“I love games, I'm a huge video gamer,” says Artem Stoliarov. Better known by his producer and DJ name, Arty, he first entered the electronic dance music, or EDM, scene in 2009 and now travels the world playing at some of the biggest music festivals. This Sunday, Arty has a set on the mainstage at Tomorrowland in Belgium, where he is playing alongside Afrojack, Hardwell and Tiësto.
Born in Russia, the 25-year-old splits his time when not on the road between his home country and his house in Los Angeles. In 2011 he was named No. 25 on DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJs list, the world’s biggest music poll. Besides doing the summer music festival circuit, Arty is currently closing his upcoming album, which will be announced at the end of the month.
In the little spare time he has when not playing and making music, Arty likes to play games -- from “World of Warcraft” to “The Witcher 3” and “FIFA.” One of his all-time favorites is “League of Legends,” which he started playing in 2012 for fun and soon ranked up to gold tier three on his European account. He’s even visited developer Riot Games’ campus in L.A. -- twice. He started playing on a North American account in season four and is trying to hit gold tier before he starts streaming on Twitch. “Pretty sure I will start in September once the album is done,” he said.
International Business Times had a chat to Arty last week about his love of games, while he was back in Russia for the Alfa Future People Festival.
International Business Times: When did you first start playing games?
Arty: A long time ago, when I got my first computer, I was 13 or 14. One of my very first games -- it is actually a pretty cool story, because that's when I became a huge Star Wars fan -- I was playing Knights of the Old Republic, it was one of the first RPGs that I played and I was just completely shocked by this game and the universe and after I finished the game I watched the whole "Star Wars" movies, from the first to the sixth episodes, and literally I would take one day and watch the whole series.
The games also helped me a lot with the English language, like if you want to know the story and if you want to hear the original character voices because they're pretty authentic -- the wrong voice on a main character and the game is done, you just can't play it because it’s a different atmosphere. Since then I was trying to play the original versions, so it helped me a lot with my English. Which helped me even bigger with production and talking to European and American labels. It was a lot easier for me because I got the basics from the games.
Hanging out with Darth Malgus, he’s saying Dark Side is cool and EDM is cool too pic.twitter.com/XGNqce5ojC
— Arty (@arty_music) October 23, 2014
IBTimes: You really like “League of Legends”!
Arty: I’m taking it a little bit more serious, trying to learn the more professional way of gaming -- map awareness and picking champions -- when I have the time, which is pretty rare because usually I'm just making music all the time. I'm getting to the point where the album is pretty much done. There's a lot of preparations because I'm going to do the album tour in the fall. That takes a huge amount of time, so I can’t play a lot, especially because I just go straight to the ranked games.
IBTimes: What is your favorite "LoL" character?
Arty: I like the champions with decent mechanics, the champions that make sense on the map and they actually could decide the games. Vayne, for example. That's my favorite AD Carry. Yasuo I would pick on mid-lane, but lately it was Viktor. Riven I played for some time. I hate jungling; that's my worst role because I just don't understand how it works.
It's really cool when you pick a champion like Vayne and somebody's trying to counter you with Caitlyn; they're going to ball you really hard in the first couple of levels, but if you do everything right and you get yourself to level six and the first item you're going to be -- not God-like -- but you're going to be really strong by that point, and that's really cool because you need to struggle in the first six levels, which is pretty much half of the lane phase. That makes it more exciting because it requires more skill to not feed the enemy AD Carry.
IBTimes: Do you play games on the road and on tour at all?
Arty: I play games on the road really rarely. The thing about that is it's really hard to put yourself in a position when you can deal with a laptop. The feeling of the buttons are different -- I'm using a mechanical keyboard and I'm usually strong with a decent mouse -- it's like you have the different resolution, you have a smaller screen and map awareness changes a lot because it's completely different playing on a laptop compared to a tower PC. If I'm on the road, I would prefer to produce the music because that's what I'm used to doing on a laptop.
— Arty (@arty_music) April 23, 2015
IBTimes: What other games do you play?
Arty: I'm a huge fan of RPGs. I also love MMORPGs as well, especially "World of Warcraft." My problem with MMORPGs is that after level 30 or 40 you have to spend a lot of time going to raids and stuff like that. It takes so much time that I just don't have, and that's the biggest problem for me.
It's a completely different story with the RPGs because you know that you're going to get to the point where the game is done. That forces me to keep playing the game even if I'm running out of time or I know I've spent too much time with this game. If I don't have time to play it and stop playing for two months and get back, I’m trying to remember what's happening. It’s so hard to get back into a game for me, so I just stop playing it.
IBTimes: How important is the game soundtrack to you?
Arty: Oh, it's important a lot. If you're playing something that has a story line, and they have all these emotional moments, it's just amazing. For example, in Dragon Age Inquisition there was this moment when the main villain burned the whole village down and they were trying to get to the castle. They were in the mountains and there was a lot of snow and a lot of people were camping. They were freezing out, there was no food, and they start to sing this song. And you will think about this -- it's just a game -- but the moment was so emotional I was just sitting there crying because it was so amazing. That kind of moment makes the whole game, and they make big impressions.
That's how I started listening to some of the electronic musicians. I'm pretty sure it was Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, which came out around 2005 and one of the musical directors was Amon Tobin, he's doing like really electronic music, you can't even really say the genre. But I fell in love with this music.
IBTimes: Do you play with any other artists?
Arty: I don't know a lot of video gamers. The biggest game that everybody knows and plays from DJ society would be FIFA. It's just huge -- like, everybody is playing it. Especially the Dutch DJs and the Swedish guys. It's awesome to play against someone else; it's the best way to relax or to de-stress. Especially if you do the online tournaments, that's what I used to do as well. I went to rank one and that was just insanity. So I was playing this game and I was winning and I actually lost in the end so I dropped my Gamepad into the pool, I was so stressed out and I just left the Gamepad and the pool guy came and got it out. But that's what FIFA can do to you on that kind of level. That was pretty funny.
RIP Satoru Iwata :(
— Arty (@arty_music) July 13, 2015
IBTimes: You tweeted about Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata's death?
Arty: Yeah, that was pretty sad. I got myself into Nintendo like five or 10 years ago. I got my first 3DS like two years ago, but I fell in love with it because it was just a completely different console and way different games. It's nothing about the graphics -- it's about how amazing gameplay can be when you don't really care about the graphics. It's more about the way it feels, family-ish.
Hey babe ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/ACdRJCX4mZ
— Arty (@arty_music) April 4, 2015
IBTimes: Do you rage when you play "LoL"?
Arty: I learned myself to stay pretty calm and focus on understanding the mechanics of the game, controlling the objectives. That's what I focus myself on. I'm not a huge flamer. I don't like to do that. That's not the way that you're supposed to play the competitive games. Except the Gamepad in the pool, that was a moment of rage for sure.
IBTimes: Does your gaming ever influence your music?
Yes! It's a huge influence because when you're playing the game, RPG or a new action, it can bring a lot of emotions. Like that moment that happened with Dragon Age Inquisition. So it's not like influence you straight away, it's just happening with time.
For example, now I'm a huge fan of sci-fi. Obviously when you're playing that type of game, it’s going to have artistic music. And when you listen to the music again and again and again because you're playing the game constantly, it's just going to be a huge inspiration to do something in that kind of style, and you're going to listen to more of that kind of music.