For a little over 12 months now have French trio Dyed Soundorom, Shonky and Dan Ghenacia toured the globe playing strict back2back2back sets everywhere from fabric to Panorama Bar to DC10. The threesome, who have been friends for years since first hooking up on the Paris scene, also run a label of the same name and aim to release only the music they love, rather than use it as any sort of talent platform like Freak n’ Chic was before it.
As such, it’s no surprise fabric tapped the trio up to mix the 70th instalment of their series. Released on June 17th – the same day the trio play DC10 as well as again on August 24th for Apollonia All Night Long – the mix perfectly joins the dots between groovy house sounds from across the ages, including the likes of forgotten gems from resurgent producer Nail, classics from Mood II Swing and some new heat from the trio themselves, The Mole and many more.
It’s a tight tapestry that says a lot about this group’s dedication to great house rather just the music of their peers, faddy conceptual ideas or grandiose live spectaculars.
We caught up with them for more…
What are the pros and cons of always being together, touring, travelling, DJing, partying etc? Do you ever need to take a little time off each other?
There are a lot of good points being together but we can really feel them during the big worldwide tour. The main advantage is that traveling together and being together creates an energy that is harder to achieve when you’re alone. For example when we did our Australian tour after WMC Miami, we travelled for 38 hours with three connexions – definitely more fun and at the end less tiring to do as a team! We arrived in Australia less stressed and we could manage the 5 gigs in a row in the best way possible. The most beautiful thing is the positive energy that we deliver together at the party. Those things cancel out any cons.
The great thing when you do a compilation for an institution like fabric is that it’s pretty hard to deny a track. This permits almost absolute freedom to make the most creative & artistic mix.How did this mix come about? When and how did fabric approach you and how did you feel about it?
The funny thing is that we had decided to take almost two months off to work on music together for the first time. We found a studio in Berlin and at this time fabric contacted us to do their compilation. It was really lucky the three of us were in the studio at this moment so we could work on the project straight away. Of course it’s an honour!
Explain how you approached the mix, did you all sit together and pick an equal number of tracks or…? What was your aim with it from the start? Did you know what or who you wanted to represent?
The three of us chose a selection of tracks that we proposed to each other and the final decision was made if we all agreed on a track. At the same time we had produced 5 Apollonia tracks during the studio sessions, 2 of which are included in the mix, and this is how the first Apollonia EP was born.
We wanted the mix to be a mirror of our DJ sets, what we try to do when we play together is not only a back2back but we really want to sound like one artist. It’s a mixture of new sounds from artists like The Mole, El Prevost, Eduardo De La Calle and old school with artist like Mood2swing or Nail.
Were there are any tracks you weren’t able to license that you wish were on here and do you have any real personal favourite tracks on this mix that we should know about?
The great thing when you do a compilation for an institution like fabric is that it’s pretty hard to deny a track. This permits almost absolute freedom to make the most creative and artistic mix. However in the first selection we chose a few tracks that had un-cleared samples and from this point it was impossible to use them. About the selection, there is one track that really means a lot to us and it’s the one from Nail - ‘I’ve been there’. Nail is back on the scene after nearly ten years and his music is still interesting and fits really well with many artists nowadays. We have invited him to play at our Lola ED agency party at Off Sonar in June.
And was it then recorded b2b2b on decks as you do in the club or was it stitched together digitally or?
Of course all the mixes were mixed by hand but we wanted to be sure of our common choice so we decided to record different mix options and keep the best one. We used the computer to stitch together a few parts so that’s the main difference.
Do you feel there is still room for a commercial DJ mix in a crowded marketplace and free podcasts? What makes mixes like this special?
A compilation like fabric definitely has its place on the market with the quality of the artists and the amazing and creative artwork that the club proposes. It’s a compilation that people love to collect.
I wonder about when you go b2b2b, how much harder is it to maintain the flow of a set without too many quick and stark changes in direction? Do you ever plan out before hand?
We had played back2back before Apollonia and we never had this problem of changing direction when playing together. We build the flow as one DJ and this complicity makes us feel good behind the decks and the crowd can feel it.
We’ve been collecting records for more than 15 years, rare pieces or obscure artists that only few people know about. It’s part of the culture of the DJ to add some old tracks in his DJ set...Does each of you bring a slightly different aspect, sound or set of influences to the table or are you all very similar in what you like?
We definitely bring our own things to the table but at the same time we share the same musical roots and taste, and ultimately have the same creative vision.
Similarly, do you ever drop a real tough record that makes it hard for the next guy just for a bit of fun?
The main difference when we play together is that we can take more risks to play a slightly obscure track cos your partner is going to play after you, so it’s less stress for you to prepare the next mix.
Unlike some other labels and collectives you don’t seem too intent on representing just your buddies, is that fair? Are you more concerned with good music than with building your own Apollonia family and scene?
Freak n’Chic was the typical platform label; it put out the first releases of artist like Jamie Jones, Dyed and Shonky, and many more. All the artists who signed on Freak n’Chic have their own label and career now. Apollonia doesn’t have the same goal of discovering new talent, it’s more a representation of the music we like and we make, and the goal is not to have a new release every 3 weeks like we did in the past. Daze Maxim is the first other artist we have released on Apollonia.
So far your label has re-released some old classics – how do you feel about revivalism? Nowadays old legends like Kerri Chandler get copied by everyone – is there a line between genuine revival and pure pastiche?
The revival is not here for no reason, artists like Kerri Chandler have always been copied it’s not something new. Quality music should always have a major place on the market, that’s why we decided to repress the music of our roots. And making similar vibes today is just a logical evolution for us.
Tell us about the ‘Trinidad’ track that all three of you made together… who does what when producing and how do you work – on the road or in a studio or…? Also, have you more music from all three of you to get out there?
Trinidad is one of the first tracks that we are releasing together as Apollonia. Apollonia music is made on the studio not on the road, we sit down, we like to use our favourite gears like the MPC3000 for example to make the beats, and the SH101 for the bass.
Then we usually love to add some samples. At the end it’s a very simple way to make music. We know what we like and we also know what we don’t want, so we lose less time choosing the sounds and at the end the process is faster.
How important is progression in music for you? Should we always be looking to evolve, experiment or excite or do you think its ok to have on foot in the past?
We’ve been collecting records for more than 15 years, rare pieces or obscure artists that only few people know about. It’s part of the culture of the DJ to add some old tracks in his DJ set. There are also a lot of tracks that sound timeless. For example in the fabric compilation we included one track from Mazi that was made in ‘98 and you have the feeling that this track could have been made last week. We like this type of texture much more than the very strong digital modern style that exists at the moment. We want to carry on our musical tradition, which is fat and ruff.
What else have you got coming up/are you excited about on the label?
The next release is the Apollonia EP, with the two tracks included in the fabric compilation. Then we have a Callisto repress, he passed away a few months ago. The original track ‘Need Your Luv’ was released in ‘97 on the legendary label Guidance. We wanted to do a tribute to him by including the track in the fabric compilation and re-releasing it on Apollonia (vinyl only). We are also currently working on an Apollonia album.
Various Artists mixed by Apollonia
Tracklist01. El Prevost feat. D.Ham - Allez Ally02. Trus'me - Nards (Ryan Elliott Remix)03. Apollonia - Trinidad04. The Mole - Bleep Blop Robot05. Nail - I've Been There06. Daze Maxim - Farbfilm (Dyed Soundorom Remix)07. Funk E - Masa de Fatza08. Eduardo De La Calle - The Guy From Hackney09. Mood II Swing feat. John Ciafone - Ohh10. DeWalta & Frieder Klaris - Fromsidetoside11. Mazi - Scene Shifter12. Môme - Control (Tevo Howard Remix)13. Apollonia - Visa Americain14. Philipp Boston - Night Chime15. Masomenos / Ark / Cabanne - Bronze Septembre16. Grimes Adhesif - Fearless Fun17. Callisto - Need Ur Love (Stalactite Mix)
Apollonia release fabric 70 on June 17