Dan Ghenacia gives his 5 Pivotal Steps of his Career
It’s 20 years in the game for Dan Ghenacia — from spending a year in California soaking up West Coast house and psychedelia, to returning to Paris to rise through the underground, refining his sound at Batofar, opening his store Traffic Records, becoming a DC10 resident in the early 00s and going on to tour the globe for two decades both solo and as one third of Apollonia.
Apollonia Music unveils its latest release, which comes straight out of Dan Ghenacia’s lab. The fresh new EP is titled ‘The Egg’ after his son, who was born just a few months ago and sees Dan bringing together three productions with different styles and flavours, each with an egg-related track name.
It’s been a while since monsieur Ghenacia appeared on Apollonia’s label, but this EP is definitely worth the wait and to celebrate the fact, we asked him to give us the 5 most pivotal times of his career to date.
1992 – First rave
In October 1992 I went to my first rave with my friend Terence:Terry:, I was in the same class as him at high school. I was 19. He’d been going to raves for a little while and he said, “You should really try to come because it’s going to be amazing tonight”. Of course, we all wanted to experiment with this new phenomenon and Terence’s invite was very enticing. We asked around for the address and finally, we got told, “Go to Porte De La Chappelle”.
When we got there we saw a few people hanging around, so we followed the crowd and at the point where the road met the motorway there was a big hand-painted sign with a smiley and the word ‘RAVE’ written on it, so of course, we followed the sign! Eventually, we arrived at a big warehouse, as you might expect from the first experience we got there way too early – it was virtually empty and it was cold inside. I saw some guys doing graffiti. It quickly became a lot busier, the sound was getting louder but I didn’t have any idea about who was playing or even where the stage or DJ booth was, but I remember being really impressed by the lasers.
The craziest thing was that we saw all the different tribes from Paris; from models and skateboarders to skinheads… everybody, all of Paris alternative crews were there, having a lot of fun together. We arrived very early and went home very very late, completely amazed by this experience. The week after I went to another one, the week after another one, and another one and another one, so I would say that night really changed my life.
1998 – Traffic Records
In 1998 I started my career as a DJ in Paris. I opened the record shop Traffic with Didier Allyne, who now runs Syncrophone. We had a record shop together because, before Traffic, we’d had a small business selling vinyl, mostly imports. I’d spent a year in California and I came back with a lot of influence from the west coast and, after I came back to live in Paris, I was going back to Cali quite regularly to buy records and bring them back with me.
So Didier and I decided to set up a record shop, so we had a base. One day a guy came into the shop, his name was Fabrice and he told me a new club was opening in Paris, on a boat, but they didn’t want it to be rave space, it would be for live music and concerts but they gave me the Saturday and it would start at 4am, which for us was amazing. The soundsystem was incredible, it was a customised JBL system, and it was a nice intimate space for about 300-350 people.
The first Kwality party we did had about 30 people, the second one 70 came and within the first month we were full. Within a year people were queuing down the street and we were selling 700 tickets on a Sunday morning, with the turnover. It was a bit of an experiment and it taught me a lot, helping me to continue doing what I do today actually. All my style comes from this place, so the compilation Kwality at Batofar is very important for me. The compilation was a double CD, we had the honour of having one of our favourite guests, Ralph Lawson, do the other mix.
2004 – Becomes resident at DC-10
DC-10 has been pivotal to my career. I went for the first time in 2000, as a raver. The following year I met Tania Vulcano, we became friends and the Circo Loco guys invited me to play the closing, the same happened the next year and the one after. So I played the closing every year from 2001 to 2003. In 2004 I became a resident. It was the best party in the world, the club everyone wanted to play – so it was a real real honour to become resident and a real, real, real help for your career to be resident at DC-10 and I will always be grateful to all the family there for taking me on board. It’s still one of the best places in Ibiza. You have to understand that, 20 years ago, Ibiza was fully overrun with commercial music, that was it, it was impossible to find anything else. DC-10 was the only place where you could hear deep house, the underground genre at the time. I thought Ibiza was crazy and the clubs were amazing but the music was garbage. The vibe in Ibiza is amazing, no matter what the music, the atmosphere is unique, even at commercial parties people are dancing and expressing themselves freely. For me though, the only way I could see myself evolving in Ibiza was through DC-10. It was a place for the few people who wanted something with more substance, genuine soulful, deep music and that was my home. There we no other options and I’m very lucky they gave me that chance.
2004 – Launched Freak n’ Chic
I started Freak n’ Chic in 2004, it was a sub-label of Brique Rouge, David Duriez’s label. The idea was to create a channel for releasing our music quickly without having to wait for labels to get back to us – which I think is the reason why a lot of independent labels get started. Jamie Jones’ had his first release with us, Shonky, Dyed Soundorom, David K, we had some great guests on board like Losoul and Mayaan Nidam, if I say so myself it was a very respected label that did a lot in its time. I lost the label due to a business disagreement a few years later but it was a great experience.
2012 – Birth of Apollonia
After Freak n’ Chic I wanted to do something new, so the idea of Apollonia came up – I’d been DJing with Dyed and Shonky for many years but nothing official just having fun and doing gigs or after-parties together. Anyway we got together and decided to become something a bit more serious. In 2012 we formalised our back-to-back-to-back set up under an official name. As Apollonia we wrote an album together, we did a world tour, and we’ve been on the road for six years now – and there are no signs that this is going to slow down, it’s great.