Arnej: Trance needs to reinvent itself
The Bosnian trance DJ talks about the new trend in EDM, not playing Mickey Mouse Trance and opening ASOT600 with an almost new set
If it’s not good enough being the only international DJ to play in India three times in five months, Bosnian-born Canadian trance DJ Arnej Å eÄ‡erkadiÄ‡ also chuffed that he already knows that there is a town by his name in Gujarat.
“Someone had posted it to my Facebook and I think it’s an honor to name an Indian town after me,” Arnej says good humoredly. The DJ will play the opening set at A State Of Trance 600, alongside Dutch EDM DJ Armin van Buuren, Egyptian trance duo Aly & Fila, Taiwanese-American DJ Shogun and Dutch trance duo Rank 1 on March 16th. He spoke to us from Delhi ahead of the big show in Mumbai.
RS: You’ve played in the India three times in five months now. Someone even suggested you should market this as “The Third Coming” [a play on the title of one of his popular songs, “The Second Coming”]. What have your previous shows been like?
Arnej: I’m the only international DJ to play here so often in such a short span of time. After the show tomorrow, I’m already in talks of coming back again. I played at Sunburn in Noida, Goa and Colombo last time around.
You tweeted saying “Trap is the new dubstep.” Do you think trap music is the latest trend in EDM and it probably won’t last?
Trap music and dubstep are fads, you know. It’s basically a new trend that’s not really new. It’s been around for a while, but it’s catching a lot of attention now. I think it’s because people were getting bored of what was already there. Now, house guys are getting into trap and including trap elements in their mix. It’s clearly the popular option right now for the EDM explosion that’s happened a while ago.
But you don’t mean anything bad when you say it’s a fad?
No, I’m not against fads at all. My own roots are in hip hop and I think it was inevitable for hip hop to mix with electronica.
Do you think trance has become less important with these trends in EDM?
Definitely. More people are listening to house now, so trance has taken a backseat. Now at the forefront, you have mostly house and dubstep. It’s also because there’s been a lack of innovation in the genre.
Here’s what’s gonna happen ”“ music is like fashion and it goes through cycles. What’s in trend now and out of trend will shift soon. I think trance will become much less important but come back bigger than ever. It’ll be good for it [trance] to go underground. I mean, yes, we’re all here playing a big show right now, but it needs to go underground to reinvent itself, for the benefit of the genre. Because when you’re on top, you only go back down.
You’ve also spoken aboutÂ Mickey Mouse Trance. What is that?
To me, it’s this regurgitated, fluffy, generic trance that’s got no imagination. Making music has become so easy now. People are releasing music using construction kits, which have all the music parts on them and someone just needs to glue it together. It’s just washed up sounds. It happens in progressive house and trance a lot. There’s just this over-saturation of well-produced music which sounds great in the club, but is actually so static.
Â You said you’re playing at least five new tracks for your set at ASOT 600. Could you tell me a bit about that?
The original plan was to play an entirely exclusive set, but that did not go according to plan. Half of my set is entirely unheard by anyone. It’s all new songs. Even my manager hasn’t heard the set yet. I asked him to watch my show to know what my setlist will be like.Â I have a new remix of [German trance DJ] Markus Schulz and he’s been playing it, but we didn’t want to reveal the name of the song yet. I will play it tomorrow, though.
You’re also the first DJ playing at ASOT 600. Are opening sets challenging?
I think it’s quite cool to play the opening set. You get to set the bar for the rest of the evening. It may be a bit more difficult, because later on is when the drinks are kicking in and people are in party mode. But I like a good challenge. If you play a good enough set, people will always remember the first guy. It’s why I’m playing an almost entirely new setlist for the show.
Â Arnej performs at A State of Trance 600 at Turf Club, Mumbai. Armin van Buuren, Shogun, Rank 1 and Aly & Fila will also perform. Go here for event details. Entry Rs 3125 and Rs 6875 [VIP].Buy tickets here.