Exclusive Interview: Arno Cost Talks Protocol, His EP And French Touch


With mainstream EDM under fire in recent months, Arno Cost might be strategically positioning himself to capitalize on electronic music fans’ increasingly refined tastes. While the Coming Alive EP that he just released on Nicky Romero’s Protocol Recordings imprint was equal parts melodic and progressive house, he intends for his upcoming releases to lean more towards the former category.

When we met up with Arno in Miami last month for Miami Music Week, he made it clear that he would like to revisit his musical origins in 2016 – origins that are rooted in the French touch movement of the ‘90s.

The genre was a largely instrumental iteration of house music championed by artists like Laurent Garnier and Guillaume la Tortue that would lay the foundation for artists like Daft Punk to make waves in the years to follow.

In addition, Cost also discussed being signed to Protocol and gave us an idea of what to expect in terms of releases this year. If he sticks to his plan, he may well turn out to be one of the label’s most valuable assets as festival season unfolds.

Take a look at what he had to say below, and enjoy!

How’s Miami Music Week treating you so far, Arno?

Arno Cost: Very good, man. I’m very happy to be here. The weather is amazing, the vibe is great.

I enjoyed the Miami 2016 mix that your fellow Protocol signees Florian Picasso and Blinders put together. Some of your tracks wound up in there, didn’t they?

Arno Cost: Yes, they played two of my tracks to be exact. I released my Coming Alive EP on Protocol, and it was made up of two tracks, “Coming Alive” and “1,000 Suns,” and it had both of them. I was very happy with my new EP and it’s my first one on Protocol. “Coming Alive” is very house-y with piano, guitar and chords, and the other one is more progressive like the usual style of Protocol. Nicky’s been playing it in all of his sets and the reaction has been great, so I’m very proud of that one.

Has the reaction to the EP as a whole been about as good?

Arno Cost: I think the EP is a great combination, because you have that house-y track which is more personal. It’s back to my roots more or less. Back in the day when I started making music it was this kind of music, very cool with piano. On the other hand, you have really clubby, progressive track which you can jump to. Very epic. I think the fans are really happy with it. Some of them prefer the progressive one, some of them prefer the house-y one, and everyone is happy.

As far as the progressive house style is concerned, Protocol is definitely one of the more respectable labels. How is it being part of the Protocol family?

Arno Cost: I’m blessed to be a part of it because the team is really linked and we’re helping each other a lot. We travel a lot together also, and the vibe is great. I talk with Volt & State and Nicky a lot, and we help each other a lot. We’re a family. That’s the main thing, you know? That’s very important to me. It’s perfect and I’m really, really happy and lucky to be there.

You’re French, and you’re signed to a label headed by a Dutch artist – both of which are countries with a long history in dance music. What kind of perspective does it give you to have a foot in both worlds?

Arno Cost: You’re right, they both have a history. The thing is that I didn’t find the right team in France to be able to work the way I wanted, and I felt that the Dutch guys were more professional in the way they handle things. That’s the reason why I went there.

On the other hand, I’m very happy to have these Parisian vibes in my sound, and I think that the combination of those two – being a part of Dutch culture a little bit and having these Parisian roots – is important. The mix is doing quite well for me. I definitely wanna keep that French touch that I came from, you know? I started getting into music with Daft Punk, Alan Braxe, Cassius – guys who used real instruments. It was special.

So the French touch genre is where your roots lie?

Arno Cost: Exactly, yeah.

Do you have any more releases that we can expect anytime soon?

Arno Cost: My next release is going to be more progressive. I really wanna focus now on the melodic style that I came from and that I like, because over the past few years I was really into making my sound sharp and big in the clubs but now I realize that what people really wanna hear is good music – emotional music. They don’t really care if your kick is gonna sound the best, or the bass line is really mixed properly. They wanna hear emotions in your music. I really wanna focus on that.

How about any over the rest of the festival season?

Arno Cost: I’m gonna release another track in May and I can’t say anything about it yet, but I’m gonna try to keep my frequency at a new release once every two months – and a quality release, because I don’t just wanna release tracks to release tracks. I want to be able to give people quality, but more often than last year.

That concludes our interview, but we would like to thank Arno Cost very much for his time.