This past Saturday Minneapolis, Minnesota was hit with another round of snow to add to what has already been a record-breaking snowfall month for February. However, the loyal fans of ARTY toughed out the storm and made their way downtown to Rev Ultra Lounge, filling the venue for a sold out event. In true ARTY fashion, the Russian producer threw down an incredible set filled with Progressive House bangers including his newest single “Save Me Tonight”. Before the show, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with ARTY about that new single and his other projects:
Welcome back to Minneapolis! Glad you could tough out the snow to be with us tonight.
I love it! This is my type of weather.
I’m sure you’ve experienced your fair share of rough winters growing up in Russia?
That was my weather for like 23 years. I try not to go to Russia in the wintertime. I still go, but maybe only for one week. It’s a nice change because it’s like, ‘Oh shit! I actually miss the snow.’
Your newest single “Save Me Tonight” is an uplifting track with some powerful lyrics. How did this track come about?
One of the songwriters, that’s a very good friend of mine, wrote the track and sent it to me. Actually, my manager sent it to me. I was sitting on this record for a little bit. I listened to it and was like, ‘This is a very, very cool record,’ but I didn’t get back to it until May. I was sitting in the studio and accidentally popped on the acappella. I was like, ‘I know exactly what I’m going to do with that.’ I came up with the chorus very fast.
Michael Jay is the songwriter. The reason I had this track in the first place is because we wrote “Couldn’t Be Better” together with George from AlunaGeorge. We were in the studio going back and forth, and that’s how “Couldn’t Be Better” came about. Michael is the same songwriter from “Couldn’t Be Better” and “Save Me Tonight”. He’s actually singing “Couldn’t Be Better” as well. His voice is pitched down so you can’t even recognize him.
Some of your past tracks like “Tim” have really hit close to home for you. Did “Save Me Tonight” come from any personal experiences?
It’s definitely coming from a personal experience. This record was done, not going into details, after certain things happened. It was definitely inspired and motivated by Tim’s (Avicii) music because he was always such a huge influence on me. When the first version was done in May, it made so much sense to me because I was in a tough path of my life from everything that happened. When it still hurt, the best way to get rid of the pain is to express it through the music.
You and Noah Centineo are friends. He costars in the video for “Save Me Tonight” with Lily Collins. How did you two meet?
He’s one of my best friends here. My best friend, who’s also my manager, Kyle invited him to one of these parties. It was about two and a half years ago. Noah and I started to hang out a little bit after that. He came with us to EDC Vegas. We flew together when I played a show with Armin Van Buuren at Mirage, a beautiful Brooklyn venue. After that we just became such close friends. We also share a lot of the things that we think about and how we see certain things. I’m not saying we share the same mind; we’re a little bit different.
I loved the ending of the “Save Me Tonight” video! How fun was it to see the colored chalk blow up on the set? Was that a one take thing?
It was a scary deal! The reason is because we only had one shot. The scene was not super complicated. Also the fact that we all had to film it on our phones, because the initial idea was to use that footage also in the video, was very intimidating.
The Ninjawerks album was an awesome surprise to many EDM fans and gamers. You have your track “Velvet” on there. How did you get involved in this project?
I’ve known Tyler (Ninja) for a while. My friends told me that he was playing my music during his streams. I followed him on Twitter, he followed me back, and we started to talk a little bit. The Pro AM for Fortnite was where I first met him face-to-face. Since then, we’ve been talking back and forth.
I had this record that I didn’t know what to do with. It (“Velvet”) was not lining up very well with everything I was working on. It wasn’t a track that I wanted to put out as a single. A couple months after making it, my manager said that we have an opportunity for a mix compilation. I was like ‘I have a record for that that I think is perfect.’
2019 has been rumored to be the return of the 2011-2012 Progressive House era. “Save Me Tonight” definitely has this throwback vibe. If this is the case, will we be seeing more ARTY releases than ALPHA 9 in 2019?
I’ve been saying that (Progressive House returning) for a while. That’s the reason why I released “Sunrise”. “Sunrise”, for me, is the record that’s nostalgic. I was not making this music because it’s coming back; I was making this music because I love it so much.
I know exactly what I’m doing with ARTY and I know exactly what I’m doing with ALPHA 9. I got to a place with ALPHA 9 music where I feel like I need to take a step forward with everything I’m doing with this project. I’m changing the sound for ALPHA 9. It took me a bit of time trying to get inspired, and I think I’ve got it.
I’ve been working on this record that I just finished for almost a month and a half. It’s definitely the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. It has about four separate projects for like the stems and bounces. It’s crazy! The track is a definition of where ALPHA 9 goes, and where I see the project going for the next two or three years. It’s more complicated music; more cinematic and deeper. It doesn’t recycle the same sounds like ALPHA 9 was doing before. I’m very excited to see what people think! Hopefully the track is going to come out soon, maybe in the next two months.
Besides the big ALPHA 9 project, what else can we expect in 2019? I see you’ll be making an appearance during Miami Music Week in a couple weeks?
Yes of course! I have a show at The Gorge with Spencer Brown going back-to-back. We have big plans for Armada for ARTY stuff. It’s going to be a very busy year!
I would like to thank ARTY for taking the time to talk with me. There's nothing us Minnesotans love more than to talk about snow! I would also like to thank SIM Shows and Rev Ultra Lounge for putting together a great night to forget about the terrible weather!