EP 004 / 92.02.2022
Viken Arman 00:00
Following a trend is the worst, even if you were at the beginning of it, it is the worst. So the scene pushed me out of the scene, I needed to experiment more to bring something different. And on the other end, I still have some sort of community following me. And in really, they want, they want that sound they want, they want you to play that. So it's hard sometimes if I'm finding balance, and also find a balance into like, also the reaction not being in conflict with what you are, because this music, the music produced in me is still a part of myself. Even if I grew up and I evolved himself, it's still something that I produced, honestly.
Farah Nanji 00:55
You're listening to the mission makers show, a podcast that inspires humans to get into the mindset of success. My name is Farah Nanji, and I'm the founder of a business in the motorsports industry that explores leadership lessons from things like Formula One. I'm also a DJ and music producer and the underground electronic scene, and a public speaker on key topics like resilience, building high performance teams, overcoming learning difficulties and stimulating creativity. And to tie it all together, I love writing thought provoking content as a journalist with these industries, which is so unique in themselves. On this show, I'm sitting down with some of the most inspiring and driven people I've met around the world to talk about their processes, their failures, the lessons they've learned, and how they're truly making an impact for this world. Hey guys, and welcome back to season three, episode two of the mission makers podcast. I hope you enjoyed last week's episode with the former Formula One driver Mark Blundell, talking to us about the golden era of motorsport. And for today's episode, I'm really excited to be joined by a musician who has been one of my favourite producers for a while they can Armin, we've got a really interesting chat lined up for you about breaking free and not being defined by industry trends, the psychological impact of your roots and finding freedom in the creative process. Just before we begin, if you're interested in watching the video version of this podcast, head over to YouTube and type in Mission makers Veganomicon to see the show. And if you're interested in some really cool rewards like DJ lessens the chance to ask our guest questions and exclusive merchandise, head over to wwe.patreon.com forward slash mission makers to check out how you can access these exclusive rewards. And thank you to all of you been writing into us and subscribing to the show, it really makes a big difference. So don't forget to hit that subscribe button if you love the content we're making here at Mission makers, and help us take this show to the next level this season. Vicki and thank you so much for joining us today on mission makers. How're you doing?
Viken Arman 03:09
Pretty good in you?
Farah Nanji 03:10
Yeah, I'm good. Thanks. I'm good. Thanks. So you're currently in Berlin I heard.
Viken Arman 03:15
Yes I’ve moved to Berlin a few months ago.
Farah Nanji 03:17
Amazing. How's that going?
Viken Arman 03:20
Pretty nice. Pretty nice. It's been chilled with the pandemic. So like all the clubs and all the bars were closed. So the city where was just chill, chill, so just a different vibe. But I love it. What's that? Sorry. It's starting to happen again at clubs and stuff. So we have a bit of a social life again, but yeah, it's a it's still something new to me. And I love it.
Farah Nanji 03:51
Well, it's good to hear the pulses are coming back. Definitely we were saying off air you know, it must be very strange without having that kind of environment in when the city thrives so much on that creative expression.
Viken Arman 04:03
Be honest, to be honest. And I cannot say the opposite. I really love it. It's a new experience you discover a new city with some also some some neighbourhood some places that you don't really see often. No, I read kind of like it.
Farah Nanji 04:25
Good, good. Well, it definitely seems like a good move to make to put your head down in Berlin. But I do know that you were born and raised in Paris with Armenian roots and you talk a lot about how heavily inspired and influenced you are by these roots. So talk to me about how much of an impact you know these your heritage has had on on the shaping of your identity.
Viken Arman 04:48
Thing is first of all, when you are a minion, you you have to be close to your roots because of the history like the genocide. And you know the story of your family why they had to escape there. country which condition extra. So we carry the past on your shoulders, basically. And this identity sticks to me since my first day on Earth, like a school, when my name was quite unusual, so I would have always have to answer this question. Where are you from? And even if I'm born in France, I will instantly answer I'm Armenian. So the culture is rich and strong. At some point, I went really deep into it, I read all the books related to Armenia, I listened to all the ancient music. So this is part of myself, something in my blood, like my DNA, basically. And also, we still have to sort of fight for the recognition of the genocide. So it makes the community and the Scripture even stronger. Actually, I read an article that trauma can leave a chemical mark on a person's genes, which can then be passed down to future generations. So I'm pretty sure that this has an impact on my sensitivity somehow. And yet, then, you know, like, French culture, as well as a big part of is a big part of my identity, and pessimistic. Cheese. Like all the cliches, but But ya know, even when I was younger, I was playing piano. And I was obsessed with like, the French classical music, like Eric Satie, the BC, as well. I, to me, it was much more refined, compared to like German music or other composers. Something, something that you cannot really explain. That's, that speaks to your soul. You can actually, and also the French poetry. But they're Van Halen now or even like painting. I don't know if you know, a PRC Lodge. Yes. Is like like, this painter will paint only in black, to reflect, like light and stuff. It's incredible. So I get really connected to this as well. And I used to live in, in MoMA, in Paris, which is typically artistic area at the beginning of the 20th century. And this place has been really inspiring. So to me, it's a heel dominating Paris, like a village. The architecture is incredible. And when you get lost in those little streets, you can find the old studio of Picasso Vanga, ugh, Modigliani, even tiny apartments were leave the Etekcity, which is one of my favourite dentist. So at night, I would lose myself in those empty streets with my own friendly ghosts. So, so yeah, I think, at the end of the day, I grew up being an Armenian in Paris. And I never really questioned this idea of identity, in that sense. And I just took the best of each culture and friends has definitely shaped my taste into something probably more sophisticated. I think,
Farah Nanji 08:42
what's your relationship with Armenia now? Like, do you go back there?
Viken Arman 08:46
Of course, like, it's, I do feel like, first of all, they have a responsibility to add the country because the thing is, when you meet people, they're your age, you're with the same dreams and stuff. You understand that? You were lucky enough to be born in France and not in Armenia, because like the the country stuff and situations are evil, we don't have the same chances. Like it's just not the same, the same life. So you just have to give back and I and I try my best to to support it financially, artistically. I put a lot of effort as much as I can to develop it. But since now, we've like recently we had a war. And it's, it's it's complicated. It's a complicated country. So my relationship is basically I try to go as much as possible there. Hi, I try to with my friends there. And just by being coming there, you for them already a sign of hope. They are like, cool, okay, it's given interest, or. And also, they're really proud. Like, even if they cannot get out the country if they just by the fact that you carry the army flag on your shoulders like for them. It's a pride. It's, it's so I feel sort of responsible also.
Farah Nanji 10:30
And do you play differently when you're when you're there?
Viken Arman 10:33
That's a good question. It's a good question. Well, naturally, no, no, no, I'm really free because all my friends there, they know me they know my background, they know that I'm pretty versatile. And I can. So I know, I'm not doing like the typical Armenian electronic music, because I'm going there. But I, I tried to open collaborations. So. So of course, you have a sort of line to follow to create some sort of common language musically, but no, I don't play different. I wouldn't say that. I try actually. I try new things. They're
Farah Nanji 11:21
fantastic. So the name Viken is associated with the meaning of ambition, the creation of creative worlds, which is very interesting related to your heritage, and strength. So has the meaning of your name ever had like a conscience or a subconscious influence on your life?
Viken Arman 11:39
First of all, I don't know how you found that. Because No, I know, and he did great and works with technology before I don't really think my name has something to do with my personality or where I am. Or maybe, maybe, but then I can tell, but I'm more into like astrology. My son, Iris Aries. Yeah, and I'm more than willing to say that this had real influence on my life. My patient aids when I have something in mind, I will let it go. Like fire I really push it and obviously make sense with my name. But yeah, I don't know. I don't know if my name has something to do with it.
Farah Nanji 12:28
But sometimes it's you know, an amalgamation of that astrology, any lucky numbers name, they all sort of play some sort of a part in the shaping of who we become. Now your ecclectic sound and tastes it provides us with a refreshing variety of layers, you know, you can hear the jazzy inflections the ethnic chants, the melancholy classical tones and futuristic sounding synths. And of course, we can see those lovely synthesisers behind you as well. So what are the musical influences that helped you sort of form your identity as a musician? And at what point did you decide that you know you want to devote your life to music?
Viken Arman 13:08
It's a it's a really long story like doing music the journey so so basically at at five years old, I started piano at conservatory classical music and my euros will be mostly show show, the BC Sati and all those pianist with emotions always. But the thing at some point, I couldn't respect the music sheets. So I would always improvise on had notes to make my own interpretation of those piece. And in my father scowl, there was always a Keith Jarrett album playing video it was like create ease isn't that is crazy jazz will improvise on classical music as well. And, and he's been his, he was basically deconstructing melodies standards and building his own piece out of it. And to me, it was the perfect bridge. So from that, then I discovered jazz and I got obsessed with it. It was, yeah, freedom. Like maybe Sally Parker, John Coltrane, Firestone. There's like Sandra, so many artists that just like arrived in my life at a very young age actually. So I think and I always listened to everything. I I was really starving for music. And many because my that I had a huge collection of records. So we pick something randomly, or because the cover looks good, and discover it like classical, jazz, rock, pop, soul, traditional music, whatever. And as I grew up Being in suburb like epoch was a big part of my culture as well. I think for all generation itself, it's chunk of, of the music culture. So the turning point in my life was when I was 13, I discovered I could make music with my computer at any sound, and to me, I wanted to play guitar, for example, but I couldn't, I was pretty bad at guitar. So then I realised that with a synthesiser, and with my computer, I could do it. And that was like the revelation. So for Christmas, a little MIDI keyboard. And there was the beginning of the end. Where like, like the big revelation, an entire world opened his doors, like, it's, it was just crazy, I discovered sampling as well, which was a form of music. So I would ruin all the records of my dad to make a beat out of them. crazy adventure, I would check, like, you know, Dr. Dre, DJ Premier hour, they would do a beat, and I will try to copy them. And I get in. So from that point, I got an interest into things, drum machines, electronic music, basically, without being electronic music itself, but it's still electronic music, because it's not something traditional. And so I start producing MCs, which was also pretty cool. But originally, then, when I was like, 1615, so I at some point, I stopped the piano lessons. And I wanted to be film composer. So because I was addicted to cinema, so aside, those eeper predictions and stuff, I would do some, just, you know, in breed, you breed predictions, just for myself, just for fun, with a lot of elements like piano and, and sound waves, with with stuff, but not not necessarily a bob, more abstract and stuff. And then a friend of mine told me, you know, it's, it's electric music, it's incredible, you know, you can play that in clubs, you just have to put for cake on top of it. And there is an entire word for that, too. And I discovered electronic music when I was 1718. And another journey like, it's yeah, it's, I think I'm always in a quest of freedom. So it's always a sort of reaction. Where, you know, from from classical music, basically. At some point, I felt like prisoners, so I went to jazz because it was for more free for me then rock and stuff because work was rebellion and sold by law. He bought also in, which was like, the complete rejection of what could be the Conservatory, like music theory and stuff, it was, like, no, go, go, I'm going to do that. It's a constant reaction and an from epoch because also I get a little bit, I saw really early the limits of epoch, the epoch, super Scible, where you cannot really push it. And to me, electronic music was the most free music ever. I could do whatever I want. So So I was like, okay, cool. I end it's well welcomed when you try new things. So So yeah, it, it became a passion. I went crazy into it. I started organising parties and stuff with my best friend 11 years ago now. And in new wood invites young producers playing their first gig in Paris. So you connect also, you have something as more international, it becomes real. You you stepped into community, you know, I know. And yeah, so from that, like, no, as I said, it's a journey, you're navigating. And I always go back to something like now as I mean, electric music. I always go back to ebook. I always go back to jazz. I always try to fuse all the stuff. And and yeah, I think yeah, I really see it as a journey and I don't know what was gonna happen in the next few years. I have no clue.
Farah Nanji 19:43
Of course. Yeah. Well, no, it's very, very you can definitely hear those influences you mentioned in your sound and, and also also growing up in France. I mean, electronic music was you know, it was was an explosion there. I mean, the French touch and house music was
Viken Arman 19:59
meant Yeah, that's so that's so crazy. And I think it's going it's coming back. It's so strange. Because, you know, like, you know, Cassius? Yeah, of course. Yeah. So the if of cases like, he died two years ago, and you live in my streets. Yeah. And your if you were if you just wrote a book about like the French Dutch, actually, and I finished it yesterday in the plane. And I realised how powerful was that culture? Exactly like to me, like Daft Punk, I can definitely tell you. I was I think I was something like eight, eight years old. When they released that funk. No, no. It's, I can remember exactly the video clip with the dog and the man with the dog. It's such an impact such such a crazy wave, because they were also it was new, it was like nothing else. And, and also, this idea of bringing samples into it was a nice, let's say step further, after ePub develop this version. So I this has this had a really crazy impact.
Farah Nanji 21:42
Definitely, in talking about impact, I do know that you have collaborated in the past with live orchestras, like the Beirut Philharmonic Orchestra. And you've merged it into like electronic performances. So like, what was that like kind of using this classical, an electronic sort of boundary? And did the experience like challenge you in a way that you may not have expected it to?
Viken Arman 22:06
Yeah, it's, it's it was. It was fun, fantastic experience. A fantastic way to show that the RE there the borders anymore. Like classical, electronic, white, black, we're all together. So I mean, it was great. Yeah, great idea. But the fusion is not an easy task. Like merging two different worlds can be dangerous, because most of the time, it's a clash instead of an audience. So that has been the biggest challenge. Also, we didn't have much time to work on surprisingly, it was a It's pretty intense. We are now we also the day before, we had like a lot of internal phone calls before with the conductor, which faxing, and, and my friend, RV grant, also, with the arrangement, all those all the things were pretty difficult in the end. But the result was was mind blowing. I think, also for the people we played in the club, which was also difficult, like the environment was a was not, for example, what you would expect for this type of performance because you were in the party. So people wanted to groove as well, you had an energy going on already. So we wouldn't see all we would face a lot of stuff, on and on. But the truth is, the power and the emotion of a string and symbol is unbeatable. And those frequencies are real, so on. So it was instantly in my opinion, the first step of a much bigger project, it shows me that this was possible. And I will develop it further actually.
Farah Nanji 24:23
Wow. Well I'm very excited to hear what you what develops out of out of that. And talking about projects. So your label denature records, you know, it's been doing really well and it's it's working with some of the most innovative talent the scene has from bedwin Mirror acid Paulie and so many more. So what's that sort of process been like, you know, transitioning into a label owner? Is there a meaning behind the sort of name of the label and how is the vision evolved?
Viken Arman 24:51
Yeah, first of all, the name. The name is is a sort of, sort of joke because my father used to I used to say that I was sort of perverting music because when I was using his three chords, and being like, music out of it, I was in French, we said, like, the natural Ray, then nature is like, when you Yeah, when, basically when you transform something, but it's like pessimistic term. So, so I used it in a sort of funny way, say that we all come from something. And music is a perpetual rebirth, you always take an inference on something from something you so so it comes from that, and also the logo will come from monkeys. So, so I think it's a, it's more like the idea of constant reinvention from something where I can basically have an entire booth to experiment. And then the vision is quite simple in a way, because it's many friends, it's, it's, I really see it as a family. And all the people were in, in the light into the labour is it just like friends, like true friends, people who just come to dinner at home. And so at first, I created this record label, because I wanted to be free releasing my music, doing my own artworks, it just, it was really something for me. And then I would also like to support my friends. And I'm not necessarily digging everyday for new talents. It's it's like, you need I need chemistry, and something I click with someone. So So yeah, I think it's more like, the way it works generally, like, friend comes to dinner at home and shows me shows me his music. And we simply speak about ideas, interesting ideas to check the project. And I always give my opinion, like I cannot, cannot just, you know, say students say it's good. I will say, Oh, no, you should do that. Or maybe you shouldn't, or maybe we'll do the video clips should do this. Or maybe we can call that maybe we can do that. And so it's super natural. There is nothing really plan or it's yeah, it's super, super open as well, is the vision, I wouldn't say You know, it's mainly a certain type of electronic music, or it's, it's all the people blending together. And all my friends. And also, that's why we don't release something every month. Frequently, we I think I really wanted to be super selective as well do quality projects. I also have a lot of fun friend in jazz music. And maybe I will do a crossover to give them some exposure to Yeah, the ways it is more like a natural way the evolution rather than following your like a real business then it's a family thing. Yeah,
Farah Nanji 28:42
definitely. And I think the business pressures of running a label are quite intense. So if you're keeping it streamlined to just your vibe and your tribe, then then perhaps it's got a more of a freedom with it in that way. And so talking about also just some of the things that you you're working on as well. I know that you had a project called souk Festival, and it seemed like community was extremely at the core of this kind of collective healing that we're sort of all I guess music you know, brings. So tell us the story about that. And, you know, if it's gonna make a return soon if given the kind of state of things at the moment,
Viken Arman 29:21
I think like like like everything I do, it's not serious at first and then it becomes Harriers suku is basically a joke at the very beginning. It was not supposed to be something International. It was supposed to be a real project, to be honest, it was we took a Sunday interest in a beautiful location because the location was cheaper on Sunday and no one wanted to do a variance and super easy And I just brought all my friends from like, you know, like bedwin cruise. I said Polly mirak. Chris was other like, hello, like, with any se, like other friends just friends and they all came like for peanuts, like it was not about even about money or what if they own mostly play their first show in Paris at that gig. And at that time in 2016, I think the first event, this type of music or community wasn't big in France. And so we had like, the instant we privilege the event. We had a massive response internationally, like people from, from the US, for example, they were, like, attending the events and stuff. So we had like a lot of international people coming to the event. And then this was a click, like, oh, man, crazy, well, insane response. So we have to do it again. And, you know, it started like that, and with my two best friends, also really, again, like this kind of family family perspective. And it was not supposed to be a business thing. And now we have a lot of issues, like with many things, first of all, the name with the trademark, there are some countries where it's complicated to use it in, in, particularly in France, use the name souk for now. We have to face like, a lot of primary problematics it's complicated, but maybe we're going to create something else. Like just a new brand. Start from scratch and being free again, because also what I had to face with such a project, even with the name, like, you know, at first I, I wanted to create the right setup from my music, just I want to, you know, to have my vision, I wanted to have the, for example, the booth in the middle. So have to have all the people around. And at the same time, also, like philosophically saying, we are on some level, we are together like Not you, me playing on higher level, we are just like, both all together. So, also the decorations, all stuff, it was quite unique, because those carpets been recent things always was new at the time. And, and then with that sound, it became a trend, a huge trend where a lot of events, they were doing the same thing, sort of copy pasting. And, and when it becomes a trend, I'm tempted, I'm tempted to get over it to get away from the trend. And I wanted to try something new as well. After six, seven years. Maybe I wanted to refresh it will be the concept. And this problematic with the trademark was signed to move forward and do something else. So we're gonna make a return, that's for sure. That's for sure. But I don't know how, which form if we're going to keep doing a stroke, or if we're going to create something else.
Farah Nanji 33:42
Sorry, go ahead.
Viken Arman 33:44
No, no, I was just saying like, to me, for example, this event was the that's your tool, such a weapon to develop my sound to connect with my friends also, to invite them in to create the right frame for for for the music. Because most of the time when I get booked in that's that's also why the the reason why I created this event, it was because I was when I was playing my live set. It was after a crazy techno guy or something that will you know, wouldn't fit with my music. So I needed the right environment for the people to understand what I was creating. So So yeah, I think that's the that's the main the main goal with this event and now as my music evolve, it evolves as well and probably need to develop it in from inside from the for example from the community from the lineups maybe try to bring new artists inside instead of like going loop of just like trends change drastically. concept and do something new.
Farah Nanji 35:02
Definitely. And so you said something quite interesting there about the trend. And like how, when other people start sort of like catching on to it or rickety becomes a trend then kind of like losing sort of the interest to you to be part of that, and move on and move on to the next thing. So like, you know, obviously, you're quite synonymous with that sound. You know, so how, like, how do you feel about like that, like, do you still produce music that's kind of in that, let's say, what became a trend? Or like, you know, do you kind of like, have you totally moved away from that? Do you even listen to that?
Viken Arman 35:39
It's a huge topic at the moment, to be honest, because this scene pushed me out of his skin. Like when, as I told you earlier, I'm constantly reaction. Like, when I went when something when something becomes a standard or to abuse, any challenge, I need something in my life that just any I need something interesting in my years, as well, like when I hear all the time, the same thing. And most of the time is boring, then I need to escape, I need to get away from it. And the trend is following a trend is the worst, even if you were at the beginning of it, it is the worst or the same push me out of the same I needed to experiment more to bring something different. And on the other end, I still have some sort of economic and community following me and, and really, they won't, they want that they want that sound they want, they want you to play that. So it's hard sometimes if I'm finding balance, and also finding balance into like, also the reaction not being conflict with what you are because this music, the music produced in me is still a part of myself. Even if I grew up and I evolved himself, it's still something that I produced, honestly. So So I still need to be good to myself and think, Okay, I do that. But I I still need to follow my own path like to also not to lose people and not to lose myself because it's it's hard. I do everything. I sometimes when I in the studio, I produce a pop sort of crazy weird EPAP electronica beats and there is no ethnic Armenian music inside. It's not but still you can recognise me because there is this bit going on and stuff. So yeah, I don't know if it's a it's complicated too. Avoid the trap. Like to me, you need to avoid being in a trend. That's the worst. Like always trying to be unique and keep evolving, like repeating the formula can do it. That's the thing.
Farah Nanji 38:20
Hey, you, we hope you're enjoying today's episode. We're on a serious mission here to create one of the world's best podcast series, and we'd be so grateful if you could support us in any way by becoming a patron of the show. There's a tier to every level from earlybird tiers where you get downloads to all my music with some super cool ninja stickers to our VIP mission make it here's where you get Epic Rewards like exclusive footage that never gets aired the chance to submit questions to our guests with signed copies of books from them. DJ lessons, one to one coaching and a whole load of super cool ninja measure maker merchandise, you can start supporting us for less than what it cost you to fill up your car for a month by simply heading over to wwe.patreon.com forward slash mission makers. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the show, too. How do you let your creativity flow in the studio when you've got a beautiful looking studio? What inspires you? What do you sort of like? Do you have any kind of method or is it like you just turn up and let the creativity take hold of you when it when it decides to kind of show up?
Viken Arman 39:23
I told you I'm I'm I'm obsessed with freedom. So I process it's like super chaotic, to book every year where there is no routine. Like sometimes I turn on like the modular and then you know I get lost. Sometimes I just started middle D on the piano. I found like nasty sample and I build everything from it. It's free. And even. But the thing is what what I do sometimes, like even every time I go to the studio or sometimes when I just, I mean a black hole, there is something that they always do is like me show you So, like this little box, you know, Brian Eno Yes. Great. Yeah. Okay, so it's like reverse. I don't know if it's me.
Farah Nanji 40:21
Schmidt Bonino. Yeah.
Viken Arman 40:23
Yeah. So, and the deed, like the Oblique Strategies, and basically what it's incredible. In 70s. They, they wrote, like, a lot of advices like, philosophical phrase, phrases like, just to give you advice is when you're stuck. Oh, wow. And it's incredible. Because you always have like, like, I pick randomly, something you like, can you
Farah Nanji 40:51
see is an unacceptable colour? Yeah. Wow. So it's really interesting.
Viken Arman 40:57
And the one I picked and what I love is like this one,
Farah Nanji 41:00
trust in the you have now
Viken Arman 41:03
or sometimes they they just say shut up. Oh,
Farah Nanji 41:08
what does that say? Use an old idea.
Viken Arman 41:11
Yeah, I mean, it and this thing is always in my creative process. Like always, I cannot get away from it. Because it's also in a way it's, as it scouts. It's kind of reminds you that it's a game. It's like music is not that serious. It's not some, you know what, when you create you, you think too much? Sometimes you you just overthink? And it's it's, it's it's so toxic. It's a cancer? No, I mean, I can't do that. I cannot do this. How, how big, so cheesy, or without No, but it is so dark. So at some point, fuck off. And when I am in that zone, or even just when I just come in, in the studio, just take a gallery and see what it says. And it reminds me like, okay, cool. It's fine. So yeah, I don't have a I don't have a routine. It's, it's so free. But sometimes sometimes I must say that I have an inspiration, I have something in mind. And I have to translate this, this idea in music, so I don't know how it will end. But now I tried more and more to have a melody or to have simple to have a groove or before going into the studio, because you can stay days and that's what I do. I stay all night long, only known stick in that battle, where sometimes nothing unfold, and you have to be productive. Like you have a need a methodology. You need to at least know a little bit the direction even if it's free, at least a little bit like East North West south like so. So I'm I'm trying more and more to have a precise ID and then see what's what's important.
Farah Nanji 43:19
Wow, while so fascinating. I mean, that bad box looks amazing. I'll definitely put the link in for that. Because that that just is like incredible, creative hack right there. Just just whip out a card and kind of let it unfold from there a lot. I love that. And it is of course it yeah, as you say it's it's a black hole, you know, you sit there and you don't know what's gonna happen. And you could spend the whole day just on the hi hat. And you know, and the next day you come in and it doesn't even, it doesn't even sound like how great it sounded the day before. And I think as musicians, we've probably all been to that. So crazy.
Viken Arman 43:54
You say that? Because yeah, actually, like usually, when you work on something the day like you work on your your high hats, you polish your high hats and stuff. And you polish it again and again and again and again. And after like five, six versions of it. When you go back to the first one. You realise that the first one was the best way? Yeah. And, yeah, it's a you I always when I when I work too much, I always go back to the first version. And I'm like
Farah Nanji 44:33
sometimes we just need there's like this pressure to like to just make it sound slightly different from what it was and then it just, but you're right, it's true the amount of times I've also kind of be like, What Why did I even do that? You know, but it's how interesting. So I'm also curious to know like, what what, you know, obviously we're speaking at still is the COVID 19 pandemic. So how was like this kind of being for you? I mean, you know, you're Music is quite deep, I feel if I can say so myself. But, you know, has it gotten sort of more like in that direction? Like, what what's it been like for you?
Viken Arman 45:10
I think to be honest, it's this idea of producing and Pandemic became a sort of pressure, like so strange is it's kind of strange because of course, you know, I'm, I made tonnes of music, I produced a lot every day, because for the very first time, we had time, and, like, plenty of time. So. So previously left music, but it was maybe too deep, to musical to ambient weird stuff as well, I really need to go. And now, as I'm touring again, playing again, I'm realising that all the music I produced during the pandemic, is sort of useless, because I can play those tracks in clubs doesn't make sense. So in now, now, like, really, you see the madness of people, when when I go to clubs every weekend, it's like, should they? Yeah, and I am the same, I really want to dance and we want to have fun. And I want to be like this, to bring this vibe, like, kind of deep and intellectual. And, you know, so I think I think it's bruising, the plumbing was super interesting in terms of creativity, because you unlock something in your brain in you just turn off some, some some windows where you can go and experiment. But I don't think that it's necessarily like do the way I think I would have achieved those things without the pandemic. That's what I mean, like, like, at the end of the day, the only thing that I would have, I took advantage of it is the time the gap in between, surprisingly, of course, it's inspiring to be in that zone where, like, who you are locked in separate India, and I was I'm always locked, like, I don't care about the people outside their lock as well or not. Like, to me, it was just the idea of time, the timeframe was so wide, wide open. I couldn't just, you know, express myself without thinking too much. But the music I produced? Or maybe it is, but I don't see crazy change, or see that I produce more. And, for sure, less for for geeks, like driving music and stuff. I really produce music. But yeah.
Farah Nanji 48:12
It's interesting. Yeah, I mean, the couple of gigs I've had since this, since it's opened up a little bit here, they were like 13 hours, you know, people are crazy. They want they just want to go go at it. But at the same time, I agree. It's like it's freeing. When you have this undefined period of time, and nobody really knows what's going to happen. And you're just kind of like you should have time like to catch up on life. And, you know, being a DJ, being an artist is such a, it's such a hectic thing sometimes. You know, so very interesting to hear where your mind sort of went in that time? What do you think is maybe like one of the biggest misconceptions about the industry? And do you think like, Do you believe that this time might be useful to kind of redefine or reset some of the things that you know, are, are a little bit flawed in this kind of ecosystem?
Viken Arman 49:05
That's that's such an interesting question. Because I had this remark. Just a few weeks ago, we found a man and I don't know I don't get it. I don't understand also. I don't know what his electronic music anymore doesn't mean anything to me anymore. Because when you think about it, if there is promotion of any kind, then this is not on the ground. So I I don't know what is on the ground and also, you know, in that's a strange thing. But I think on on the ground music is also a lie, because when artists instead of begets money A lot of money talking about like, just crazy amount of money went up in the jet sets kind of area where the underground people came to your shows like a few years ago cannot attend and don't want to attempt to your shows that because is not their values. So most about this idea of underground music I think that's, it's, for example, there is a little club in Paris, they love to looking critical programation and last weekend they booked Bob Sinclar Yeah. Which is like an I have like a lot of respect for him like I really, I really respect him as an artist, but in terms of values and stuff is like fully EDM, EDM music, fine, it's fine. I really, it's not like a negative critique or something, because I truly respect him. He's a passionate guy and stuff. And, and, and I kind of like his music. But in terms of values, I was just surprised to see him in that club. Where, which, which is supposed to be an underground club. And also, me as an artist, I get like booking requests in crazy, cheesy places. Where with a crazy amount of money, and I was like, wow, what's going on now? So the past pandemic, is so strange, so strange. I'm, I'm confused, to be honest. I don't know where we're heading to. A, I think, just for now, people who want to have fun, they want to have fun, is going to be funky. They didn't, they don't want to think too much. And that's fine. They just want to party and and we all going to enjoy this ride. But but in terms of on the ground scene? I don't know. I have no clue. I think it's first of all, the real on the ground. People suffered the most of, of this pandemic. So they're gonna, it's gonna be hard for them to come back that easy. And then the irregular clubs like the industry, it said, like the big guys are still here. And they will just like throw money, money, money. And as soon as you have money, you can always and so I don't, I don't see something really creative at the moment, to be honest, I thought that I really thought that the person they make will be crazy inspiring in terms of also in terms of music, because we are trying to produce or I will show that even DJs will take risk to release something more and more interesting or more and more risky, more and more ambitious. Wishes, okay, from few of them, but mostly like the general bevel is the same. Or the worse than before. Like Eric, it was just like, Well, when I since I started doing again, I'm like, wow, wow, okay, okay, is that vibe, okay. Okay. And, actually, the fact that Bob Sinclar get booked in that club showed me that, you know, it's a constant loop. Like, we're talking about, like, we're talking about, like, the French church thing. I, like you know, like this disco, Frankie thing. I do think that at some point, we're going back to something much more easy. Easy, you know, just like, easy to understand, easy to dance, easy to, to enjoy. So I'm just curious. I'm just curious. For now, I'm observing what's going on. And I'm curious to see what would unfold after all, but it's gonna take time. I think it's sort of we reached about on we don't we're going back and, and yeah, the post pandemic is, is interesting move. I'm curious.
Farah Nanji 54:31
Yeah, there's a lot a lot a lot that you've touched upon there that you know, is definitely a lot of food for thought because for sure. There's the fact that like, what is the underground you know? Of course the the people like Bob Sinclair, you know, your David Guetta is all of those guys, obviously, they, they pave the way for like this scene for us to kind of be booked around the world and for there to be an audience that makes it worth that travel and all that, but at the same time You know, yes, different clubs still same book, the same sort of people. And, and also yeah, as you said, they're like, you know, not not everyone will make it out of this, like I have friends who are DJs you who aren't interested in continuing as a result of the pandemic, and and that's obviously really heartbreaking and clubs have obviously had, you know, closed and and also whoever's on the dance floor now, you know, it may not be a true representation because there probably are still a lot of people who don't want to go out yet they don't feel comfortable to do it to go. So it's definitely and we still don't know where we're really going. It's like, you know, there's a lot of limitations still, to be honest. But talking about observations, I do know that you're playing here in London this weekend. And you've, you've played here quite a few times. So what do you kind of what are your observations about the scene? The music culture here in the UK? Do you love it? Do you like it? You're?
Viken Arman 55:56
I weighed in, to be honest, like, I think that's my favourite scene. To be fair, nice. Now really, like, what? Well, first of all, I I love British people. I don't know why, but I always been with them. Like, all my friends. Like, in Berlin, all my friends are British. So I don't know, when and when I go to UK what I like is the mix of people is interesting. And also the jazz culture is quite big there. Like there is a true understanding of music pretty deep. I, I think it's it's interesting what's going on. I love also the what guys Patterson is doing. Like, we like all the festivals, all the labels, he runs. It's an interesting and interesting footprints. And, and yeah, like, to me all the time I play in UK, it's incredible. Like, really, I never had a bad show. In UK. It's, it's an all I always feel free free to, that's my thing that I can play anything in a pub, I can play a garage, I can play like everything. They don't care. And you can still be yourself, like, just go with the flow. And so different than then even Paris were like, you know, my my friends and people who followed me out there here. But I still, I still feel much more free now. In the UK.
Farah Nanji 57:49
What are some of your favourite venues to play here then?
Viken Arman 57:53
Well, like VH on the ground lesson was I read that one was sick. Also, Corsica Studios was pretty cool.
Farah Nanji 58:07
Yeah, lucky enough to be at that show at Velvet Underground. It was pretty special.
Viken Arman 58:15
Yeah, it was wild.
Farah Nanji 58:16
It was it was yeah, it's, it's, I guess it's also I don't know, maybe the way the clubs are designed is quite nice. You've got this kind of you do have this underground feeling, you know? For sure, for sure. But it's sad. Because at the same time, you know, 50, before the pandemic, 50% of clubs in the UK are being shut down. And that was that was pre pandemic. So you can only imagine it's been quite tough and the government hasn't really been that supportive. So it's an ongoing battle we face here with the government and the creative industries and the name as I'm sure many countries face of course. But talking about the industry, do you you know, it is it is tough, obviously, being an artist and particularly when success you know, manifests or even when you're on that Brink or whatever, like what do you sort of do to kind of take care of your mental health? When it when you feel extremely under pressure or just anywhere in general? Like, do you do you pay attention to that?
Viken Arman 59:13
Cause of course I try to run away from the noise. Stay far from the noise as much as I can. I wear now it's it's with the pandemic and stuff we had quite a quite a way to. To cheat out and to. To Yeah, just the carries. But yeah, to be honest. I tried to stay on ground when things get intense. I'm definitely not the guy who wrote after shows and money and stuff I say I know that when something is too short, I know that it will be violent for me. I just refuse it I decline and move further in terms of just for me as a ritual or stuff. I play piano, a piano, and this is my sort of meditation I meditate a lot. I read a lot is like something that also I think, for your brain and for you, emotion calms you down. I think each of us we have our own Reggie to balance that. But I now I since we started doing again, I, I It's crazy, I lost the rhythm. And I feel how tough this job is, like, I could just like, you know, do a gig jumping and never flight, never country do a gig. And like three, four gigs in a row even like, going on and on and on and on, on and on. And, and now just one gig, one gig, he needs to get back on track. But seriously, it's and get me wrong, but the gig plate is still early. Like we have to stop at 10pm or midnight. And, and I still I still feel really retired. So. So yeah, I now I understand how difficult this field can be. And I definitely take care of it. I think the noise like I think it was two or three weeks ago I was in I was in Sweden. And we may have been we before festival recently to rent a car and just explore Switzerland, you know, get lost in the mountains and stuff. Stunning. It was just mind blowing, I realised that our How noisy in our world even like, you know, even your phone like like, the fact that you have all those notifications, like the social media, I think it's a noisy sort of noise that we are all overexposed to noise and we undervalue the silence. And in in to me having, like, having some moments of silence and enjoyment, it's it's priceless. I think I embrace it, like, okay, and yeah, that's, that's the thing, that's the thing we all need. I think
Farah Nanji 1:02:52
some people don't know how to be silent anymore. It's, it's overwhelming. You know, it's, it's crazy. It's crazy. I very much agree with you. And with, you know, with these, these modern day technologies, you know, end of the day, you know, you could be doing something, whatever you're doing making that hi hat. And, you know, something pops up on the screen and someone's now in your space, and you never, you never signed up for that. It just, they're just already in your in your space, because that notification came through. So I am a big believer in switching all of that off when you're in that time focused period. But also something that you said there, which I think is so important, is about the power of saying no and knowing what's right for you, walking away from it, even if money is on the line. But if it's ultimately going to cost your health, then it's not worth it. Because this is a marathon, it's not a sprint, this career path. And I agree also because like the other day, I did a gig and it was that 13 hour one and it was two gigs, actually. And it took me a good four days to get back into my circadian rhythm. It was absolutely crazy, you know? So yeah, I think when you step away from it, you realise, you know, it is we become sort of, like, militant in our ability to like to do it. And then obviously, once it stops, you realise that, wow, that's, that's actually crazy what we're putting ourselves and our bodies through. But something I just wanted to sort of touch upon, before we move into our audience q&a, is that you know, gender representation, it is a long standing issue. I think it was something crazy, like 2% of feet of music producers are female. So like, Do you have any opinions on this? Do you have any thoughts on how we can actually implement this change? And do you see your labels or your collectives as like a vehicle to kind of make some of this change?
Viken Arman 1:04:44
I think, but I think also it's a it's a pretty like the topic is here now. We really think about it, like everywhere. So I think now we We also have, it wasn't like in Amsterdam or something like the opens like a school for female DJs. Like just like, so, so crazy. To have these kind of projects, I think it's a great thing to at least speak about it and manifested, then now I see more and more balance while this one act like female DJ or artists, I think it's a promoters they have, they're aware of it. And they know that we need this feminine energy as well on on the stage. And me personally I, I don't I wouldn't say that they use DNA to to, to, to promote that. Or it's more like, you know, for example, when Mira or like, as I told you, it's friendly thing, but I, I really push it, I really push it in, in a sense where when there is a something coming from a female, female DJ or friend, I am tend to, to just give the impulse support IT support it, like even mentally, like you know what I mean? The masculine energy is so rough, you know, we are lions like you need, you know, you were always what this crazy noise like we need to get over on top of each other and stuff. So. So for, like a feminine energy, it's almost impossible in that noise to bring something to be heard. Or recent in. At some point, I think it's going to change because more and more I really see more and more DJ over and over like female DJ I mean. So it's it's changing a lot. It's just a matter of time. I'm not I'm not really afraid about it. But also, we need the right ambassadors. For that, we need more. Let's say, I don't know, I'll say it's, that's my opinion. For example, I love Jennifer Cardini. She's, you know, I, I was with her two weeks ago in Sweden. And she played an incredible set. I really love what you like what she does with a label correspondence. And with people preferred speaking about, you know, I again, no offence, but like Emily lands or shallot Divito, like, models were basically I don't want to judge or give a negative opinion and that ages that we know that those girls are here. Because they were pulled by the right people and because they were mothers instead, they're good looking. And you know, yeah, and I had that, to me, it's like, has to be a little bit more true. And so that's, that's what I'm talking about, about ambassadors like the the right? female artists, to bring the light to open the legitimacy to say, Okay, now we are, this is not just being a girl, like a modal girl on stage. It's not about that just it's also about art. And so, the right female artists needs to be pushed in the right place in order to be heard and considering it. I think,
Farah Nanji 1:09:21
yeah, I think in the end, as with everything it should be, it should be on talent, you know, and the vibe that you can create and then if someone has that potential, it's so important for the industry or people to get behind because it you know, you need that trusted source of people that that believe in you and can help you but also promoters, also being aware of that and not just you know, not just sort of succumbing to their the financial aspects of it all. Which sometimes can take take a hold. So we're moving on but thank you for sharing your thoughts. They're very interesting to hear actually and Yeah, it's it's a life is a balance right. And you, you can't always have the aggressive dominated, you know, energy always like it has to be balanced with, with with other things. And yeah, so anyway, so we're moving to the audience q&a And we have this question is come in from Natalie from Paris? It's a great question. Which is, what is your favourite jazz bar in the world? jazz bar? Yeah.
Viken Arman 1:10:28
Like? That's a good question. That's a good question because I have a few. But to be honest, I always stick to my roots. And I will say, new morning in Paris, okay. Because I have a, I have a pretty intimate relationship to it. That's where I hated my I saw my very first jazz concert and didn't do it alone. Like, I remember, I was 14 years old. And my aunt, she, for my birthday. She She randomly offered me two tickets for a random show at new morning like this is as club I'm talking about and and no one wanted to come with me. So I went alone. And this was my morning, he the guy who played the show was just like, it was such an experience to be alone in in a concert. Because you understand also you take everything you want to disturb you are absorbed by by the music. And, and this club new morning is like legendary Clevinger in, in Paris. They all play. They're like my dailies. They all play there. And actually, the owner of this place just died. Last year, I think she was she brought jazz in France. Well, she she was like the precursor like, the one who basically she was a really iconic associate. So yeah, I would always get and that's where I play usually. I jazz gigs there. So as of the morning,
Farah Nanji 1:12:49
we'll have to check it out when next in Paris. And the second question is from Imran in London, which is if your music could represent a moving object, what would it be
Viken Arman 1:13:02
you know object to be question as well. I think light light The light will be will be a great definition because it's like always changing colours. Always bring something always open something. I do just something that is under the shadow. So I think unpredictable as well. So yeah, like it would be cool.
Farah Nanji 1:13:59
Fantastic. travels very fast as well. Okay, cool. So our final section is our quickfire rounds, we just have a couple of questions. And not more than you know, 60 seconds maximum on each. So the first one is if there's one place that we should go to in Armenia, where would it be?
Viken Arman 1:14:21
Hmm, okay, so I would say rumble crochet, which is like the house we created with my friends. It's not museum space where a lot of things happen, exhibitions, concerts and stuff. We basically we took a house and all the artists in Armenia decorated something like the paint a wall. There is an entire room with all old painting drawings and stuff. It's just like the place where you will meet the right people in Armenia. And that will be the starting point of your time. If you explore me, because they will, we will bond with, with the right. The right gang, and they will tell you where to go then because I have a lot of space of place to recommend if that's if I have one to choose. I would say that because then you can explore more.
Farah Nanji 1:15:24
Yes, it will open up all the doors. Fantastic. Okay. Secondly, if you talked about earlier your love for films, I'm quite excited to hear the answer for this one. So if you could film school, any movie, what would it be? And why?
Viken Arman 1:15:38
What's wrong? I even get it. So if you could film school,
Farah Nanji 1:15:42
any movie, what would it be? And why?
Viken Arman 1:15:46
Ah, ah. Oh, man. Well, because, of course, you have a lot in mind, but I think I think because I tried it actually. I would say eight and a half or two images from Fellini? Because like the, the picture of the movie, like the images is incredible. It's one of the most beautiful movie I haven't seen in terms of just rhythm. It's I you know, feeling you know, yeah, yes. Yes. So so he has this particular tension, the way blues the structure of the movie is incredible. And also images, like, eight and a half. I don't need to do the right name in English, actually. eight and half autoradio. Yeah, I think anyways, but yeah, I would love it. And so I tried. So what I did is I took the movie, I mute it, and I compose on top of it. And the result was just like, incredible. So I would love to do that. But then, then, of course, I like plenty other movies too.
Farah Nanji 1:17:21
Well, we can only we can only have one. So that's, that's that's the one. But I think yeah, it'd be so interesting to hear your productions as a in the film in the film realm. So do you do do let us know if that that if that happens? Thirdly, what's your best place to catch sunrise or sunset in Paris?
Viken Arman 1:17:43
Where the best place is actually where it was in MoMA. Like, so. You go around the area. There is there's called cyclical. Yes. Yeah. Very famous church. Yeah. And so, around the streets, there is a little corner where you have stairs, and then you have like, just crazy wide open sunrise and sunset. It's nice. It's so high. So you you see everything,
Farah Nanji 1:18:19
huh? Very cool. And lastly, Viken What are you most grateful for this month?
Viken Arman 1:18:30
Oh I couldn't say weather because it's been like raining. No. I would I would say grateful for people or the people who came to to support the shows I played and stuff to message me like you just the necessary feedback that you need a after this time. Also the response like like to meet people is the most important thing. So I'm always Yeah, I would say you're always people anyways. Not necessarily like in particular this time but people is the is the the core of who I am.
Farah Nanji 1:19:21
Yeah, and humanity. So definitely love. Love that answer. Thank you so much for your time. It's been an absolute pleasure. It's such a great chat. And yeah, wishing you all the best and have an amazing gig this this weekend. Of course this interview will have been aired by the time you play but yes, anyone who gets the chance to see they can wherever they are in the world. You know, make sure you get down down there.
Viken Arman 1:19:47
Farah Nanji 1:19:49
Awesome. Thanks a lot we can
Viken Arman 1:19:51
I thank you very much. It was amazing, like really incredible. Questions and interviews like, like the best by far.
Farah Nanji 1:19:58
Oh, Thank you. So there was a lot of food for thought in today's episode. And for me, one of the standout moments was when Viken opened up about not getting trapped by a trend that he was kind of part of starting. As he says music is a perpetual rebirth and we always need to keep evolving from it. So just remember that while you guys are on your path, and if you want to grab a copy of today's show notes, then head over to WWE dot mission makers.com forward slash Vicki Norman, where you'll also find a copy of all of our previous episode show notes. We've got some amazing guests coming on the show this season, so be sure to share the show with your friends and subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, YouTube and wherever else. You listen to your podcasts. You can reach out to me at Mission makers or at DJ dot n one MJ on Instagram. And if you're interested in supporting the show and getting some really cool rewards like Virtual DJ lessons and exclusive merchandise, don't forget to visit ww patreon.com forward slash mission makers. Thank you for listening and until next time, keep it laser focused