ARTBAT, the Ukranian duo of Artur & Batish, are currently among the most successful Ukrainian electronic acts and enjoy global recognition. Over the last couple of years, the two experienced deejays and producers from Kiev, have completed a rewarding transition from the debut release, to their current standing in the scene. The key to their success lies within their powerful and inventive sound of the highest quality. Their tracks have an impressive capacity to fuel both intimate dance floors and huge arenas with energy and drive. It’s for these very reasons why many renowned artists are attracted by ARTBAT’s music. Such dance music authorities like Solomun, Tale Of Us, Pete Tong, Deadmau5 and Richie Hawtin are now regularly spinning ARTBAT’s tracks during their sets.
We caught up with ARTBAT to talk about the latest Diynamic release, life in Ukraine and plans for 2019.
Electronic Groove: Hey guys, pleased to meet you. How was your first US tour? What were the highlights?
ARTBAT: Likewise, the pleasure is ours. Pretty fly to be honest. It’s been 2 phenomenal weeks. We’ve never been touring in the States, so basically everything was new for us. The vibe and atmosphere was completely different for all the 7 shows. Our absolute highlight was the show in Hollywood – Los Angeles. We were hoping, but didn’t expect to play for a 1500 -2000 people cap event on our first ever US run. The dance floor was on fire, the roof was burning and people were enjoying our music a lot. Besides the whole work (DJ) commitments, we’ve seen many amazing places. The NASA Space Centre in Houston or Hollywood Hills were highlights for example.
EG: What’s it like on the road together? Do you fall out? Do you share rooms? Do you need time apart?
ARTBAT: It’s surely more fun to travel together. We’re super relaxed and have massive respect for each other. To be honest it’s tough to imagine traveling all these hours on our own, go alone for dinners or not being able to share all these great and fun moments on tour. Surely here and there you have some arguments – that’s normal for every good working relationship, but mostly we ride on the same wave. We do like to share our hotel rooms, yes. It’s simply more fun. We laugh, we talk, we dine and prepare together for the upcoming show. Sometimes we have some ideas and can directly work on it together.
EG: How did you first meet, what made you decide to work together?
ARTBAT: We first met at a club in Kiev – Ukraine, where Artur was working. Batish has been there as guest. We luckily got introduced to each other and clicked. After some time, we then decided to meet in the studio and see how we get along. Harmony and understanding from day one, since then we are the same journey.
EG: How did it go at first, did you immediately hit it off and find your roles?
ARTBAT: We both are creative characters. We don’t really put a role for each other. One day Artur is looking for melodies and new ideas, while Batish is composing or working on bass, etc.! On another day it’s the other way around. We really merge pretty well with our creative minds. Most importantly we both have the same vision and if that’s the case, studio work is pretty easy and even more fun.
“Harmony and understanding from day one, since then we are the same journey”
EG: Does each of you bring a different background to the collaboration? Do you have different skills and tastes?
ARTBAT: We have a similar taste while playing in front of a crowd. At home we like completely different kind of music. Our backgrounds are almost identically, but with a twist. Production skills are also different from each other, which helps us a lot to produce special stuff. Two creative minds go hand in hand here.
EG: What is the scene like in Ukraine? Did you start going to parties at an early age, is that how you got into dance music?
ARTBAT: Ukraine’s scene is growing by the day and we’re very honored to put our country on the map in terms of the electronic dance music world. Ukraine and especially Kiev has a well-educated (in terms of music taste) crowd. People love to go out and listen to outstanding techno. Our home base is Chi by Decadence House in Kiev. We’re bringing international artists on a weekly basis. Lately we have invited Marco Carola, Tale Of Us, Solomun, Dixon, Adriatique and many more.
We were both always into electronic dance music. Even before we went out, but surely our visions and taste got formed by going out and listening to quality music.
EG: What sounds are popular there? Mainstream or more underground? Techno or house? Is there a specific sound, like Detroit has techno, Berlin has minimal?
ARTBAT: Mainstream is not too popular. You rarely see artists like David Guetta or similar coming to Ukraine. People here love quality techno. Melodic techno, deep house, house and a some Burning Man style. ARTBAT sound is pretty famous here.
EG: You have a new EP on Diynamic, a year after your first, how did you link with that label? Did you make music specifically for them?
ARTBAT: It has always been a major dream to release on Diynamic. We adore the music being released on that label since the very first day. It comes the closest to our vision and style. We have been sending music to them on a regular basis. The first contact was in 2016, when we signed ‘Uplift’ for the ‘Four To The Floor’ EP. Since then we have been in almost weekly dialogue with Solomun. Then we worked on an EP towards Diynamic. After a while we picked 3 tracks for the ‘Planeta’ EP, and it got signed off right away. The ‘Upperground’ EP was the natural step and follow up. We’re super happy with the outcome.
EG: Tell us about the ‘Upperground’ EP, what was the vibe, and where and when was it written?
ARTBAT: We tried to produce some dance floor bangers and smash hits. ‘Upperground’ and ‘Atlas’ were like a flow. We both were directly hooked and the two tunes come together pretty fast. We then sent the demos to Solomun and he road tested them a couple of months. He pretty much played it on the biggest stages around the globe. After some edits – bits & pieces we had 2 tracks in the box. But something was missed – a third track to round up the EP. We then spoke to our friend and talented producer, vocalist Dino Lenny. He sent us a track that we loved from the first moment. We then met in the studio, made some edits and ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ was born.
“Communication is very essential while playing back-to-back”
EG: It’s been top of the Beatport charts for 4 weeks – what is that like? Does that add more pressure next time you’re in the studio?
ARTBAT: It’s been 5 weeks already! ‘Upperground’ is really doing some damage. Not only on the dance floor, but also on the charts. Don’t forget ‘Atlas’ as it’s still #4 in the overall and #2 in the Melodic Techno Charts. ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ has reached top5 in Electronica / Downtempo charts as well. The whole EP was a full success.
More pressure? No, No… It motivates you even more. We love to go to the studio. After one milestone another is just around the corner.
EG: What is your style as DJs? What your favorite setting – festival main stages or intimate clubs?
ARTBAT: In terms of music, pure ARTBAT style. We love to make people dance, smile and enjoy our vision. The more people are in front of us, the more people we can share our music with. Of course it’s always a highlight to play on a festival mainstage. This summer is going to be exceptional – Awakenings, Loveland, EDC Las Vegas and EDC Japan are four outstanding shows we can’t wait to play at. But besides that we love to play in intimate clubs as well. Especially in the Middle East (Beirut, Dubai, Israel, Turkey) they go mental to our music. It’s always a great experience.
EG: Do you play back to back, one each, or half hour each? Do you need to plan and talk and communicate while playing, or do you have an unspoken understanding?
ARTBAT: We always play back-to-back, one or two tracks each. We do have an unspoken understanding. It’s important to read the crowd and then make decisions on the spot. Communication is very essential while playing back-to-back. Especially when we test our new productions, we love to speak on the spot about the reaction of the people or maybe how we could fine tune the track.
EG: What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
ARTBAT: Firstly, we’re looking forward to the vinyl release of the ‘Upperground’. A vinyl is always something special and we are extremely proud of it. Very exciting are our upcoming releases in March on Rukus with Matador collaboration, in April on Watergate (2 tracks on their Watergate 26 compilation) with our friends WhoMadeWho and May / June has some more exciting news that we can’t share yet.
Besides the releases, we have a pretty busy touring calendar. Next up is our second India tour, followed by shows in the Middle East and at the end of March we are going to be at MMW Miami.
There’s too many exciting news to be honest 🙂
ARTBAT’s ‘Upperground’ EP is already available. Grab your copy here.