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Friday 30th, January 2009
Arnej interview
Updated: Thursday 28th, May 2009

: Toronto based DJ / producer Arnej was born on September 7, 1980 as Arney Secerkadic in a little town near Sarajevo in Bosnia. Arnej became interested in music at a very young age because of his father, but when he was 14 years old, his passion turned towards dance music. In 2004 he had his first release ‘8 Wonders - The Morning After’ and after a few released under this alias, he started to focus more on his Arnej alias. His most popular tracks are probably ‘They Always Come Back’, ‘The Ones That Get Away’ and his upcoming single ‘Strangers We’ve Become’ with vocals from Josie. Besides producing, Arnej remixed tracks from the likes of The Thrillseekers, Blake Jarrell, Mike Saint-Jules, Dash Berlin and some others. And you can also find him behind the decks around the globe. Enough good reasons for Trance.nu to catch up with Arnej for an interview!

Trance.nu: Hey Arnej, how are you doing?
Arnej: Doing quite well, drinking my morning coffee, replying to some neglected emails, you know, the usual dealio.

Trance.nu: The new Arnej track ‘Strangers We’ve Become’ will see its release soon. On this track we can hear Josie, who’s the younger sister of Jaren Cerf. ‘Strangers We’ve Become’ is the first vocal single you ever did. How was it for you to make a vocal track?
Arnej: I think it was a natural transition, it's something you want to tackle as an artist, move onto bigger and different things. The worst thing you can do to your craft is to limit yourself so I try avoiding setting any limitations to myself!

Trance.nu: What inspired you to produce a vocal track?
Arnej: There's only so many things you can express with an instrumental. Some people will get what the theme / idea behind the track is, some will not, but when you throw in vocals over top of that, I think that widens your music and more people can (hopefully) relate to what you're trying to carry across with your music.

Trance.nu: When will ‘Strangers We’ve Become’ see its release?
Arnej: Release is scheduled for February 2nd, 2009!

Trance.nu: Are you busy with a follow up already?
Arnej: A follow up is already in the pipeline, but unfortunately it will not see the return of Josie on the vocals.

Trance.nu: Any idea when we can we expect that one?
Arnej: Oh, not any time soon my guess, there's still a couple of other tracks that are set to release before it.

Trance.nu: And will there be some remixes from the new track as well?
Arnej: As usual, I did all the mixes myself, a techy version that is more club oriented, a more upbeat dub for those who prefer a vocal-less version and of course the original vocal mix. I also did an acoustic version but that will be something that will be released sometime later as a bonus.

Trance.nu: ‘Strangers We’ve Become’ is the first single from an artist album that you’re working on right now. What can you tell us about the album already?
Arnej: Essentially, there is a certain story that will be told with the album and hopefully people will be able to understand that idea, through sound, vocals and titles. I am not looking to create a 'compilation' of tracks, thrown randomly across the disc. There is a theme and flow from intro, to the outro. I am really curious to see/hear what people will think of it!

Trance.nu: I can imagine! Will your older tracks also be on the album, or is it all brand new material?
Arnej: Majority of it is new but there are some pieces of the puzzle that comprise the album that have already been released.

Trance.nu: And are you going to experiment with different styles on the album as well?
Arnej: Not anymore than I have already, there'll be a mixture of warm summery inspired records like ‘Rendezvous’, to edgy more dark tracks like ‘The Ones That Get Away’, mixed in with orchestral elements and of course tracks like ‘Strangers We've Become’!

Trance.nu: Can we expect some collaborations with other producers on the album too?
Arnej: This album is solely a ... solo effort by me, there are no featured co-producers.

Trance.nu: When can we expect the release of the album?
Arnej: The release will probably be towards the end of this year. Yeah I know, it seems like so far away, but there's a process that one must go through with an Album, you can't just randomly release it whenever and expect acceptance, there has to be demand for it.

Trance.nu: How would you describe your own sound?
Arnej: While some may disagree, I don't think I have a 'sound'! There are certain types of melodies that touch me, so that's kind of what is reflected in my music. I think rather than force-feeding my own definition into others ears, I'd rather let others define what my sound is to them.

Trance.nu: I personally love your track ‘Bella’, but what is your own favorite production by yourself?
Arnej: My current favorite is most definitely ‘Rendezvous’, there's just something about it that always gets me!

Trance.nu You have a daytime job in the video game industry, so basically music is still a hobby for you. Is it very difficult for you to combine your daytime job with your music and DJ gigs?
Arnej: I wouldn't say difficult, but it makes you wish there were more hours in the day. I don't consider anything I do a 'job', because to me once you cross that line of where your job is fun to do, it's not longer work! I'd much rather call it a 'hobby that pays'.

Trance.nu: Can you tell us a bit more about what you exactly do as day time job? I noticed on your Myspace that there is a video game soundtrack in the making. Has it to do something with that?
Arnej: Well, I work for a company called S2 Games, stationed in Norther California. My job position is pretty ambiguous as I've done everything from particle effects, to level design, to modeling, texturing, and music, but my 'primary' field is sound design. You know, making whooshes, swooshes, dings, dongs, and that kinda stuff. The soundtrack that I am working on is a part of the ongoing project, yes.

Trance.nu: In 2008 Black Hole Recordings released Mr. Sam’s ‘Opus Secundo’ mix compilation. One of the tracks on this double compilation was the beautiful ‘The Beauty That Lies Behind Those Green Eyes’, which can only be found on this compilation. Will there ever be a separate release of this track? Or was it made especially for the Mr. Sam album?
Arnej: Black Hole did ask for a single release but I didn't want to. That track was something for the compilation and is something I do not want to touch or give any more attention towards. It is how it is.

Trance.nu: When I compare the titles of some of your tracks, I notice that a lot of them have a sort of a “sad” feeling over them. For example ‘Life Goes On’, ‘Fading Memories’, ‘People Come, People Go’, ‘The Ones That Get Away’, ‘A New Beginning’, ‘Time Waits For No One’, ‘Unspoken Truth’, ‘People Don’t Change’ and your new single ‘Strangers We’ve Become’ too. Is this just coincidence or did you make those tracks during a hard time in your life?
Arnej: I wouldn't call the theme sad, but rather thought provoking. I try to pick titles that may or may not relate to what people are going through, some are self-expressionism in its truest form, some are not... or as Armin put it ... "James Bond" titles.

Trance.nu: Do you get more inspiration when something nice or something bad happens in your life?
Arnej: So far it's been the latter lol!

Trance.nu: Your first release ever was in 2004: ‘8 Wonders - The Morning After’ on the ‘Somatic Sense’ label. That was still in the vinyl period. Nowadays most releases are digital only. What do you think of that?
Arnej: It's just a byproduct of where our economy is going. People aren't buying as much music as before, so it makes sense to make cutbacks. Vinyl was always a very costly thing to produce and had its set of limitations.

Trance.nu: Can we expect new ‘8 Wonders’ material any time soon?
Arnej: There is a new 3 track 8 Wonders EP on the way, featuring the already ASOT playlisted ‘Everything's Been Written’.

Trance.nu: And new stuff under your ‘Arney S.’ alias?
Arnej: Hmmm, most likely not, but we'll see. The reason for that alias really was for contractual reasons with my label rather than a 'different' sound.

Trance.nu: So far you did remixes for The Thrillseekers, Blake Jarrell, Selu Vibra, Mike Saint-Jules, Dash Berlin, Leon Bolier & Jonas Steur and some others. Can we expect some new remixes from your hand anytime soon?
Arnej: The only one that hasn't been released so far is the one I did of Armin's ‘What If’, besides that, not many remixes on my plate for 2009. I am trying to focus more on my album!

Trance.nu: Are there any classic tracks that you would love to remix?
Arnej: In general, I find this to be a very dangerous territory, almost like a mine field, if you don't pick your steps correctly, you just may step on a mine. I did a remix of the classic ISOS1 track ‘Time Gate’ but for personal use. I do get a lot of emails about it, so I suppose this is the best way to set the record straight. It's an unofficial remix and (as things stand) will not see a release! Sorry guys, it was mostly
meant something to enrich my own sets (and apparently that Armin guy too, haha!). As for what I'd love to remix, I don't know, that's such a tough question, the reason why I chose ‘Time Gate’ is because the production value is subpar compared to records today and it wasn't really club worthy... I do have another one that I am working on but I don't want to reveal that just yet, I guess you'll have to keep a close eye on my sets and see if you can spot it!

Trance.nu: Armin van Buuren named you “Producer Of The Year” in 2008. How does it feel when someone like Armin is saying something like that about you?
Arnej: It feels warm and fuzzy, you know, like when you sit on a heated car seat. If you could tell me a year ago that'd be something that would happen, I'd tell you to GTFO, haha! I respect Armin and his craft and I am definitely appreciative for his support, but that doesn't mean that I am not out to get him... Only Arnej (the official name due to contractual reasons, Armin .. it's only cuz you're a bloody lawyer and you know it!) is coming soon! Haha!

Trance.nu: Besides producing and remixing you’re also DJ-ing. What can people expect when they come see you?
Arnej: I think people can expect a jolly good ol' time! Just make sure you bring some crackers ... and I'll provide the cheese...

Trance.nu: Where can people see you in the next couple of weeks?
Arnej: I am taking the month of February off so I can get some work done, after that, I'll be all over the place!

Trance.nu: Do you have any hobbies besides music?
Arnej: I like blind folded juggling, staring at the sun for extended periods of time, and stone carving!

Trance.nu: Very interesting, haha! So what can we expect from you in 2009?
Arnej: A more finely tuned Arnej, kind of like a brand new Mercedes... just hits all the right spots! Expect less but more quality singles, with
a few carefully chosen remixes thrown in between and of course, expect me at a club near you!

Trance.nu: Thanks a lot for your time and good luck in the future!
Arnej: Spank you very much, tis' been fun! I would like to sign off with some words of wisdom, something to ponder about when you go to bed at night.

Are we human? Or are we dancer?

Msg me your answer on www.myspace.com/8wonders8 !

Written by:
Twan van Loon

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