This corporate lawyer has DJed at some of Toronto’s hottest nightclubs

Once he started to attend live shows, Varoujan Arman decided that he wanted to be in control of the music
Varoujan Arman standing with headphones around his neck, using the turntable on his DJ table

When Varoujan Arman began law school at the University of Windsor, back in 2007, he found himself enjoying the electronic trance music that his roommate liked to play. “At that time, I mostly listened to rock and alternative bands,” recalls the partner at Blaney McMurtry LLP. “But the lyrics were too distracting for studying and reading old caselaw.” To power through the endless course material, he listened to Armin van Buuren’s weekly radio show, which showcased the latest in trance music. The tracks had deep basslines, smooth tones and a general paucity of lyrics. The perfect soundtrack for studying.

Varoujan Arman standing with headphones around his neck, using the turntable on his DJ table

Varoujan Arman

Blaney McMurtry LLP

A few years later, Arman discovered house and techno, EDM subgenres that generally shun the euphoric melodies of trance in favour of propulsive basslines. He became a die-hard fan. He even started to produce his own tracks, but he wasn’t satisfied with the product. His full potential as a musician remained untapped.

That changed in 2015. As an associate on Bay Street, Arman started to attend live shows, where hordes of bodies danced in unison. He came to a powerful conclusion: “I wanted to be the DJ in control of the music, not just a participant.”

Arman got to work. He watched YouTube instructional videos, practised with free software and eventually invested in turntables. His talent as a songwriter also improved. After performing at a few house parties, he booked a real show through a friend of a friend. “I was fortunate to land my first club gig about six months into learning to DJ,” he says. Over the past six years, Arman has performed all over Toronto, at clubs like CODA and music festivals like Electric Island. Throughout the pandemic, he released a new episode of his podcast, Around the Atmosphere, about twice a month, delivering one hour of deep and progressive house to his followers on SoundCloud.

Arman’s commitment to music has never interfered with his career in commercial litigation. On the contrary, his double life as a musician has strengthened his legal mind. “If you have a creative outlet, it can help you think outside the box at work,” he says. “I love being both a DJ and a lawyer.”

This is a story from our Fall 2021 Issue.

Photography by Steph Martyniuk.