Mad About… Agajon
14 Sep 2022
At just 21-years-old German-Afghan artist agajon has already built up a reputation as an esteemed young producer. Heralded for his use of eclectic sounds, his Hip Hop heritage and appreciation of Neo-soul, Jazz and Funk has seen him craft an exciting and vivid musical identity.
Having cut his teeth on previous projects, placements and collaborations with the likes of Giggs, Naomi Scott and Selah Sue, aga looks poised to blaze his own scintillating path.
Just before the drop of his now released project ‘nag champa’ we took a brief moment to talk about life and music.
Just give people a little background of where you’re from and who you are.
My name is Agajon, I’m a producer from Hamburg, Germany and I just found out I can be an artist too. I enjoy making music where I can control the whole thing. I’m a studio guy, I like to be in the studio.
Before we get into the music I want to know a little bit more about you. What are your interest outside of music?
Actually to be honest at this stage of my life I really like to connect everything that I do with my music. I would say that music is the one thing that keeps me driving, the one thing that keeps me alive. Other than that I just like to make photos, I have a camera I shoot a lot, of course hanging with my friends, digging samples. I would say digging samples is a big hobby for me. Listening to old records, chilling at the crib smoking weed. Yeah but it’s all around music.
How did you actually get into making music?
I started beatboxing because my brother did that and was also rapping. At some point I just wanted to make more than songs with my mouth, so I started producing. Came from beatboxing, started playing the drums then I got into producing.
Music is a full time thing for you, some people say they could never do a normal job. Do you feel like you were always destined to do music?
I’ve never had a normal job. I’d say that’s why I’m so focused on the music. Now that I’ve finished school I’m just making music, it feels serious to me. I wake up and think music is the thing I wanna do the whole day, even if it’s just like searching for songs for my DJ sets.
Oh so you DJ as well?
It’s still a little lowkey but I’m a DJ as well yeah.
I hear a lot of Jazz, Neo-Soul, RnB and Hip Hop influences in your music, how did you develop that musical palette?
My mum used to listen to all kinds of music. Reggae, Jazz, Soul, Funk. I was always the guy who liked funk when he was 10 or 11 and that was weird for the other kids. I just started buying records when I got my own money, listening to new stuff and trying to sample it.
What’s the music taste in Germany like?
That’s a hard question man because I really don’t f**k with the German scene. That’s actually why I’m doing English music because I feel like I need to go international with the stuff I like. In Germany I’m not really heard, they don’t really care about the stuff that I’m doing. I don’t even know what the taste is in Germany, its simple music, simple hooks. It’s not deep.
So there isn’t a space for people like you to thrive in Germany.
Right, there is no space. That’s what I’m tryna do, I’m tryna create a space but always when I think about going bigger I think this is not the place to be. There are people here who make cool music but you’re not getting the exposure you’d get like out in LA or in the UK.
How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it before?
Playful, you can hear that I started off with Hip Hop but that’s a hard question. I don’t even know how to describe my music, It’s just me.
Your music is a window into your personality.
Yeah. Moody, my music is moody [laughs] let’s say it like that.
Let’s talk about the new album, what was that process like?
Actually I wanted to do this album for like 3 years. It was too hard to get out of that placement comfort zone making beats and sending them out to artist. When I started listening to J Dilla beat tapes again I thought, this guys an artist. He’s a producer but he creates art. I realised he’s making beats and putting them together and then I realised that’s what I want to do and when I did that that’s when the album came together. Now we need vocals. It was weird not sending out beats to artists to get placements because that’s where the money comes from you know. It was a process but now we’re here, it’s coming out so I’m proud.
How do you go about picking artist to hop on your beats?
I just go by the feeling. If I feel like you can adapt your sound to mine I just send you my s**t and you can do whatever. For me it’s important that the artist can still be free with their art on my stuff. When I go into sessions most of the time because I say I’m a producer they say ‘okay I need a beat like that or like that’. I don’t want to go to artist that same way like ‘I need a verse like that’. I want to do a collaboration with both styles.
You already have a history of collaborating with UK artist like Giggs, how did that come about?
Farhot my manager and owner of Kabul Fire, he used to work with him for I would say the last 10 years. They’ve got a few projects together. When we came to the UK, we pulled up to the studio. I played a few beats, he picked this one ‘Branch Out’, few weeks later it was done. It was actually an easy, easy, easy move.
Have you had any bad collaboration stories?
Uhm, yeah but those are things I don’t wanna talk about right now [both laugh] but yeah of course.
The person you collaborated the most with on the album is the UK’s Jay Prince. Feels like there’s a real natural chemistry between you two.
Definitely, I was really happy about it because I was searching for artists. I text him saying, ‘Yo wassup, I got some s**t’ and then a few days later he sent back the song. That was kind of new to me, like just doing it. From there I was just sending beats every week and he would send back songs, then we had ‘Higher’, ‘Back to basics’ and ‘Plants’.
You guys never met in real life?
We met, we shot the ‘Higher’, video and we had a show in Hamburg together where we played two songs. But we didn’t make the music when we saw each other, we made it online.
It’s quite interesting that you’re able to build such a connection with somebody musically without actually being in the same room. Do you feel like it’s not necessary ?
It’s hard to say but I mean in this case you see it’s not. I think it depends on your personality and if you can handle it online. Even me sometimes you can’t really grab the connection online, like ‘I know this guy but I don’t know this guy’ but if you can catch the connection you can make whole albums online.
Nag champa feels like your coming out project. You have previous bodies of work , would you say there’s been an evolution to your sound from then to now?
If I’m gonna honest I don’t really like my first project. That’s actually my goal, even for the next project I just wanna grow and get better. That’s actually my approach for life right now, doing better art, getting to know myself better. I would definitely say something changed in my sound.
New musical influences or just life leading you that way?
I would say I sample more than before and I take more time for songs. I like to sit with the song for weeks. I listen back and go over it again, listen back and go over it again. That’s how I work now.
The album name nag champa where does that come from?
It’s a smell from India. It’s a plant used to make incense sticks and it’s what I use to light up everyday when I make my music. I felt like this is the thing that keeps me in the now to create so that’s where the name came from.
Would you say that you’re a spiritual person?
I would definitely say I’m a spiritual person but not like traditionally. I have my moments. Music sometimes feels like spirituality, putting my phone away and just making music. It gives me something that I never got somewhere else.
What’s coming in your future?
A lot. Nag champa shows how versatile I can be but not everything. There’s dancey Aga too. I like to make dance music also, I’m a big Kaytranada fan. I really like dance music I listen to it and play it in my sets. I just want to play around with sounds and see where I go with it. I don’t know what’s coming next but I know somethings coming.