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ARTY: The Mastermind Dives Deep Into ALPHA 9, “Save Me Tonight” [Interview]

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Russian-born electronic DJ/Producer ARTY has been a dance music mainstay since he first exploded onto the scene a decade ago in 2009. His musical evolution included various top originals and noteworthy remixes for numerous top-tier acts. What’s been going on lately in the world of ARTY? The Nocturnal Times sat down with ARTY during Miami Music Week this year, just before he took the stage at Armada Invites.

Russian-born electronic DJ/Producer ARTY has been a dance music mainstay since he first exploded onto the scene a decade ago in 2009. His musical evolution included various top originals and noteworthy remixes for numerous top-tier acts. What’s been going on lately in the world of ARTY? The Nocturnal Times sat down with ARTY during Miami Music Week this year, just before he took the stage at Armada Invites.


One thing that’s remained consistent throughout ARTY’s 10-plus-year musical career is the passion and emotion found within his tunes. Now releasing with the prestigious independent dance label Armada Music (Armin van Buuren’s imprint), ARTY’s “Save Me Tonight” is already, without a doubt, one of the biggest dance songs of 2019. His latest, “Avalanche,” was released through Armada Music on April 19, and prior, ARTY released “Velvet,” which was included on Ninjawerks via Astralwerks.


Since becoming part of the Armada Music family, in addition to the aforementioned “Avalanche” and the chart-topping “Save Me Tonight,” ARTY also dropped tunes such as “Tim” in honor of the late, great Avicii, “Sunrise,” “Rain,” “Perfect Strangers,”  and “Couldn’t Be Better.” Already taking this year by the reigns, the ambitious producer continues to captivate listeners both through his ARTY persona as well as his ALPHA 9 moniker.

Before his time at one of dance music’s biggest indie labels [Armada], ARTY made quite a name for himself by releasing trance tunes with Anjunabeats and Enhanced, just to name two. Tracks like “Kate,” “Hope,” “Zara,” “The Wonder,” “The Rush,” “Around The Word,” “Flashback,” and the anthemic classic, “Rebound” with Mat Zo all helped pave the way for where ARTY is today, and remain many of the metamorphic marks within his impressive discography.


Among his years of experience came original music on Armada Music, Anjunabeats (Above & Beyond), Astralwerks, Revealed Music (Hardwell), Spinnin’ Records, Flashover Recordings (Ferry Corsten), STMPD RCRDS (Martin Garrix), Seeking Blue, Armind Recordings, and Enhanced Music (Tritonal), among others.


Which of ARTY’s tracks almost didn’t happen? What does his ALPHA 9 alias mean to him and his fans? Will ARTY continue releasing music as ALPHA 9 or continue making trance? Which types of music does he plan on including within his upcoming shows? Find out all of this and more in The Nocturnal Times’ exclusive interview with ARTY, below.

The Nocturnal Times: Another year, another Miami Music Week. What do you look forward to most about coming back to partake in the WMC festivities each year?

ARTY: It’s hot! I’ve been coming here for [Miami Music Week/Winter Music Conference] since 2012 and I don’t think I’ve missed a single year since then. So, that would make this my 7th or 8th Miami. With every single year, I just try to learn a lot. It’s nice to come here and see all your friends that you haven’t seen for a while.


The Nocturnal Times: We’re here at Armada Invites and you’re about to take the stage soon. What can you share with us about your recent joining to the Armada Music family? What can you tell us about your time thus far with one of the biggest independent dance labels around?

ARTY: We had a meeting yesterday with Maykel — they’re all great, we love those guys. I think when I first signed with Armada Music back in 2017, the reason why we signed with them in the first place was because I had this vision where I wanted to take my music. I strongly believed then, and I still believe now, that progressive house music is coming back. I was talking to Maykel and I told him, “this is the music that I want to do. I can go a little less commercial or a little commercial, but I want to get back to my roots and produce the music that I used to do. He told me flat out that he shared the same thoughts as I did and he would do anything to support me. The first single that we released together was “Sunrise.” Without even getting into the numbers [“Sunrise”] was a very successful record for me, but the most important thing for me was seeing whether the record works or not when playing it live. For this record, I knew that it was the definition of me doing the right thing for my fans and for myself. If you share the same vision, working towards the same goals that you have, makes for a good relationship.


The Nocturnal Times: Touching on “Sunrise” a bit, what can you tell us “Save Me Tonight”, which is one of the biggest dance records of 2019?

ARTY: The story behind [“Save Me Tonight”] is that my music manager [one of his artists is a songwriter that wrote a song in 2015]. I actually sat on it for a while, I didn’t really know what to do with it for a bit. Then in five minutes I made the chord progression, but I remember within a week, [my team and I] all had that “holy shit” feeling from the track, goosebumps already. It was actually sort of a similar story behind how “Sunrise” came together. We were on a boat [Groove Cruise] and my manager showed me the song and I was like “oh my god” — it really struck the both of us. I remember just writing the melody and I knew — “that’s it!” My manager and I have been together now for three years, but I love this guy. We have a lot of arguments and debates, but at the end of the day, it’s all for the greater good. It’s a lot of dealing with egos and back and forth, but at the end of the end of the day, it’s all worth it — we have a great relationship.


The Nocturnal Times: Talking a bit about how quickly chord progressions can sometimes come together, looking back now, were there any tracks of yours that took a very long time to finish or that you thought may not happen altogether?

ARTY: “Save Me Tonight.” That record took us a very long time. I think [“Save Me Tonight”] the demo version was finished in May, but it wasn’t really done until about October or November. This track took a lot of time because I was on tour a lot and I would play different versions of it. Then I remember going back and fixing or changing some of it each time. I was changing claps and kicks and all that stuff. It’s definitely been a very long process, but I think everybody can actually understand that this was a very special track, so I had to make sure that the time was spent into making it the very best it could be — I wanted it to be perfect. I mean, it’s never *perfect*, but getting it to the point where you know — “that’s it!”


The Nocturnal Times: Some artists will release tracks and then look back on them months or years down the line and think about things they could have or should have done differently. Do you find this happens to you?  

ARTY: That actually isn’t really my mindset. The past in the past, for me. I think for me this may be less of a factor because I’m always making different edits of my songs for my live sets.


The Nocturnal Times: Let’s dig deeper into your various aliases and monikers. Why is it important for you to release music as ARTY and ALPHA 9 and is this something you plan to continue doing?

ARTY: It’s absolutely crucial for my career because ALPHA 9 is — despite the fact that instead of working 12 hours I have to work 24 hours because those projects are equally important. Especially over the last two years, I can see the shift in the parties I do and the music I make on the ARTY side and then on the Alpha 9 side. These projects are equally important to me and they fulfill each other. I don’t see it as my career exists without the other. It’s very inspirational and for me it helps because you don’t get stuck making one type of music.


The Nocturnal Times: With the over-saturation of the music industry today and the number of tracks being released every week, do you follow a specific routine or have a certain way of sifting through new music in the digital age?

ARTY: The changes over the last five years especially have been dramatic. I remember back in 2017 talking to my team about it and we all came to the same conclusion about it that hopefully by next year [2018] that my sets will be predominantly my own music, original mash-ups, or edits of my old tracks. I still like some of the new tracks that are coming out by artists that I like, but it’s happening less and less. Especially because, like you said, there’s just way too much new music, especially on Spotify, to discover.


The Nocturnal Times: As you mentioned, this is your 7th or 8th consecutive year attending MMW/WMC. What are some of the biggest changes that you’ve noticed over the years about one of dance music’s biggest weeks?  

ARTY: It just got very busy and saturated. I remember in 2015 when DJs were playing — I myself played 12 shows in five days, which was crazy. This to me has become more of a problem or an issue, that you have to start picking and choosing. Back in 2012, when I did my first show in Miami, it had this special essence, but over the years, coming to Miami has become so hectic and so busy — there’s so much going on. I’m not saying whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve noticed — the over-saturation.


The Nocturnal Times: Tell us, who are some of your dream collaborations? After a decade making music, you’ve had a lot of great collaborations and big features, but are there any artists out there who you still hope to collaborate with one day?  

ARTY: There are three names, maybe four, that I can think of right now off the top of my head. The Weeknd, Abel is one of my favorite singers. I love [The Weeknd’s] music a lot, his albums are unreal, and for some reason, his voice reminds me a lot of Michael Jackson. It’s definitely different, but he has some of those elements in his voice, and he’s such an incredible live performer. I went to his concert in 2016 and I was very, very impress — he actually hits every single note. Frank Ocean is another one, I’m a very big fan. Then there’s Childish Gambino, who is just incredible — he’s a guy of *so* many talents. I love what he’s doing with music, movies, TV shows — he’s just incredible and I love what he’s doing with everything. I also love London Grammar, so those are my top picks.


The Nocturnal Times: Looking back: What have been one of your wildest or craziest experiences on the road over the course of your career?

ARTY: I remember actually at Ultra Music Festival in Miami back in 2013, when I was playing the Main Stage around 3-4pm. We were actually just talking about this a couple of days ago. I remember it was just so, so, so hot. I was wearing a black t-shirt, of course, because like everybody else I wear black shirts and black pants. I remember I had no sunscreen on myself and I was literally burning on the stage. I only played for an hour, but all of the equipment was so hot and I remember sweating so much. My ex-girlfriend was looking at me and I had these bubbles and blisters all over my chest — like second and third degree burns. The set was good, though, I enjoyed it. That Ultra was definitely something to remember. I played in Indonesia at Warehouse Project in Djakarta, which is a very cool festival, but I was talking to my manager and he mentioned that we needed to leave extra early because of traffic. So, I remember we left around 12pm because my set was at 6 or 7pm, and I missed my set — I was 30 minutes late. The traffic there was just absolutely insane. What was supposed to be a 20-minute drive, because of traffic, we were stuck for almost 7 hours. We get out of the car and I remember it was just pouring rain. We ended up driving right up to the stage, but it was the wrong stage. At this point, we ended up having to walk all the way across the festival grounds because there was no more bike path. I remember I had just bought a pair of new white sneakers that I wore and had to throw away. They ended up moving my set and I played for 45 minutes, but it was still kind of a bummer.


The Nocturnal Times: What’s in the works in the world of ARTY that you can share with readers of The Nocturnal Times?

ARTY: I have my new ARTY single that [just dropped] on Armada Music called “Avalanche.” It’s a definitely club banger that I’ve been playing all month and have been getting a great reaction. My next ALPHA 9 single is coming out [this month], and that’s actually something I’m most looking forward to. It’s not the same music that I was doing under my ALPHA 9 moniker over the last few years, so I’m really excited about it.


The Nocturnal Times: Do you tend to split your time evenly when it comes to working on ALPHA 9 versus ARTY or do you gravitate more towards one over the other?

ARTY: It’s just a natural shift between two projects. It really all depends on the music I have in the works for ARTY and then for ALPHA 9. Like I was saying earlier, I had “Save Me Tonight,” which for two months was a big priority, especially because I had to prepare the show, new remixes, edits, and mash-ups. So, that all being said, I think the recent shift has been more in favor of ARTY, but I have the upcoming tour coming up with Anjunabeats in San Francisco and Los Angeles, which are ALPHA 9, so that’ll become priority for a little bit. They’re both equally important projects for me. Sometimes, I’ll find myself spending more time on ARTY and then others I find myself gravitating more towards ALPHA 9. To me, it’s not like I consider ALPHA 9 to be a side project — it’s not like that. [ARTY and ALPHA 9] are both equally important to me.


The Nocturnal Times: What’s next for you?

ARTY: A lottt of new music. There’s so much new music that we’re trying to figure out how to release it. It sucks when you realize that you won’t be able to release all of this stuff this year. I have enough material for two full albums.


The Nocturnal Times: Do you want to release an album or keep your releases singles/EP based?

ARTY: No, I don’t. I don’t think I’m actually ready for the next album because the first album was a lot of work. I remember the amount of stress that I had with that and I don’t want to put myself in that position again, just yet. I want to make sure that every member of the team realizes the right time to release the next album — when I’m ready, when the music is ready, and when the brand is ready. Maybe in 2-3 years, maybe sooner, maybe later, maybe never — who knows? But, I would be totally down to do another album in the future. At least now I feel like I’m getting closer to that point.

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