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You differ from most of producers with the fact that you discovered your musical passion quite late. When exactly did you realize that this is it and was it hard to decide that music would be your main occupation?
When I realized that this is something I wanted to do it was probably around the end of 2007. I just made music for fun. If somebody wanted to play it then it was like a great honour, a privilege and I thought it was very cool that somebody would actually play my music but that's not the reason why I wrote music. Then I noticed that more and more people started to pay attention to them like: "Hmm, maybe there is something I can do with it". I think the first track that kind of made me realize that was They Always Come Back. My music has always been very melodic but melodic doesn't always mean that it works on the dance floor. They Always Come Back was the first track which realized me that. But I can have emotions, the melody and still have a record that will work very well in a club or festival. And it's been a journey ever since and now I don't see myself doing anything else, ever. It's just music and djing.
Addiction (smile)
That's right.

You started 15 years ago with video game sound design. Are you still in it?
No, unfortunately it was so time-consuming that there was no way I could work on video games and still focus on my music career and djing. There is not enough time in the day for that. I would probably spent like 18-19 hours a day working on both those things and when you spend so much time on this, one is going to suffer. It was a very difficult decision to quit the video games stuff but who knows, you never know. I can stay but I can always come back so I don't know, we'll see.

You're perfectionist. So, what do you think about live acts which mostly are improvised?
Well this is true, I am a perfectionist. I'm willing to say this much about being a perfectionist: it is a gift but it's also a curse because you are never 100% happy with the outcome. There's always going to be something that you want to change and especially with anything artistic, a piece of artist that is never truly finished. And it's very difficult to put something back because let's say you put it down and 2 months later you come back to it and you'll find other things you want to change about that. Art, whether it's even drawing or painting there's always going to be something that you want to change. But you have to come to conclusion or make a decision that enough is enough and I have to move on to the next stage.

Do you think that in order to be successful one has to pay attention to every little detail of your trademark?
I wish I could say that's true. I mean, success comes in many different forms. You just have to be focused and dedicated to what you do. Attention to details is more like something you're born with. Not everybody has an eye for details but you don't need an eye for details to achieve success. So it does help someway but I don't think it a requirement.

With what can we associate your trademark?
Well my trademark would definitely be very moody, very emotional, many emotive melodies. To me every track starts with the melody and then I shape everything else around the melody. I never work the other way round which is like doing a nice beats first and then picking to this a nice melody. No, melody comes first because that's the story and I'm telling the pieces of story.

Giuseppe Ottaviani said: "(...) performing on stage allows you to get through to the people, they really breathe the music, you can establish a two-way bond with them and the music itself changes and reacts to the people (...)". You, during your performance, don't play any instrument. Do you, despite this fact, have the same feelings as Giuseppe?
While you're performing whether with actual instrument or playing a record it's still a performance. I do agree with what he says but it's something that doesn't come immediately. When I first started playing I was very nervous on stage and rarely looked at the crowd because it was like: "Oh my God, they're looking at me! They're just looking for the mistakes that are going to happen!" So it comes naturally but over time. It's not like you click a switch and all of a sudden you're just amazing performer on stage. You need an interaction with the crowd otherwise you can just pop a CD and who needs a DJ there that all you're going to do is just look down on your equipment and not make that contact with the crowd. That's why somebody like Armin van Buuren is so good at what he does. I think that people can see that he's really enjoying himself. It's not like he's just playing a bunch of records, he's having a good time and they return it, the crowd is having a good time too. So it's important to be interactive with the fans.

Do you know already what you are going to play?
Absolutely! Every DJ is prepared. I always have like a set plan of things that I might want to play and when the difference comes is when you go out there and you play the first track and that's usually a kind of set up point and that directs you to where you're going to go next. It doesn't always work as a plan. Sometimes, a lot of times you have to improvise but I'm happy to had the opportunity to play in Poland many times so it's one of my favourite places to play and I'm pretty sure I know what they want to hear from me and they're going to get exactly that.
So research into audience's taste in particular country is a good thing to do.
Of course. Definitely. Every country has its own cultural way of expressing how they love the music and I find Polish people definitely the most expressive. Every time I play every single person front to back puts hands up in the air and they really really like the music and that is really important. They're not just out there because some top DJ is playing. They're out there because they love the music and more important they know the music. That is very important.

Can we ask for a couple of words for WeLoveTrance.pl readers?
I hope many of you guys are actually here tonight and I hope you'll enjoy the show. Also, I don't know when it's going to be published (smile), but I'll be performing at the afterparty tomorrow so you're going to get two Arnej performances in two days. It should be fun!

Thank you very much!
Thank you and I'll see you on my set!

Interviewed & translated by Marta Walu



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