INTERVIEW: DJ Anna K on the Beginnings of Odyssia Festival

Over the past decade or so, the festival scene in continental Europe has absolutely exploded (we’re really, really sorry, please take us back). From Hideout to Outlook to Fusion to Tauron to Tomorrowland to Exit, the sheer variety of dance music festivals on offer across the continent is insane, and every country seems to have a signature approach. It’s hardly surprising, although the UK can lay claim to the earliest development of jungle, breakbeat, dubstep, garage and a few others, when you’re talking about the evolution of dance music, you’re looking at an all encompassing European picture, going back to Ibiza and further.

Croatia, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are usually the first names to come to mind when you’re talking about this sort of thing, but what about Greece. In fact, although it’s not so well documented outside of the country, Greece has a thriving dance scene, and much of it is centred around a legendary club near Schinos, some 75km west of Athens – the Cariocas Beach Bar. Over the years, it’s become an alluring destination for DJs and producers alike, playing host to Frankie Knuckles, Moodymann, David Morales, Louis Vega and many others. For the local players, it’s a homing beacon and for travelling practitioners it’s a must-play, and now it’s the centrepiece of a brand new festival – Odyssia.

Working in collaboration with The Rest is Noise, Need2Soul and Italian promoters NEUHM, the Cariocas team have cooked up 7 amazing days of sun-soaked coastal mayhem featuring the likes of Gilles Peterson, Benji B, DJ Harvey, Body & Soul, Detroit Swindle and many more, both inside the club and on a number of purpose built stages (as well as the inevitable boat parties). For many international visitors, it will not only be the first time to experience Cariocas, but also to get acquianted with some of the local talent, many of whom have been instrumental in putting this shindig together.

Anna K is one of these. Having cut her teeth working as a production assistant for the Status Quo’s Alan Lancaster in Australia, she made the move over to her home country to focus on her DJing, as well as event management. Anyone who’s ever attended a House on the Beach night at Cariocas will doubtlessly know her name, likely encountering her both on wax and weaving through the crowd making sure that everyone is having a good time. She was kind enough to talk a bit more about Odyssia for us, in case you weren’t salivating enough already.

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How did you first get into DJing?
My love for music and being at the right place at the right time. It must have been fate. My father is a music lover and connoisseur, so I grew up in an environment surrounded by music. Not being afraid to try out a skill that is predominantly a male thing also played a major role.

What kind of influence has the Cariocas club and its legacy had on your career?
The legacy of Cariocas has had the biggest influence on my career. It brought me in contact with the entire world. For me being part of the Cariocas family has been a great honour, something that I shall carry with great pride and respect for the rest of my life. I can also say that it has also influenced my way of life, the feeling of community and offering people as many happy times as possible. Cariocas is a way of life, my own paradise on Earth.

What kind of set are you thinking of playing at Odyssia?
I never prepare what I will play before a gig. I believe that a DJ set is something interactive – you give to the crowd and the crowd gives back to you. But there is always something magic in the air when I play at Cariocas. The place has its own aura, a very spiritual place, so all I know is that I will be playing from the heart…

Photo Courtesy of Sean Delahay
Photo Courtesy of Sean Delahay

What role have you played in putting Odyssia together?
I have been with the Cariocas team for the last 7 seasons, meaning that I was there when Sunshine Pedro – co-founder of Odyssia Festival and co-owner of Cariocas – had the dream of creating a festival in Greece. I travel a lot so I was able to understand what Pedro had in mind, so I have helped out in any way I could, from brainstorming artist names to be booked, potential partners for the festival to attending numerous gigs and festivals in order to have a personal opinion as a clubber to what appeals to me or not. Also being bilingual (I am Greek-Australian) has helped in the communication between the Greek and the UK partners and working teams.

What sets this festival apart from other European festivals?
Well I think what makes it different are mainly three things:

Firstly, it is held in a country where a festival like this has never happened before. It is a new destination for all the festival goers throughout the world.

Secondly, it covers many genres of music, all under the dance music umbrella, but broader than most festivals. Listening to the same kind of music for 7 days would be quite boring, and a festival is also supposed to educate people, have them listen to other kinds of music they don’t normally listen to.

And last but not least, it is more than a music festival. Yes, the music will be the major part of it, but there will also be other activities and a platform for other art forms as well.

Photo Courtesy of Sean Delahay
Photo Courtesy of Sean Delahay

Which acts on the lineup are you particularly hyped about?
It would be easier to answer the question which acts I am not hyped about. I am looking forward to listening to everyone. I want to see what effect will the Cariocas magic have on all the artists. Because, and I say this with certainty, everyone plays differently at Cariocas… That’s why whoever has played there, wants to go back.

For someone looking for an introduction into the Greek dance music scene who (besides yourself) would you recommend looking into?
Well I would definitely recommend the artists who have influenced me… Sunshine Pedro, The Lovesick, The Cripples, Christo Z who are all part of the Odyssia Festival. Nowadays there are many Greek producers that are releasing tracks on various labels something that proves that music has no boarders.


Odyssia runs from the 30th of August until the 5th of September, grab your tickets here.

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