Annie Mac

A few years back, when Annie Mac first graduated from weekdays to Friday night presenting on Radio 1, she described her approach as being “like a big sister.” That is, her relationship to her audience was friendly, informal, easy-going, like sitting in a bedroom going through her record collection and enthusing about each one as it was pulled out. This stood in stark contrast to the blokeish superstar DJs of the 1990s generation who still dominated everything in club music, preaching the gospel from on high; in Annie, the young generation of music lovers felt like they had one of their own in the heart of the dance establishment.


Now, of course, Dublin-born Annie IS the dance establishment, officially starting the weekend every Friday night on Radio 1 as well as being a superstar DJ in her own right. 2012 saw her play her first ever DJ set on live TV thanks to Channel 4’s ‘House Party’. The debut show went down so well with the thousands of viewers dancing in their living rooms that they asked Annie back to play the high pressure midnight slot for their second instalment of the ‘House Party’ on New Year’s Eve. In true Annie style she took in her stride much to the admiration of viewers dancing the new year in across the UK.


Outside of the radio and TV land Annie has made a huge name for herself playing headline slots at clubs and festivals across the world. Having supported Fat Boy Slim at Brighton Stadium last summer, Annie’s no stranger to playing some of the biggest slots going.  This year’s festival season has already seen her wow a huge crowd at London’s Lovebox Festival with her super-fresh sounding headline set on her very own AMP stage. Next stop for her is a coveted Saturday evening slot on the main stage at legendary UK dance festival Global Gathering, followed by more festival sets on her very own AMP stages at Creamfields and Bestival.


Her much-loved events brand Annie Mac Presents, known to most now as the  suitably  abbreviated ‘AMP’, has grown from humble roots in the small third room of London's Fabric club, into a dance music force that no one can mess with. Last year saw her host a ragingly successful AMP stage at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, as well as an AMP residency on the legendary terrace of Amnesia, Ibiza, on top of this is of course the long-standing residency at Camden's KOKO – which has become one of the staples of London's nightlife for a diverse and dedicated crowd, and which raises funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust to boot. This year AMP will up the ante once again when Annie heads to Ibiza on September 3rd to host an extra special AMP night at Dalt Vila - a 2,500 year old world heritage fort! Disclosure, Jessie Ware and Julio Bashmore will join Annie in the Ibiza sunshine for what’s set to be one of the best parties on the AMP calendar this year. Once Summers up it’ll be back on the road again in the UK for another hugely popular AMP tour this Autumn with a seriously good line up(will add these in once fully confirmed)


In the last year AMP stages have played host to Duke Dumont, Azealia Banks, Baauer, Jessie Ware, The Chemical Brothers, Major Lazer, Simian Mobile Disco, Madeon and Disclosure to name but a few. And on top of all this, AMP gives us one of the biggest compilation CDs in the dance music calendar each year. The latest of these is a perfect illustration of the quantum leaps her curation is taking, featuring specially commissioned tracks by some of the coolest names on the scene.


Alongside her dazzling DJ career Annie presents dispatches from Ibiza Rocks for Channel 4, and is in the process of making her own series in which she profiles the biggest stars of global dance music, following them as they rock parties around the world.


So how has she managed to keep her head, now she's mixing it with the upper echelons of the industry? “I don't take myself seriously as a DJ, and that's the realest of talk,” she says “I still get surprised if people come out and see me. I still consider this a very happy, serendipitous situation for me!” This from a woman who has played to tens of thousands of people at the biggest summer festivals, and who will geek out over the latest mixing technology or over the fine details of track selection on the new Annie Mac Presents compilation.


But Annie’s feet stay firmly on the ground because her involvement with everything she does is total. When she moved to London and got into radio, she worked as a production assistant and learned all the technical sides of the craft rather than leaping into fulfilling her ambitions as a presenter. And when it comes to the Annie Mac Presents brand, she is hands-on. Far from just being a figurehead, she forges personal connections to the artists involved, frets over how to show things in their best light, and puts her personality into everything she does. But also she feels comfortable in the industry the way it is now. Many may bemoan the way that downloading has decimated music sales, but she feels that the way this has forced artists to rethink their position is nothing but positive. She could almost be talking about herself when she says: “It's a really positive thing that people have to connect a bit more, that they have to hear what their fans are saying, that they interact – where maybe they might have been complacent or lost touch in the past. It definitely keeps people on their toes and keeps it creative. And it makes the fans feel part of something, makes them feel like they belong to a subculture, tells them that they can do it too.”


She's a businesswoman, impresario and bona fide media personality. Yet a few minutes in her company – or even listening to the weekly show, at the prime hour of 7pm on a Friday – will tell you that she's still just an enthusiastic girl who wants to invite you in to hear her new tunes. And however sprawling her interests and daunting her jet-setting may become, it really does come down to something as simple as this: she knows how to play the right tune at the right time.


Tom Schroeder
Assisted by: Claire Bewers Olivia-Jane Ransley