Friday, March 19, 2010

The Art of the DJ: Agoria brings craft and concept back to the DJ mix

A WMC Countdown Edition feature: In an exclusive interview preceding next week’s Balance 016 Album Release Party in Miami, an eloquently spoken Agoria discusses the art and science of the DJ mix.

Photo courtesy of Denis Rouvre

“I was really wondering if there was still any use to do a new mix CD,” said Agoria, French DJ and chosen mixer of the outstanding Balance 016 compilation released in the US on March 23rd. “Nowadays the accessibility [to] music is so easy that I wasn't really sure that a new mix CD would have been relevant.” However, through an ambitious and alternative approach to the craft of the DJ mix the final product of Balance 016 results in two refreshing compilations (I like to call them ‘techno concertos’ but let’s not get too carried away here…).

“I wanted to [feel] like a virgin [making] this mix, like a child entering a record shop discovering new records, ” Agoria said when discussing how he used a personal approach for the Balance project. In order to avoid trends and using familiar music he explored different avenues to unearth hidden and unreleased gems. “I decided to ask [a] few friends to help me discover some tracks I didn't know or that I could have missed in the past…I discovered the album "666" from Aphrodite's child…[it’s] an incredible album from ‘70s and I thought it was still really fresh. It's an all time classic but I didn't know [the] record!” He also launched a remix competition via Soundcloud to reach out to newcomers and received over a thousand responses.

"'Balance’ doesn't mean an average position in my mind – it’s a perfect equilibrium."

This tedious quest for music was only Part I of his elaborate project. Part II included using the software Xone 92 as a base for piecing together the puzzle of music collected. Each mix took roughly two weeks of looping, chopping up, cutting and reworking to complete. “It was all about the idea of the 'Balance,' literally about the equilibrium," Agoria explained in reference to his conceptual approach towards the compilations. “'Balance’ doesn't mean an average position in my mind – it’s a perfect equilibrium. I won't be arrogant saying that I found it but I tried to be as close as possible to that tiny line of demarcation where the balance is right. CD 1 [Aller Retour] is not a linear mix but a circular one starting and finishing with the same tracks in order to have a ‘perfect cycle’. Music is close to mathematics sometimes. On the other hand CD 2 [Rising Sine] is surfing with the line, like being in a boat between the waves approaching the shore.”

Are we still talking DJing here? Or math? Or poetry? Well, in a sense – both are relevant. From its reel-to-reel foundations DJing has always been a technical and artistic craft that goes far beyond the dance floor. Balance 016 strikes the chord between these two elements resulting in two exciting and flawless musical journeys.


Agoria is also the founder and label boss of Infine. He will be making his US debut at WMC. See below for his upcoming US dates:

March 26: Balance Album Release Party at the Victor Hotel, Miami

March 28: Sunday School for Degenerates at Ice Palace, Miami

May 30: Movement 2010, Detroit

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