French techno/electronica producer Sébastien Devaud speaks out about falling in love, his new album, and upcoming label antics
French techno/electronica producer Sébastien Devaud aka Agoria follows-up a mix compilation for London club Fabric this year with his fourth album, 'Impermanence' featuring vocals from Kid A, Carl Craig and the inimitable Seth Troxler. Out on his own InFiné label, they have released new talents from Francesco Tristano's piano pieces to Danton Eeprom's diverse productions. Besides his label, Devaud also co-found Nuits Sonores, an ambitious musical event in Lyon. Here he chats about Detroit techno, the limits of the album format and the love that inspired his album.
Dazed Digital: Despite often making more relaxed electronic sounds, you were influenced by Detroit techno and Jeff Mills?
Agoria: The very first record I bought was Inner City - ‘Good Life’ when I was 12-years-old. Later on I had the chance to remix ‘Big Fun’ and I remember Kevin invited me to play at Movement Festival in Detroit and so I brought this little 45" that as a kid, I’d written my name 'Sebastien' in colour pens all over it. Detroit's one of the only places in the world where where you live can really influence you. There are so many newcomers like Kyle Hall, Omar S and all the new generation are really interesting.
DD: You grew up in rural France so obviously there weren’t many direct influences around you. How did you find your music? By going to old record stores?
Agoria: That’s exactly it. I remember people sometimes people ask me, can you imagine one day making an album and I'd say no, when I was a kid I wanted to work in a record shop. That was my dream. When I was a student at cinema school, even then, I spent all my time in the record shop.
DD: Do you feel that you’ve changed your musical style since you started?
Agoria: In a way it's really a continuity from the first albums as I still tried to make something quite eclectic but you are right when you say it’s different because with this one I tried to do something with a unique flow. At the moment, no one is really listening to albums; I think the concept of an album is dated, but I hope the listener will start with the first track and listen all the way to the end, turning off his phone and internet. I really think that to appreciate this album, you have to listen to it in the continuity, even the tracklisting was designed to achieve this permanent flow.
DD: What does the name of the record mean to you?
Agoria: It's like... the idea of freedom, the contemplative and the intimacy that impermanence is. While I was making the album, I fell totally in love and I was really in a cocoon so everything came really easily. It was in a moment of my life where everything was going fast around me and I just pushed stop and made this music. This is me looking around and realising that everything is impermanent, everything's changing.
DD: What was the reason you started the label?
Agoria: The first reason is because one day Alexandre heard Francesco (Tristano) and he said to me Seb, we need to make a label for this artist that no one knows and we need to develop him. We wanted to find some new artists but we didn’t find anyone who blew us away but Francesco is really a talented guy. Because electronic music came from DJs in the 80s, the next generation are now surrounded by it, they don’t have the cliché of thinking techno is shit - when I was like 20 it was "Oh my God techno, no", so I think this new generation are interested in the new ideas.
DD: What are you most excited about next year?
Agoria: It’s going to be a really tough year because I’ve got this album and I’m going to release a Fabric mix in May and so I hope I can take a few months off to take care of the one who inspired me for this album. What I really hope is to work with other types of artists. Until now I only work with musicians, but I might be working on an installation with Anish Kapoor in Paris in May.
Agoria gives away his new track 'Heart Beating' featuring Kid A from his upcoming album 'Impermanence' out 7th February 2011