The hectic music scene of the 1980s saw an exponential growth in communities, collaborations, friendships and opportunities. One of the names that comes up on a regular basis is that of Anni Hogan, a musician, DJ and composer who carved out her own path in the alternative music world marked out by some impressive collaborative work. This included her extensive collaborations with Marc Almond, which included the Marc and the Mambas collective through to his successful 1989 album The Stars We Are.

But there were also collaborations with the likes of Yello, Wolfgang Flür, Scanner, Lydia Lunch and Jarboe (Swans). Plus performing with established artists such as Hugh Masekela and Paul Weller. Anni has also moved into scoring films, including 2012’s Mountain with Rob Strachan.

In more recent times, Anni has released the Lost In Blue album (which features  Lydia Lunch, Kid Congo Powers, Gavin Friday and Wolfgang Flür) Funeral Cargo (a series of reflective piano pieces inspired by the landscape of The Wirral) and Without The Moon (a compilation of favourite collaborative works featuring Nick Cave, Marc Almond, JG Thirwell and Jarboe).

Back in March 2023, Blitzed spoke to Anni on the eve of the release of new Some Bizzare book Conform To Deform, her work with Marc and the Mambas, Wolfgang Flür, Regis and more…

Torment and Toreros celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2023. What are your recollections of the album?

An incredibly inspired outpouring of beautiful artistic endeavour, created in an intense fierce, chaotic and sometimes even a little corrosive environment due to a bunch of tired and talented mostly drug-infused musicians with varying degrees of egos and vulnerability some known well to each other, some not, all being pushed to produce their best in quick time, cheaper studio night time sessions and so forth. So it was in some ways quite tough but ultimately you are there for the craft, for the amazing experience of making a truly sensational album, and although I remember feeling angst-ridden throughout, I also loved and lived for the actual creative process and I still feel that way, it is always the music that I’m there for. I look back and think what an immense achievement for Marc, juggling Mambas and Soft Cell, both visionary conceptually and 40 years later still undulating current cultural forms.

I remember recording my musical composition ‘Black Heart’ during the Torment and Toreros sessions, I feel we created a stunning electro-acoustic fusion fantasy, shimmering darkstrings, Farfisa organ (purchased from Cockney Rebel no less!), classical piano,experimental looped guitar and the simplest Dr Rhythm beat I could program all enhancedby Steve Sherlock’s drifting 60s flute and late-night saxophone. Marc’s fantastic devouringlyric and iconic performance delivery reflected throughout the LP. Somehow in all that unified mental breakdown we all conspired or participated in and reflected, ultimately the music grew above everything else.

The drama of ‘Black Heart’, reflected in the lyric, also fitted well to the whole album recording circumstances, A potent combo of genius and jealousies colliding vibrantly, together conjuring an extraordinary alchemy in the studio with Marc centred eye in the pyramid or myriad of mayhem and magic. In other words, an emotional rollercoaster but finally rewarding us with an enduring and iconic signature Mambas song (well I think so) and an equally enduring and iconic superb album. Flood engineered and produced with Marc and or other Mambas present, I was often with Flood as we got on really well and he was amazing to work with previously on Untitled in Trident studios. On Torment we recorded some stuff at Trident and we all also moved into Jacobs residential studios in Sussex, countryside location with an outdoor swimming pool and ‘home cooked food’ which was of course hugely important and wonderful after endless takeaways in Soho. It was a more relaxing atmosphere, but we soon sorted that out! Ha-ha. We were totally spoiled really but worked every last nerve and every last piece of music wrung and rang out of us and I should think so too. I recently played the LP from beginning to end and it is a timeless blazing beauty of a beast no doubt in my mind.

It is no secret Marc and I have not spoken since our last work together in ‘89 and I was obviously missing from the Meltdown revisit and at that time I got upset, deflated. Now I think that it’s good that Marc and my work together in a way can’t be changed, touched even. It was a genuine magical combination that sits high and strong back there in its own time and our creations were all kind of timeless musically. On Torment as with all work with Marc it was challenging and he was always pretty hard on me in the studio, expecting it in one take…’it’ being something written/improvised almost then and there which was fucking difficult and sometimes gut-wrenching in trying to find it, but he must have thought I could take it or that was the way to get what he wanted. He was under massive time – money constraints and record company pressures and just being Marc Almond pop star pressures, so my lack of understanding of that back then did not help me. Marc pushed a lot of that music out of us all and Flood was always the gently guiding kind spirit and worked above and beyond in all hours. The record sounds incredible still. Other recollections, we had fabulous ‘flamenco’ influenced shots taken by Peter Ashworth top drum and timpani player but much better known for his iconic photographs, ‘an Ashworth snap’ as Mari Wilson penned. There were a few spectacular gigs, my first abroad in Tel Aviv playing most of Torment with Marc and the Mambas and the now infamous Three Nights of Little Black Bites at the Duke of York’s. All in all great memories of a tumultuous time when as always culturally art and music reacted to the times, rising and breaking out of a land savaged politically.

With a new book on Some Bizzare out now (which you contributed to) what are your thoughts on that hectic period?

A truly phenomenal time musically, artistically forever changed from hearing the Some Bizzare elemental world. Visiting the first office in Trident building, crazy mental case Stevo and his equally crazy mental case but lovely girlfriend and secretary Maureen. Rusty Egan at the top, historical studios used by heroes, fans squeezed in black creations hanging outside the office being cool and cute and attentive but always polite. Everything was wild and unreal and I was young and impressionable and Soho beckoned, lights and bells and whistles and music and making music and making music on drugs. What not to like. It was the 80s. I wrote and recorded with Marc Almond in various manifestations with Some Bizzare and also guested on a few other projects and DJs for other Some Bizarre artists parties or gigs, a Soft Cell Art of Falling Apart tour or Einstürzende Neubauten gig at Heaven or The The private party. Despite Stevo’s obvious discomfort around me (and me him) he still gave me the work, cuz I was good.

I would stay, practically live at the Columbia Hotel known as a record company haunt, bands booked in for TV and gigs and so on and also lesser known for being an American CIA agents meeting place. Stevo held many parties, lock-ins, bar til all hours, other substances supplied, popstars everywhere, the crazy 80s. I hung out there with everyone, in my own quiet out of it way, and it was fun and inspiring. I even had my poodle Pervert stay with me there regularly. Some Bizarre was a ‘happening’ all-encompassing madness but at its heart totally pioneering music, just the best music: Soft Cell, Mambas, Dave’s solo, Coil, Foetus, Cabs, Neubauten, The The, Swans etc just a phenomenal list of wonder, seriously. Stevo’s futurist DJ list and the first Some Biz LP influenced me and so many others. So much to say about this but… Wesley Doyle’s book Conform To Deform The Weird and Wonderful of Some Bizarre will reveal all and in my opinion is an important book in the great music labels and times arc.

Your 2021 album Without The Moon was a celebration of sorts of your various collaborations. Are there particular collaborations that you look back on with a particular fondness?

All collaborations bring with them different aspects of creativity and openness of emotions that need careful consideration and focus to bring out the best possibilities of the artistic combination that can spark the flame needed to make something special. That’s always the aim. I have learned something from every collaboration, even if just to never do that again, but in the main when I’m firing high then I gleam high results. I have an illustrious back catalogue of fantasy collabs and a few also-rans but sometimes you just need something to do when you’re a bit drowned in silence. I am lucky now to be with Downwards and it’s a new dawn every day.

Moon celebrated my 60 years on the planet and my rebirth at 60 and I felt it and feel it and am super energised and ignited from it. Karl O’Connor aka Regis who owns and runs Downwards and is a successful and unique artist, believes in me on a level that is so exhilarating that I can’t stop writing and playing in the studio. It’s his fault I keep making albums ha-ha. It is such a wonderful experience when just that one right person says yes and then you are freed to reign. I am fortunate, but I put the 10,000 hours in over and over, so you know, do the work and you never know. So, the collaborations on that LP are all very special to me. Recent and ongoing collaborations with old friend and the kindest king of kool Kid Congo and also with my friend and constant inspiration Jarboe are still burning the candles presently. Obviously Nick, Marc, Budgie, JG, Barry, PK, Gini I mean … what a phenomenal line up of old friends and genies.

Loved that Veronika from Minimal Wave mastered everything fresh in New York, sounds even huger, wider, more sonic possibilities BIG. I loved working with Dave Ball and everyone on Lost in Blue and Gavin Friday was a special moment amongst special moments. My Downwards journey started with a fun electric cowboy collaboration with Derek Forbes released on CD on Downwards in 2018. I had fun working with Conor at Reel Torque/Boomkat as I have recently made a few DJ cassette mixes for his label He asked for a Batcave mix as I DJd there in ‘83 and I enjoyed revisiting, the cassette sold out in 2 hours as did the double follow up I mixed, Leeds Amnesia ‘81. Good times and great truly experimental music. Very inspiring, got all my wires whirring.

But I do keep nostalgia at bay at best as I live in now, the present, this moment. Recent collaborations with Regis with Karl and also EROS and with Sylph aka Thomas Cohen (on Mute) have pleased me to no end and these collaborations continue as with Kid and Jarboe. I’m always looking forward.

Funeral Cargo was an album that blended piano compositions and field recordings. Is this a direction you’re keen to keep returning to in the future?

I’m there already, my studio even has a constant mic in the garden for general daily audio reflections, garden birds, the garage over the road (SO loud) and so on.. I love an aural perception into my sunrise and sunset and all between and after. I’m out on walks with my wife and mini jack (Russell now 13 yrs old and a snowface and still crazy after all these years) and a mini jack in my Tascam too. Off we go into the horizon, me recording away, them always waiting,

Field recordings inspire all my music, listening to them, experiencing the day in my memory… all of it. It’s my daily meditations and rituals that create the music, I ring my bells and light my incense, chant and open the studio doors… here we go, another exciting day of music is always the aim.

One of the album’s tracks was inspired by Wolfgang Flür. How would you sum up your friendship?

It’s a really nice relationship in my life. We have been friends for 16 years now… what? Omg we really have, wow. Dublin in 2007 – eeek Wolfi!! We met at a gig in Dublin, I was DJing along with Dave Ball and Wolfgang. Dave and I of course were in awe. I was the only one who could actually DJ, but the crowd cared not, they wanted their icons, bumped vinyl and all, and it was a grand event and huge fun. I remember being intrigued how Dave could have got the boat over which took hours, it was like 5 minutes on the plane. I popped a note under Wolfgang’s door and suggested it would be lovely to meet up or do something musically and I received a lovely email from Wolfgang Flür of KRAFTWERK (I mean this does enter your head) and we proceeded to make ‘Golden Light’ and then later I sent him a solo piano piece and he read his ‘Silk Paper’ prose over it. Worked. We toured a few DJ dates in Europe together and then I started on a new musical project and Wolf went on his own adventures.

We are in contact a few times a year and I love him dearly and his wife Zuhal, who films all his gigs and is a great support to him. ‘Wolfswalzer’ is my little tribute to our friendship and was written after returning home from a Wolfgang gig in Leeds.

Can you talk a little about what you’re currently working on?

Last year saw the release of a new Regis led project EROS on Downwards and I contributed piano on a couple of tracks and am super excited to be on board for the next EROS projects. So excited to work with Karl and My Disco’s Liam Andrews and Boris Wilsden – Berlin Neubauten sound and so on. It’s a huge sounding and thrilling project to be involved in. I’m writing for Sylph with Thomas Cohen again (super exciting) we did a track, ‘Ancient Hole’, also with Regis 2021/2 and it’s brilliant! Mute kind of wasted it and that’s a shame. I’m thrilled Jarboe and I are just about to summon up a very special project we have been thinking on for some time.

Kid Congo and I have plans too.

So much to do in Studio Blue + ….

This interview originally featured in issue 7 of Blitzed. Order here: Blitzed Issue 7

Anni Hogan’s recent releases are available via

Photo: Michael Morton.