not how I usually present a set, instead, with each record you are getting a small part of my vibe.
06. What can the listener expect?
A selection of tunes that represent elements of my past as well as what’s currently in my bag rocking the floors.
07. How does it compare to what we might hear you play live?
The mix is more conceptual. Some of the tracks are often not always appropriate for a clubbing environment, or even the mood I want to create on the night, and maybe it’s a bit slower.
08. What’s on your horizon for 2022?
I’ve been confirmed for quite a lot of festivals this year, and I plan to get myself back in the studio this week.
EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full EDMjunkies+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an EDMjunkies+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
Editor’s Note: Tracklisting will be added to this mix at a later date.