On my way home from work I was listening to Project 46. I wasn’t familiar with them, but recently landed an interview with them and wanted to do some preliminary research before I met them. I was blown away with I heard, and really enjoyed their use of a female vocalist. I just LOVE female vocals in dance music. It makes sense that I would like Aruna! She has been doing a lot of work with Myon & Shane 54 and is simply one of the most popular names in EDM. She is also a great songwriter and has worked with some pretty big names writing tracks for infamous Miley Cyrus. Oh, and she has done some work with Ferry Corsten, one of my favorites. She recently moved from Anjunabeats to Enhanced Music and has been in the studio working on some new tracks. I caught up with Aruna to discuss her recent label change, working with Armin and The Hot List, her podcast. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Aruna.
You recently moved from Anjunabeats to Enhanced Music. Why the change? Are there things you miss about being with Anjunabeats?
Every trance label I’ve worked with, and I’ve worked with all of them, have their own strengths and weaknesses. Just like in life, everything is a trade off. There were things I loved about Anjunabeats, but all told I think Enhanced seems to be the best fit. They are organized, consistent in the quality of their releases, great with branding and still give me the freedom to pretty much do what I want. They are open to my ideas and are helping build my overall brand as an artist. They are still a budding label, and I feel there is room for me to become one of their pillar acts. This is very important for me. Any label where I feel I’m not getting the attention and support I want is simply not going to work.
Armin featured your new single on A State Of Trance 623. Tell me more about “Reason To Believe.”
That song was actually written with another writer, a local singer here in LA named David Bowick. I wanted to work with someone outside of EDM on this one because I felt like I was getting stuck in my own clichés and idiosyncrasies. I’m always listening to that kind of music. It was our first time working together but we clicked immediately and were able to bounce ideas off each other in a very organic way. Consequently we finished this song in about 3 hours! The early support from people like Armin, Above & Beyond and Paul van Dyk has been great, and it’s been doing really well on Beatport, which is a good feeling!
There are so many names in electronic dance music. For the most part, it seems everyone plays nice. How does everyone support each other at the top?
It’s somewhat of a symbiotic relationship. The DJ needs the producers to feed them new music for their shows, and producers need the big DJ to support their tracks and bring them to the attention of the public. Generally speaking all the big names I’ve met have been nice. The names a few notches below that, particularly the ones that got very successful very quickly, beat their chests and push down everyone around them. Not naming names of course, but I’ve heard stories, very consistent stories, about a few people in particular. Fortunately I’ve been lucky enough to not have dealt with any of that myself.
Tell me more about The Hot List.
I started The Hot List 2 years ago, about 6 months after I started DJing, as a way of consistently giving my fans something new of mine to chew on, showcasing my tastes as a DJ and presenting my own new tracks. I feel like having a radio show, as a DJ, is a really important part of your overall brand. If you don’t, it’s much like a chef who doesn’t cook. People need to hear your style to know what you do, that’s part of how they come to know your sound and who you are as an overall artist. It seems to me that the DJs who have the best and most consistent podcasts are the ones with the most loyal fan base.
Armin has shown a lot of support for your work over the years. Tell me what it feels like to have the #1 DJ in the world on your side.
Armin is a force of nature, in terms of the power of his fan base and the outreach that he has. In trance, its unparalleled. Any release that doesn’t have support from either him or Above & Beyond will have a very hard time breaking through I think. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve had both of them on my side from the beginning. It’s very validating and I think a big part of why I’ve gotten to where I am now.
You wrote a song for Miley Cyrus. What song and did you enjoy working with her?
The song was called “I Got Nerve.” I can’t say that I worked with her on it, me and 2 other writers wrote it and pitched it to Disney. They picked it up for her and she recorded it. So it was a bit of an indirect process but to me it’s the end result with something like that that matters the most. It sold 2 million in the U.S. just in the first 2 months alone. I used to jump up and down screaming when I would get my checks. That was the greatest windfall of my life and a huge game changer. I thank God for that every day.
Thank you so much, Aruna. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Don’t play with matches, don’t run with scissors and don’t eat yellow snow. And all of you who’ve been buying my new single “Reason To Believe,” I love you! Big hug and kiss; you know who you are.. And thanks for having me as well!