A Sit Down With DJ Agoria

As both a DJ and producer, Agoria has traversed several generations, while still managing to remain completely fresh in his approach to electronica and dance music. Starting out in Lyon, his first experiences of playing were at his parents’ parties and at illegal raves with his friends. Now playing in front of audiences of up to 25,000 he’s come along way, but not lost sight of his original love for the dance music and its true message.

 

“We have to play the game sometimes, but you must never forget your roots of the music and where you are coming from.”

 

Where does the name ‘Agoria’ come from?

The name Agoria comes from a party we organized when I was 18 years old. We were organizing a really small party in about a 200 people club, something like that… I was not really DJ’ing at that time. Then one day, friends who are throwing the party with me, they write Agoria on the flyer. I asked them who is Agoria? They said, he is a good DJ, you have heard him before, and that’s all. … and then one hour before the DJ Agoria set, my friends say hey this is you – Agoria… you have to go back to your house and pick up your records and play. So in fact, I really didn’t choose that name… it came from that party that day.

Are you more like a DJ set or live? 

I am rather a DJ set ?? By cons, we must stop talking about “live” electronic music. Most people who say they live and use Ableton “Live” actually use music sources that they mix together, it’s Djing. There are maybe 15 people who make real lives in France. 

What came first for you, DJing or producing?

I started with DJing. I think I started when I was pretty young at my parents’ parties actually when I was 10 or around that age. They would give me the records to play with. But then you start playing at friends’ parties when you’re 14 or 16 and you really perform yourself. I was lazy in a way, because I tried to play the piano or the drums, but I’ve never been really into trying to make them work correctly. The point at which I bought my first turntables was a pivotal moment for me. I guess I started to make music when I was 25. A friend of mine said that I should give it a go because of my background. I must say that I was not really into computers, but I started learning and my first record was out a couple of years later. It was truly bad. I’m still in touch with the people from these old days and I was speaking to the guy who released my first record and I think he still has about 400 copies of the 500 or so pressings he made in his garage, just waiting for me to get really famous so that he can sell them for a lot of money. It’s hilarious, but we all have to start somewhere I guess.

Who have been your influences? 

We listened to all kinds of music at home – on Sunday afternoon my dad would play records like could be pop songs, music from Africa, classical music… really I listened all kinds of music… quite eclectic music. I have been surrounded by all kinds of music from my childhood … but on to Detroit music – it was artists like Kevin Saunderson, Inner City, Carl Craig, Derrick May – all these people from that city when I was young really all my music came from that town. All these things from the United States, really the legends on my records. The first record I bought – it was Inner City‘s Good Life. it was a big, big, major hit in my country at the end of the 80’s. it’d be on five times a day on the radio… so it was the first record I bought when I was 12/13 years old. I think at that time it was $2 and I went all around the neighborhood to collect money to buy this record. And then when Kevin (Saunderson) asked me to remix Inner City, and it being my first record … it was like a present from god… something like that.

What is your favourite thing about what you do? Is it the production side or DJing?

I honestly love both. And I miss both of them when I am doing just one of them. When you’re on tour, like a crazy tour for weeks, where you have just enough time to shower, then you miss the studio a lot. When you’re not in the studio you get many ideas. A lot of the time when I’m sitting in planes, I don’t know why but I write a lot of things and have many ideas. The fact that you’re leaving everything behind you sometimes helps. It means that when you get back to the studio you work through really fast. It’s the same when you are in the studio for a long period, you turn full circle and want to be touring again. I think both serve each other, it’s just a question of balance.

How do you work on an album like this? 

The best music is the one we do when we are either “down”, depressed, deep in the abyss or when we are in a super positive phase, happy. That’s why I leave my studio on 24h / 24h: I can not enter for 2 weeks and the opposite, as was the case for this album, do not leave, or rarely. But the monotony between these two states worries me.

People always talk of taking a journey through music and I read that your mother was an opera singer. Do you think that this has influenced you at all through your career?

The fact that she was a singer was maybe not what influenced me itself; let’s say that it’s more the fact that my family was always open minded in what kind of music they listened to. Surrounded by music from the age of about eight, my parents were always doing parties with many friends. They would spin records from bands like Magma to Vangelis or even classical stuff like Satie, Chopin and J.S. Bach. So it wasn’t really the fact that she was a singer, it was more that they both loved all kinds of music, no matter what it is.

How do you go about the process of selecting and making tracks?

It’s a bit like cinema… this mix  is quite cinematic and I pick all the tracks like actors. The concept for this mix started with a synopsis. Once you have a good synopsis it’s easy to put all the actors together. I really first get all the selections in the concept first. I wanted to work on a new kind of mix cd… not just a global mix cd or a mental mix cd.. anyone can know how to put a good mix together.. we have great mix CD’s with 12 tracks or 15 tracks, interesting beat because they are all matching together. I am not excited to do this. I really wanted something technically not incredible, but something that excites me… To take things that are not supposed to match together and make them match together… that’s something I like doing when I am playing records. I first get a flow between all the tracks and then I rearrange the flow, step by step, making all the links with my CD Player, turntable, and other things to get it as perfect as possible. The transfer of the selection of the mix is very important. While technically I think of the sequence in the computer, everything is transcribed using a Xone 92 mixer. I record every mix and then find the best one to include.

You are one of the rare French DJs to regularly mix abroad: how is the French scene perceived on the international scene? 

Most of the time, people ask me “How do you do to “support” the french touch ?! “This whole scene of which I am part with The Hacker, Miss Kittin, etc. we have been relegated in 4-5 years to an important media anonymity We continue to play regularly, no problem but just here, we are less present in the media.I must recognize that they have been very strong on that side with the highlighting of their image ?? This does not prevent me to like all the prod Das Glow example that is according to . me one of the most interesting artists of the label Institubes.

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