My Firsts: Anika | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, May 26th, 2024  

My Firsts: Anika

The Silent Undertaker

Jul 26, 2021 Web Exclusive Photography by Sven Gutjahr Bookmark and Share

My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.). For this My Firsts we talk to Anika.

Anika (aka Annika Henderson) is a British ex-pat and former political journalist who is based in Berlin. Last week she released Change, which is her first alum in 11 years, via the labels Sacred Bones and Invada. Anika’s self-titled debut was released in 2010 on Stones Throw. Her most recent solo release was 2013’s Anika EP.

Exploded View’s Martin Thulin co-produced Change and played some live drums and bass. The album was recorded during the pandemic.

“This album had been planned for a little while and the circumstances of its inception were quite different to what had been expected,” said Henderson in a press release announcing the album. “This colored the album quite significantly. The lyrics were all written there on the spot. It’s a vomit of emotions, anxieties, empowerment, and of thoughts like—‘How can this go on? How can we go on?’”

She had this to add about the album’s title and theme: “There’s a lot of stuff I want to change. Some things I sat down and decided last year, I had to change about myself and my life. Sometimes it feels helpless because the things we want to change are so huge and out of our control. Starting with yourself is always a good place. I think we can change.”

Read on as Henderson talks about her cute but dangerous first pet, the monster hunter she adored, failed driving tests, and how she used to really, really, really wanna zigazig ah.

First word?

No idea. I was a very quiet kid. I found it more interesting to observe people than to stand at the front and shout around.

First pet?

I had a little black Dutch dwarf rabbit called Hopsy, who looked very cute but didn’t like to be held or touched or anything. It would scratch people, in particular the really annoying kids. I felt like we made a good team.

First broken bone?

When I was about six or seven I slipped over in the swimming pool and split my head open, pooling blood everywhere. I don’t remember it. Apparently one could see my brain throbbing through the crack in my head. Hmm, well that explains some things.

First person you kissed?

I actually don’t remember. No idea.

First TV show you were obsessed with?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I remember watching it avidly as a kid and wishing I could pull karate moves like Buffy. Also I thought Angel was really fit.

First record your parents played for you?

There was a lot of music in the house, from all directions—I was the youngest. I remember my mum taking us to see the Fledermaus opera aged about seven.

First album you bought?

Possibly Spice Girls—actually I think my sister bought that for me. Also my dad would buy me indie tapes to try to get me on a solid music path. I first got properly into music digging, late night radio playlists and things, aged around 12, as the internet and Napster were first coming into existence. That was a pretty exciting time to discover new music.

First favorite band?

I loved The Cardigans and also Destiny’s Child, oh and this English UK garage outfit called Mis-Teeq, haha.

First time you got drunk?

Possibly with my cousin after she took me and my other cousin out to the pub and we got smashed on two Hooch/Bacardi Breezers. I remember trying to act really sober as we arrived home to my dad. Sadly my younger cousin fell over and then couldn’t stop laughing. We got away with it. Luckily I had a good poker face from a young age.

First car you owned?

A Peugeot 105 in red, that I never really got to drive because I failed my test about three times, haha—the theory one. Then my brother borrowed it and wrote it off, while I was at university.

First instrument?

Probably the recorder—which was a forced part of the English school curriculum and put everyone off music for life. We also had a piano at home but my sister was amazing at playing, so I never dared to start with “Three Blind Mice.”

First band you were in?

Me and my brother used to do fake punk shows—which were more comedy acting than actually playing music. I think we called it Mighty Sting. I used to dress up as Janis Joplin, mixed with my sister’s ’90s rave gear of cut-off tops, platforms, and slogan T-shirts, with a taped on belly button piercing. Pretty much the same as my style now then.

First recording device?

I got a karaoke machine for my ninth birthday and me and my brother used to record comedy radio shows to send to my sister, who was studying in a different country. I never dared to sing on it. I was way too shy for that.

First time you performed in public?

That was a cameo with BEAK> back in 2009 at ATP Release the Bats Halloween Party, with Liquid Liquid and Factory Floor. I was totally petrified. I think I just ran on stage, sang the song, focused on the fire escape sign and not the people, temporarily left my body, and then came to in the back stage. The last time I had been on a stage was aged eight in the school production of Bugsy Malone, with all the silent parts (mostly undertaker—for which there were many scenes) because I was too scared to speak on stage.

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