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On a floor beneath all of the action lies the green room, or for ease of explanation, the artist’s room. A comfortable, well-kept space set up only for the artists and the ones closest to them. Tour managers, personal photographers, girlfriends, maybe groupies if they’re lucky can frequent this room to hang out away from the noise and hounding fans. One of the most important things that contributes to the success of the entire show begins in this room. Well before doors ever open and crowds are let in, well before a CDJ is ever set up and sound check begins, before the first artist even arrives in the building every promoter must ask themselves “Did I get every snack, drink and finger food everyone requested? Is everything they could possibly need in this room?”

T h e  L i f e  B a c k s t a g e

Life on the road is incredibly tough for artists. They’re away from their families and loved ones living on a tour bus or at airports. A-Trak for example was in Columbus late that night for Haunted Fest and the next afternoon was in Atlanta setting up and performing at the all-day Fool’s Gold Day Off show that began at 3pm. Life like this becomes incredibly taxing on the body. Eating nutritious food is backburnered for extra time spent sleeping, normal exercise routines are forgone to ensure on-time arrival to venues, must-needed alone time is non-existent as artists must travel with a team around them to ensure the show will go on, interviews are kept and meet ‘n greets are on time. Sometimes the ability of the artist to handle this chaotic lifestyle and still get on stage with a smile comes down to “Did you get the thinly sliced deli turkey and light Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch on Nature’s Own Whitewheat bread with no artificial preservatives cut diagonally?” Perhaps laughable at first, but once you put yourself in their hectic shoes with their impossible schedules, you can come to see that sometimes you just want that turkey sandwich like your mom used to make you before you perform. This list of requests, “a rider”, comes standard on every artist’s contract and is something Tour Managers take seriously to keep their artist in good spirits while on the road. It’s always interesting to see what artists request to have at their finger tips during and after their performances.

At Haunted Fest Audien was in quite a hurry. Arriving shortly before his performance and leaving immediately afterwards to be able to make his 12:30am set time in Detroit, his requests were light in nature: a pack of Orbit gum, Gatorades, Aquafina waters and several cans of Red Bull to pair with his bottle of Grey Goose. Arty chose a rather healthy array of sliced fruits and protein bars to be washed down with Pellegrino water, Corona and Moet champagne. A-Trak enjoyed a vegetable plate, pitas with several kinds of hummus, multiple styles of turkey and beef jerky, dried nuts and berries, Cliff bars, a cooler full of Stella Artois, and an assortment of Naked fruit juices and sparkling waters. Headliners Zeds Dead also requested an assortment of fruit; mostly bananas and grapes to be drank with Simply Orange orange juice and Fiji water. Not afraid of carbs and trans fats, they also requested 2 bags of Lay’s Kettled Cooked mesquite BBQ chips, Rold Gold pretzels, Jack’s Links Beef Jerky, Cliff Bars and an assorted bag of mini candy bars–it was Halloween after all. Mindful of the toll touring can take on your body, a box of Emergenc-E also laid on the table next to a sketch pad and permanent marker. Artistry that goes well beyond the composition of music, Hooks is an accomplished street artist that has made his mark of beautiful graffiti around the world. In The Life Backstage’s next interview we sit down with the bass barons and I got to see with my own eyes his talent for drawing and hear about his passion for the creation of street art. A cooler full of Yeungling next to a large bottle of Maker’s Mark told me they were far from having a gutter-palette when it came to adult beverages. Their refined taste shines through in their well-developed melodies and their taste for good bourbon.

As doors opened and set times approached, A-Trak’s and Arty’s tour managers arrived to preview the green room before their artists were even on premises. Ensuring contracted drinks and snacks were up to par and familiarizing themselves with the lay out of the venue, it is their job to make sure their artist has everything they need to have a seamless journey from hotel, to green room, to the stage.

Audien arrived first and was accompanied by a beautiful and friendly female companion. All smiles with upbeat conversation topics, they brought an excellent energy into the room that was very much like the energy he brought to the stage. His excitement-packed electro-house and driving progressive house jams woke up the Columbus crowd and prepared them for the best Halloween EDM show Ohio State’s campus has ever seen.

Up next was EDM phenomenon Arty who peppered in fan favorite sing-a-longs like his beautiful remix of Zedd’s “Spectrum” to continue the heightening of the crowd’s involvement and excitement with the show. After his set he had some time before headlining the after party at Sway nightclub which he kindly used to sit down and talk with me. With the hope of having a few minutes to speak to the Russian producer, I stopped a random fan in the crowd wearing an Arty t-shirt earlier in the night to ask him if he had the chance to ask Arty one question, what would he choose to ask him? After a moment of contemplation, he told me he was really excited to finally acquire Holy Ship tickets this year. Would I ask Arty if he’s going to be on it and if not, would he want to perform on one in the future? “No, not this year” Arty replied. “I hope to one day. It’s very popular.”

Have you ever requested something funny on your rider for promoters to have for you? He quickly responds:

“I am not as funny as Dillon Francis. I do not have his sense of humor. The funniest thing I request is the vodka because it makes you really funny after a couple of shots.”

Delivering every answer with a smile, I can tell he’s having as much fun joking as I am listening.

Did you ever dress up for Halloween as a kid?

“No. I am from Russia and this holiday is not familiar to us. It’s really American but, it’s funny. I would like to do it once and wear something weird. I think that would be fun.”

With festival season drawing to a close, as you reflect back on your performances which one were you most happy with? Without hesitation he says:

“Oh definitely EDC Vegas. That was a really, really, really good show. Probably the best of my life. Everything about that was pretty perfect and I had a lot of fun.”

Have any fans ever done anything crazy to get your attention? His mood immediately picks up and you can see he is excited to share this story:

“Yeah! It was my 25th birthday on the 28th of September and my Russian fan came all the way from Russia with a video where my family and friends did a shout-out to me. A celebration video I was watching on my phone, on my birthday, far away from my family, far away from my friends and it was such an emotional moment.” You could hear in his voice that recalling this moment was emotional for Arty and meant a great deal to him. He reiterated with passion “They brought this video all the way from Russia to Vegas and that was emotional in all ways.”

What kind of DJ equipment are you using tonight?

“Just CDJs, a mixer, and good music.”

Do you get a lot of time to listen to music for pleasure?

“Yeah I’m actually trying to be a bit more wider than just electronic music. My most recent purchase in iTunes was The Foo Fighters Greatest Hits. Listening to different music brings different things to your mind and different ideas on what you’re going to do next in terms of production. It definitely makes sense for me to listen to all different kinds of music. I listen from The Foo Fighters to M83 to Skrillex and Diplo as Jack U. A pretty diverse iTunes playlist to keep yourself diverse.”

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Coke or Pepsi?

“Coke. Mexican Coke.”
This then spurs a group conversation about how much better Mexican Coke tastes because they still use real sugar instead of the American way of using high fructose corn syrup. C’mon, America. Catch up.

Red Bull or Monster?

He points to the Red Bull can he’s currently drinking from and jokingly says “Oh, this is such a hard question” with a smile. Clearly his allegiance lies with Red Bull.

Xbox 1 or PS4?

“Oh PS4 all day! Like ALL day long. You could ask me ‘Anything or PS4?’ and I am going to say ‘PS4’, haha!”

iPhone or Android?

He pulls his iPhone out of his pocket and proudly says “iPhone.”

Maxim or GQ?

After a slight pause he explains he has to think on it because they are both good but, he is going to side with the one that is more informative. He goes with “Probably GQ.”

Pool or beach?

“Pool. I like to be private.”

A r t y

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If you would like to relive the music of the night, head over to your Spotify app and search “Haunted Fest”. A playlist full of the hottest songs each artist played in their set has been put together so you and your friends can reminisce the excellent memories you made together.

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