A.Fruit — first name, Anna — discovered jungle when she was 14, while spending the summer in her grandparents’ village 50 kilometres outside Moscow. It was the early 2000s, and she passed the time cruising around neighbouring towns with her older cousin and her friends, listening to music in the car. “It was something just so new to me, I’d never heard anything like that before,” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, what is that?’”
It took a while to work out that the track was ‘Style From The Darkside’ by Aphrodite, because it was just on an unmarked CD of tunes downloaded from someone’s computer. When she returned to her parents’ home in Moscow, Anna immediately went to a bazaar to speak to the music vendors there. “They found the album and I bought it, and then a week after I returned and asked for something similar,” Anna says over Zoom from Saint Petersburg, where she now lives.
But Anna was also into other genres. Like most people growing up after the fall of the Iron Curtain, she was captivated by pop culture flooding the market from the West. “I was listening to Beyoncé, Britney Spears and No Doubt, then hip-hop and alternative rock — groups like Cypress Hill, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park,” she says. It was only when she started going to clubs, that Anna re-discovered her initial love of jungle and drum & bass. “I realised that I was hearing those same tunes that were on that CD from when I was 14, that people are still playing that music. That’s when I discovered all the drum & bass labels like Hospital Records, not once thinking I’d be somehow connected to them in the future.”
A chance encounter with Ableton Live brought her one step closer. Her friend had downloaded a pirate copy of the production software, and let Anna mess around with it. “I realised what I wanted to do every day, and never stop, was make music,” she says. Taking her laptop to some of her more boring lectures at university, she’d sit at the back of the class, making tracks. While still studying for her degree, she started taking classes in audio engineering for television, which were cheaper than music production school. “The course included all the things I needed: how the equaliser works, how the compressor works, how to record different instruments and voices — basically all the things that I wanted to use in my music,” she says. She has since gone on to become a mastering engineer for labels including Hyperloid, Black Marble Collective and Inperspective Records.