DJ Arty (a.k.a. Artem Stolyarov) is fast becoming one of the most-talked-about producers in the business. Not only has he been personally signed by Interscope boss Neil Jacobson, but he will also be the first artist to put out an album on their new Insomniac label. Oh, and if that weren’t enough for us to sit up and give ear, he’s recording that album in the same studio used by Zedd, who just happens to share the same birth city as this 24-year-old Russian phenom. But this Drai’s resident doesn’t yield to creativity-stifling expectations—he is simply making the music he wants to make. We ventured to Arty’s Hollywood Hills abode to discuss his sound and his first single while watching a riveting World Cup match.
What do you consider to be ‘commercial music’?
Commercial music for me is stuff for the radio. I don’t play that.
Didn’t you do a remix for London Grammar’s “Hey Now”?
London Grammar is obviously not Top 40 radio; it’s a really cool record. The first time I heard it was in January on Zane Lowe’s show on BBC Radio One, and I thought, “Oh, my God, [lead singer Hannah Reid’s] voice is just incredible.” How it builds is just incredible, and I decided I wanted to do the remix, just for myself. I had been in the studio with Axwell from Swedish House Mafia. I was halfway through the making of the song, and I decided to show it to him. He said, “Dude, this is really amazing—you should finish it.” Axwell only says that sort of thing once in a long while, so that means a lot. I really admire Axwell; he is my idol.
That track almost wasn’t an official remix, right?
It was unofficial, because basically I took the MP3 file, cut it and blended it with an old arrangement that I had—I never got an official approval from the label. A lot of DJs picked it up, and when Armin van Buuren played it five or six times on his radio show, all these big names followed suit, and the label approved it.
So what about your new album? The first single, “Up All Night” with Angel Taylor, just dropped. How’s the rest looking?
Well, I definitely took a different direction, but the one thing that I found really fascinating about was the process of songwriting. I’ve been working with all these amazing singers. I always start with the harmonies and work to get the vocals perfect. I’ve been in the studio a lot, and just finished a really happy, upbeat song before the most recent Electric Daisy Carnival.
Is happiness the message you try to convey in your sets?
Not really. When I’m playing my sets, I’m not just trying to make people happy, I’m taking them on a journey as well. When I play huge festivals with lots of people, I keep in mind that there is a lot of production and massive speakers, so I keep those sets very energetic. But rather than playing really hard like these electronic dance music [festivals] want you to do, I play more banging stuff, and prefer to do completely different things. My sets are still really energetic, but they have a lot of different flavors. At EDC, I played some really mellow stuff; I played five songs from my new album, and I also played some new stuff from Skrillex’s album that I really like. And I even played a couple of songs from Above & Beyond, which is a completely different direction from Skrillex. I try to take people through a progressive trance journey.
Do you feel any pressure to be the next big thing?
I want to be myself. I don’t want to feel any expectations. That’s the reason why I was so happy for the last nine months, since the time I started to work on the album. Because when I’ve come to the studio, I’ve had no expectations about what I was going to do. I just locked myself in the studio and made music.