Saturday Night Session 009: ARTY talks video games and explains the huge year he has in store
Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.
Two artist aliases, 12 months, and 20 songs. Artem Stoliarov cannot be stopped, but apparently his 2018 output is only a fraction of what fans should expect from him in 2019. More popularly known as ARTY or ALPHA 9, the Russian producer is matched by few in quantity of releases as of late, and even fewer in quality.
While the rise of formulaic and simplistic arrangement has propelled the careers of many thanks to the rise of pop electronic crossover releases, Stoliarov has found a way to stay relevant to the masses without compromising his musical integrity. His early influences still play a big role in his creative inspiration, and for ARTY in particular, progressive house music is what has driven him to create and produce. For ALPHA 9, his inspiration is undoubtedly gathered from the trance music scene. While the two aliases represent his different sides, they are linked by the fact that they both yield ‘feel good’ music.
Maintaining two aliases with the level of output both ALPHA 9 and ARTY have is rare, and undoubtedly may seem like a daunting task for many. Stoliarov interestingly notes that having both projects is what keeps him creative and enables him to keep producing. He spoke on this, explaining, “The technical process or the workflow is pretty much the same for both projects. The biggest difference is about the ideas, melodies, harmonies and the sound.” He continues, “While ARTY is more euphoric and progressive house-driven music, ALPHA 9 is a cinematic and a deeper experience. And I think the distinction between the two projects was the main reason I could stay inspired throughout the entire year.”
He is the first to admit that mindset is everything for him. He concluded his thoughts about the dynamic between the projects, saying, “Anytime I’d get stuck with an ARTY track, it would be because I didn’t carry the right emotions or my mindset was in a different place, so then I switch to an ALPHA 9 project, and then back. It’s really bizarre, but amazing at the same time how the things work out this way.” His ability to never stop producing because of this dynamic explains the amount of music he was able to put out in 2018, but he notes that he has so much music left to release that he doesn’t think one year will be enough time for what he has left to put out in 2019.
ARTY has arrived with the first of these releases, and his progressive house roots feel more apparent than ever in, “Save Me Tonight.” The dance-inducing song is the perfect example of a unique sonic progression that is framed by unique vocal layers and an upbeat bassline that creates a radio or live-performance worthy release.
The track is more than just another release for the producer. It is a culmination of all of the sonic elements he has been working toward for years. He states, “This song is one of the rarest cases when you listen to a final version, you’re like ‘yeah, that’s it, I finally got it.’ He continues, “‘Save Me Tonight’ is the highlight of everything I’ve been trying to achieve with my music for the past year and a half, getting back to my older progressive and house roots. I grew up on Axwell, Ingrosso, Eric Prydz and Roger Sanchez‘s house music back in the day, and making a record with its influence is like a child’s dream comes true. I think when the fans hear this track, they will know exactly why I’m feeling this way.”
“Save Me Tonight” opens Stoliarov’s Saturday Night Session, and it is the perfect introduction to lure listeners into the hour-long journey through ARTY originals and other choice selections from a variety of artists. While he incorporates progressive house and trance initially, the mix takes a surprising turn, with moments of hip hop and even rock weaved in. The end of Stoliarov’s Saturday Night Session leaves the listener in pieces, as he transitions from seemingly unrelated genres, musicians, and tempos.
Those who have seen him perform live will not be surprised by the session because the producer is known for pivoting from his ‘typical’ style in club sets. He always weaves in the unexpected, as long as it is high energy. For those new to his live performances, prepare for a wild Saturday night, because it will be hard to sit still after listening to this.
We heard “Save Me Tonight” is what you consider to be ‘the best record you’ve ever created.’ Can you tell us about the song and why you think that?
This song is one of the rarest cases when you listen to a final version, you’re like “yeah, that’s it, I finally got it.” “Save Me Tonight” is the highlight of everything I’ve been trying to achieve with my music for the past year and a half, getting back to my older progressive and house roots. I grew up on Axwell, Ingrosso, Eric Prydz and Roger Sanchez’s house music back in the day, and making a record with its influence is like a child’s dream comes true. I think when the fans hear this track, they will know exactly why I’m feeling this way.
How long have you been working on “Save Me Tonight,” and how does it feel now that it has finally been released?
It took a while. I had this top line for a long time and all of a sudden, back in last July, I had a sparkle in my mind that I need to do something with it. It was one of the moments when you already know exact chords and sounds you’re gonna make. After that, it was just a matter of the right execution. I played an early version in few of my live sets and tweaked all of the parts I wasn’t sure of. It was about 5-6 months between the early demo and final mix. And yes, it feels extremely satisfying that the song is finally out. Me and my team worked extremely hard to get everything done, but what I’m most excited about is the reaction of my fans, because “Save Me Tonight” was made for them in the first place.
Being featured on Ninjawerks must have been a really cool moment for you- especially since you’re into the gaming scene. What is your game of choice?
Gaming was one of my first big obsessions when I was a kid. To be honest, it still is. I usually prefer single player games with strong storytelling, that’s probably why my favourite game of all times is Star Wars “Knights of the Old Republic” and “God of War” from last year. But if we’re talking about competitive genre, that would be “League of Legends”. I had to stop playing it around 2017 because usually, LOL takes a lot of time that I just don’t have anymore. I still have a huge love for this game, and I try to watch my favourite streamers and big tournaments from time to time.
When you aren’t producing music, how do you spend your time?
Looking back at 2018, I really didn’t have that much free time left. Usually after long studio sessions, I try to play video games for an hour or so, so I can ease up my mind. I’m also watching some of the movies and tv shows that are out, but new franchises and seasons come out so rapidly, that it became a really overwhelming trying to keep up with those. Lately, I’ve gotten back to reading some of the classic Russian poetry, and it feels really inspiring.
Between ALPHA 9 and ARTY, you released 20 songs in 2018. That is insane. Is there a reason you have chosen to release singles versus an album for both of your artist aliases?
I’m not ready for another album yet. And it’s not really about the amount of the tracks I’ve released last year. 2018 was an incredible year where I could get my head straight, try out new things, be versatile, productive and inspired. I need one more year like that, and who knows what’s gonna happen in 2020.
What are your plans for 2019? What can we expect after such a big 2018?
2019 is gonna be even better. I already have a lot of music that is done or close to being done, and I’m not sure it will be enough time for me to release all of it in just one year. At the beginning of 2018, I had a basic concept of what direction I wanted to take with both the ARTY and ALPHA 9 projects. Now that it’s been a year, I know exactly what to do and where the things are going to go. Everything feels right.
Do you have a different creative process for ARTY versus ALPHA 9? What inspires each of your creative sides?
Technical process or the workflow is pretty much the same for both projects. The biggest difference is about the ideas, melodies, harmonies and the sound. While ARTY is more euphoric and progressive house driven music, ALPHA 9 is a cinematic and deeper experience. And I think the distinction between the two projects was the main reason I could stay inspired throughout the entire year. Anytime I’d get stuck with an ARTY track, it would be because I didn’t carry the right emotions or my mindset was in a different place, so then I switch to an ALPHA 9 project, and then back. It’s really bizarre, but amazing at the same time how the things work out this way.
Do you have any other secret projects (artist names) floating out there…
That’s why you call it a secret project, you can’t talk about it ;)
What kind of a Saturday Night is your mix getting us ready for?
Well, “Save Me Tonight” would be a highlight of this mix, but also, music I’m listening to on a daily basis or playing in my live shows.