Sounds x Interview: Agop

Words x Kristyn Potter | Edits x Charlie Carroll

I discovered French musician Agop through a new site that we use for submissions — Groover — and after hearing a bit of his music, I knew that I wanted to dig in more. We scheduled a “bilingual interview” for a Saturday afternoon on WhatsApp, and while the only thing that was bilingual was the beginning, it was a good beginning. 

After talking a bit about New York (where he saw Calexico play a killer set years ago), and Los Angeles (another of his second homes), we got to his stage/band name, and how he came on it.

“When I started my musical project I was like “what name are you going to take?”, I was thinking like “Blue Moon” and I said to myself let’s go for something with your heart. So I chose Agop [my second name] because I’m proud of my Armenian roots and I don’t want to forget my roots and the culture and it was a good way to keep this alive.”

When did you start making music?

“I started playing guitar when I was 14 or 15 and I started with my best friends in college. We created a band and did covers.”

What was it called?

My first band was called “Having No Rest” and we did covers of Nirvana and Velvet Underground. After that, we started to create our own songs and we changed it to “Nacimiento” … I had this band five or six years and then we split and I went solo.

Where do you live? (He’s super dreamy so I’m hoping for his home address, alas it wasn’t to be — Charlie’s edits, not mine lol)

I live in Paris and I go often to Marseille because I was born and raised there. All my family is there and my old friends so it’s kind of my home. The five cities where I feel like home are Paris, Marseille, Los Angeles and Yerevan (the capital of Armenia).

Do you go there often?

I went there last month – I was working on a new song with Armenian DJ’s, they asked me to sing on their song. I have no borders.

(Pause to talk about my interview for a French company.)

How would you describe your music?

It’s a mix of a lot of things, indie, pop, folk, with a little bit of soul, a little bit of electro. I have no limits, no borders so if the song needs to go to folk music, I’m gonna go there. If it needs to go to African vibes, I’m gonna go there. The most important thing for me is melody. I’m obsessed with melody. I make music with my heart and I’m really into voices and melodies; my mind and my spirit is indie. I’m trying to mix indie with melodies and it could be almost mainstream and sometimes it could be indie. 

I’m trying to put as much traditional Armenian sounds in my music as I can. If I was a cook it would be like putting some spices on my plate”

So what does your family think about your music?

I have a young brother and he is working with me on my songs and my production so I think he’s a big fan of my music. I also have a little sister and I think she is a fan of my music too. Agop is a one-man solo project but onstage I play with my family. My brother plays bass guitar and I have cousins who play keyboards and duduk (a traditional Armenian instrument). My wife does backing vocals, so onstage it’s kind of a family project.

Do you have anything big coming up?

Right now I’m working on the new EP. I go to my studio, it’s a famous Paris studio, and I’m lucky because the people who own the studio like my music and want to help me. It’s one of the best Parisian studios — so I’m working on this new EP and I’ll release a single in September or October and it’ll be the first time I’m going to sing in French. And then at the end of the year, I’ll release the EP- four brand new songs. Two songs in French and two songs in English. I’m in the mood for French songs — my French songs are more like Indie folk and my English songs are really pop like Rolling Stones style.

Is there anything that you prefer to write about or sing about?

I think honestly the only thing that interests me is love. Peace, love, and hope. To be honest, love inspires me. In a good way and in a bad way too — sometimes I hear about bad stories and it inspires me too.

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