Avant, avant, Agoria le melhor!

Avant, avant, Agoria le melhor!

31-05-2013 | 14.18

He just moved from the second largest city in France to the second largest city in Italy. Assuming he must be kind of homesick, I decided to ask Agoria some questions about his beloved hometown of Lyon.

Lyon is the capital of French gastronomy. Can you cook?
‘Very badly. I love to go to a restaurant and to be served. The food in Italy is amazing. Just like all the French I was arrogantly thinking the French gastronomy is the best in the world, but I have to say the Italian food can compete easily. Here it’s more about the aliment itself. They don’t put too many sauces, they don’t exaggerate on the spices. But for sure in Lyon you can also have amazing food, and cheap! For Nuits Sonores I sent Caribou and DJ Harvey to a place I love, called Magali et Martin. It’s really small, maybe eight tables. The food is just perfect, the menu changes every day. And the chef is really into electronic music.’
Lyon hosts the headquarters of the international police organization Interpol. You’ve played some illegal rave parties as a youngster, right?
‘Interpol may have some things on me. *laughs* When I was 19 years old, the police was really hunting techno guys. They thought we were gonna do crazy things or destroy stuff. Around 8 a.m. the police would always show up at parties, and sometimes this was when I was playing. The promoters always left before that time... The first two times I was taken to the police station. The third time they said: ‘It’s ok, we’ll go back home. We know you, we have nothing against you.’ When I see what happened recently at the Love Parade, I can understand that they were worried about those kids in that kind of place. You could have 5000 people coming. It started with just a direction and a meeting point on a little sheet of paper. Those parties were really exciting, it was all about discovering new places and meeting new people. We didn’t know any DJs, we had no Facebook, no YouTube. It was just the beginning of DJs taking planes and coming from Detroit or Chicago or Berlin. Me and my friends were doing hours of car drives every single weekend. Sometimes we drove 200 km to go to a party that was five minutes from where we started. The meeting point was really far, as a trick, so the police would think: ah, that’s not our region anymore. Sometimes we arrived and it was already over. We never knew what would happen. That was what made it exciting.’
Cinema was invented in Lyon. You’ve studied to be a scenarist and a director. Do you still write sometimes?
‘Right now I don’t have much time to write, but I love it. There are always stories, just little things that happen. If I’m in Africa and I see a mosquito and this mosquito bites me and I start to think I’m gonna die, then I write a story about what’s gonna be in my mind the last hours in Africa with this fucking bad disease that this mosquito gave me. I was always much more into writing than into directing. I’ve been assistant director for movies, but I preferred music. It sounds a bit arrogant, but that’s really what happened. In ’94 I had the choice between playing at a party with Carl Cox and Richie Hawtin, or to be assistant director for a James Ivory movie in England. All my friends said: ‘Goooo to England! Gooo to James Ivory!’ But I chose to warm up for this party, and it was terrible. Nobody danced. Trust me, it was zero people on the dance floor. Then Richie Hawtin arrived, he put on a record and, fieuw, 1000 people went from the balcony to the dance floor. That night I stayed in the DJ booth for five hours, because I was so embarrassed.’
Is it true that you and Laurent Garnier are starting a club in Lyon?
‘Oh, you are well-informed... We’re doing this club mainly as investors, we’re not going to do the bookings. The whole Nuits Sonores arty farty club is involved. Nowadays I have more trust in this kind of collective thing, than just two guys who manage and direct everything. We are doing this all together. I’m happy that Lyon will finally get a club of this capacity, 800 people. It will open the first week of September, we just finished doing the acoustic work. It’s at a really nice spot, between the two rivers the Rhône and the Saône, on a rooftop.’

Text: Tessa Velthuis