On May 30th, Russian producer Arty made a stop in San Diego at Bassmnt to spin what may be one of the most energetic sets I've experienced. Starting with groove-driven bass-lines and taking things a bit deeper in the middle, his genre-game was on-point. Before this, I was given the opportunity to speak with him about his approach to his latest release with vocalist Ray Dalton titled "Stronger," a forthcoming exclusive release on Anjunabeats, and Star Wars. For more information, keep scrolling.
AB: Describe your sound in five words or less.
ARTY: Melodic, feel-good, energetic, mood-driven. Cute, or sad, depending on the situation I'm dealing with or sound that I'm working on.
AB: At what BPM would you say your heart beats?
AB: Since your smashing remix of London Grammar’s “Hey Now,” the year has been characterized by a shift from energetic-Arty to softer-Arty in your remix of Ed Sheeran and Rudimental’s “Bloodstream,” as well as your long-awaited release of “Stronger,” featuring the resonating vocals of Ray Dalton.
ARTY: Well, I did a remix of Porter Robinson's "Lionhearted," which is pretty energetic. Then again, it all depends on your current state and mentality. If you're mixing a track, what kind of vocals are you dealing with, and what direction do you want to take it? You never know -- it's so random.
AB: Exactly. It completely depends on the situation.
AB: Can you describe for us how and why you approached "Bloodstream," by Ed Sheeran and Rudimental?
ARTY: They approached me, because they wanted to do something cool with it. I wanted to go with something a little bit darker. When you slow down the BPM, it brings more 'darkness' into the track, because you can actually hear the details of the lyrics: you can pick out more words, the pronunciation, the singing, and stuff like that. It gives the track a little bit of breath that the original doesn't have, because the original is drum & bass at ~180. It's pretty quick -- it's a banger.
AB: Vocals are super quick, and it's pretty hard to follow. It's completely energetic.
ARTY: Exactly. It's pretty dark, but you can bring much more darkness when you slow down the BPM. I was a bit worried about this particular remix, because the original is too fast, and you actually can't find a 'golden middle' between slow and fast. With Ed Sheeran, it worked out perfectly, in my opinion.
AB: I would say that it's definitely different from your other stuff.
ARTY: It is. Then again, why not try something else? I could put the track in a mix, but it's obviously not one that you would play at a live show. But, why not?
AB: Precisely. Why not dabble, indeed.
AB: Can you describe for us how you approached "Stronger?" What specific elements did you want to incorporate in the track?
ARTY: There's a huge story about this track, because we had multiple versions with Mat Zo, but I'm not sure if both of them really worked out. There have been certain complications.
AB: So those will maybe be released?
ARTY: Right now, I'm not sure. We considered one of the versions as a released version, but there's a huge sample in this track that's really difficult to clear the rights for. I'm not sure if it would work out anyways.
AB: Yeah, because I remember hearing it on the 2014 EDC Livestream.
ARTY: Well, that's a different one -- that's the first one. That one definitely wouldn't work. It's a dope version. I like it a lot. But that would be a decision not only by me, but Mat Zo, as well. We made this track together. With the second track, we had huge issues with the sample. Now, I decided to do my own version that I was 100 % satisfied with. It's totally different to convert to the first two versions -- they have different vibes. This track is a little bit more flat of a record, but it worked out pretty well for me. I have a good feeling about this track, and that's the most important thing.
AB: It definitely has a deeper, resonating vocal that sets the stage. It's pretty emotional, as well.
ARTY: Yeah, it's definitely more focused on the vocals rather than the actual record, because that's how it should be with a vocalist like Ray Dalton who is destroying it with his gospel-like voice.
AB: Interestingly enough, the track's cover has lions on it, and I paralleled the vocals to Disney's The Lion King, as if Simba is singing the song to Mufasa.
ARTY: Exactly. It's not an exact comparison, but it's a similar situation: when the younger, less experienced are searching for inspiration from the people who have already made success for themselves. That's the comparison of the younger and older lion on the cover. There's that Lion King comparison, as well. It was the designer's idea. He's really passionate with covers, and worked with "Up All Night" and "Night Like This." He's a good kid.
AB: Are there any fresh tracks that you'll be sharing with us tonight?
ARTY: Yeah, there's a bunch of new stuff. I can't really tell you the names, because there are multiple remixes from the album. I never say something unless it's 100 % confirmed. So far, they've been getting pretty good reviews on the road.
AB: Will you be releasing a track through Enhanced or Anjunabeats anytime soon?
ARTY: Definitely not Enhanced. I had a pretty good run with those guys back in 2010 and 2011, but now we've ended those relations. With Anjunabeats, you never know. I love those guys, they love me, probably (I hope). We're doing something with Anjunabeats right now. We have something exclusive going on, and definitely will work together again.
AB: Nice! That's really great to hear.
AB: If you were a character in HBO's Game of Thrones, what family would you be in and how would you die?
ARTY: I don't want to die. I'd rather be in The Big Bang Theory. That's my thing -- science, nerds, gigs, stuff like that. I'm a huge nerd. I love everything about science, technology, and computers. I would keep myself away from Game of Thrones. There's too much blood there, even though it's a dope TV show. I'd rather not be there.
AB: It's a pretty crappy place to live in, not gonna lie. It's pretty gory. And sad.
AB: If you could change anything in the world with the snap of a finger, what would it be and why?
ARTY: Hmm... I don't nothing. Nothing, probably. It's just the way it goes. Certain people make the changes, certain people don't make the changes, and keep the squall going in its direction. I would rather not change something and see where it goes. I try to make an impact through music.
AB: Interesting. Are there any specific things you'd like to see changed?
ARTY: Not really.
AB: Audien says poverty, Super8 & Tab say climate change, you say--
ARTY: I say, J.J. Abrams keeps shooting Star Wars 'til Episode IX.
AB: Hahahahaha. I'm with it.
ARTY: That's what I would say. I believe that's the best option for us. The Star Wars Saga, right now.
AB: The trailers have been really awesome, man.
ARTY: I swear, I was crying when I first saw the first teaser trailer.
AB: Hahaha. I was hitting replay non-stop.
ARTY: When I saw the Millennium flying across the sky, that was it, right there. I cried for the second one, too. All we need to see is Mark Hamill!
AB: Well, we heard him talk.
ARTY: Yeah, but I wanna see him! There's been a dope shoot with Variety, as I remember. They showed the main villain, and it looks gorgeous. This guy is gonna be a pretty dope bad-ass.
AB: The guy with the sword-like lightsaber?
ARTY: Yeah, that's the guy.
AB: Do you have any words of wisdom to give to the world out there?
ARTY: Be yourself, be passionate, be creative. That's how you can actually make some changes. Or not make changes, but make yourself feel good.
Some of us are kicking back on summer vacation, are working, or are still on the finals grind. Whatever it is that you're doing, remember three things: be yourself, be passionate, and be creative. The next time Arty makes a stop at your neighborhood, be sure to check him out. Grab your copy of "Stronger" here!
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