Tonight marks the date for Depi Evratesil, the Armenian national selection show! Twelve artists will be competing for their chance to sing for Armenia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 later this year.
We caught up with tonight’s show-opener Agop to find out a bit more about him, his music, artistry and the all important question – who is his favourite Eurovision winner!? Check it out here;
D: Hi Agop & welcome to Depi Evratesil! We can’t wait to hear you perform your track “Butterflies” in the final. Tell us about the song; how did the song come about, what does it mean to you and what made you decide to compete in the Armenian selection show for Eurovision?
A: Two years ago, the Armenian Djs Haik Solar & Arni Rock contacted me after discovering my music on the internet by chance. They offered me to sing on their track “Butterflies”. I really liked the positive mood of the song and I agreed to change my habits because so far I had composed all my own songs. I went to Armenia in May 2019 to put my voice on the recording. When I heard that Armenia was opening its selection for Eurovision to artists from the Diaspora, I immediately had the idea to propose this song. I asked Arni and Hayk for permission and they told me that it was composed with Eurovision in mind so we went ahead and got it. It’s a great honour for me to have been selected by Armenia for Depi Evratesil. But beyond the selection, this song is a proof that bridges can be built between artists from Diaspora and artists from Armenia and that this can sometimes lead to great adventures. In any case, the experience of Depi Evratesil is incredible, I meet lots of talented people every day and it’s a huge joy for me. As for the song Butterflies, I think it’s an island of joy, positivity and generosity in an increasingly complicated and uncertain world.
D: You’re originally from Marseille in France of Armenian heritage. Tell us a bit about your background and how you began your career in music.
A: My artistic life began at the age of 3, with Armenian dance. I danced in a traditional Armenian troupe in Marseille (JAF) and I did a lot of shows all over the world, especially in Armenia. On the music side, I started playing guitar at 15 years old in high school, playing in a band with my best friends. We used to cover songs from Nirvana and Velvet Underground, before creating our own songs. I was the guitarist and singer in this band (Nacimiento) for more than 10 years. I left Marseille to live in Paris and that’s where I started my solo career in 2010 with the AGOP project, a pop-folk-indie project. I started by opening for artists like Keane, Glen Hansard or Micky Green.
D: Magazine ELLE describes your style as: “The music of AGOP makes you want to go elsewhere, want to dance, want to love.” Who are your biggest musical influences and how have they shaped your own artistry and identity?
A: I am influenced by many different styles, from pop to rock, soul, folk, Armenian and even South American music. I love The Beatles, Oasis, Coldplay, Radiohead, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Sam Cooke as much as Dua Lipa, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West or Katy Perry. So, when I compose, it all mixes together, as if I were a cook. The idea behind my approach is to never serve the same meal. If my songs were dishes, I’d say they’re sometimes veggie, sometimes marine, sometimes animal, sometimes baked, sometimes pan-fried, sometimes too sweet. Some of my songs even sound like I wrote them while eating at McDonalds. They depend on my mood, on the persons I meet when I travel, but my guideline is that as often as possible, I integrate my own spice into my songs. A spice that few international indie pop artists possess: Armenity. And this Armenity shows by the addition of traditional instruments such as duduk, chevi and bloul.
D: What would winning Depi Evratesil and representing Armenia at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest mean for you? Are you a fan of the contest?
A: It would be wonderfully great for me to represent Armenia at Eurovision 2020. Armenia has been in my heart since I was born. As I was telling you I danced Armenian until I was 25 years old, then I was the editor of an Armenian magazine, plus I organized concerts and exhibitions to never forget the Armenian genocide (but not only the Armenian one, all others). For me, it would be a nice tribute to my grandparents who had to flee the genocide to settle in France. To be honest, I am not a great Eurovision expert. My favourite song that won the Eurovision Song Contest is Waterloo that was sung by ABBA in 1974. And I really like Duncan Laurence’s Arcade, which I’m going to perform on Saturday with the other finalists.
D: Are there any songs that you can’t get out of your head at the moment? Or any recommendations on music that we should check out?
A: The 10 songs I listened to the most in February : Kanye West “Follow God”, Dua Lipa “Don’t Start now”, Tash Sultana “Jungle”, Caribou “You and I”, Liam Gallagher “Once”, Lola Marsh “Only for a moment”, Gavin James “Easy”, Maroon 5 “Memories”, Bear’s Den “Agape” and the new Coldplay album “Everyday Life” is fantastic.
D: You’ve released some awesome music over the years, “Merenda”, “You Light Up My Way”, etc. What is the next step for you? Do you have any projects planned for the near future?
A: My next single “Lame de Fond” will be available on all download platforms on February 21st. It’s my very first song with French lyrics. It’s a folk ballad about climate change. Then, on May 22nd, my new EP will be released with 3 other new songs: “Si Douce”, another folk ballad with French lyrics and 2 English songs, “I’m in Love” and “You should not give up”. The tracks are almost finished, I have to mix them next week. I’ve included duduk in “Si Douce” and “I’m in Love”. I’m also working on 5 new songs that I’m going to record in April at Studio CBE, a very famous studio in Paris where Lee Hazlewood, Sebastien Tellier, Lilly Wood & The Prick, Zaz, Dita von Teese, Imany or Keziah Jones have recorded. I hope my second album will be ready for December 2020. Then I’ll start working on my album number 3, which I want to do in Armenia, in Armenian studios, with Armenian technicians, with Armenian sounds, with Armenian instruments, and featuring Armenian artists.
D: What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
A: My performance in the show Rendez-Vous en Terre Inconnue on France 2, it was my very first television show, I was very well received and I had a great time. I gained a lot of fans thanks to this show and I even had my single You Light Up My Way in the TOP 10 Itunes for a few days.
D: Aside from music, what other things do you enjoy?
A: Food, football, travelling with my lovely wife.
D: If you were to go back in time and give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
A: Keep your head cool and your heart warm.
D: Thank you very much for your time and best of luck for your upcoming performance. Did you have any final words for your fans and readers?
A: Enjoy the show !!! :)) And keep your dreams alive.
Tonight Agop will be kicking off the show with his indie-folk-pop song. You can check out Agop’s Depi Evratesil song “Butterflies” here:
Depi Evratesil 2020 starts tonight at 19.00 CET (February 15th) and we will be live blogging the show so make sure to stay in the Bubble!