Apollonia: Tour De France
Previously known for many an endeavour in the electronic music scene Dan Ghenacia has been long revered as Paris’ shining light on the underground scene. Having run a record store in his early days, the Freak n’Chic label for seven years, a quite considerable contribution to Paris’ Batofar parties and many a residency at DC-10 Dan looks set to continue in this rich vein of form with Apollonia. The DC-10 dancefloors were infected by the grooves of another Parisian resident this summer, Apollonia’s Dyed Soundorom. The foundations upon which these friends have based their beliefs have been cast from the same mould and there is a certain harmony in the way they coexist. Whilst the afterparty is so integral to Dan’s beliefs, Dyed talks very seriously about uncompromising quality. The third member of the crew is Shonky, a heavyweight in his own right. Shonky along with Dyed and Dan played his part in the Batofar afterparties in Paris, a cornerstone to the success and friendship of these three DJs. In 2007 Shonky’s “Olympia” reverberated through cities across the world and he has gone from strength to strength since, releasing his debut album Time Zero in 2008.
A rapid kickstart to their back-to-back-to-back DJ sets in 2012 quickly saw Apollonia commanding huge demand globally to the point where in the summer of 2013 saw them conquer Ibiza with a series of dates at DC-10. An Apollonia all night long showcase ensued at DC-10 that same summer and an Apollonia Fabric compilation then followed. Fast-forward one year and in 2014 they have released their debut artist album and are currently touring worldwide with 50 dates over the course of four months. Following the a successful first year of touring as Apollonia the balance seemed to have tipped in favour of production and studio time for the best part of this year with the tides having turned full circle with Apollonia’s tour already encompassing North America, South America and Europe. They are due to play at Fabric in London on Saturday 13 December, which is a firm favourite for the boys.
DT have followed the inception and subsequent blossoming of Apollonia with great interest over the past few years, with Dan (Ghenacia), Dyed (Soundorom) and Shonky having been past favourites of ours prior to their back-to-back-to-back concept. The individual musical visions of the artists prior to Apollonia embodied a sense of fun centered, with no degree of uncertainty, around groove. This philosophy could not have been expressed more clearly through their Fabric compilation of last year, with its timeless yet refines selection of funky grooves. This year they have proceeded to trump that compilation with their own artist album “Tour à Tour”, a delightfully refreshing journey through house music. However, this is house music like no other, the sound is groovy and unique. It represents the influences of not just one artist but three. Undoubtedly the best time to sample a taste of the album and the infectious energy of Apollonia is right now. The tour lands in Glasgow at The Arches on Friday 12 December and Fabric, London on 13 December.
Hi Dan, how are you? You’re in the middle of your album tour at the moment, how’s it all going?
Very well thank you. We started the tour with ten gigs in America, playing a lot there with some long sessions including Output, New York, Boston, Las Vegas, Washington DC, a ten-hour set at Space in Miami and a few others.
So you’ve played some huge venues but also some much smaller ones. How is the scene in those areas less associated with dance music, such as Washington for example?
I cannot tell you exactly about the scene because I played there for the first time on the tour. The night however was really good, we got a great reception from the crowd and it was similar in Boston, where again we perhaps didn’t know exactly what to expect. Boston was a Wednesday night with the club closing at 2am but it was still extremely busy and we were very happy with the night.
I hadn’t realised you were including mid-week nights on the tour. The Apollonia project is based on the afterparty scene, I’m sure there have been numerous afterparties going on.
Honestly, no we didn’t do any afterparties because between the flights and the very long sessions I think we have been managing over 30 hours of DJing over the space of a couple of weekends.
You must be exhausted.
I’m fine. You know, of course you are physically a bit tired but the brain is really alert with the enjoyment and excitement.
So the album “Tour à tour” on what formats is it being released?
It is out on digital already and on CD, but will be coming out on vinyl in the future. The vinyl will be out this month some time.
I remember talking with you guys before the Fabric compilation was released and the sound of “Tour à Tour” is identical to the vibe of that compilation. There’s a distinct vein of a kind of timeless groove that runs through both the album and the compilation you did for Fabric.
I’m happy that you say that actually because the Fabric compilation was tracks from other people and the album is our own production, so to be able to create a sound that matches that of our DJ sets is a dream. At the moment we feel like we are living the dream and are all very happy with it.
I struggle placing the sound into particular genres. Do you think it’s fair to say that this is straight up house?
Yeah, on my part it’s house music; it is the Apollonia vision of house music.
So you’ve set out to make music for the dancefloor then?
You know, we started Apollonia and that worked pretty well from the first day so after two years of touring we decided to just sit down in the studio and make tracks for our back-to-back-to-back. So the idea was really to make danceable tracks, playable tracks, but as you know we play long sessions and so we wanted to have some tracks for the beginning, some for the peak hours and some for the afterhours. The way that we built the album is that you can listen to it like a mix, with some interludes; two tracks are mixed in together. We wanted not only to make tracks for our sets but we also wanted to bring the dancefloor vibe to your living room.
My biggest fear when I received the album was that you might have gone for the more experimental artist album approach. With some more ambient or more leftfield tracks included.
No, because as I was saying earlier we really wanted this album to be the mirror of our DJ set. For the home listening we asked Phillipe Zdar from Cassius to mix some of the tracks whereas some of the tracks are mixed by Alex Kid because we wanted to have this dimension in the music for great home listening. We could easily have done it for the dancefloor, for just EPs and vinyl but for a CD and wanting to mix all of the tracks together we wanted it to be mixed so that it sounded good in your living room.