French Invasion: Apollonia and their Tour à Tour
“Apollonia are a trio that is without question at the top of their game. Their energy, track selection and sheer groove is unrivaled ” –Mixmag
French trio Apollonia, comprised of Dan Ghenacia, Dyed Soundorom, and Shonky, is currently embarking on their largest North American tour with their new album, ‘Tour à Tour’ (which I highly recommend). This trio DJ group is not new to the electronic scene; Apollonia has deep roots in the electronic music scene ranging back to the 90s. With a unique fluid style that creates an ambiance of rhythmic bliss, Apollonia aims to “represents the idea of a continuous motion of music between us; a never-ending circle that flows and becomes hypnotic. Our album represents the way we approach our DJ performance—there is a unity between us and we work like one artist. The music we play holds no boundaries of time, respecting music old and new.”
Note: Featuring “The Benshee”, a track taken from the forthcoming LP, Apollonia come to life in puppet form as we follow the three on a typical day in Paris. From the studio to the club, watch as their alter-egos get up to fun and mischief. Watch the video here.
Personally I was drawn into Apollonia’s melodic and bouncing beats; their tracks and way of creating music was refreshing. Their music is something I can study to, work out to, dance to and relax to; their tracks are multidimensional. To create such tracks that can morph to a variety of environments is a skill that is a testament to the musicality and experience that Apollonia has. I was drawn to interview them because they were so different and I wanted to try to understand who they are as musicians and what inspires their music.
OTB: I wanted to thank you for taking the time for this interview. I wanted to start off by asking how you came about with your name Apollonia?
Apollonia: So the name is Apollonia; it comes from the name of Prince’s girlfriend from the movie Purple Rain; it was also a band Prince was producing. So we took it because in the movie Purple Rain, Apollonia offers a white guitar to Prince as a love symbol. For us that was an important symbol as well. Also, Prince at this time was doing something what he called the Minneapolis Sound, which was a mixture of black music and white soul, this definition and vision of music sits with who we are and what we are looking for. We don’t plan on making the same kind of music as Prince but it is more about the spirit.
OTB: Interesting; I was wondering if any of you guys are trained in classical instruments such as piano, guitar, etc.?
Apollonia: I am really good at the triangle? But no none of us have knowledge about those instruments.
OTB:Then how do you come about creating beats that are so melodic, fluid, and blending your music to sound like one DJ?
Apollonia: The thing is we have been producing and working in this industry for almost more than 15 years now. And with time you get yourself an ear. With us, because of experience we know what sounds good. You dont need to go to a piano lesson to understand what notes are good and what notes are bad. We spend hours and hours in the studio; we have enough knowledge and feeling to know if it sounds good or if it doesn’t sound good. The great thing engineered about techno and house music is this knowledge about classical music that you don’t have is a weapon to build some music in a different way.
OTB: How did you guys get into techo and house music?
Danny: So I went to a rave party back in ‘92; a good friend of mine told me “you have to go and check this out it is amazing.” I was not really attracted by the scene but six months after this first rave I was completely getting into the music.
Shonky: I always enjoyed to go out all the time. One day I went to a really famous club in Paris and I really fell in love with the vibe and the music. I found out it was really about the music not really the stuff that was on the radio, so I told myself to buy only one turntable and record tracks and get invited to the clubs. So I bought one, then bought another one a couple of months later, and I started getting into it real fast and comfortable.
OTB: Do you think there is a large difference between Euro House music and American House music?
Apollonia: The question is a bit complicated. If you look what’s going on in Europe and America now days you can say yes there is a difference; but all the music that is from the Europe underground scene is 100 percent inspired by American music from the 90s.
OTB: My mother is actually from French background and has loved French house music that was popular in the ‘90s. I commend your group being such veterans in this industry.
Apollonia: I think it is a funny thing, which is a good thing for the French artists and producers, is that France was the last country touched by the electronic scene. That means that when the raves started in France, the raves were already in England, Belgium and other places. Music was coming from America. But when the scene exploded in France all the best artists from all around the world were playing every week in Paris. So when we started to go out, the stuff we were listening to were the best producers in the world every week just because the country was touched a little bit later.
OTB: Amazing stuff. So I am from Southern California, and I see you guys are performing at Escape. What do you want this particular audience, while attending your set, to feel that makes you so different and unique from any other artists out there?
Apollonia: I would say that we really prefer to have our audience have their eyes shut, then hands up. But it’s an image, of course we have to do the job and its important that people have fun and have their hands up at some point. But the eyes closing is also very important to us.
OTB: Why is having audience members have their eyes closed such an important thing? Is it because you sense the audience is understanding and feeling the music?
Apollonia: Because hands up is about energy and eyes closed is more about emotion and movement and feelings.
OTB: That makes sense and this idea completely ties into the meaning behind your name as well in regards to the spirit of the music.
Apollonia: Thats what we try to do.
OTB: With this new tour, what are you looking forward to the most?
Apollonia: Everything. We are really excited. Our first step is this US tour for one month; we are excited about every step of the tour. Like we are traveling together, living together, and having the dream together. So its a pleasure to be together and to live it together, I don’t know what else to say. We love what we do; we put a lot of energy in this album and now its just another step and its nice to leave it.
OTB: What was the inspiration behind this album?
Apollonia: There was not a proper inspiration. The thing is that we have been starting Apollonia 2 years ago and the thing is that we have been touring a lot together, and playing a lot. And at one point we were like ok its time to sit down and throw those ideas we have in two years and create some music for an album. And I would say that the concept of the album is a resume of what we have been doing for the last two years. Like getting a lot of ideas,making tracks that we have been doing together. the album is an image of our preference of our DJ sets how we approach the album. If you listen to the album from beginning to end, as a proper mix there is intro, interlude, and it starts deeply, with some big time moment, and the last track is something we would play at the end of the night. For us it was really important to have this album have tracks are playable and also to be listenable. We wanted to have a balance between something you can play at the club and ‘ohm music.’
First and foremost I wanted to thank Apollonia for taking the time to Skype me for this interview; after understanding who these artists are, it is evident the knowledge they have acquired and perfected throughout the years has enabled them to produce effortless music that touches the soul on so many levels. On Saturday, November 1st, 2014 you better believe you will see me having my “eyes shut” jamming out to their set at Escape: All Hallow’s Eve.
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