Agoria Launches New Label: Sapiens
Sébastien Devaud, aka Agoria, is an man of many hats. From DJ and producer to co-founder of InFiné records, composer of movie soundtracks and he even helped establish the Nuits Sonores event that takes place in the city of Lyon every year. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Sébastien to discuss his latest venture, his new label ‘Sapiens’. We chatted the direction of the label, why now? and what we can expect from ‘Sapiens’.
Thanks for chatting to us and congratulations on the new label! Why have you chosen now to launch the label?
Thanks for the congratulations first! And I know it’s crazy right? To start a label nowadays? It’s very difficult and there’s so much music out there and it’s difficult for any artists or newcomers to be visible.. But I did have this thought in the past and I do think since I’m in Paris and I’ve lived in Paris the last three years, I’ve met a lot of incredible artists, not only musicians but some are movie directors, some are sound designers, some are even revolutionary political people and I was thinking that wow, all these people together could be like a fantastic team and a fantastic ‘Sapiens’ family and that’s how this all started.
Very cool.. Has it been a quick process or something that you’ve been thinking about doing for a long time?
I did think in the past about doing a label with Laurent Garnier, about 5 years ago when I started to work for the label InFiné. I love to be the artist, I love the process of giving birth to an album or to see an artist that’s not so famous and to see this artist become more renowned and doing music that they love more and more. I love this kind of ‘taking care of’ people and so that’s always in me. I guess it’s because when I started to arrange parties back in the ’90s we had to all be very militant and we had to be helping each other and taking care of each other, and I have others who have really helped me in the past so I always of this kind of process and so of course that’s always been with me for the last 5 years but today was the right day to start it again.
That’s a nice sentiment behind starting something! Why did you choose the name Sapiens for it?
Purism? I think the first reason is like, that’s it’s not only about music, this label, it’s a bit more transversal. I will not release only music. I thought of doing Sapiens as a big collective and I like the idea of touching lots of different barriers, lots of different artistic domains, artistic areas. I was reading this book Sapiens, it happened about two years ago and I was thinking that if I should do a label I should do it with this name because I really like this feeling. The book by Yuval Noah Harari, it’s a bestseller about the history of all of humanity and also giving ideas forward about what could be the future, I like the anticipation in this book. I thought it was a good name for a label.
Sounds interesting, we’ll have to give it a read… How would you describe the musical direction of the label?
Very open-minded. The first three records will be kind of close to what I’m used to playing in clubs and what people know about me, so more like, club tunes and more things for dance culture. But then we’ll have a few records that are totally different, and not dance at all. I don’t aim to sign very different music, it’s just if music amuse me and if I’m very touched by some artists or some direction or some visuals. I’m not so much into doing only one sound, only one thing and I think a lot of labels are doing this perfectly nowadays. I would say it’s more of a mix of music.
Tell us about your first release – the ‘Up All Night’ EP. Did you make it specifically for the label?
I was really thinking about if I wanted to release it through a particular company or if I wanted to do it on my own and I was really thinking I could get more flexibility than they could give to me so I was really thinking to release it on my own first and see how it would go and so it was a good start for me. I’ve made a lot of music over the last three years and I think this was the balance of what I did, I like the melody, the piano melodies, it’s still a club tune so I think it was a good one to start on. It’s close to what I’ve done in the past, on Innervisions or this kind of thing so I think it was a good transition.
Who else have you got lined up for the release?
On this record there’s a remix Eagles & Butterflies from Los Angeles, I really love this guy, he’s so nice and famous for his generosity, one of the most generous guys I’ve met in these past few years and I was really happy to be able to ask him to do a remix for the first EP. And there is this longtime figure of electronic music – Gerd Jansen and I really like this guy, he’s a real gentleman. I really wanted to surround myself with gentlemen on this release so that’s why I picked those two.
Sounds like a great release, can we maybe expect another album from you on the label one day?
Yeah it’s possibility that could happen.. in 2017 let’s say? It’s not totally finished but I did work on a lot on it in the past year.
Well we’re looking forward to it! You’re obviously very busy with your touring schedule and your productions etc, will you be doing most of the A&R for the label yourself or hiring some other trustworthy ears?
I have people who are going to work with me, around me, in Paris. Like Nicholas and Pierre, people that will be involved like for A&R or day-to-day things. But I do a lot of things, I do the scores for movies and I just did the music for an exhibition in London at the Tate gallery with Philippe Parreno for his show at the Turbine Hall, it’s getting good coverage in London and the Tate is a fantastic gallery and I’m guessing we’ll collaborate more with Sapiens. I like to touch on all of these things, I don’t know maybe I’m a workaholic haha.
Lastly, you make it look so easy obviously with your involvement in SO many things.. Do you have any advice for your fans and budding DJs / producers on how to climb the ladder in the fast-paced world of dance music these days?
Hmm it’s difficult to give advice, because the best advice is not to follow advice I would say. If I had to give one thing, I would say when we start we’re always very influenced by the music we like and I think we will always be influenced by this but, I think it’s good to get this background but as soon as we get more confident technically and within ourselves it’s good to make something that’s more personal and as different as possible. It’s still true I think, we are so surrounded by so much music that we all tend to be a bit similar and all tend to maybe be influenced by the work that’s around and that’s what I’d like to do with Sapiens, at the beginning release more dance things and then I’ll be really happy to find the most personal music ever. So, feel free to send it to me.