France's Agoria could be primed to "drift" on the wave of modern genreless music taste
Musicians often react to the politics of their day. Rock music gained its revolutionary roots from artists such as Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix who weren’t afraid to oppose the Vietnam War, paving the way for future political rebels such as Rage Against the Machine and Green Day.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that as President Donald Trump seeks to build a wall on the southern border of the United States, the borders between musical genres have never been more open.
According to a recent Vice Magazine survey, 78 percent of young people said they couldn’t be defined by the genre they listen to the most. That sounds about right for a generation growing up in a time when massive hits can feature rap newcomer Lil Nas X collaborating with country legend Billy Ray Cyrus.
If modern audiences are indeed more willing to listen to a wider variety of genres, then French DJ and producer Agoria (real name: Sebastien Devaud) is someone to watch out for. He just performed at Coachella for the first time, playing both his regularly scheduled set in the Yuma tent as well as one of the coveted surprise guest slots for the Do Lab. Agoria’s new album “Drift,” set to come out on April 26, features collaborators from across the spectrum and showcases his uncanny talent to produce different types of music.
Though Devaud has been DJing for more than 20 years and is often associated with dance music, his three singles for “Drift” have channeled a variety of sounds. “You’re Not Alone” sounds like a darker track from dreamy indie rock group Glass Animals. “Embrace” could be a bluesy release by synth-pop darling Sylvan Esso. “Call Of The Wild” features singer/rapper STS on a production that appears to have drawn inspiration from Kanye West’s sonically abrasive “Yeezus.” Legendary producer Nile Rodgers, himself a master of many genres, will also feature on the album.
“Drift,” Agoria’s first studio album in eight years and fifth overall, is appropriately named for a concept he employs to coast between genres in both his LPs and DJ sets. The technique has been crystallizing within him for a while — his last album, released in 2011, featured a spoken-word track called “Souless Dreamer” that echoed “Allow yourself to drift/Just drift/Let in sight and sound/With no expectation, with no assumption.”
Unlike some other high-brow producers, Devaud doesn’t look down on the mainstream EDM sound that often draws sneers and disrespect from both fans and artists of other genres.
“A lot of people criticize EDM,” Devaud told AOL. “Maybe some producers make music you don’t like. That doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. If someone thinks that, maybe they are."
Devaud describes drift as a “bridge” that he hopes will unify different communities in a time when many people are critical and wary of outsiders, whether they’re discussing music taste or immigration.
“I travel around the world — it’s the same everywhere,” Devaud said. “Everyone is nervous about the state of things.”
Devaud wants to attract listeners who may not possess a very diverse music taste and could benefit from connecting with new ideas and new people.
"Drift" may act as a tool to do just that. Because even though Agoria is still establishing a foothold in the U.S., Devaud seems to have a finger on the pulse of the increasingly genre-blind music scene in America.