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100% Vinyl: Apollonia

The French trio throw down immaculate house on wax

  • Callum Reece
  • 12 December 2014

We're selecting some of the best DJs in the business and taking them back to the record shops that mean the most to them. They will then lay down an immensely special set from their record shop of choice and needless to say, the mix is 100% Vinyl.

This year we've provided a portal into some of the best record shops in Europe. Cassy took us to Berlin's Hard Wax, Mr Scruff lead us to Piccadilly Records in Manchester and Tom Trago took us to the impeccable Rush Hour Records in Amsterdam.

For Part 4 in the series we've chosen one of the tightest DJ collectives on the planet: Apollonia. Mixmag cover stars back in August, the French trio of Dan Ghenacia, Dyed Soundorom and Shonky are vinyl collectors, players and lovers in every sense. Throwing down immaculate house and righteous techno on wax is second nature to the Gallic crew, and we caught up with the guys ahead of their 100% Vinyl set at Syncrophone Records in Paris. Check out the full set below.

You've selected Syncrophone Records as your record shop of choice. Tell us a bit about your relationship with the store…

Dyed: I can't even tell you exactly long they've been open, you know, but has to be nearly 10 years. I used to go every week. There is a special feel about the place and the guys who work there. Didier Allyne who owns Syncrophone used to run a record shop with Dan in the 90s and really knows his music, so the selection is great. He's been the main guy for records in Paris for years; even while so many of the record shops were closing down in the city he was moving from one to another. They don't just sell records at Syncrophone, they try to get something we've never heard before. The service is amazing – I no longer live in Paris but Dan does, and each week they'll pick out a pile for him so doesn't miss anything. Syncrophone has had a huge influence on what we play and has been part of all our personal collections for years.

Apart from Syncrophone what are some of your other favourite record shops?

Dan: If I'm in Berlin I go to Space Hall – they have amazing sellers who can understand your taste quickly. Bass Cadet is also great in Berlin; they stock really intellectual deep house. I love to go there as they have amazing music which really opens my mind. They also have a lot of producers from the local neighbourhood just doing their first pressing, so you get records there which you can't get anywhere else. Gramophone in Chicago is also fantastic; you can really feel the culture of the city in that shop. A1 in New York is amazing for house, jazz and disco – it's one of the best second hand record shops in the world. Halcyon in Brooklyn is also really good for new stuff.

Can you remember one of the first times when all three of you went record shopping together?

Shonky: We used to meet at Dagroove at lunchtime on a Wednesday. The plan was to go there and then go to Basement Tracks which wasn't far away, and then to Techno Import and then another one. This was when we were all living in Paris. We often did it on a Wednesday and it came a bit of a habit: going out together, buying records together and then going back home and playing tracks together. We didn't always like the same stuff, but we were always buying records together.

What's the main problem with playing vinyl?

Dan: When on the road, say in South America, it can be very risky. You never know quite what set up you're going to be walking into. These days I rip a lot of my old records as we have to play safe. I don't want to take the risk if I don't know the venue, or if I can't do a sound check before the party. Where I can I try to avoid the digital platform, mainly because you spend lots of time sieving through music you don't like – whereas record shops take you straight to the point.

Before you go into a gig how do the three of you arrange your records?

Shonky: We never really pre-plan what we're playing; we may have, say, 80 vinyls each, CDs, USBs, but we don't talk about what we're bringing. We all just bring what we're feeling at the moment. But for me its important to take a bag you can use everywhere. OK, if you have a five-hour slot maybe, but it's vital to be ready to play everywhere, I like to bring a big bag of records and lots of music.

What labels do you look out for in terms of good records and quality vinyl?

Dyed: Perlon. Every time you just know they're gonna come out with something good! I'm always excited because they never get it wrong, you know.

When you play together what's the main format you follow?

Shonky: The only rule is we play always one track each. Usually Dan starts, I play after Dan and then Dyed after me. We believe playing this way creates a kind of intuition. If you only each play one track then you all continue to remain really focused; you play a track then you dip back in the bag. Whereas if it's two or three it's much easier for people to get distracted.

Most influential person that got you into collecting records?

Dan: Back in 1996 I lived in San Diego for a few months and met a guy called Mark E Quark in a record shop he owned which I used to go to twice a week; he was a bit of a local hero. He invited me to a party and we became friends. He was the first guy who played New Jersey vocal house mixed with German techno. That kind of thing – not with exactly the same music, of course – is what we are still doing with Apollonia, so he was really important to all of us.

What's the thing you love most about vinyl?

Shonky: I have a passion for vinyl: I love the object, I love the colours. I love the fact that a track can be good today not so good in three and good again in five years. The music evolves and your collection evolves and sometimes I look back at my collection from Paris and I'm like "fuck, I forgot this one, and this one, and oh fuck, this one!" I find it's totally different with digital – it's less permanent. But you have to use both.

What were some of your initial memories of your parents' record collection?

Dan: Actually, my dad was into Arabic music and my mum was into disco. So we had a mixture at home between disco and Arabic music.

Shonky: Well my dad was a killer DJ in that he was DJ and teacher at the same time, which was funny. My dad was really into a lot of things, but I remember him liking Pink Floyd, Phil Collins and of course Bob Marley.

Dyed: My mum was really into soul music and reggae. I remember there was a lot of Bob Marley, a lot of UB40, so I grew up with that. And pretty much all the classic stuff from Marvin Gaye to Lionel Richie. I don't really have a background in rock and stuff, but that's mainly what I was listening to through my mum.

Three records you have equal love for?

Shonky: Crustation 'Flame' (Mood II Swing boarder line insanity dub mix), Point G 'Underwater', Kerri Chandler 'Sunday Sunlight'

This Thursday we provide a unique insight into Syncrophone Records as we talk to the guys behind the scenes and get a look at the staff's favourite new releases then come Friday we release Apollonia's rolling mix from Syncrophone Records, in Paris

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