We recently got the chance to sit down and have a chat with ARTY. The Russian producer/DJ has long been a fixture in the dance music scene’ consistently pumping out gorgeous progressive house tunes as well as being a sought-after headliner.
Like so many of us, it was a long year-and-a-half for Artem Stoliarov; touring is the life blood for most DJs. However, ARTY was not deterred and saw the opportunity to rack up some studio time and create some new tunes. We talked to ARTY about his time in studio during the pandemic, new music he’s working on, his Alpha 9 project, and becoming a better producer. Check out our conversation below.
The new song is “Brighter Side.” Just tell me what kind of music you’re making right now? I’m really loving that bright progressive house sound. You’ve also got some guitars going, so there’s a little bit of a rock edge. What’s the inspiration there?
“I think the inspiration for those songs was the last year. I think it was February when I basically locked down the studio sessions and we can write the songs and we can do all the good stuff on the music side. So, we had, I don’t remember how many writing sessions we had, we had so many good songs coming out of it. So, basically, this is the end result that you’re hearing right now. It definitely took me time to finish all of the songs. But, the very important thing to note, is that it was kind of like a dramatic, in a good way, dramatic moment in my personal life. So there were a lot of things going on inside me and I didn’t know how to express those feelings. So, the songwriting was the best way to express those feelings, and now it’s a public sort of thing.”
Going back to the pandemic and the world being locked down, how did you approach it? Were you like I’m just going to bust out a bunch of songs? Or, was it like, oh, what do I do since I can’t tour and do what I normally do?
“You know, it was not a problem for me whatsoever. I keep repeating this again and again and again, the entire situation with the pandemic, probably one of the worst things that’s happened with our humanity, as long as I can remember, this definitely affected the most people, and not in a good way. So, this was so bad, it’s get better for sure, but we’re still not really at that point where it’s like we’re free to go, everybody’s vaccinated, everybody’s healthy. But, for me personally, that was a time where I could take time to be in the studio and learn new stuff, work on new music, and spend as much time as I could in the studio. Which, is the most obnoxious thing. This summer, I didn’t start touring until the middle of July, I was at home in the basement of my house in the studio right. For like 20 out of 24 hours of the day!”
So you took the opportunity to work hard?
“Yeah, but the thing is, I’m not trying to work hard, that’s just how it goes. I’m not trying be the guy who’s like, okay, I’m working so many hours. Like you should work just as hard, no, you should not, I’m spending time here because I like it. I like it that much. The thing is, this is my favorite spot right now. I’m happy here, obviously I need to see some daylight, but I have Vitamin D3 for that. And, I’ve been waiting for this moment for like, I don’t know, 10 years. Like, since, I went on a tour when all the things exploded, I’ve never stopped touring since then. I’ve always wanted to take time in the studio to learn stuff. Learn how to mix, learn how to master better, learn all the new things. And that was the pandemic for me pretty much.”
You mentioned the stuff you learned as a producer, tell us what does that entail? When we think of a musician, it’s like you master your instrument. As a producer, what are the tricks and skills you can learn that make you better?
“Just sound better. Just understand what are you actually doing with your music. For these past 10 years, I’ve had no idea what’s going on in my mix. Obviously, I have a basic idea, but I was never digging deeper than I should have or maybe not. I think, honestly, everything has its purpose and everything has its timing. Like, when we have the pandemic, that’s when you say to yourself, this is the time to go back to this issue that you had, somewhere deep inside of you, as a sound engineer and now you need to fix it. Or at least get to the point where it’s like you’re closer to finding a solution for it, rather than taking a couple of steps back. It was not about writing the melodies or making the song, which actually happened. I think between April and June, I did 25 songs, from scratch, top to bottom, finished, they’re all done. So, that’s not the issue, the issue was me learning how to be better in terms of making a better sound. Not making better music, making a better sound.”
Other than music and stuff, what else did you do during the pandemic?
“Nothing, I was definitely hanging out with my friends for a little bit, but that would be like one day in two weeks, and that’s it. It’s like I have more work to do than before the pandemic, and it was escalated like that all the time. I feel more tired than when I was on tour, not sleeping for 15, 20, 25, 30 hours, flying from country to country. For some reason, I just feel more tired right now. I think that’s just a natural kind of way of things going. You don’t have to tour, put in more time in the studio. That’s my thing, that’s what I like to do. But, I’m obsessed with being in a place where I’m happy. Like music making and my city is definitely a happy place for me.”
Can we expect an album?
“Not just one.”
Tell us a little bit about the process of getting your track signed. I know now you’re working with Armada, so there’s probably a similar style to the songs. Do you ever think of a specific label or do they reach out to you?
“We’ve been working with Armada since early 2017, because they signed Alpha 9 first, but now, ARTY is on Armada and Alpha 9 is on Anjunabeats, so those two things are split up. They exist in their own universe. Not for the fans, but for me, personally. That’s a good thing because it helps my brain not to become overloaded. The relationship with Armada is so flawless and they are super open for like all the music. So, it’s basically the situation where I don’t have to give a shit in terms of what I need to produce. So, I do give shit for what I want to produce, because that comes right from my gut, and they’re super supportive. So, they support all the music that we’ve been releasing, and it’s been a great relationship. I think this is the best time in my career, when everything goes so smooth. Nobody, like messes up the deadlines, everything is in order, and we just found this crazy dynamic, when all of the parts are working together so nicely, it’s actually amazing. It’s very inspiring for me to not be that guy, who is like, okay, well I’m going to deliver the mix for this track tomorrow. Or, sorry, I’m going to deliver this like next month or like in half a year.”
You’re going to be hitting the road coming up in the fall. Are you looking forward to getting back on the road and coming back to the States?
“I was on the road. I was in the States in July. That was a little bit of a test drive that we did. I had a tour for like two weekends, five or six shows. But, it was amazing, because I was praising this place so much like, oh my god, this is the spot. But, at the same time, I’ve been spending way too much time in the studio, which, you can do that during the pandemic, because you start to lose sense of time and sense of where you need to be, especially when you don’t need to be in the studio all that time. So, basically, my booking agent and my manager, they kind of pulled me out of the studio and basically slingshotted me through this tour, and it felt so good, it felt so refreshing. There was a lot of things that has to do with all the papers that you need to get in the country. The most brutal thing was getting out of my country. Not getting into the United States, it was getting out of my country. They needed to have all these papers in English and Russian. But, I think I landed in New York and when I got out of the airport, it was so nice to be back. I kind of forgot that the US is my second home, it’s been my second home for the past 10 years. So it’s so hard to deny this fact, but, it’s so easy to forget about it when you spend so much time focusing just on the music. So, it was a test run to see how things would go with me getting out of the country and into the United States. But, I think it was more important on the personal side, on the mental side. That I’m not only the guy who’s sitting in this chair and making the music, I’m also the guy who’s performing this music for the fans, who’s interacting with the fans. It was so amazing, taking pictures again, it’s like let’s go! Every single show that I did, I literally stayed until the last fan wanted to take pictures. Not that it’s something to be proud of, but, I wanted it, it was my desire.”
Any other words for the fans? What can we expect from you for the rest of the year and going into 2022?
“There’s a ton of stuff going on, I can’t even comprehend it in my head right now. We’ve got a new single this Friday. People in the social media world have been asking me about the next Alpha 9 song. The next Alpha 9 song is taking some time because it’s going to be the most special track for me. Not just for one project or another, it’s going to be a very special track for me personally. So this is definitely taking some time, but that’s going to be the middle of the Fall I think. And, more stuff for Arty, like it was not enough. There’s so much more, it’s crazy. The music is very different as well, I’ve been exploring. Not like, I’m going to do pop, but in a little bit different way.”
Check out the latest from ARTY, “Brighter Side” out now on Armada.