- Top 100
August 4, 2012
It’s not often enough here at DJ Mag Canada that we get to work with some local talent on the Trance blog.
Yes he was born in Sarajevo but Arnej is the name that most readily comes to mind when you combine the words Toronto and Trance. He calls this city home and is here to stay.
He is consistently a name that you hear in this genre whether in Canada or worldwide – the fact that he has never had any formal music training means that his songs find themselves buried in emotion rather than being caught up in technicalities. We couldn’t be happier about this. Emotion is the first step to music and while his production skills are incredibly advanced he never seems to over-think a track or add components that don’t need to be there. Finding excellence through simplicity is a hard skill to master and one that Arnej does exceptionally well.
Our choice track of the week is The Beauty That Lies Behind Those Green Eyes.
The choice track comes a little earlier in the post than usual because this one comes all the way back from 2008. Incredibly relaxing and emotional, this is my favourite Arnej track and I feel that it very much represents the sound that he has come to craft for himself.
Continuing through Arnej’s impressive discography will lead you to an abundance of releases through the years that peel away all of the gimmicks that have been associated with trance music and leave us with the pure essence of the genre. I’ve picked out a few of the best examples for you below.
You’ll also frequently see Arnej producing his work under the alias of 8 Wonders. Both names are used in his newest production outing – the album Unreleased. He opted to release this album absolutely free of charge through his Facebook fan page. If big cheesy vocals and melodies are what you seek this album is certainly not for you. The music featured here blurs the line between soundtrack and electronic music. It’s perfect to listen to from start to finish. A steady energetic drive combined with soothing melodies and instrumental sounds. From darker more driving moments to airy euphoric moments it really does capture everything that trance is.
Also in the past few years we have seen Arnej featured on the Los Angeles ’12 compilation album brought to us by Markus Schulz, as a co-producer on the massive Cosmic Gate artist album as well as picking up a few remix duties. His collaboration with Orjan Nilsen – who has also found immense success in the past few years will be released in September.
Arnej took some time to answer a few questions for us about the album and life in Toronto (and also showed us what a fan he is of the winky emoticon.) Read below!
Q: What prompted you to release an entire artist album for free through your social media outlets? I take it this is where the title ‘Unreleased’ comes from?
Over the years, I’ve produced a lot of music with no barriers or restrictions. I find that these days most people (myself included) mostly write music for the dancefloor, while there is nothing wrong with this idea, some of the meaning and feeling is gone from the music. This album is a collection of music from the heart, unhindered by modern cliches. I wanted to give to the fans what’s been lacking.
Q: What moments in Toronto have been most memorable for you? How do you think the city has impacted you as an artist?
Many people don’t know that my DJ career began in Toronto but not in the way most think. Roll back the clock to the latter half of 2007, it was at the annual Labour Of Love event at the Guvernment where Armin van Buuren approached me with the idea of opening up for him on his return to Canada a few months later. This was an incredible honour, and of course I said yes. The rest is as they say history
Q: Are the gigs you play in Canada/North America different from shows in other parts of the world with respect to crowd, sound, and experience?
The EDM culture is still new to the North American front, but it’s booming at a rate never seen before. I love it, for the most part I know that no matter where in North America I play, the crowd will be into it, and this is the most important part of the “job”.
Q: What are some short and long term goals that you have for yourself? (Either career oriented or not)
My goals are simple. To better myself as a person and to grow with each and every experience which are not so much different than anyone else’s. A family sometime down the road would complete the journey, but not yet
Q: Are there venues or cities that you have not yet performed in that you wish to?
There is a lot of buzz around Las Vegas these days, and having experienced the madness from the fan perspective, I’d love to get on the other side of the decks!
Q: Where does someone who has such a refined style such as yourself take your creative influences from? How do you go about envisioning and then producing such unique tracks?
Most of my music is self-reflective, an expression of my experiences through life, love, lost love and everything in between. Music tends to resonate with people when there is some personal touch or emotion put behind it; at least it does to me. Every track really begins the same way, which is with the melody. When I have the main plot of the story, filling in the blanks comes easier.
Q: What projects are you currently working on? What can we expect in the next little while from you?
I’ve been quite busy in the studio, compiling my album. It’s been a difficult journey but it will be worth the wait. I’ve also recently finished remixes for Gareth Emery and Emma Hewitt, on top of collaborations with Markus Schulz and Cosmic Gate. It’s been an interesting year and it will be even more interesting as it winds down. Keep a close eye out because big things are coming
Q: I see that there is a new radio show called “Musical Evolution” being launched soon. Can you tell me what the concept is behind that?
The basic premise behind the show is to take the listener on a journey through music. The main emphasis will not be on randomly mixing tracks together, but providing something a little bit extra to the listening experience. This ultimately is a complete redesign and relaunch of the Arnej Podcast, which goes live later this month.
Q: Where can your fans keep in touch with you and what’s going on in your busy schedule?
That’s it for this week!
Speaking of fanpages, I hope you didn’t miss out on our VELD Ticket giveaways because you haven’t liked our page! Don’t lose the chance to see Avicii, Deadmau5, Steve Angello, Gareth Emery, and Cosmic Gate – just to name a few!
Also check out our fun video interview with Afrojack from the Escapade Festival in Ottawa.
Or our interview with Tenishia last week with the release of their first artist album Memory of a Dream!