Holly Sands caught up with the producer, DJ and former Prodigy legend to talk about his latest stint in Dubai
This isn’t your first time in Dubai. What’s changed for you since your last visit? I’m single – that’s a bit different! I’m just producing a lot more stuff and hooking up with some pretty cool artists back in the UK and from America. I’m working on an album at the moment, and when I was here last time I wasn’t really doing so much music, I suppose. This time I’m a lot more into my music than I was in 2007. When I first came here I was still loving the DJing, but I’m more of a train-spotter now in terms of the music I’m playing, and I go out of my way to get different stuff. Apart from that, I’m pretty much the same. A little bit older and little bit greyer!
You must be pretty familiar with it by now, so what do you think of Dubai’s music scene? There’s always been a good club scene here. I know house is still big everywhere and it sort of suits everyone. But for me, Dubai has that pretentiousness about it as well, where everyone is a bit too concerned about money and bottles of bubbly and tables and chairs and things. I really don’t mind that, as long as people still get up and have a good time and a party, but there is a lot of that here.
Which tracks are exciting you right now? I’ve got a few bootlegs of Benny Benassi at the moment. There’s also a track called ‘Make My Day’ that’s going on this Mayday album in Germany, and there’s the stuff I’m doing with a band called Smash HiFi. That’s all really exciting me, and it’s working well when I’m playing it out. With a lot of my friends, we’ll do bootlegs and there will only be about five or six of us who have them and you can play them forever, like a Beethoven remix. When you’re in a crowd, it’s nice to hear something that you know, even if it’s a different version of it. I can’t think of anything worse than a DJ who just plays music that no one knows. You might as well just be playing for yourself.
Who do you look up to in the music industry? There are loads of people out there, but I’m a little bit gutted because there isn’t really anyone who has come out of the breakbeat scene who has really taken it to a commercial level. I love Krafty Kuts, Phantom Warrior and Plump DJs – I love what they do, but there’s still no one who has really broken down boundaries in our scene yet.
Do you have a best-ever set? That’s like asking ‘what’s your favourite song?’ It’s an impossible question to answer! I’ve played gigs where there have been 30 people there, but you’ve had a brilliant time because everyone’s relaxed. Then there are other ones in Russia where there are about 15,000 people there. Then there’s Glastonbury…
Okay, what about a worst? I’ve had a couple of dodgy ones in Italy where they’ve put me in discotheques, pure chromed-out discos where they want to hear pop music. That two-hour set feels like half a day!