Agoria at Coachella 2019
Photo: Valerie MaconAFP/Getty Images
Agoria On Making His First Album In Eight Years, Playing Coachella & The Architecture Of Dance Music
French DJ/producer/composer Agoria is passionate about musical freedom and the pursuit of playing beautiful music free of genre limits. With his forthcoming fifth studio album, Drift, which is rich with collaborators and diverse sounds and his first LP in over eight years, he is ready to take listeners on a well-executed musical drift.
Before you can listen to the LP on April 26, read on to hear more about his passion, influences and more from Agoria himself, who we caught up with at Coachella, after a rare U.S. performance from him, at the fest's underground-club-evoking Yuma tent.
What does playing Coachella and in the Yuma tent mean to you? How do you feel after your set today?
Actually, it is my first ever Coachella, so I feel blessed to come for the first time. And being invited to play, not just randomly just coming and going. So it's a privilege... Yesterday [during a suprise DoLab stage set] was fantastic, I'm just starting to play in the U.S., and so the crowd was huge. I don't know, five or seven thousand people, it was fantastic. This morning [at Yuma] it was a bit early, so not the same, but what I love when I come here is like the positive vibes, everywhere.
— Capitol Records (@CapitolRecords) April 13, 2019
Are there any other acts that you've been able to see or are excited to see this weekend?
I really wanted to see bit of Rosalía. So just before I played [yesterday][, I caught 10-15 minutes. I loved getting the energy!
As a musician growing up, what were your biggest influences? What do you feel is the base of your sound?
Well, it's good that I come to the United States because I'm the kid of Detroit and Chicago scene... I grew up on the [French] countryside, around Lyon, close to the Alps. So I organized many parties, I run my own festival in Valencin… When I started it was much more U.S. [influenced] than Lyon and French. Definitely much more. And my mum is an Opera singer, and so I started then to call this new album Drift. I worked a lot with musicians, singers because I felt the life of a DJ is kind of lonely. You travel alone all week, or with your tour manager, but you don't get to see your friends, and so when you're in the studio, or your home studio, it's just you and your sound engineer. So that’s why I really wanted to do collaborations with further acts and get the influence and feed me. And then we're moving forward. I love that.
Your album all flows together so well, it's different, but it all makes sense.
The best thing you could tell me. That's really what I tried to achieve. That's why it took me so much time to finish this album.
How long have you been working on it?
Four years. I wanted it to be very diverse but meantime homogenic, which is tough to achieve because sometimes it can sound like a compilation of tracks. And that wouldn't make sense for me. So I really did as fast as I could, and at the end I had to delay it, because I could not do a 20-track album. I had to delay, delay, delay it. Just one month before it released, I took off three tracks, because I thought, exactly as you said, the flow [is more important], and you can start [listening to the album] from the first track. I know its, nowadays, difficult to listen to an album from the first track to the last one, because it used to peak here and there. But I really wanted to make this like, just press play. Be lazy, and let you go.
Did you feel a lot of pressure because there's been so much anticipation going into this album? How does it feel to have it almost out in the world?
I'm super excited. I can't wait actually, for it to be out. Because when you work that much, the difficult thing is that you're already on the next one… But I'm so excited. Because I want to see, also my scene, what they're going to say, because its goes beyond just a niche techno underground electronic scene. There are pop tracks like "Remedy" or "Call Of The Wild" with STS. And that's why I call it Drift. Because I want it to be like you don't [have] control, you don't doubt [it]… It's like when you're between the innocence and the guilty pleasure, when you surf in between both. That's what I tried to achieve in this.
— AGORIA (@agoriamusic) March 15, 2019
What do you think makes a dance track stand out?
It really depends, because there are so many moments you can play club tracks. A very good track for warmup is not a very good track for, of course, a daytime moment. And so, you don't build the track the same way and let's say for a club track, a festival track, I think you need to set up the mood, to bring the audience into the track, to let them go into your tunnel.
And then when you are in the tunnel, you need to put the lights. And the lights, most of the time arrive and they break (finger snap), and then you go out with the light in the tunnel. That's exactly how I feel when I do the track. Actually, it's funny you ask me this question because I love to write.
Actually, the architecture of a track, it's similar to what a story is. I mean, when you have your story, or your book, you have kind of the vertebral column. Even if you do like this then, you know what's the direction? The same way when I do a track I have the main loop, and the name, the base, the drum. The whole thing is existing and then from this I need to write the whole song… Sorry it's a visual, I don't know how you will translate this, but you know.
Lastly, what are you looking forward to the most in 2019?
I hope in 2019, we will all be Drifted [laughs].