Photo: Valerie MaconAFP/Getty Images
Agoria at Coachella 2019
Agoria On Making His First Album In Eight Years, Playing Coachella & The Architecture Of Dance Music
The French DJ/producer discusses the long road to his return with a new album, his set at the desert fest's Yuma tent and how he builds songs like stories
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.
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.
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].
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.
Photo: David Crotty/Getty Images
Mariah Carey Tells Fans Fire Music Is Coming With New Album 'Caution'
The sultry R&B/pop superstar has announced she will release her 15th studio album next month – what will she bring us this time around?
Never one to do things quietly, the GRAMMY-winning R&B/pop diva with the angelic voice Mariah Carey came boldly onto the scene in 1990 with her GRAMMY-nominated debut self-titled album. At the 33rd GRAMMY Awards she took home her first two wins: Best New Artist and for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Vision Of Love," which she performed on the GRAMMY stage. The song was the album's first single and Carey's first No. 1 song. Since taking center stage at the beginning of the '90s the star hasn't looked back, releasing 13 studio albums and plenty of hits over the years. Four years after the release of her last album, she has announced that her next one is a month away. What will she serve up on her 15th LP?
The star recently shared on Twitter that her latest album is called Caution and will be released on Nov. 16, 2018. We first got a hint of a new album on Sept. 13 when she announced an album was in the works and released the lead single, "GTFO." The album's second single, "With You," followed on Oct. 4.
On "GTFO" she confidently asks a soon-to-be-ex lover "How 'bout you get the f* out?" in breathy vocals over a slow, melodic beat by GRAMMY-winning producer Nineteen85. "With You" feels like a classic Carey R&B love song with her angelic vocals backed by snapping and a melodic slow jam groove produced by hip-hop beat maker DJ Mustard, who lets her voice shine on an uncharacteristically mellow track for him. These songs hint that her latest release will give us songs that not only showcase her incredible vocal range and versatility, but also give us both nostalgia-inducing tracks as well as radio-ready hits.
"GTFO" gives us a taste of some of the new flavor that she is bringing to her new album, singing the song's coy lyrics completely in more-understated breathy vocals without belting any big high notes, not even during the chorus. It's a catchy, playful breakup song, as she confidently sings "get the f* out/how 'bout you take your tings and be on your merry way?/Fly off with the wind, bye bye baby/How 'bout you scusami, Mimi'll call you a valet."
The song was co-written and co-produced by Jeff Jefferies aka Nineteen85, who is half of OVO R&B duo dvsn and is responsible for producing some of Drake's biggest hits, including the GRAMMY-winning mega-hit "Hotline Bling." On the Drake's song "Emotionless" from his latest album, Scorpion, he samples Carey's lyrics from remixed classic hit "Emotions." Hopefully Jefferies has some catchy hits up his sleeve for Carey, and maybe even brings in some OVO artist surprises.
Carey has released some great collabs over the years, a majority with R&B and hip-hop artists, including Boyz II Men on heartfelt slow jam "One Sweet Day" from 1995's Daydream and Jay-Z on the upbeat classic belter "Heartbreaker" from 1999's Rainbow. We can only hope that the new album will offer some new, soon-to-be-classic hits with some of our other favorite artists.
Her most recent album, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, released in 2014, had more collab tracks than usual for her, which could perhaps point towards some hot features on Caution. The deluxe edition of the 2014 album had six songs with other artists, including rappers Nas, Fabolous, Wale and R. Kelly as well as R&B singers Miguel and Mary J. Blige. The album's lead single, "Beautiful," has Miguel and Carey singing a soulful, feel-good duet, while "Dedicated" features a bounce-y, electronic-infused hip-hop beat with a verse from Nas. Seeing that she worked with big-time hip-hop producers on the new album's lead singles, we can only hope that they not only offered their production genus to more of the tracks, but perhaps brought some of their friends into the studio as well.
Fans only have to wait a month for the full dose of new music from Carey, but until then we will send our prayers to the music gods that the album will feature all of our dream collabs, perhaps some old and new friends, and offer up some new favorite songs, with some to slow dance to and others to belt out in the shower.