Sebastien Devaud, aka Agoria, makes noisy electro-influenced techno as only the French can do.
Son of an opera singer, Agoria fervently began to producing his own material in 1997.
Tracks such as ‘La 11ème Marche’ and ‘Les Beaux Jours’ have become small classics, played by DJs such as Jeff Mills, DJ Hell, Kevin Saunderson, Carl Cox, Colin Dale, Joey Beltram and Ritchie Hawtin.
Agoria releases on Different Recordings, home to similarly styled electro rockers such as Etienne de Crecy, Vitalic and The Hacker.
Interview with Agoria by Kazuumi Ishii
Starting with the compilation, was it an easy task for you to put it together or something you spent months and months toiling over track selection, sequencing and overall vision ?
I made it quickly, in a rush !! Resist wonder if I could mix it in June to be released in October, so I had one month to prepare and mix it ! And at that period I was on tour with my live through European festivals, so I really didn’t get time to work on it…but sometimes it’s better like that, with energy, inspiration of the moment. I really liked the first one by my friend James Holden that’s why I accept it.
How much is the CD about entertaining listeners and how much educating ?
Well I didn’t get the purpose or the ambitious to educate !!! I just wanted to make it as relevant as possible, not only presenting DJ tool or dancefloor tunes in the mix. My ambitious was to make a mix organic with various kind of style and music. On the paper that wasn’t so easy to make an homogenic mix with Bauhaus, Maurizio, Fairmont, Grand Central and Guy Gerber to name a few ! I hope I succeed in. The good thing is that I didn’t have time to edit or remix too much the tracks so the mix was fresh and spontaneous. Sometimes when you work too much the mix or the edits you loose the way…
The track that really surprised me on the compilation was Bauhaus’ rarity Bela Lugosi’s Dead, why did you include that ?
Peter Murphy become a friend since I work with him on my LP The Green Armchair, I’m really into some of Bauhaus track like "She’s My Party" or "Bella Lugosi". This one is reallly incredible, it sounds like a track of 2008, the way Bauhaus use delays on drums thirty years ago is just crazy ! It could have been signed on a minimal label nowadays !
Do you hear a lot of tracks at the moment that you think in ten years time you will be selecting them as classics in the same way ?
Hum I don’t know… I hope so, some tracks of Francesco Tristano, Amy Winehouse, Carl Craig, should be. But most of the DJ tool will disapear from our mind.
What are you trying now to keep it fresh ? A lot of people are throwing in some hip hop and trip hop elements, is that something that you’d consider ?
Well I do it in my two first album !!! with some tracks like "Cecile", "Million Miles" with Neneh Cherry, "Lips On Fire" with Princess Superstar on the last one or "2thousand3" feat Tricky on the first one ! I never follow the trends I’m always makin music without considering what I should do at that moment… I wasn’t an electro guy 5 years ago and I’m not a minmal guy today. I don’t care about fashionable and it’s funny to see many times people discovering my music two or three years after releasing… sometimes I feel a bit disapointed by that point yet.
Your profile has exploded over the last few years, how are you deciding priorities between the studio and DJing ?
It’s true that I tour a lot and that I’m makin my own music alone…without the help of a producer. So it’s a bit difficult sometimes to make everythin: music, DJing, live, label management… I don’t accept a lot of rxs for that reason, I prefer to be focused on my music when I’m in studio. But I can’t give any priorites as I love both point…. Depressng on studio and extatic on tour !
You’ve enjoyed this meteoric rise in these last few years and are now getting DJ bookings as Agoria, the big name guest DJ, have you had any problems with jealousy from DJs, such as when you go abroad ?
No, we are not Madonna or Prince.
Have you had many ridiculous rock star moments yet overseas, of penthouse suites.
But I love those moments ! Sorry ! I love to be as comfortable as possible with people takin care !
What countries do you like playing in best ?
I love Japan. Be sure of that. Last time in Tokyo was awesome ! at Unit ! I love that party and all people I met, my friends Shu and Araki organized a greattt party and that time for Christmas I really expect somethin big at Womb. I hope that party will be totally out of control ! I also really like to play in south America even if it can be a bit dangerous in some countries like Colombia. Atmosphere is really hot there and people are very friendly, I like their natural side, they react very well following the story of the artist. When I played the Gui Boratto remix of Baboul Hait Cuttin at Sirena in Brazil, people just become totally crazy !
How would you describe the audiences in those countries, and how do they differ ? Do you have any fans that follow your gigs ? Or have there been occasions when people have told you they have travelled a long distance to come and see you ?
Yes it happens many times. I still remember that during my first trip to Japan a nice girl from Shizuoka come to the party in Tokyo just for bringin me some presents to bring back for my family and girlfriend. Which is a pretty rare attention you will agree !
Do you take inspiration from travelling and hearing other DJs’ music too ?
We are surely influenced by the work of other artists even if I try to avoid it as much possible. I love writing and travelling inspire me a lot for this part of my work. Regarding the music, obviously all what you experienced can give you some food for the music, edenbridge for exemple have been initated on Brooklyn bridge in NYC. When you walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan takin NYC city in the face… more of all when you smoke some weed with a nice girl at your arm…
Which countries and DJs do yot think the most influencial for the rest of the dance community ?
When I begun Jeff Mills was really the man for me. Now there are a lot of producer, artists or DJ I respect. As an artsit I’m a huge fan of the pianist Francesco Tristano, as newcomer Danton Eeprom get my fave, James Holden for his style, and many more.
You’ve worked with a lot of different collaborators – was making it a special experience ?
Each time I learnt somethin.
Can you tell us something about Edenbridge, the collboration with Peter Murphy ?
Strong and deep.
And what about the track Million Miles with Neneh Cherry ?
Familial and funky.
On a lot of your tracks vocals are a really important part of the music. What attracts you to using vocals and vocalists ?
I like the melodies, I was bored by mainly minimal bleep bleep techno, I needed more soul.
Who do you want to work with in future ?
I would like to produce music for other artists. I would love to make an other score for a movie as I love workin at moment on the next Luc Besson production "Go Fast". The director of the movie is Olivier van Hoofsatdt, his first movie is becoming cult here in Europe, have a look on Dikkenek ! He contacts me cause he wanted to use "Europa" and "Code 1026" and then he asks me to make some special music for the movie, a great experience. Now I’m really addict to this work, I’d love to work on more movies !
What kind of music (or image) do you want to express through Infiné Music ?
Open minded music for hard taste people to please.
What attracted you to the music of Francesco Tristano and Danton Eeprom, the other two artists who feature prominently on the Infiné roster ?
Their ass hahaha and maybe their unique feeling. Chicho is a genious pianist, just go to see him one day performing and you’ll join the fan club, Danton is the techno man of the moment and I can’t wait to work his album.
After this CD tour, what are you doing next ?
I just got one month rest to finish the score of the movie. Now I’m back on tour to promote music and parties I defend !! Let’s keep the great vibe aliiiiiive !
At The Controls out now
Agoria – At The Controls [Resist Music]
- 01. Daniel Teruggi – Instants DHiver
- 02. Raymond Scott – The Paperwork Explosion
- 03. Onur Ozer – Halikarnas
- 04. Gel Abril – Very Wrong (Chaim mix)
- 05. Ziggy Kinder – Que Pasa Maria
- 06. Danton Eeprom – Noovy
- 07. Sarah Goldfarb – Crashed By Myself
- 08. The Viewers – Blank Images
- 09. Francesco Tristano – The Melody (Ball remix)
- 10. Raymond Scott – The Paperwork Explosion
- 11. Mikael Stavostrand – Housedays (Koljah remix)
- 12. Ben Westbeech – Hang Around (Wahoo Main mix)
- 13. Catz n Dogz – Searching
- 14. Lophi – From Dusk Till Down (TG remix)
- 15. Efdemin – Acid Bells
- 16. Jennifer Cardini & Shonky – Tuesday Paranoia
- 17. Swayzak – Smile & Receive (Apparat remix)
- 18. Findlay Brown – Losing The Will To Survive (Beyond The Wizards Sleeve Reanimation)
- 19. Anja Schneider – Belize
- 20. Chloe – Be Kind To Me
- 21. Plaid – Ol
- 01. Unit – Your Arrival Is Our Arrival
- 02. Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
- 03. TV Victor – Agai
- 04. Murcof – Cosmos 1
- 05. Rone – Bora
- 06. Fairmont – Flight Of The Albatross
- 07. Flying Lotus – Massage Situation
- 08. Jamie Woon – Wayfaring Stranger (Burial remix)
- 09. Cubenx – Repeat
- 10. Stefan Goldmann – Lunatic Fringe
- 11. Roland Appel – Dark Soldier
- 12. Planningtorock – When Are You Gonna Start
- 13. Grand National – Drink To Moving On
- 14. Telepopmusik – Love Can Damage Your Health (Abicah / Dennis Ferrer remix)
- 15. Guy Gerber & Chaim – My Space
- 16. eVADE – RIP (and) Rolf Liebermann – Les Echanges
- 17. Apparat – Point Of
Agoria Selected Discography
Baboul Hair Cuttin (featuring Scalde), 12"
PIAS / Different (2006)
Code 1026, 12"
PIAS / Different (2006)
Les Violons Ivres, 12"
PIAS / Different (2007)
The Green Armchair, CD / LP
PIAS / Different (2006)
Scalde – Fear Of A Fly (Agoria’s Dead Flies mix / Agoria’s Dead Flies dub)
Fear Of A Fly, Artotal (2007)
Unkle – Burn My Shadow (Agoria remix)
Burn My Shadow, Surrender All (2007)
Francesco Tristano – Strings Of Life, 12"
Danton Eeprom – Wings Of Death, 12"
Cubenx – Glandula, 12"
Apparat feat. Raz Ohara – Holdon, 12"
Donso – Somono Foly, 12"
Danton Eeprom – Confessions Of An English Opium Eater, 12"
Clara Moto – Glove Affair, 12"
Apparat – Arcadia rmxs, 12"
Rone – Bora, 12"
Francesco Tristano – Not For Piano, CD
Apparat – Walls, CD