Preview: Anjunadeep - Open Air

After a turbulent year in the capital, deep house connoisseurs ‘Anjunadeep’ are here to reinstate the calm. The Mic's Tristan Phipps previews the return of the label's acclaimed Open Air festival

Three years after the deep-house label launched it’s inaugural Open Air festival, Anjunadeep is returning to London with a superb offering of melodic electro and pulsating grooves, on one of the most intriguing line-ups London is offering this summer. From old heads in the scene, the tastemakers at the top, to the new kids on the block, label manager James Grant has crafted a supreme lineup built to celebrate freedom from the shackles of lockdown.

A line-up such as this demands only the best of settings, and what better than The iconic Drumsheds? The retired gasworks, boasting a capacity of 7,000 plus partygoers, is ever- bustling, hosting icons from all genres in recent times, from Carl Cox to Chase and Status. Sure, Ben Böhmer might be used to delivering sunrise sets on the peaks of Cappadocia, and Tony McGuiness might prefer the beaches of Santorini to the canal banks of Enfield, but The Drumsheds never fails to deliver as a venue. The production value will surely be fantastic.

"Franky has not only emerged from the unknown, but firmly established himself as a hitmaker...expect his set to be bustling with toe-tappers from start to finish"

The artist I’m most eager to talk about on this supreme line-up is Franky Wah. Hailing from the farmyards of Yorkshire, Franky has soared to the top over the last 12 months. With his hit single and future Ibiza classic ‘Come Together’ reaping support from chief Radio tastemakers- Annie Mac perhaps the most prominent- it looks like nothing is standing in Franky’s way this summer. With a string of delicious releases over the year- and striking collaborations with AETHO, Cristoph and Artche- Franky has not only emerged from the unknown, but firmly established himself as a hitmaker. With the Yorkshire selector firmly in his element, expect his set to be bustling with toe-tappers from start to finish.

Lining up alongside the new kids on the block are perhaps the most established names in deep-house. Dare we trawl through the vistas of history, we find that Jody Wisternoff was heading the inception of Anjunadeep’s Open Air events, back in 2018. This summer, the dance music stalwart lines up alongside James Grant, Mr Anjunadeep himself. Few people on this earth know how to please and tease a crowd with deep electronic textures quite like James. Along with Tony McGuiness, another icon on this lineup, James Grant has been crafting the world of deep electro for two decades. Undoubtedly, he is the father of Anjunadeep: his set, back to back with mainstay Jody Wisternoff, will not be one to miss.

As we walk down the lineup, the excitement does not stop. Providing a modern and alternative face to the Dutch electronic scene we have the two-piece ‘Tinlicker’. Despite not being as much of a recognisable name in the UK, those who are fortunate enough to have come across the Utrecht based duo will know how special they are. I first opened my eyes to the talent of Tinlicker on the compilation ‘Anjunadeep 12’, and was astounded by the elegance of ‘Light Beam’ and ‘Voodoo’, the latter forged with Ben Böhmer (more on him later!). Alongside Tinlicker, we are treated to sets from some very special producers in ‘Braxton’, ‘Penelope’ and ‘Just Her’.

Penelope has crafted quite the reputation over the past few years, delivering superb sets at London’s Printworks, Manchester’s Warehouse Project, and to dance-floors worldwide. By also dabbling in A&R work herself, we can be confident in Penelope’s abilities to spot the next big thing. An impeccable selector and champion tastemaker, Penelope is another set to keep an eye out for come the 5th September.

"A supreme crafter of deep, engaging beats and electrifying piano riffs, ‘Just Her’ has championed the resurgence of piano house riffs into deep electro"

Alongside Penelope is ‘Just Her’, a Brighton based producer and DJ, who is fast becoming one of the most recognisable sounds on the label. A supreme crafter of deep, engaging beats and electrifying piano riffs, along with Richie Blacker, ‘Just Her’ has championed the resurgence of piano house riffs into deep electro. Get ready for her track ‘Beautiful Nothing’, and incredibly uplifting and delicate piece purpose built to immerse an audience.

Another star in the making is ‘Braxton’: a talented producer and DJ, who recently grabbed attention with his mesmerising release ‘Indigo’. Furthermore, Braxton has demonstrated his skill by crafting remixes for the likes of RÜFÜS DU SOL and Grades over the past few years. I was fortunate enough to briefly catch up with the Brighton based producer and hear his two cents on the upcoming deep-house extravaganza. “I’m looking forward to it… … It’s my first time playing for Anjunadeep so I’m massively honoured.” With frequent support from industry experts and the backing of a major label, ’Braxton’ is an artist with the wind in his sails. “I’m getting messages from people all over the place telling me how much they are looking forward to it all!” The stage is set for an exciting Anjunadeep debut for Braxton: there’s few producers in the scene who deserve the attention more. He is certainly one to catch at The Drumsheds.

Last but no means least is the festivals main event. Perhaps the hottest name on the lineup, a German multi-instrumentalist who has mastered the world of progressive house. Taking his live sets all over the world, from Amsterdam to India, to playing in a hot air balloon above the mountains of Cappadocia - Ben Böhmer is set to bring his captivating live show to North East London. A man who needs little introduction to fans of the scene, Ben emerged as a rising star in the mid 2010’s to become a focal point of deep house, and the poster boy for Anjunadeep events worldwide. Since the lockdowns begun, Ben has perhaps released his best work to date: the awe inspiring ‘Weightless’, featuring Panama, and the beautifully crafted ‘Run Away’, forged alongside Anjunadeep regulars ‘Tinlicker’. With sophomore album ‘Begin Again’ on the near horizon, Anjunadeep Open Air is shaping up to be a special time to catch the Berlin based DJ and producer.

After a year without, it’s little surprise that fans and artists alike are raring to go for the biggest progressive house event that the UK has to offer this summer. With old heads in the scene going toe to toe alongside only the best up-and-coming in deep house, the array of talent on display is staggering. We at The Mic hope to be there come September, and look forward to bringing you more.

Written by: Tristan Phipps

Edited by: Joe Hughes

Featured image courtesy of Anjunadeep via Facebook. In article video courtesy of Anjundaeep via YouTube