There is something quite special and unique about Arty. Yes, he is one of but a a few Russians in a sea of Dutch producers and DJs. He is also a trained musician, which oddly is a rarity. Talking to Arty, you feel the same warmth and emotional depth that you experience in his music. To call his productions a mix of house and trance is an oversimplification. Take a listen to his debut studio album Glorious. The title is an apt description of his wonderful music.
RS: I loved the Axwell remix. I read that you did it for your own set, how did Axwell find out about it?
Arty: I really like the track because it has an old school kind of disco vibe to it, it’s a really mellow song, like 110 BPM. For some reason. I decided to put in my sequencer and sped it up a little bit. I added some beats and kicks and I thought it sounded pretty good in a faster tempo. I thought I could turn it into something to use in my live sets and ended up doing the whole thing in two days. The track sounded okay so I sent it to Axwell to see what he thought. He really liked it and we decided to give it for free as a special thing for fans on Valentine’s Day.
RS: A very sweet Valentine’s Day gift.
Arty: Yeah I think that it is pretty sweet, considering the fact that the original song was made for his wife, Gloria. I knew that it was a personal song and that maybe he wouldn’t want anyone to mix it but he was totally fine with it and said let’s do it.
RS: That’s adorable. How much of your sets are your own productions?
Arty: A lot, I would say at least 60-70%.
RS: That really sets you apart.
Arty: Yeah, I am refining my old sound as well, a lot of old tracks are popping up here and there in mashups and flash backs, so it’s kind of nice. I am also coming out with a lot of new stuff as well, it is definitely something that you would consider for an artist set.
RS: Speaking about new looks, I love the look of your new website. How involved with it were you?
Arty: Not much, my manager was all over it and he did the design and everything, I just told him to do his thing.
RS: Your social media is off the hook. Do you do your own tweets and your Instagram yourself?
Arty: Yeah, I do my own Twitter and Instagram. You can’t really let someone else control it, they are personal sites. People follow you there because they not only want to see your artistic side but also the personal side of your life. Who better to show it than yourself, it’s not that hard to spend some time on your social media to show the people that it’s actually you.
RS: I was confused by one of your Instagrams, it was a picture of you and another guy in a hat and it said “Jack Ü.” Was that Skrillex or Martin under the hat?
Arty: That was Martin Garrix. I was in Amsterdam and I stayed with them, we had such a great time. One night we were at one of the clubs and he asked me if he could take my hat and hooded jacket. He put it on and I was like “dude you really look like Skrillex from certain angles.” He took the glasses and put them on and we took a picture and called it Jack Ü. I was sure that Martin wasn’t going to post it because although it was funny, I wasn’t sure that it was appropriate but it went great and people really loved it. I love Martin, he is an amazing person and I had a really great time with him.
RS: Is there possibly a collab coming?
Arty: I can’t tell you anything about that.
RS: Honestly looking at your Instagram, you look like a model or one of those fashion bloggers. Is there modeling in your future?
Arty: No not really, I just like the good style. I am not trying to be like “that’s me, I am so amazing and you guys should accept the fact that I look a certain way.” That is definitely not the point, I like to look a little different, something that shows my personality. I finished my album and during the process I went through a lot of life experiences and changed as a person lot. I think that everything that has happened with me lately is just a reflection of experiences that I am gaining. I moved away and now I live in downtown LA, it’s a pretty hipster-ish area, it’s super cool and super vibey. There are a lot of young people there and a lot of skateboarders and artists and people that are connected to music and art. It’s amazing, you get inspired by these people and obviously it reflects on you as well. It changes you, it changes your mentality and perspective.
RS: Going back to your album, the track “Braver Love,” did you work with Conrad on writing the lyrics or did you give him a track and he wrote to it? How did that song come about with the collaboration?
Arty: We were actually in the studio together. It was a long time ago though, we wrote “Braver Love” at the end of 2013 before “Firestone” with Kygo was released. I had so much fun with that guy, he is quite a person. We went to the studio two times, we wrote another track which I think is even better, but we never finished it. We will see what happens there but he is a really cool person and we have been writing a lot of lyrics together. We had been working on the track for a while and I showed him a bunch of ideas and we tried to make something from those ideas but it never worked out. We finally came up with an idea together and we literally wrote the whole hook in half an hour.
RS: That was pretty fast! How about your album, how long did it take from start to finish?
Arty: A long time, probably almost two years to be honest. It was really back and forth, I worked on this album for such a long time but as you can imagine the music scene changes so fast. I would listen to something new that would influence me. I kept changing the sound of each track again and again and so I ended up having two or three different versions of each song that I have on the album. My album was 90% done in 2014 and in the beginning of 2015 I thought that I was super close to finishing it but in reality I wasn’t really even close. It’s just such a process and you want to make sure that every song has a right place and a right time and the right lyrics. That is the story of my last couple years with this album, it has been super important for me to show the people my exact vision with the music.
RS: How has signing to the major label effected your album process, both with the music and with the distribution?
Arty: There are some pros and cons with working for a major label. Obviously they have a really strong network over the American radio but I think that there are some misunderstandings with new technology. Trying to figure out what is happening with SoundCloud and major labels is really insane and that really effects the artists. SoundCloud is the easiest way for people to push their new music, it’s not very cool to go to iTunes because it takes you time. With SoundCloud you just click play and it’s super fast and you can comment on it and see responses on your track as well. You’re not really able to do that when you are signed to a major label so I think that is some of the problem, but I am pretty sure they are going to figure it out, eventually.
RS: If you could be in the studio with Flume what kind of track would you make with him?
Arty: I don’t know man, he is so good. With every production that he brings it just seems like there is no way to get better, but he does! In the last year and a half, he has become one of my favorite top producers who is always pushing the boundaries of the scene. He is not focused on anything that is happening around him and he has his own thing going on, he is so good at it. He reminds me a lot of Skrillex because Skrillex is killing it as well, he is doing everything. He is doing dubstep and trap and he is jumping on Justin Bieber’s album. Justin Bieber’s album sounds amazing and it is really good quality music, he has grown up so fast and sounds really honest on the album. Skrillex’s production is insane. What I am trying to say is that Flume and Skrillex are people that are constantly going to push the boundaries of dance music so that people aren’t stuck in the same genre for another 10 years.
RS: What inspired the platinum blonde hair?
Arty: Life. I went to get my hair cut about a year ago at the hair dressing place, I know everyone there and we had a chat about dying my hair. They said that blonde would look great and they started to bleach my hair. I looked like “slim shady” and I felt like it didn’t look right, it’s not the ‘90s anymore! My hair dresser said to give her time and when she was done I was like wow! I looked like a different person, it was a shock to see myself in the mirror the next day, it took time to get used to but I love it now.
RS: What is the strangest question that you have ever been asked in an interview?
Arty: There have been some really weird questions over the course of interviews. I can’t pick one but usually when you are in an interview you are going through the same thing again and again. We are having a really good time right now, I am really happy about that. There haven’t been any strange questions but I really like listening to you, usually it’s worse and the same questions over and over and you kind of get tired of it.
RS: Why is it that all DJs wear black?
Arty: I am not wearing black right now, look at that, I am wearing a white tank top, I’m different! My personal opinion about that is that black is a dope color. If you wear white all the time in clubs and festivals you have to clean it every other day! You don’t see anything on a black shirt so it stays clean visually for a way longer time. I would say that might be the reason and also if you have weight problems it hides it I guess.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Arty: I love my fans so much, that is the reason why I am here. That is the reason why I am doing it, if it weren’t for my fans what would be the god damn point to making the music? It wouldn’t go anywhere! As long as they appreciate it, I am really happy about it.
Interview conducted February 2016 at The Mid in Chicago.