Top 10 nominations from the 2015 Time Out Dubai Music and Nightlife Awards
Time Out Dubai staff
Smokingroove When it comes to DJing, sometimes two musical minds are better than one. Even more so when they happen to be siblings. For Dubai-based brothers Marko Ben-Aicha, and Safe Ben-Aicha, known as Smokingroove, it’s a similar story. The pair started out in the mid ’90s in their native Tottenham, London. It was elder brother Safe who took an interest in DJing first, with Marko following suit. ‘He actually started off with two hi-fis from the market,’ recalls Marko.
Raxon Raxon, otherwise known as Ahmed El Raghy, was born in Abu Dhabi, and began DJing while still at high school. The son of two architects, he studied architecture for seven years and worked at a UAE firm for two years, before going pro with music in 2009. He joined Audio Tonic in 2007. He now manages Audio Tonic’s label, which has put out more than 20 releases since founding in 2011. His sound is, ‘Deep house into tech house into cool groovy music.’ In March 2013 he was crowned our Best Dubai DJ.
Mr Shef Codes Time Out Dubai’s Highly Commended DJ is backed by DJ Benyamin and Chris Nati for a night of commercial tunes every Tuesday night at Movida’s Fame Game. A staple in Dubai’s urban scene, Shef Code - real name Shefan Lantra - is currently signed on with Bliss Inc Entertainment. He can be found sharing the booth with Dubai’s DJ Bliss every Saturday at the award winning 411 at the number one club in town, People by Crystal. Holding club residencies at some of Dubai’s hottest spots including People by Crystal, Republique & Trilogy, he plays a mix of mainstream Hip Hop and R&B, soulful throwback tunes and some reggae treats.
Amy Wells From Melbourne, Australia, Amy focuses on playing Electronic, Deep Tech House when she takes to the decks around Dubai at places such as Sho Cho, Pacha Ibiza Dubai and Piknic Electronic.
Charl Chaka The 34-year-old South African was offered a DJ residency at Lotus One, back in 2004. He describes his sounds as “House – Afro, Deep, Chicago and Tech” and was influenced by Armand van Helden, Derrick Carter and Mark Farina. Career highlights include playing alongside top international DJs and many great residencies, throwing award winning Full Moon parties at Nasimi Beach, partnering with Mach4 with GlobalFunk and being the #4 in the DJ poll in Middle East.
Dany Neville Dany Neville’s unwavering passion for hip-hop and urban beats and his eclectic knowledge of music, as well as some top mixes, have seen him remain an important figure in Dubai’s nightlife scene. He started off his career by joining one of the UAE’s most reputed radio stations at the tender age of 17, which in turn made him the youngest professional DJ/radio presenter in the Middle East (ME).
DJ Bliss With his 411 Saturdays urban night still going strong, regular appearances at nights including Hip Hop Chic Mondays, and regular collaborations with big international names, Bliss continues to impress. DJ Bliss might just be Dubai’s hardest-working creative. If he’s not spinning at a club or event as part of his company Bliss Inc Entertainment, he’s presenting TV show That’s Entertainment on Dubai One (he sure likes to entertain!). If he’s not playing or hosting, he’s producing his own pop-R&B tracks.
Break DJ Lobito With impeccable scratching skills, Dubai’s regional representative for Afrika Bambaataa's Universal Zulu Nation has continued to supply storming sets, champion the Bboy scene and host some top nights with the Deep Crates Cartel. Real name James De Valera, the Spanish musician is a leading supporter of vinyl culture, turntablism, breakin’ (breakdance) and aerosol art (graffiti) in the Middle East region.
Mr Mr Real name Mike Bufton, The Audio Tonic founder plays Chunky melodic groovy bass lines. His house nights on Fridays at 360˚ continue to provide consistently high standards, bringing in well-respected DJs week after week, while Mr Mr himself regularly drops stellar sets live and on the radio. His three biggest musical influences are Daft Punk, Tigerskin and Ritchie Valens.
DJ Skinnyloop Known for playing the Red Room at Pacha, the newly-opened Toyroom, and Selfie Tuesdays at People by Crystal, Skinnyloop is based in Dubai but counts Colombo, Sri Lanka as his hometown.