DJ Mag Podcast 103: Ana Helder

DJ Mag Podcast 103: Ana Helder

Ana Helder is at the core of the Cómeme family. Since making her debut on the label in 2011 with …

Ana Helder is at the core of the Cómeme family. Since making her debut on the label in 2011 with her ‘El Groove De Tu Corazón’ LP, the DJ/producer has become one of the most vital members of the collective, which also champions artists such as Lena Willikens, Vaskular, Christian S, DJs Pareja, rRoxymore, not to mention label co-founder, Matias Aguayo.

Her work fits the jaunty, percussive format that defines the label, but as with each artist on its roster, Helder brings a tongue-in-cheek menace and depth to the fore. Nowhere is this more evident than on the label’s recent ‘Solidarity Forever’ compilations, where her tracks ‘No Da’ and ‘Pizza Delivery’ lurch forward with rattling minimalism and deft, playful melodies and sampling.

Since 2011, Helder has ventured on a European tour every year, which always finds her playing in some of the most revered clubs across the continent from :// about blank to Concrete and, recently, the intimate haven of The Waiting Room, London. With a musical upbringing that was as varied and distinct as they come though, we learn that Ana Helder is an artist that can’t just be defined by the clubs she’s played.

“From the beginning, I was into playing the guitar and the idea and looks of a rock star,” she tells DJ Mag. “My favourite band was Sumo. I think it was one of my first cassette tapes. I used to do compilation recordings from the radio songs I liked. Later on, I took some guitar classes, and a few simple chords was enough to have fun for years. Then, as soon as I found out how to program a midi melody and rhythm onto the computer I couldn’t stop. I tried to play in bands, but I have problems memorizing the structures of songs so I would get bored. That’s why I feel better programming, editing, DJing, improvising…”

Naturally then, Helder was drawn to clubs and underground spaces. It was the fun, hedonism and recklessness of those formative years that Helder found her niche. And that zeal and sense of mischief feeds into her sound to this day.

“I don’t understand how I was going partying so much being under 18,” she remembers. “I was introduced to the club scene by my friends at school. It was a nice time. The best parties were at houses, art collectives or small clubs. I remember watching a bunch of people dancing and kissing all together and I was just like, “waaaaw”! But now you go to a club and the bouncer asks for your ID and if you light up a joint they point at you with a laser… Anyway, you can still find good places to go and smoke the joints outside.”

After several years of running celebrated underground parties in her hometown Rosario, Helder moved to Buenos Aires. Nonetheless, she remembers those times fondly, and still recreates the excitement and sonic freedom from time to time.

“Now in Rosaria clubs have commercial politics. It’s almost impossible to produce a party if, as an organiser, you have to pay a rent, sound, personnel and take the same risks you would if you were a club but without having the bar income and giving the 80% of entrance to the club. In the end there is no business. Also, It’s not nice for people to pay so much to listen to local DJs.  “Anyway,” she adds. “When it was a good moment to do our ‘Subculto’ parties with Rob Rovere, we had the pleasure of inviting Charlotte Bendiks, C.A.Ramirez, Carisma, Rumanians, Blas Finger and Fango. Now from time to time we do spontaneous parties in some house. It’s more intimate. And I love this actually… Friends can play things for people who want to listen and have fun with Sade´s slow tempo tracks.”

DJ Mag Podcast 103: Ana Helder