We delve into the world of ARKADYAN, an up-and-coming electronic music trio with a unique blend of organic and electronic elements. Born out of Dubai, the group has quickly gained attention in the global electronic music scene with their innovative sound and captivating live performances. ARKADYAN's story of determination and dedication to their craft is not only inspiring but also a testament to their love for music and the pursuit of artistic excellence.
We had the chance to sit down with the talented members of ARKADYAN to discuss their diverse musical backgrounds, the challenges they've faced as newcomers to the electronic music scene, and their approach to creating an original sound that captures the essence of both traditional and modern influences. The trio also shares insights into their residency at Scorpios Mykonos, their commitment to gender equality, and their goals for the future as they continue to evolve and make an impact on the music industry.
How are you? How has 2023 treated you so far?
Hi everyone, very good thank you. Actually 2023 is treating us very well, after celebrating and performing New Year's Eve in Dubai, we started the year with a Mexico/Tulum tour where we could perform in a few venues, and also getting inspiration from all the parties with this Mayan jungle atmosphere. Then we stayed in Dubai and France, spending hours and hours in the studio to create new songs.
Can you give us some details about ARKADYAN’s background? How have the group members got to know each other?
We are 3 musicians with each of us 20 years of different music backgrounds. Playing, recording, performing in all genres from jazz music to rock'n'roll, reggae, salsa or even slassical music.
Marina is from Latvia and she has been a DJ for more than 10 years and producer for a few years. From her childhood she has been passionate about stage and stage excitement, all her teenage life she was on stage connected with the music (dancing, singing, even flair performances), till now she is the same excited when she is on stage.
Gabriel "melody specialist", is based in the south of France. After studying at the National Music Academy of Paris, he joined the French Navy Orchestra. He explores numerous musical styles, from jazz to reggae, through classical music. With ARKADYAN, Gabriel produces and plays several trumpets, bugle, some flutes and even some shells.
Born in Arkady, Benjy is the founder of ARKADYAN. Inspired by his father who was a professional drummer and touring worldwide, he got motivated a lot by his energy and grooves. When he was 20, Benjy got a musicology degree in London finishing as top student in world percussion class. Later on, playing for many music styles and bands till finding his path in organic house music today. We met in Dubai, playing in different venues with the same style, the same vibe, so it was logical to create our own band to create a proper live organic house project with the goal to propose electronic music full of organic instruments. Luckily, the energy of the three of us is matching so well. Of Course, sometimes we have slight misunderstandings just like everyone in life. Benjy is the peace and mature side of the band, Marina is the balance and big enthusiast for many ideas, Gabriel is the funny entertainer of the band.
As newcomers to the electronic music scene, what challenges have you faced in terms of getting your music discovered, finding gigs and connecting with labels?
That's the biggest difficulty. We start this project with no connections. You believe that you are good in what you do, also because you get an enthusiastic crowd in the small venues you perform... But, when it comes to propose your band to bigger venues or festivals they don't know you in advance, they ask for your numbers (Spotify, SoundCloud, Instagram...) and they are quickly escaping or not even replying. On top of starting without any agency/manager who can talk on behalf of you, it really doesn't help. Venues and Festivals are not taking you seriously and then you are just knocking on all the doors but there are no replies. So we had this idea to contact many artists that we listen to, love and play, to propose to add our vibe on their music to create some collaboration work or some features. It worked, then ARKADYAN name was on the side of established artists name for some interesting releases and accepted on some very cool labels. We continue to work hard for being recognized more and more and also we continue to do some cool collabs with other artists (but now we do collabs because it's always cool to have many different brains/ideas combined in one project) Everything that we are today is only because we've been working very hard on all aspects of the band. We have never been lucky to have any well known friends who could help us to be straight away on the big stage, but we are very enthusiastic to make our own way, especially when we see the results of our hard work. Love for the music and stage - that's what keeps us going.
In just two years, you've managed to reach an outstanding visibility in your genre worldwide multiple times. What do you attribute this success to, and how do you plan to maintain this momentum?
As we are experienced musicians and also have been playing as residents every night for years, we have the sense of the dancefloor, and we know how to push, create tension and read the crowd while giving energetic performances... We believe that the crowd feels it. Also we usually produce and perform a "happy positive" vibe, and after this Covid period is maybe what the people were happy to listen to. We started collaboration work with Rodrigo Gallardo, Kermesse, Dandara... But our first success came after contacting our friends Moojo & Demayä for a collaboration track where we could highlight horns melodies and sophisticated percussion grooves and fills for a happy vibe peak time track, and we created DESPERADO that we signed on BLOND:ISH label Abracadabra. This put our name and consideration higher in the scale, with support by the biggest artists in this Afro House genre. A very nice collaboration with Derun "DESCALZO" has been released on Sabo's quality label Sol Selectas and we could release last year to the same label "TULILA" ep with remixes from Safar and Manoo. Very big success especially because Black Coffee plays "TULILA" in many of his sets. Then with Demayä again we created the beautiful "ESPERANZA feat Yana Mann" under Scorpios Music Label that also reached #1 place in Organic House with a fantastic remix from our friend Jean-Claude Ades who believe in ARKADYAN project. Three of us are very down to earth humans, and three of us are parents, I think these factors help us to stay consistent and stable on our ARKADYAN path. Sometimes if one of us is losing inspiration then the other two will bring this inspiration back very quickly (no time to lose). We also try to create music with a story behind, not to create another track just to have another track, but with a real sense, real emotion, real human history behind.
How does it feel to have your music played by some of the biggest artists in your genre, such as Black Coffee, Bedouin, BLOND:ISH and many more?
There is a double feeling about this. The first one is to be grateful, proud and is proof that our ideas in the studio can suddenly make people dance and be happy internationally thanks to these big artists. It helps our labels, entourage, family & friends to take us seriously, and is great for us to share this on socials. But the second feeling is that is not enough; as we almost never have credits on these moments; these big names are superheroes playing in front of thousands of people, but who knows that ARKADYAN produced these songs? Nobody! But like usually we continue to work hard for better results and to be recognized better by the people on the dance floor and by big artists in the near future.
What are you planning for this summer?
This summer will be dedicated to touring, half of the season is already booked and we already know that we will perform in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, Romania, Albania, Tunisia, Latvia, Jordan... Very happy to come back after last summer to some amazing places and also to discover new ones + proposing our music at some cool festivals. It will be the occasion to play all our new tracks including "LELELEY" (unreleased) and to release "LELELEY" official video. We will call it " LELELEY Summer Tour 2023". Also "QUIERO VIVIR" which is a nice collaboration project done with Lannka that was released April 21st on Scorpios Music. We think "QUIERO VIVIR" is perfect for the summer vibe, losing yourself to dance barefoot during sunsets, and it is a nice mix between Balcan style, Flamenco style and colourful horn section.
How did your residency in Scorpios Mykonos and Ibiza come about, and what has made your own monthly party, "ARKADYAN VOYAGE," in Dubai so successful?
Few years ago we were texting Lannka (Scorpios Mykonos artistic director and DJ) to make him discover our band. One day while in Mykonos we pushed to have a coffee with him, he agreed during his short lunch break. We explain the story of our band, why we play this music and how we create our songs. We've been lucky enough that he accepted to give us a chance and that he appreciated the effort. He made ARKADYAN performed last summer and he decided to bring us back this summer 2023 for 3 gigs at Scorpios Mykonos and on top of that to create this collaboration track "QUIERO VIVIR" and to release it on Scorpios Music Label. As Ibiza residency is not signed yet, we are not allowed to talk about it. Regarding the success of our party "ARKADYAN VOYAGE" at SurfClub in Dubai, yes is a very great news. DJ Kaytek (Kalim) is the artistic director there and he believed in ARKADYAN since we meet. This idea to create our own party was born from a little frustration : Last year while trying to bring ARKADYAN to perform into cool parties and great line-up and receiving no replies or a "no thanks", then we decided to create our own party and to invite cool artists that we were very happy to share the line-up with. We also wanted the Dubai crowd to discover in our party some emergeant artists and also some artists performing like ARKADYAN by mixing instruments and electronic music. At the first party in October 2022 we had a crowd of 15 people (including 12 friends and 3 neighbours "Ha ha ha"). But it created some good reactions and today we are happy to see more than 1000 people on each ARKADYAN VOYAGE. We wanted by this name to bring the crowd into a "Journey" (VOYAGE in french) by listening to music from all over the world and influences. Very happy that this year we could bring Murmusica ensemble, Angata, Adassiya, Magupi, T-puse, Safar, Yana Mann, Demayä, John Bowtie, No parachute, Tayllor, Mrgoodalf, Glauco di Mambro, Nader Abaky, Medusa Odyssey, Bahramji, etc. local resident DJs support and to bring DJ Kintar for the closing of this season on May 7th. Also very happy to receive many messages from artists who contact us because they want to perform at our party.
Can you tell us more about your band members' backgrounds and how living in Dubai influences your music production process, particularly in terms of creating original recordings for all instruments?
In Dubai, we have a mix of; this desert vibe example with sand dunes all around that brings us dreaming of the past and traditional middle east music + all these buildings that makes us think of modernity and future. Very similar to how we build our music (ancient and traditional instruments mixed with electronic futuristic flow) Also we are lucky enough to be able to see all electronic music scenes in so many parties and festivals which is a great source of inspiration. But not only electronic music, also jazz musicians, traditional musicians from all regions of the world live in Dubai, so we can easily meet and organise studio sessions to create specific projects. For example, in our last collaboration with Demayä called "ESPERANZA", the mezzo soprano opera singer Yana Mann could record her voice for this project and it is thanks to Dubai that this collaboration had happened. It's also our goal to record every single part with real instruments. We never use samples, we want to produce our own organic house music to bring this unique sound to our songs. The idea of recording all single instruments is a good concept, but, we have to admit, it's a very difficult process to make it sound "big", we are still learning and improving our skills to make our recordings and production to sound "big". Not easy.
Your group strongly believes in gender equality, and you emphasise the importance of female energy and decision-making in shaping your band's unique identity. Can you elaborate on the ways this principle has influenced your music and the dynamics within the group?
Yes definitely, our DJ and producer Marina brings to ARKADYAN this unique touch on stage, in the studio and in any decision for the good future and development of ARKADYAN. Music industry consists mostly of male and it's such a pleasure that we have Marina in our band. Female's energy always makes it more bright and filled with love in any aspect of life. It creates a perfect balance between us. Is good to have three brains with different cultures and points of view into our band, it is from this mix that good things happen. Also we have to admit in a healthy way, thankfully we have Marina to escape from too many after parties and to push to go to the gym the next day after a gig :-D
As you continue to grow and evolve as an electronic music group, what are your goals for the future, both in terms of your sound and your impact on the music industry?
We want to keep pushing, to continue to produce a lot, to make our project more mature with some new way to work in the studio and on stage. Of Course biggest festivals, coolest venues, big collaborations, live streams etc. it's all in the achievement to-do list. We are also brainstorming a lot on our personal developments (new live possibilities). Also as we have three different music backgrounds, we want to bring on stage our influences from the past, to mix with electronic music the melodies that made us become musicians. For example, right now we try to explore how to bring jazz music into our set.