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10.08.2017 | Words by: Ruben Leter

Ana Helder makes quirky music. She uses aggressive drums, weird samples, lots of bass guitar and her own voice. My favorite aspect is that her songs are always filled with tension. In a photo, she’s holding a drawing by Matias Aquayo saying ‘La pequena Ana conquistando America’, meaning ‘the little Ana conquering America’. Her music seems to serve purpose as the soundtrack to that adventure.
 
This Friday, Ana Helder will be performing at De School. Along with Matias Aguayo and Barnt she’s doing a Cómeme themed night. Helder is one of the lesser known South American artists on the label. I always assumed she hardly ever traveled to Europe. Apparently, Ana has been visiting yearly ever since her first Cómeme single got released. Hereby I encourage all of you to come see her play her first ever Dutch gig at De School. 
 
Just like many other artists who gain recognition from peers, Helder met Matias Aguayo through a social media platform. “I discovered Cómeme on Myspace. My first reaction was: Wow! It’s Argentinian. Around that time, Cómeme was mostly a label from Argentina. All the artists were living in South America. Matias invited me to hang out with them in Buenos Aires. It was super fun. I met the whole crew and they wanted to release this song I had on Myspace, Complicado. We went on tour to Santiago, and when I was about to head back to Argentina, they said: 'Hey, let’s go to the beach'. So, we stayed for a little vacation.”
 
Many of Ana’s likeminded friends have been acquired through Coméme. Charlotte Bendiks, who just released an exceptional EP on the label, speaks fondly of her. Helder invited the Norwegian artist for the first night of a party she started in Rosario a few years back. Two weeks ago, Charlotte Bendiks returned the favor. “It was a great night. We had lots of schnaps and played together the whole time. Charlotte gets my style and we play very similar.” And then there’s Mamacita; who only seems to make sick (old school) house hits. Mamacita keeps thanking Ana Helder for her encouragements. “I admire the talent she has to make music. Mamacita performs as a chorus girl for Javiera Mena, a very big South American artist. I was always telling Mamacita that she should do her own productions. I’m very happy that she does so now. She always encouraged me to make music as well.”
 
In a 2011 interview, Helder is asked about her favorite music as a kid. She mentions so many different artists (e.g.: Nirvana, Bob Marley, Ilya Kuryaki, Otis Redding, TLC, Massive Attack, Spice Girls, Prodigy), it’s impossible to sum it up as a general influence. We ended up talking about what these artists still mean for her. “To me, Bob Marley is very superficial now. Of course, I still love him. Only there’s so much dub and reggae behind his music. During that part of my life I didn’t know the other stuff. That’s why I think you could call Bob Marley superficial. It’s the first thing you encounter when listening to a genre. That also goes for artists like Madonna or Spice Girls. They’re almost all musicians that were famous when I was a kid. The only artists I still listen to now are TLC or Otis Redding.”
 
Since nowadays it’s not uncommon to be interested in lots of different genres, more and more music is being described as pop. To me that includes some of Ana’s songs. She prefers to use other terms. “It’s too weird to be pop. Although as a producer I’ve noticed that I am trying to make hits. You could use the word hit to describe what pop music is like. For example, Gasoline is a hit. Every time I DJ, people ask me to play Gasoline so it must be a hit. A lot of my music is hard to confine into a genre. I always try to make house or disco. Only to stick to a genre, you must hold on to so many rules. There are lots of different laws and structures. When you don’t abide by those laws, it doesn’t fit in the genre. It’s a plastic thing. A collage. That’s why I prefer to describe my music as a plastic expression. You can be flexible, funny, unpolitical and just make art. But I would love to be able to do house music.”
 
This year Ana Helder will release her fifth EP on Müstique, a Cologne based label who just had their first release by C.A. Ramirez. “The new EP might be a little bit more like a disco record, but it’s still pretty weird. I’m very excited and hopefully there’s a hit on the record. Many of these tracks have their origin in music I’ve made years ago. I rerecorded some elements, added some new things and now I’m happy with the result. The white labels arrived yesterday. It will probably be released in September. But don’t quote me on that; deadlines are not my strongest point.”

Ana Helder is playing De School on De Zomernacht, Friday August 11, along with Matias Aguayo and Barnt. More info here.
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