Agents of Time is an important name to note in the contemporary progressive/techno scene. Their music has already infiltrated the scene in a subtle, yet powerful way. “Obsidian,” for example, made it into sets by DJs ranging from Maceo Plex all the way to Feed Me.
Three minds truly meld into a superhuman force in their case. Members Andrea, Fedele, and Luigi are all talented live artists in their own right, whose synergy when performing as a team is seamless and hypnotic. Captivating their audiences with a setup that looks almost alien to the untrained eye, the trio works in tangent to pull off dark, driving sets with the finesse of an experienced band. This display of raw talent is precisely why Agents of Time are already in high demand despite their relatively newcomer status — the outfit has already been booked for several prestigious festivals throughout 2017, including BPM, ADE, and Off Sonar.
In closer proximity, however, is Morocco’s underground-inclined Oasis festival, where they are set to play alongside Maceo Plex, Charlotte De Witte, and more on September 16. The group kindly took some of their time to discuss their upcoming performance, along with a brief look into their musical background, and their thoughts on live performance. Their Boiler Room debut also surfaced a couple weeks ago, making for a pleasant listen whilst perusing the interview below.
Your specialty lies in live performance. Would you agree it’s important for electronic musicians to keep the art of using hardware and more organic production alive?
We couldn’t agree more. This comes especially from our love of hardware equipment ,and also by the fact that there are three of us on stage. How boring would it be if we were all stuck on our laptops the whole performance? Every live set is different from the other — it never gets boring as we constantly have to adapt ourselves to every event we play.
Do you see electronic performance heading in a potentially more live direction as people get sicker of pre-recorded or lifeless sets? What sorts of updates do you make to your set up to keep things fresh and futuristic?
There is always a demand for live performances, it takes a lot of effort (long soundcheck, being on the road with +120kg of equipment and so on) but we couldn’t work otherwise. Beyond following trends and fashion, we do things the way that feels right. We always integrate new gear, remove some and keep looking for the perfect setup. We came to concluding such a thing doesn’t exist, it has to be in constant evolution to keep things interesting.
Have you ever produced songs on the fly as you’re performing?
Always. A big part of our live performance is based around improvisation. It happens many time that we create tracks while playing, then we try to reproduce the week after in our studio. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.
How did you three arrive at electronic production and live performance?
Everything started for fun. Fedele and Andrea were already making music tighter but in the meantime Luigi, a friend of our was in Berlin and we both promised ourselves to meet up when he was going to come back in Bari, our hometown.
In the end without thinking about it, all three of us started making music together. We were comfortable being in the same studio, and afterwards were happy about the results so we started this crazy trio. Obviously for our concept and love for machines and (we’re Mathew Jonson super fans!), we couldn’t do anything else without a huge live setup full of synthesizers. Of course a DJ trio only would have produced nothing that special.
What is your process for creating tracks, since there are three of you? Do one of you write a base, and the other two pitch in? What do each of you contribute most to a track?
We follow our standard live set format mostly. Fedele plays all the rhythms and grooves, Andrea provides all the bass lines and atmospheric elements, Luigi plays all the melodies and the sequences.
Sometimes we would change positions and do different things and this is really important to make it more fun and special.
You just launched a new label, Obscura. What artists do you hope to work with the most, or is it primarily going to be used as your own platform to release your music?
We started Obscura for both reasons: being able to release our own music, at our terms, with our own deadlines and also to be a platform for forward thinking musicians who can be established names or newcomers. Only the outcome matters, the music itself.
Right after the Various Artists compilation we’re putting out end of September, we’ll have a beautiful album from an artist we love — pretty far from dance floors, but we couldn’t take the chance to miss it.
What excites you the most about playing Oasis festival? Have you played in Morocco before? How does the scene there compare to others?
North Africa has always been good to us, the crowd is very young and energetic, which is often the case in a new market. We’re very happy to see that great events such as Oasis are now happening in the area. See you there!