The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Interview: Apollonia

Kim Kahan speaks to super trio Apollonia about their formation, pre-set rituals and appearance at Sankeys Tribal Sessions’ 14th Birthday this Saturday.

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Tribal Sessions are celebrating their 14th birthday this weekend with two stellar nights at Sankeys. Resident Darius Syrossian will be joined on Friday 3rd October by Greg Vickers, Just Be and DJ Sneak. Saturday 4th October sees Apollonia, Guti and Chappell performing.

We caught up with Dan Ghenacia and Shonky ahead of their Saturday appearance with Apollonia.

Speaking first to Dan Ghenacia, he detailed the formation of the super trio: “We met when Shonky and Dyed [Soundroom] supported me at Le Batofar, 25 years ago! We’ve been good friends ever since. When my label Freak n’ Chic disbanded I knew I wanted to start something completely different so I got in touch and we started Apollonia.

“The whole concept of Apollonia is new. We play one record each on rotation throughout our sets, one-one-one, Dan-Shonky-Dyed. It feels like a band. We don’t play as separate DJs trying to show our own personality or music taste, we play as one. Sometimes I forget where I am, what record I’ve put on and what records the others have put on. It’s so easy to lose track of time and we often end up playing for hours.

“When we’re working together we influence each other and we’re always learning. We all listen to different music so someone will bring in something old that we’ve forgotten about and someone will play something new that the others haven’t heard yet. We all have our own record collections and we normally stick to using our own during sets. We do have similar music tastes though so Shonky or Dyed play tunes that I’d planned to play. This can happen about two or three times during a set, then I have to improvise! That’s what makes working as Apollonia so exciting, it’s always changing.

“We never play the same set twice or we’d get bored and the crowd would get bored. Our music style is always changing, evolving.

“As we’ve been working together for so long now, we’ve worked out how to chill out. Normally we’ll go to Shonky’s studio in Berlin and maybe record some tracks.

Talk turns to Saturday night at Sankeys. “I’m looking forward to being back in Manchester again. I was going to Sankeys when it was Sankeys Soap, it’s close to my heart as it’s one of the first places I started out at, years ago. I’ve seen its evolution, the DJ booth has changed sides but the crowd has not lost their music taste. That’s the best thing about Manchester—the people! They have such a good taste in music, the best request I heard was one of my own tracks!

“We’re all genuinely good friends, these guys are my best mates. We don’t fall out over anything except in the studio when sometimes it’ll be two people versus one to agree on a track or on the right percussion or something, but ultimately we have to agree. We’ve only dropped three tracks out of 15 on the new album because of that.”

Taking over the conversation, Shonky shares the trio’s pre-set rituals: “Before a performance we do everything together. For pre-gig routine we travel together, we eat together, we work together, we play together; we stay together! Sometimes I go off by myself to record shops and discover new vinyl and records that I haven’t heard of before. That’s what I love about buying records. I love all types of music, I couldn’t just pick one genre.”

“My favourite format is vinyl of course. I can never go into a record shop and buy one album, I always walk out with loads. The last record I bought was by Mark Ambrose but I’m buying records all the time!”

Apollonia’s debut album Tour à Tour is set to be released on 20th October; you can pre order it on iTunes now.

Visit sankeys.info for details and tickets for the Tribal Sessions Birthday Weekender.