Sébastien Devaud, the DJ and producer best known as Agoria, is one of house and techno’s key figures. Having released four albums, written the soundtrack to the movie Go Fast and appeared at some of the world’s best electronic music venues, today he’s one of France’s most abiding techno artists. He’s also had a long journey with us. He’s now been playing in our space for 17 years of our lifetime, and with an upcoming appearance at our 20th birthday celebrations this weekend, we caught up with him to reflect on his history in Farringdon.
Devaud had just closed out one of his busiest summers to date when we caught up with him via Skype call at the start of the month. This year he brought his Drift party to the White Isle for the first time, inviting guys like Gerd Janson and Andhim to join him at the famous beachside spot Blue Marlin. Unlike most other parties in Ibiza, Devaud encourages artists to deviate from straight house and techno when they step into the booth. Last month, DJ Harvey touched down for a one-off alternative set. “Drift is all about the mix. Mixing the audience, mixing the sound,” he explains. “I could not have been happier with the result.”
Beyond his weekly sessions in Ibiza, Devaud has always had an experimental approach to his music, something we know well from his appearances with us. On one memorable visit to Farringdon a few years ago, he requested to play the opening set so he’d have the scope to play as many genres as possible. Devaud says this night helped inspire his Drift project. “I’d never warmed up the venue before, but some places have a special energy between the dancer and DJ. I had to experience this dimension. I remember people came down from the start. They were fully appreciative of what I played and immersed themselves in every track. I played for three hours across various genres and it was one of my favourite times playing at fabric. It was a similar experience to what I now try to create with Drift.”
Devaud is equally enthusiastic about the team working behind the scenes at our space. “Club culture will always be relevant. It is the clubs within that culture that come and go,” he says. “Unlike other clubs, fabric has stood the test of time. This is because of the people who built the location. Keith [Reilly, fabric co-founder] opened the doors with Craig [Richards, fabric founding resident]. Judy [Griffith, fabric promotions manager] booked me for my first gig. These people are still here now. They know the narrative, and what it means to the electronic community. In return, the electronic community respects that."
Agoria playing Room Two in 2016
As our longest-serving talent booker, Judy Griffith has been responsible for championing artists like Agoria since the start of our journey. Devaud thinks her support of newer artists has been one of the most important parts of our story. “There’s always been a balance. The right mix of friends, legends and newcomers. In return, the dancers and DJs have given them their loyalty. They’ve delivered something they believe in, so it is easy for us to believe in them.”
Reflecting further on our 20th anniversary, Devaud closed the conversation by likening our space to some of Europe’s most defining spots for electronic music. “There are only a handful of clubs in the world that have developed the scene in such a way. Rex Club in Paris, Ostgut in Berlin, fabric in London. It’s defined a scene for 20 years. I am honoured to be playing at the club’s anniversary.”