The LAGASTA project is the result of a friendship between Vangelis and Vaio, whose taste for art, music and social conscience led them to create a platform with the sound that conquered their attention and took their creative curiosity. Since then, they have not stopped, being recognized internationally, without losing fidelity to music and its message: up the rhythm, down the differences.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
It was early 1992 when a Greek electronic band called STEREO NOVA, had their debut album out, and they introduced electronic music to us in the best possible way. Around that time, or maybe a year after that, there was a program on European Mtv we were watching every week, called Post modern. There were often videos by bands we liked such as The Stone Roses and Ride. That’s when we first saw the video of Lush by Orbital, and realised that you don’t need lyrics to love a song.
In and out of the electronic music circle, who is an inspiration to you?
Music has always been there, and most importantly in the early school years when one tries to find people who think like us. Thats when bands like the Cure, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins etc have created a safe space for us teenagers and took shape in our consciousness so we can be inspired from them today... Also artists like Jarvis Cocker, PJ Harvey, Madonna, Brian Eno, Pet Shop Boys are some of the ones we have always followed.
When did the idea of starting a label begin to take shape? Has it always been something you’ve wanted to do?
The idea of starting a label appeared only about 3 years ago, after a conversation with a member of the music industry, who encouraged us to do so. Until then we had already released 6 compilations. As he pointed out, there were already many releases from us, and we had support from many people , so the project of putting everything together under one label came naturally. As it turned out he was right, as this is what many of our followers were waiting for. And that also gave us the push to work on more releases that we had in mind.
Can you pinpoint any early inspirations for La.Ga.Sta in terms of labels, artists, aesthetics or otherwise? Similarly, can you highlight any formative experiences that led you on the path to its inception?
It all started without a big plan in our mind. There was a photo taken during a new years eve party with friends. Vaios uploaded that photo accompanying by a song, for our friends to see. And then, there came more photos and songs, all adressed to our friends, until we noticed that it wasn’t just our friends who were involved but other people too who actually had the same taste in music. At that time a new era was taking shape in dance music, with Aeroplane, Tensnake, the LA scene with Classixx , the NY sound of LCD Soundsystem and DFA and all the Australian bands like Cut Copy, Presets etc.
French Express and Permanent Vacation, were labels starting also around those days, and in a way it felt magical, that there was so much good music around.
As far as aesthetics, there was always a passion for old cars, empty roads, gas stations and palm trees. The name is a reference to a road sign that we took a photo of, during summer holidays in Greece.
What is your criteria for choosing artists, projects, releases…?
The key driver in choosing has always been our personal taste and passion. Nowadays its "easier" in a way, as there are lots of promos that help, while in the early days of the site, we had to search for tracks of music on our own, which was reminiscent of the days before internet, when we were searching for records in a record store. And the choice was based on our taste or the help of the record shop owner.
What can you tell us about volume 9 of your compilation?
Its the same ethos since Volume 1. Our compilations are designed to reflect and promote the music style of every year. We choose tracks from some of our favourite releases of the year, and ask our favourite artists to give us exclusive tracks. We always try to combine music styles we love, and mix well established artists and labels together with new and emerging artists that we believe in.
Since you started La.Ga.Sta until now, how much has the concept of the label changed?
The music has definitely changed since we started... Balearic and disco, that defined LAGASTA in the early days, are still present. However just like in every era, the music changes , as well as the trends in fashion and the culture, with the appearance of new club nights, parties and locations. We follow new sounds, organise parties, djing a lot and still use our taste as criteria, in order to keep lagasta as a trademark for all new music that will be part of our posts, charts, dj sets and releases.
What’s the most satisfying and unsatisfying thing about running a label?
The progress of "building" a compilation is one thing we certainly love doing. The most satisfying part is when artists and labels reach out to let us know that our release helped their sales, or number of followers etc. We still run lagasta just like in the early days, with love and passion and not driven by money. And I guess the satisfaction we felt when we first started the label is still very much alive.
What have been your personal highlights and lowlights?
As for highlights, we would say the compilations, as they are a result of mutual trust with artists and this is very important and something we are proud that we have achieved.
Name a couple of albums that you like and come to mind with the La.Ga.Sta label/blog in mind.
John Talabot - Fin
The Whitest Boy Alive - Rules
Shit Robot - From The Cradle To The Rave
Metronomy - The English Riviera
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
Robyn - Body Talk
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Tame Impala - Currents
Chromatics - Kill For Love
What is missing from the dance music scene nowadays?
We believe that every epoch / period have things to make it special and important. Instead of moaning for whats not happening, we should try and experience whats happening now, and find ways to be part of it. Communities are stronger and thats very important.
Do you think that after the Covid-19 event, the music industry will change?
Everything will be different in our life, so yes that will change too.
What lesson should we learn from this paralysis?
Everyone can speak for themselves. As for us, i guess we are trying to understand, as we always try to do so. The implications For the planet and climate change and the human kind. everything is changing.
This time can be used for personal thinking and consideration, but there is always the fear of what will come after this. Not everyone is capable of dealing with changes, and the fear can lead to unpredicted situations. Its a very serious period in our lifes, and what we can do is hope for the best for all.
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
We started a new series of everyday posts on LAGASTA where our friends choose a track or an album for these isolated days and share it with us. That's what we recommend and thats is why we started this.
What’s your favourite “save the dancefloor” song?
Inner City - Good Life
What are your future plans?
We have some releases on the way, parties and touring, but since we live in very uncertain times, everything is postponed and that's why there are no updates at the moment.
Tell me one record that you wish you had signed.
I can tell you an album we wish it can be played forever, and that is Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love
Describe the label in 5 Words.
More gas please, thank you