Dan Ghenacia, Shonky and Dyed Soundorom, staples of the house music world of 2012, respectful artists in their own rights, have begun to create quite a stir with their Apollonia showcase. These three Parisian wildcats have been very busy indeed under the guise of Apollonia and with their Apollonia record label. Seldom does a venture like this hit the ground running as these guys have, the Apollonia record label has played host already to a summer corker through The Mole’s remix of Shonky’s Closer to the Edge. What’s more is that these boys have taken their Apollonia showcase to Berlin’s Panorama Bar, DC-10 and Fabric to name a few. Three friends, with a true love and belief in what they do and oodles of energy makes for one hell of a party and I hope you have the pleasure to experience this should you not have already.
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, Appolonia’s Dyed Soundorom. The foundations upon which these friends have based their beliefs are similar but have not 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 despite being relatively young in the game. 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.
Data Transmission managed to catch up with the threesome earlier this week and here’s what they had to share with us...
How are you chaps doing?
Dan: We are all very well. We are here together for a week in Berlin to make a new EP for Apollonia.
Dyed: It’s going to be the first EP under our Apollonia name.
Where did the name Apollonia come from?
Apollonia is in reference to “Apollonia 6” who was a singer produced by Prince. She is, if you remember the movie Purple rain, the girlfriend of Prince and she is the one who gives him the white guitar which is a love symbol. It is not so much that we are fans of Prince but more that modern Prince music is a mixture of white soul and black music and if you look at us this is what we are, there are two white and one black so this is why we chose the name Apollonia.
Describe the label in 3 words (one word each)
How good a bunch of friends are you?
We have been really close for more than ten years now. I used to run Freak’n’chic and Dyed and Shonky had their first releases on the label, and over time we have decided to be closer and work together so have decided to be partners under the same label.
What are the major differences and similarities between Apollonia and Freak'n'chic?
The idea of Freak’n’chic was to build a crew in Paris for our clique and it was really a label for beginners. It had the first release of Shonky’s, the first release for Jamie Jones, for Dyed Soundorom, first release of many artists and the big difference of Apollonia is that it is for more established artists. We are going to release our own things but also we are going to take the opportunity to re-press some old school tracks that are really important for us. The label is going to be for us to show our world from the new stuff where we are bringing in some new artists but also re-pressed tracks, such as “DJ Gregory – Underwater”. It’s a track from ’98, still fresh, we’ve been playing it forever and it’s a good opportunity for us to show where we are coming from.
So the main difference with Freak’n’chic was that it gave us the opportunity to make music ourselves without having to ask any other label and now Apollonia is going to be with more established names.
Who do you consider record label wise as being particularly "on song" at the moment?
We really like and have been working with Real Tone Records in Paris. What I really like about Real Tone is its evolution with time. It used to be a soulful house label and slowly slowly, playing the game of producing the artist of the moment, it’s not really soulful anymore it’s still house but you don’t feel like they make big changes, they do it very gradually.
And also I have to say for ourselves that in the time when Freak’n’chic was dead, Real Tone was a way to release our music because firstly they were friends and secondly our music fit really well with the label. It was a good bridge between Freak’n’chic, which ended in 2010, and Apollonia. During the one year I could release on Real Tone and Dyed and Dan did remixes on Real Tone and for us those were some big tracks of our careers.
You've played some big parties this year (Fabric, DC-10, Apollonia Vs Visionquest, Panorama Bar etc), which has been the most significant for you?
I would say three parties DC-10, Fabric and Panorama Bar. I think these are probably the three most important clubs in the world at the moment and our performances were really really good there and in part because they are also the best clubs. Fabric was our first performance together in London so we had a lot of friends come down and when you look at the dancefloor there are a lot of faces that you recognise, it feels good.
How was Apollonia Vs Visionquest?
That was an amazing experience. We played Apollonia 2 hours, Visionquest 2 hours, Apollonia 2 hours...actually we started playing at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and finished at 4 o’clock in the morning. The last two hours was one record each and it was very fluid and was really really cool.
With 3 of you in the booth, how do you prepare your performances and how do you steer each one?
The reality is that we prepare nothing but we know each other so well that after one hour you cannot notice that it’s three DJs.
Also because we have the possibility to play 5 or 6 hours so we get one hour to get into the mix. When you only have 2 hours you lose one hour and you only have one hour left. Here we can build up everything more fully than a normal DJ set, we feel more comfy then and so we don’t really need to prepare.
So it’s just this understanding that you guys have....
Exactly, that’s why when we started to do this Apollonia back 2 back thing it was the three of us but it was a natural way to do it and it eventually became official. We had been playing together for a long time in houses and private parties but now it’s official in the clubs.
Do you prefer small intimate gigs or larger parties with huge crowds?
We like both things but I would say we like it bigger and bigger. We used to be really really professional for small clubs but after many many years we know how to do it in big clubs and it’s a real pleasure to play to the masses too.
What are your feelings on the way electronic music has changed during your careers?
I’m an old DJ now and I can tell you from the beginning of the raves in Paris in ’92/93’ through to what is going on now, I think it’s much more professional and more fun now than it used to be. Even though it was special because it was the beginning there were a lot of crap parties and now it’s less so. I’m playing DC-10 almost every week over the summer and I still have a lot of fun there. If I go to Panorama Bar I can stay for ten hours and feel as though it’s only been two. So I think the industry in general and the evolution of the music is great.
Do you see deep house staying around for a while or do you think its time is almost over?
This is a good question because what is deep house? If you look at top tens they call the majority of tracks deep house but what is deep house? Deep by its real meaning i.e. deepness will stay around I guess forever but it is true that what is going on in the market is going to change every five minutes. With the internet and things new styles are coming in fast but going out just as fast but the pure deep house is going to stay forever.
Also, I believe that the market is so big now so everybody has space to express themselves. There are big names in deep house, big names in techno, big names in disco but I believe deep house will be there forever.
We've had a couple of cracking releases on the label already, The Mole's remix of closer to the edge being BIG this summer, can you tell us what you're working on production wise? What can we look forward to hearing from you guys and when?
We are working on this one right now but we have other stuff coming out before that. For example the next EP is going to be a solo EP by Dan and this will be around November and then we are going to re-press tracks like the Pointe G/ DJ Gregory one. Just after there’s going to be a Daze Maxim EP with a Dyed remix on it and we are working right now on the Apollonia EP but it might be just after.
What can we expect style-wise from the Apollonia EP?
Are there any upcoming parties that you're particularly excited about?
We just came back from the closing party at Movement where we were playing with Derrick May which was a really really nice one. Derrick May was playing after us and it was really nice to play with him, we’ve been huge fans of his for a long time and he was killer! He played a really good set. Next weekend we are playing an Apollonia showcase in Basel and then we are going on a big tour in January of South America with BPM, we’re doing Warung and D-Edge, Lima and then we are going to New York at the end of January.
If you'd not gone into the music industry, where can you see yourselves having ended up career wise?
Shonky: I don’t see myself doing something else and wouldn’t want to think about that! Who is going to hire an ex-mathematician who has been DJing for ten years?!
Dan: For myself I would be in contemporary art. My family is working in this field. I have no spare time to do this but I think that if I was to retire from DJing (after many many years!) maybe I could pursue this.
Dyed: I wouldn’t even think about it. I’m only 32 so I don’t really think about these big questions now. I just hope I will be able to keep doing what I’m doing as well as I can but I really can’t see myself ever doing anything else!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to break onto the electronic music scene?
Believe in what you do. Stay true to yourself and don’t compromise.
Listen to vinyls more than to digital. Go to the record store... it’s not just about playing vinyl but it’s about having a great selection and not losing too much time. Everything is on the internet so to make your own thing it is quite difficult. We think that the best selection is coming from the physical record shops. The guy who is working behind the counter at the record shop after a few weeks knows your taste and he’s a good one to advise you on what to buy. So by then you go to the record shop and you don’t have to listen to too much as he points you in the right direction for the kind of thing that you’ll like. It’s not easy to do that when you go to a website though and have to filter through all of the new music.
Hot off the press is the news that an Apollonia Showcase at Fabric London has been added to the calendar on February 3rd 2013, for further upcoming Apollonia tour and release news, please check: www.facebook.com/apolloniamusic
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