[INTERVIEW] ARIUS Shares Their New Collaborative Single With ZABO, "Higher Love", Self-Discovery, + Upcoming Releases
Having skyrocketed to the top of experimental bass scene since their project's debut, ARIUS is a gifted duo who is shaping the future of electronic music. From the brilliant minds of Tessa and Matt Nguyen, ARIUS merges elements of hip-hop with ground-shattering bass to make any listener uncontrollably headbang. Add this with Tessa's legendary finger-drumming skills and Matt's top-tier expertise in dance, and you have the perfect recipe to light up the dance floor.
With over a million fans across the globe, ARIUS has exponentially grown their following throughout their career. The pair has blessed massive crowds with their hypnotic stage presence, performing at prime venues, such as Bass Canyon, Decadence NYE, Dancefestopia, and Phoenix Lights. Now, hot off their collab with ZABO, ARIUS continues to break down the barriers of genre with their new mesmerizing single "Higher Love".
Check out iEDM's exclusive interview with ARIUS below.
iEDM: How did you two first meet each other? What led to the creation of ARIUS and what does the name mean?
ARIUS: We both met each other at EDC 2010 for a quick second. Two years later we met again at a club and then started dating after that night. Matt was a full-time touring dancer for Poreotics, which was America’s Best Dance Crew's champion in season 5. We didn’t do well being apart all the time. Once our friend taught us how to DJ for fun, we decided that it was a cool idea to start something together so we can travel the world with each other. That is how ARIUS started. ARIUS stands for Aries + Sagittarius.
iEDM: What are your favorite artistic attributes in each other? What is the most important self-discovery each of you has made while making music together?
ARIUS: We both love bass music so much that it became the core that holds our relationship together. We also love using the technology of different DJ equipment to our advantage to get creative with live performances. Our music taste is also the same, which really helps during the creative process. We both did not have musical background training so it feels great to know that we both had it in us without realizing it.
iEDM: What was the toughest challenge during the journey of finding your signature sound and how did you overcome it?
ARIUS: We love a little bit of everything which made it really hard to find our signature sound, but after years of experiment, we realized that our signature sound is blending sounds from multiple genres into one. Our specialty is taking old stuff and make it modern.
iEDM: How do your production styles complement each other?
ARIUS: We both love mid tempo, 100bpm is our favorite bpm. That speed has that hip-hop tempo and a bit of moombahton, which is extremely fun to dance to.
iEDM: What strategies do you utilize to fuse elements of different genres together when producing?
ARIUS: Understanding music theory and finding the right section of the track to blend other tracks in, making it sound like one. We do it all on Ableton, it takes a lot of brainstorming, searching, and numerous attempts until it feels right.
iEDM: The overall sound in your singles “CRAZY FOR FALLING” and “LOVE IS A KILLA” is more melodic and uplifting than some of your grittier heavy bass tracks, such as “Misbehave” and “Voices”. How are you able to shift between the two varying sounds and what have you learned from this process?
ARIUS: We just go with how we feel at the moment, but one thing we always focus on is making sure the track is something we would get down to on the dance floor. We have our melodic side that we aim to for; it is always “good vibes”. When it comes to making heavy music, we like it just enough that makes you want to get grimy, but not too much where it would make you feel too intense and not know how to move to it.
iEDM: What is each of your favorite ARIUS merch designs and why? What goals do you have for your merch and charity project?
ARIUS: We love our hoodies with the built-in mask. They are different and nobody has that product currently. As of right now, we give back when we can, but no plans on any huge charity project.
iEDM: Matt, what are important skills, perspectives, or pieces of knowledge that you gained while dancing that transferred over to ARIUS? What ideas do you have to bridge DJing, EDM, and dancing even closer in the future?
ARIUS: I listen to music how a dancer would vs how a producer would. It's very hard to explain, but when I write something, if I don't feel like dancing to it, then it's not good. I’ve been able to find my own mixing style by taking up to six tracks and blending them into one song in two minutes. Usually it sounds as if six artists are performing together on stage.
iEDM: Tessa, what advice would you give to someone who wants to get into finger drumming but doesn’t know where to start? How does finger drumming allow you to express your creativity and artistic vision?
ARIUS: Finger drumming is really fun, but it's a lot harder than it looks. It takes a lot of practice, training your fingers to have the strength to play on the MPC (Music Production Center) is extremely difficult. This will feel very awkward at first but with practice and time anyone can do it. There’s not a lot of female finger drummers out there. I’ve only seen maybe two or three females that do it, so its definitely cool to know.
iEDM: What were some of the highlights of working with ZABO on “Death On The Dance Floor”?
ARIUS: It was a pretty smooth process, we love ZABO’s work, We really like the intro we did for "Death On The Dance Floor"; it has that near death experience and as the track goes on, you become alive and just start tearing up the dance floor.
iEDM: What effects and soundscapes did you blend in to add energy and suspense to the buildup in “Death On The Dance Floor”?
ARIUS: It's just the siren sound EFX we used and some laser EFX, with the cinematic brass horn you hear in movies.
iEDM: What emotions do you feel when the drop hits?
ARIUS: When the drop hits, it's heavy, but it's also easy to follow and dance to. The drop makes you instantly start headbanging to the music.
iEDM: What are a few of the best things about living in Bali? Why did you choose to move there and how has the move impacted your music career?
ARIUS: Bali is extremely affordable and magical. We moved there because it looks amazing on social media. We created "CRAZY FOR FALLING", "Misbehave", and "Voices" while in Bali.
iEDM: What has been your favorite festival and places to perform at and why?
We have a few favorites. Hawaii is always a great time, along with Decadence Arizona and Texas. The people there seem like they really vibe with our style.
iEDM: With 2022 coming to an end, what is in store for ARIUS during 2023?
ARIUS: We just finished a brand new EP with a completely new sound. It's a Sax + Bass EP. Matt grew up listening and dancing to a lot of funk music so we decided to fuse that into our style and it turned out amazing. For 2023, we are working on something really special that hasn't been done before by any DJs. It is going to take sometime to bring it to live but when we do it will be incredible.
Photos courtesy of ARIUS
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