It’s no secret that Sanna ‘La Fleur‘ Engdahl’s back story is a less conventional one. Although a fully trained pharmacist, she has been “a music nerd” from an early age. Taking part in dance competitions at school discos, it was here that Sanna first realised a longing to be on the opposite side of the DJ booth; “I had a big interest in music and dance and somehow it all made sense and I thought, oh I would like to be the one to be able to choose the music to dance to. If it was a party at somebody’s place, I always wanted to be by the speaker choosing my music.”
Although now Berlin based, Sanna began her journey into dance music in her home country, Sweden. She chose to make the move to Berlin to step outside of her comfort zone, find inspiration and give herself time to home in on her music. Reflecting on her time thus far in Berlin, she describes the city as being a “techno mecca” when she first moved there. She also talks about the minimal techno scene being “really really big” back then and how this influenced her move away from soulful house into harder techno. However, it seems that her Swedish upbringing has also had some influence on her smooth yet bass heavy sound;
“In Sweden we have a lot of good music exports, and when we talk about that we say it’s very melodic, and that comes from our roots in folk music. Then also, in Sweden, it’s dark and cold a big part of the year, which makes the idea of escaping away in a studio making music sound like a good idea. It’s not as if you’d be like ‘oh yeh its 10 o’clock, I’m going to go have dinner’ or ‘let’s go to the beach’, so I think that has an effect for sure”.
Prior to producing her own music and establishing her Power Plant imprint, La Fleur started her music career as a DJ. The self professed ‘music nerd’ explains that in the beginning she felt she might not be able to find her way into DJing, “as a woman in the scene, I didn’t know anybody who was DJing”. Following a move back to her hometown during her pharmaceutical studies, Sanna discovered a DJ workshop, it was here that she had her first introduction to DJing. She had a DJ boyfriend at the time, who was reluctant to support her with her own DJ ambitions; “he got super pissed, he said ‘I don’t want you to do it, that’s my thing, you’re not to go to that course’, but I wanted to do this before I met him, so I was like ‘I’m going to that course!’”
It appears that Sanna’s experience starting out in the industry is one that is very relatable. “There were a lot of guys and it was kind of like their area, it was a bit insecure”. But despite this, she is still very complimentary to the guy who first introduced her to DJing; “he was very supportive of me and he was also the one who arranged one of my first gigs for me, he was a really nice guy”. It seems safe to say that hard work and staying true to oneself is something that has served La Fleur very well, particularly in the face of opposition; she offers up some solid advice for females coming into the industry…“Don’t be afraid at all and don’t listen so much to other people’s advice or ideas. Just trust your gut instincts a bit and work hard…learn your shit and don’t be afraid to take place – don’t be afraid of being there and doing your thing…try to find other girls that also play, start your own club, start your own record label, start producing music, you know, just do it all yourself and also don’t look around for someone else to do it for you or to help you”.
Despite having traded pharmacy for DJing, we still see Sanna’s pharmaceutical training come into her music production with track titles “Chemicality” and more recently “Circadian“; a biological term for our body clock/sleep pattern. It appears she enjoys storytelling within her music, putting just as much thought into the title and sleeve artwork as the track itself. One of her first and most notable tracks “Flowerhead” is one that holds an interesting and special story: “The sample I used for that I heard when I was in the south of Sweden in Malmö, I was doing a gig there and the promoter took us to the venue during the day time because it was a kind of lounge venue during the day. I heard this song playing and they were basically singing my name in that song like ‘La Fleur’ and I’m like what is this song?! I need to sample this song!”
La Fleur’s storytelling also seems to extend into her DJ sets, sometimes wishing to tell a story through the interweaving of different tracks, or through the selection of one track that holds a story within itself. She speaks enthusiastically about an unreleased Kenny Larkin track she has been playing recently that, for her, has a great story. “It’s just so groovy, the beat, people move a bit different, it’s called Step Back. It’s a 15 minute groover and it’s not necessarily that I will play the full 15 minutes but it’s just that it keeps on coming and keeps on giving. It’s not much happening but it’s telling a story, so in-between those tracks there are also tools to tell a bigger story… last time I talked to Kenny, there was a long story behind that track too haha”. Although the exact release date of this Larkin track is unknown, we can be sure to watch out for it coming out soon on KMS.
La Fleur also mentions her newest release on her fellow swede Adam Beyer’s label, the Drumcode sub-label, Truesoul. This EP dropped on 8th January, on which Sanna highlights “some interesting collabs”.