Apollonia is the label and DJ collective of Dyed Soundorom, Dan Ghenacia, and Shonky—three widely respected DJ-producers in their own right. The project started in early 2012, stemming from Ghenacia's Freak n' Chic imprint: sharing the same musical roots, tastes, and creative vision, Apollonia was conceived as a platform for their shared musical vision, which Soundorom once articulated as "white soul meets black music" in an interview with Resident Advisor. Groove-laden and wonderfully entertaining, Apollonia DJ sets often see the trio playing for five hours or more with a back-to-back concept with one record each—for the full duration of the show. Meanwhile, the label serves as a platform for their productions and those of close friends, many of whom have already done much to shape the underground house scene, in Paris and beyond. Ahead of their performance at The BPM Festival: Portugal, where they will join a heap of great names, the boys took the time out to answer our 20 questions.
1. Where are you right now?
Shonky: Berlin, back in the studio. I was away from here for one month, and I was missing it a lot.
Dyed: Ibiza! recovering from a great after party at Shonky's house, although he wasn't there.
Dan: In Ibiza. Just got back from the beach (Cala Nova).
2. What was the last thing you ate?
Shonky: A sandwich for lunch, I love them.
Dyed: Seabass at Fish Shack in Ibiza.
Dan: Falafel and lentil "meatballs." Delicious.
3. What did you listen to as teenagers and what was the first record you bought?
Shonky: A lot of hip-hop from the west coast. Funny, but the first record I bought was Nevermind from Nirvana.
Dyed: Michael Jackson Thriller.
Dan: Very eclectic as I moved more than 10 times as a youngster. Each neighborhood led me to discover a new style of music: new wave, soul, funk etc.
4. Do you remember the moment you fell in love with house music?
Shonky: The first time I went to Les Bains Douches in Paris in '98. I was into both hip-hop and electronic music before that but my time at that club made me realize my love for this music.
Dyed: My brother brought me back a tape that he got at a rave party in 1996, I was into hip-hop and soul music at the time. When I heard this music, everything changed.
Dan: I went to a rave party for the first time in ‘92 with Terence: Terry:. I’ve never wandered too far from the sound system since then.
5. What do you listen to at home when relaxing?
Shonky: Well, I’m listening to new vinyl at the moment. This is my life: when I’m not in the studio I’m preparing for the next weekend.
Dyed: Mostly soul music or I just go through my record collection and listen to forgotten tracks.
Dan: Gilles Peterson mixes at the moment.
6. Where is your favorite place to dig for records?
Shonky: Space Hall in Berlin.
Dyed: Audio-In and Space Hall but there are so many other places. As I travel a lot, I try to pay a visit to the local stores in whichever city I’m in.
7. If you could only have one drum machine, one synth, and one sampler, what would they be?
Shonky: My MPC 3000, my Minimoog Model D, and an ASR10.
Dyed: MPC 3000, Minimoog Model D, and Ob6.
Dan: MPC 3000, Elektron Machinedrum, Oberheim Matrix 1000.
8. Dead or alive, who would you most want to collaborate with and why?
Dyed: Talking Heads
Dan: Prince, of course
9. What's your favorite period of house music and why?
The nineties, the time when we discovered everything. But we also really like what’s going on right now though
10. Tell us about the formation of Apollonia—is there a story behind it?
We’ve known each other since around '98/'99. Dan was resident at Batofar, for their after-party in Paris. Shonky and Dyed were regular faces at the party—that’s where we met and became friends and started to DJ together. Shonky and Dyed began making music and Dan released it through his old label Freak N’Chic. A few years ago, after Freak N’Chic came to an end, we wanted to do something new that involved all three of us and so, in 2012, we decided to think more globally and do something that focused on the artistic side of things, as well as business.
11. What do you do to keep touring fresh and exciting?
Actually, we’re still very excited about everything, we love our job. Since we formed Apollonia it’s been even more fun. All the things that you may experience when you’re alone just vanish when you do it with your crew.
12. What excites you most about the current scene in Paris?
The last three to four years have seen a real explosion in the scene, the party scene has grown and there’s a very strong underground movement. The vibe is great at the moment.
13. Who are some up-and-coming French producers to look out for?
14. With a non-stop touring schedule, an app, and a label, what's next for Apollonia?
We’re trying to keep everything the same, working on the label, touring a lot and making music.
15. What's the longest set you have played?
Last winter we were playing at Gazgolder in Moscow. We started to play at 3 am inside the club until 9 am then jumped on the terrace until 3 pm, and then.. cause it's not the end, we moved to another club which happened to be some ancient Turkish baths protected by UNESCO, and turned into an after-hours club. In the end, we played for 22 hours, and we all missed our flights!
16. Is there one particular track that best defines Apollonia?
The Persuader "What Is The Time, Mr. Templar?"
17. What are your three favorite dancefloors to play to?
Circoloco, DC10, Ibiza
We started to dance there as clubbers in 2000, and we still dance there now behind the desks.
Time Warp, Mannheim
The production of this festival is the most spectacular, when you’re on the dancefloor you can feel the music. It's an intense experience.
Can Pep, (At Shonky's), Ibiza
Keeping on in after parties has always been special to us 😉
18. What's your favorite thing to do outside of music?
Cooking and eating. We often gather in restaurants, we’re excited and curious about food.
It’s a passion we bring home, too. Shonky is more into bio and vegan stuff, Dyed is a real gourmet, and Dan like to play the chef.
19. If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Shonky: Not really original, but Michael Jackson Thriller
Dyed: Buena Vista Social Club by Juan de Marcos González and American guitarist Ry Cooder
Dan: SadeDiamond Life
20. What's the first thing you will do after answering these questions?
Shonky: Eat more, the sandwich was not enough.
Dyed: Go back to bed as I'm exhausted.
Dan: Prepare my records for Music On Tomorrow