It’s been said that music isn’t about competition, butin a relatively small city such as Dubai, musicians and DJs are inevitably pitted against each other for a limited supply of gigs. But while rockers are used to fighting it out on stage at Battle of the Band competitions, DJs are rarely asked to pit their skills against each other head to head.
Yet in Dubai they’re clearly up for the scrap, with more than 130 of the city’s DJs, whether amateur or not, throwing their hats in the ring to compete in the Pioneer DJ-ME Digital DJ Championship. From this, the best 32 were picked to fight it out behind the decks over the course of four heats at N’Dulge on the Palm. Each decksmith was offered a 10-minute slot in which to demonstrate their dexterity, juggling the demands of impressing a panel of judges while keeping dancers on their feet with their floor-filling beats. When the final rolled around on November 17, we met the six finalists, asking them how they plan to give Dubai’s nightlife scene a shot in the arm.
DJ Haidz Real name: Haider Al Assam Age: 25 From: Iraq Your DJ style: ‘Fresh, happy, energetic house music.’ Which tune went down best for you on the floor? ‘Sandro Silva and Quintino’s “Epic”, and Alesso’s “Raise Your Head.” What do you think of the local nightlife scene? ‘The UAE is a rapidly growing scene for house music, with many top-notch DJs being booked here. There are many talented DJs in the country who don’t have the chance to show their great talents.’ Where can we hear you next? ‘See www.soundcloud.com/haidz.’
Boris Jetski Real name: Klaus Kajetski Age: 25 From: Finland Your DJ style: ‘“Party Råck” featuring massive house’. Which tune went down best for you on the floor? ‘“One and Only” by HeavyWeight DJs.’ Where can we hear you next? ‘At the moment, I play on Thursdays at Horizon. Check out www.facebook.com/BorisJetski.’
DJ Emrah Canpolat Real name: Emrah Canpolat Age: 31 From: Turkey Your DJ style: ‘Passionate, versatile, instinctive, creative, sexy.’ How was the competition? ‘I experienced great emotions while taking part. All the finalists were from different countries, so the competition was full of versatility. It was an amazing experience for my career.’ Which tune went down best for you on the floor? ‘Jorgensen, Rosie Romero: “Magnetic (Delicious Remix)”.’ Where can we hear you next? ‘Go to www.soundcloud.com/emrahcanpolat.’
DJ Soulninja Name: ‘Anonymous’ From: Britain Your DJ sound: ‘Everything and anything soul-infused.’ How was the competition? ‘Very tough. There was a high quality of skills and imaginative song selections.’ Which tune went down best for you on the floor? ‘The drum’n’ bass version of Deekline and Ed Solo’s “Champion Lover”.’ Where can we hear you next? ‘You can see me at Rone Jaxx’s Urban Education in Abu Dhabi on Fridays, and Stars n’ Bars on Yas Island on Wednesdays and Thursdays.’
DJ Ejaz Real name: Ejaz Ahamed Age: 24 From: India Your DJ style: ‘Peace…’ How was the competition? ‘It was a tough competition and I’m not happy about being third place because I was just a second loser. Now I know what it is and next year the title is mine.’ Which of your tunes went down best? ‘“2night” by Eric Prydz in the heats, and “Technologic” by Daft Punk in the final.’ Where can we hear you next? ‘I’m a resident DJ at Trilogy – you can find me spinning every Saturday. I’ll be doing warm-up for Nicole Moudaber at Trilogy on December 22.’
DJ Keza Real Name: ‘Anonymous’ Age: 26 From: France Your DJ style: ‘House, R&B, hip-hop, mash-up, open-format.’ Which tune went down best for you on the floor? ‘“Rune” by Calabria.’ How was the competition? ‘I had a lot of fun. Even with my 10 years of experience, it felt like my first gig – a lot of stress – because it was my first competition, but it’s a good feeling. Second place isn’t bad. Next year I’m coming back for first!’ [Laughs] Where can we hear you next? ‘I’m a resident DJ at Boudoir – I play on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Check out www.djkeza.com.’
And the winner is....
DJ Kenobi Real name: Atsuya Suzuki Age: 27 From: England-born Japanese Your DJ style: ‘Turntablizm and mash-up.’ How was the competition? ‘Blazing! But what I liked the most is that it was a social platform for locally based DJs.’ Which of your tunes went down best?‘“Never Ending Story” by Logistics.’ Where can we hear you next? ‘I currently don’t have any slots. At the moment I’m looking for an organiser or event promoter who is searching for a new DJ, so please get in touch!’