Today we prepared a little interview with my friend and producer colleague Arda Genc aka Agency666 – And I am very happy about and wherever I repainted, I felt his professionalism. Reading time is about 5min and have fun with it.
How did you get into music and what were your beginnings?
I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop. I was a huge Eminem fan and I loved his rebellious attitude. He was the first artist that made me feel passionate about music.
When I moved to Chicago to attend college, I explored clubs like Spy Bar and Smart Bar that introduced me to a whole new world of raves and electronic music. Two close friends, Patrick and Nicolay, introduced me to DJing first, but soon mixing other people’s records wasn’t fulfilling enough. I wanted to create my own aesthetic and that led me to get into production.
At that point, endless experimentations started and over time I explored artists like Robert Hood, Luke Slater (Planetary Assault Systems), Gesaffelstein, Chemical Brothers, Boys Noize, Dopplereffekt, and of course Aphex Twin who have all massively inspired my music, among many others. My roommate at the time, Ferit, was also into a similar aesthetic and I’ve learned a lot from my exchanges and collaborations with him.
Besides, I was really lucky to be surrounded by people who loved and cared deeply about music during these formative years. We had this huge DIY community of people making music, shooting videos, and curating events, and it’s thanks to those people that I was able to be exposed to so many different musical styles and stay motivated to constantly experiment with new ideas.
You had a very big success with your first release “Lover’s Revenge” – what do you think, why did that come out?
My close friend Kerem Tektunali (K.E.R.O) and I produced Lover’s Revenge in his tiny bedroom studio in Istanbul. It was very spontaneous. We kept making bits of it and dancing to it imagining it was playing in a club. We were happy with the result but neither of us expected such a big reaction.
After finishing the mixdown I made a little teaser video and shared it on Instagram. It really landed and many influential techno pages ended up sharing it on their pages. From that point, it blew up way beyond what we had imagined. The track, especially the topline, carries a lot of emotion, and I guess people related to it.
In my view, your music is very profound and has a very psychological touch – what is it all about
I don’t really know. I’m into psychological thrillers and abstraction in all forms of art, and I guess my music reflects that. I like sitting in the dark and listening to evil sounds. It moves something in me, I can’t really say what it is… But depth and sophistication are really important to me. I don’t like art that is too literal; I think that makes it predictable and cheesy. So I’m glad you said that!
What is your approach to producing music? Do you get inspiration?
Of course, I get a lot of inspiration. Sometimes a sound that I hear in the street, a movie, a song, a person, a place. It can start with anything. But really the starting point comes down to what that thing makes me feel. The more intense the feeling, the better. Coming up with the idea is the quickest yet the most magical part. Arrangement and mixing take more time and can get more technical than artistic, especially mixing.
Can you give us feedback on your equipment?
I have a very minimal set-up at the moment. I do most of my work on software on Ableton Live. I also have an Ableton Push but I don’t use it as much as I’d like to. Finally, I have a simple Pioneer controller for DJing for fun but I go to the studio when I wanna get my hands on the CDJs and practice with club equipment. I’d love to have a drum machine and a few analog synthesizers to play around with but we’ll see when that will happen.
You also travel a lot in the world and have other projects, if you like you can describe them briefly.
I started a DIY fashion label called No|Feedback when I was in Chicago and we had a few runway shows at House of Vans. It wasn’t too professional or anything but I saw it as a cool way to bring people together and experiment with visual ideas.
Recently, I started a new alias, Psychocharmant, under which I will be releasing some raw techno, electro, drum & bass, and breakbeat influenced tracks with a more experimental touch.
Some other things in the works that will combine music, design, and computer science but we can talk about them another time 🙂
You had your first album release “Fear of the Unknown” after “Lover’s Revenge” – what connects you to it.
“Fear of the Unknown” is a collection of tracks recorded primarily in Chicago where I first got into music production, and therefore the album is a product of my first musical influences. It will always be special to me because it is a living memory of people, places and influences that started my musical journey.
What do you think how your listeners rate, judge or describe your music
It’s hard for me to say, but something that makes me really happy is hearing that people find my music unique. It’s more important for me to bring something new to the table than to have my music liked by everyone, so that’s the comment that means most to me.
What to come for future project
I just finished a new EP but I will wait for the right time to release it: no set dates yet. I don’t wanna spoil it too much but some more rave-oriented tracks and more visuals are in the works, and the direction of these will be more experimental than my previous work.
Is there a musical goal you are aiming for
I don’t have a specific end-goal in mind, but I would love to collaborate with artists that inspire me. For example, it’s amazing to see Kanye West bringing in producers like Gesaffelstein and Daft Punk to produce Yeezus or similarly Nicolas Jaar co-producing FKA Twigs’ album Magdalene. These kinds of collaborations are very exciting because they push genre boundaries and create something unique.
Another really cool project would be to work on a movie soundtrack. If I have to be specific, I am a huge David Lynch fan and it would be surreal to work on the soundtrack of his next movie.
Could you also perform LIVE
Yes. DJing can be fun but LIVE is where my heart is. I find it very awkward when DJs keep touching knobs and pretend they are doing something crucial when it’s really just the track playing. It feels more like acting than DJing, and it is hard to blame the DJ because the audience wants to see a performance and feel like someone is working hard to make them have fun. But with all the new technology, I think most of modern DJing has come down to a solid track selection and an ability to read the crowd, which is definitely an art in itself but most people are really overplaying it in my opinion.
For LIVE though, there is a whole range of performance possibilities. Adding a few notes to an existing record is different than coming up with something completely new on the spot. I find the latter the most interesting, but the expectations of the audience needs to be clear. Part of the beauty of LIVE is the mistakes the performers make and how they incorporate them into the performance. LIVE will never sound as impeccable as a record that has been carefully crafted prior to the performance, and therefore it is best suited for an audience that is ready to appreciate the imperfections of it.
How do you see the current crisis for the music industry and events
It’s a difficult time for everyone who makes a living through events and festivals, including DJs, promoters, clubs, and organizers. But in every crisis there is also opportunity.
I personally spend a lot of my time watching movies, reading books, and exploring new music to make sure that I don’t feel burned out. When I feel refreshed, I’m back to producing.
Thank you for the open answer to the questions. As an editor, label owner and your friend, I wish you and your family all the best and look forward to the projects that are coming.