Thorium: So, what do you think of that “music” playing [in reference to the video feed of Snails]?
Arnej: I understand that there’s a market for these kind of things. I’m not going to say I like it, but I respect it. I don’t have to necessarily like something personally, but it’s music at the end of the day, and music makes people happy. From what I’m looking at the screen, I’m seeing thousands of people really happy to hear this song. It’s a “to each his own” kind of thing.
Thorium: You come from Serbia, but you live in Toronto a lot, right?
Arnej: I actually come from Bosnia. I lived in Toronto since, it’s the first that I moved to. The only reason why I was in Toronto was because my uncle lived in Toronto. No specific reason why Canada was chosen, other than the fact that I have family there.
Thorium: What’s your best experience in Montreal?
Arnej: Oh man, there has been so many! Some of my favorite moments DJing have been in this city. There’s something unique about the energy in this city: the fact that the people aren’t really put off in a “I got to go back to work tomorrow” way. They make time for things that they deem important in life; for some people, it’s partying. And they realise that they’re not going to be partying when they’re fifty, so might as well do it while they can. Probably the most memorable moment was the last time I’ve played here on New Year’s Day. It reminded me a lot of how Montreal used to be as far as trance goes. It seems to have brought out a lot of the old-school regulars that used to come out to Montreal parties, at Circus at least. I played a classic set towards the end. Being back in the city that I’ve always loved playing music in, and that was the reason why I got into making music and DJing: it was an experience in itself. Especially because a lot of those tracks I never got to hear in a club. So I ended up playing them: you know what, I’ve never heard this, might as well play it. “Play it for me” kind of thing, and it just happened that a lot of people enjoyed it as well.
Thorium: What I’ve noticed is that Toronto seems to have a lot of trance events. I noticed that they have these trance boat cruises we don’t have. Do you think that Toronto has a better trance scene than Montreal?
Arnej: It’s funny that you should mention this, because the company you’re referring to is Ozmosis, which I’m the half-owner of. My passion for this music goes beyond the DJing, beyond making music. It has extended into doing events as well. For some reason, people abandoned trance in Toronto. My partner and I being trance guys, we couldn’t just let this music go to waste. I thought it was almost our duty to do this. The music is beautiful, and just because someone else doesn’t want to do it, we took it into our hands: “you know what? we are going to do it”. Things are really picking up: we’re booking a lot of great DJs, that also happen to be my friends. It was a little bit weird: I didn’t let people know I was part-owner of the company for many years. I didn’t want it to interfere with my personal relationships with those artists.
Thorium: So you didn’t want to show it as a conflict of interest?
Arnej: Yeah, for things like “Why wasn’t my fee high enough?”. That kind of stuff I didn’t want to get into. But things are evening out right now in the city: we’re doing more and more things. We’re finally putting some life back into the scene in Toronto.
Thorium: I loved your Anjunadeep event in February 2015. It’s Ozmosis that organised it, right?
Thorium: I LOVED IT, I LOVED IT, I LOVED IT SO MUCH!
Arnej: The Anjuna stuff, honestly, as for as trance goes, is probably the hottest at the moment. Obviously, the 138 movement has its own thing, but the Anjuna movement has always remained constant. People might be like: “Oh, but what about the electro bassline?”. Well, it’s just an adaptation to some of the current trends. To me, the underlying message, the theme about music is still the same like it was 15 years ago.
Auteur: Mathieu Bonin