Apollonia: The French Love Invasion

P. Kumar, Miami – United States –  Read Online

Apollonia: The French Love Invasion

Pulse Radio’s Prab Kumar met up with the team that is Apollonia at Treehouse Miami before the musical showcase that saw Apollonia take on one room and Mobilee take control of the other (one of our picks during Miami), to find out the story behind their long term friendship, new label and now touring DJ Collective of the same name. Also on topic was Circoloco, a brand that Shonky, Dyed Soundorom and Dan Ghenacia have had long relationships with.

After they’re all done and dusted in Miami, the trio head to Australia for Circolocoduring the Easter Long weekend. 2013 looks to be the beginning of great things for the French invasion of love that is Apollonia. 

Take me through the beginning of Apollonia. Who’s idea was it to start the label together? Everything started when I stopped my ex-label, Freak ‘n’ Chic where Dyed and Shonky were working on the label as artists. I asked them to join me to start this new adventure. Becaus we were so close, I wanted to have a proper partnership with them, share everything business, travelling all working together equally. Most importantly making music together. So this was the inspiration. Apollonia is taken from Apollonia 6. If you have seen Purple Rain from Prince, she was the girlfriend of Prince, and singer produced by Prince.

So you’re all Prince fans? Yes, but modern Prince fans. The conceptive hype behind Minneapolis, the mixture of the white soul but black music. This is what we try to do. Even if you look at us you see it so it fits. (laughs)

You say the combination of white soul and black music, what elements are these, what does it really mean in house music? Dan Ghenacia: In house music it means alot of groove but also some, white techno inspiration on top of it. So it’s got alot ofsoul and the bassline but still the more electronic sound on top of it.

Dyed Soundorom: Like he says in the beginning we can play deep house, techno, tech house, funk, whatever we really like climbing and going in alot of directions, always keeping it a bit groovy.

How many other names were thrown around before you decided on Apollonia? Dan: We were thinking about Minneapolis. This inspiration but Apollonia was much more sexy.

How many times have you played live now? Officially or unnofficially. We’ve been playing together for a while. Almost 16 years which is where the idea for the project came from.

Dan: But officially I would say a year and a half now. As friends playing music together at afterhours and in the same circles it’s over 15 years now. Playing at home we would do this back2back2back alot and just play music for hours and hours and it was working.

Dyed: So it was natural to make this project, have this project come out of our friendship. We are very complementary when we play together we have similair taste and work off each other well.

Are DJ groups the new bands? Would you consider yourselves like a band now?Dyed: Definitely, that’s what we are trying to accomplish. This is what we try to do when we’re playing together. Not the three of us playing a record each. We trying to work together to be just one artist when we play together. Rather than it be separate DJs playing back2back and versing each other each trying to show their personal style. Whereas we want us together to sound like one. Like Apollonia. Trying to make one story, when I play a record I know Dyed and Shonky are going to be able to follow and I follow them. One story, one idea, to give what we have inside to the dancefloor.

Dyed: It’s not a competition, it’s really playing together.

Dan:We want to play the best record andthe best mixing ofcourse but together.

But you each have your own personalities and styles in what you produce, how would your tastes or techniques differ? Dan: That’s why when we do Apollonia, we do it for Apollonia.

Shonky: We have a lot of common grooves, common music. It is more natural, when we paly together as we understand each other and it’s easy to follow.

Dyed: Also good experience if say Shonky was to play something I wouldn’t play, it will open my spirit in a way, the I wouldn’t play this, but ok Shonky would, he’s going another way, it’s a good challenge and complimentary. The way it should be.

How would you say your tastes differ? Dyed: We don’t really think about who is what style, it’s not planned around that.

Shonky: If there’s one of us that usually plays more techno it’s not designed around that like this person will play the techno, and say Dyed will play the deep. It’s more free we can all play deep or techno, we like alot of common music so it’s really rare for me to hear even one track that they play that I wouldn’t like. It never really happens it’s the same taste.

Dan: I agree, I always like what their playing. I mean there is so often the times where we are playing these extended sets and after few hours there is this moment where Shonky is playing and Dyed is ready to play this record and I’m following him and I’ll have the same record in my hand. Times like this is when we look at each other like « Yeh, we got it. » (laughs).

Are there any other french DJs from your hometowns that we should be looking out for?I would say tonight we we are going to have for the first time. Chis Carrier and Hector Moralez. They did the Lotus S7VEN record for Apollonia. I have known Chris Carrier for the longest time, even longer than Shonky. From the very beginning he took me into the studio. I didn’t know how to make house music and he showed me. We’ve always been friends and played together occasionally. I think I’ve known him since probably my first rave party. I think maybe, 1992.

With Chris, I was always more into the DJing and he was so into production. He did some production for my label Freak ‘N’ Chic. I did alot of compilations and my first EP ever was on Chris Carrier’s label, Adults Only. Also Hector I have known a long time. We met in California in 1996. We met in a record store, then had common friends and stayed in contact. He moved to France to do the Lotus S7VEN album with Chris. So there is a lot of friendship in the music.

Are there any younger, new producers that have got your attention? Dan: Yes, there is a group of DJs called Old Youth.  

I Noticed in the ’24 hours with Apollonia’ video you’ve got keep cup? Or capsule like things around your neck? What are they? Dan: It’s an object keeper, I was going on holidays in Majorca with family when I was 10 years old. That was the object of the summer. Like a swim box. You can put your money and go to the beach. Everyone who saw it when we made the Apollonia ones that was more than 30 years old commented « oh, that reminds me of when I was a kid. » Everybody less than 30 was like « what is that. » [laughs] So it was just something fun, I wanted to bring back.

With your individual DJing schedules how do you find time to be in the same place for production and touring? We’ve just gone to Berlin together and had some studio time there. We’ve been in the studio there for seven weeks. Probably the only seven weeks we could get together we had to have it scheduled 6 months in advance. It’s a long time planning. The goal is to have a one year schedule for the next plans locked in to make sure we get the time.

Is the aim to do the label work, production and live shows together as much as possible? Dan: Yes, we aim to really focus on the band, on the Apollonia, the live together, travel together, play together, make music together. I think for the next 2-3 years that is the plan atleast. To have fun and do what we can with Apollonia. The first enemy of the DJ is loneliness, so now we travel together, from the airports, to the hotels, there is friendship. All these moments where you can feel really alone and lose the vibe the energy, when we are together it’s easier to go to a party and get ready than on your own.

You’re in Australia for Circoloco, what are some of your favourite memories of Circo @DC10? Dan: Yes there is alot. But if there is one that is important  for us. You know there was one Summer that it was closed. They reopen after one year. The only party they could do in the year was the closing party. I was resident and I asked the promoter if I could invite Dyed on my set and play back2back. It was a really special moment. We play well together and this time he was really on fire. We arrived to the DJ booth, they were like « Ok, we’ll do you the favour, you can bring him. » but then when we finished the set they said « ok, thankyou very much. » and then they had a new resident.

Dyed: Yes, they told me the day before. That if the set goes well. The set went really well and they gave me the residency after that set with Dan. It was a magical moment for me. 

What’s next in the world take over for Apollonia? Dyed: We’re going to try and keep it tight and having like quality releases, not to much reworking of the releases for the label. Working on our own production and improving the show so it is better everytime.

Where would you consider the best club in the world to play in? Dan: Actually we have three. Our three would be DC10 in Ibiza of course. Panorama Bar in Berlin, Shonky is playing really regularly there and he’s about to bring us there. Then ofcourse fabric in London. We couldn’t pick one as this is a mix for all three of us. Each club is very intense, there’s something very important for us there. All these three you can play Vinyl there and well. If I can give a message to all the other clubs in the world, « Make the Vinyl work please ».

Tour Dates:
28.03 Perth Habitat, The Geisha Bar, Perth [Buy Tickets]
29.03 Circoloco Good Friday, The Brown Alley, Melbourne [Buy Tickets]
31.03 Circoloco Easter Sunday, The Greenwood Hotel, Sydney [Buy Tickets]

Listen to Apollonia on Pulse Radio
Listen to Dan Ghenacia on Pulse Radio
Listen to Dyed Soundorom on Pulse Radio
Listen to Shonky on Pulse Radio