Meet the incredible Annalise Livermore, known behind the decks as DJ PANNAK! This week I sat down with Annalise to chat about all things DJing, student life, and what’s next for DJ PANNAK. She recently won UON’s 2023 DJ Competition and has loads of tips and advice to share for any aspiring DJs out there.
Nicole: How did you first get into DJing?
Annalise: My friend Johnny mentioned the Playhouse Fridays event at Bar On The Hill and so I went with him to check it out which first sparked my interest in DJing. I had a go on the decks and really enjoyed it! From there, I entered the ‘Your Shot’ Competition in November 2022 and had the opportunity to learn DJ skills for 6 weeks through their program in Sydney. It was a big commitment to travel down to Sydney twice a week, but I absolutely loved learning new skills and being a part of the program. The Lass O’Gowrie Hotel also do Open DJ Nights, which has been a major help in getting my name out there.
N: How do you balance work, study and DJing?
A: Initially it was really overwhelming, but I have managed to develop good time management skills and learnt to reach out to others for support. The Student Living community have been incredibly supportive, as I also live and work on campus. I also try not to procrastinate as much anymore and try to take action rather than waiting for something to happen.
N: Have you always been into music?
A: I actually play the flute and have a background in classical music!
N: How did you come up with your stage name, ‘DJ PANNAK’?
A: It’s actually a really funny story! I wanted it to be something that was identifiable to me but not anyone else. When I was playing my set during the ‘Your Shot’ competition, I made a mistake and had a moment of panic. After the comp, I saw some photos of my performance and saw the look on my face, and that’s when it clicked; “DJ PANNAK”
N: What is your creative process?
A: It’s a mix of spontaneity and planning, depending on the gig. I love using my musical background to pick tracks that people may not have heard and incorporating them into my sets. For smaller events I will plan out my sets but for longer events I’ll allow the vibe of the audience to set the tone and I improvise with songs as I go.
N: Which artists do you take the most inspiration from?
A: When I was growing up, I loved listening to DJ Tigerlily and Havana Brown and have taken a lot of inspiration from them in my own DJing.
N: If you could headline at any music festival, what would it be?
A: There is so many to choose from and I always vibe what is happening at the time. If I had to choose one today it would be CDC, but if you asked me that a week ago, it would be Coachella!
N: How do you feel about the lack of female DJs in the industry?
A: I think I came into DJing at a time when there are a lot more females in the industry and since, I have had a lot of opportunities to meet inspiring female DJs over the past year. I can understand why there aren’t as many female DJs as there is still an intimidating stigma around it, but fortunately for me I have mostly had a great experience so far.
N: Have you had any negative experiences?
A: Someone once said to me, ‘You’re only getting so many gigs because you’re a woman’, which has been my only really negative experience so far. However, I know that I wouldn’t continue to get gig bookings unless my sets were actually good, so there is still a general misconception out there amongst some people but I don’t let that dishearten me.
N: What is your favourite song to mix?
A: “Is It A Banger?” by Odd Mob
N: How do you start your sets?
A: I don’t like to go from a low to a high vibe, I love to start off with a bang or a mid-level vibe to get the audience excited.
N: What is your best advice for other aspiring female DJ’s?
A: Don’t be afraid to give it a go and don’t say no to opportunities!
N: After winning the 2023 UON DJ Comp, what’s next for DJ Pannak?
A: There’s a lot to look forward to as I have local shows booked around Newcastle and am really looking forward to playing Autonomy Day 2023. I’m going to start looking into making my own music and I’ve just invested in some audio producing software which I’m excited to explore once my exams are over. I don’t plan on stopping or slowing down, I want to keep going!
To follow Annalise’s DJ journey on Instagram, you can find her here – @dj.pannak