Two of Dubai's hottest Local DJs do battle in a dance music contest. So where, when and why? We find out more for you.
The second round of the fourth Palme Middle East DJ Competition is upon us. James Wilkinson talks to Mr Gremlin and DJ Veejay about taking their shots at the prize.
Mr Gremlin Real name: Alec Harden Age: 25 Nationality: British Job: PR account manager Residence: Bur Dubai
What kind of music do you play? Across the board drum ’n’ bass, from the mellow, chilled, happy stuff to the bouncy jump-up tunes and the darker, harder stuff, all mingled in with those infamous bootlegs that seem to raise their heads now and then.
What’s your favourite track at the moment? A track by High Contrast called ‘If We Ever’, It’s been out on general release for about nine months now, which is a long time in drum ’n’ bass terms, but I still get a buzz off playing it. If I drop it at the comp you’ll see me grinning from ear to ear.
What is the secret to creating a good set? I think crowd interaction is important; there’s nothing worse than watching a DJ stare at the mixer or – even worse – his laptop all night. They might as well stick on a mix tape and be done with it. From a drum ’n’ bass point of view, I like to hear quick mixes and double drops with plenty of 90s classics. I try to fit about 25-30 tunes into an hour set; gotta keep the kids on their toes!
How well do you think you will do in the competition? Hard to tell really; if it’s based on music style alone I wouldn’t fancy my chances as drum ’n’ bass is a real niche genre with a small but dedicated following. But if people want to see someone jumping around like an over-excited child on Christmas morning, then who knows? I might catch a few votes.
How much experience do you have of playing to crowds? I can count the number of times on my fingers, but in contrast, I’ve played a few unlikely places for a ‘do-it-for-fun’ DJ from a small town. Places such as the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Thailand. Bizarre, eh?
As an amateur contestant, do you find the competition intimidating? No, it’s all a bit of fun isn’t it? In actual fact, I’d be surprised if a professional won, as it’s usually those that are chasing the pack who have the hunger to win.
What do you hope to take from this competition? I would love to win it, but realistically I’d like to hook up with a few people who are into the more chilled sound of drum ’n’ bass and breaks and get a little night going, perhaps as a second room at a hip hop or breaks night.
DJ Veejay Real name: Waruna Liyanage Age: 29 Nationality: Sri Lankan Job: DJ and event coordinator Residence: Dubai
What kind of music do you play? I prefer to play house and electro, but I’m very flexible. I play hip-hop and R&B with some scratches thrown in there too. But it really depends on the crowd – I always play for them. However, it always works well when you push the boundaries, especially in Dubai.
What’s your favourite track at the moment? E-samba 2008 electro version by Junior Jack.
What is the secret to creating a good set? All you have to do is be yourself, collect a bunch of ideas and bring them to life!
How well do you think you will do in the competition? I’m going to do my best to put on a good show for the competition.
How much experience do you have of playing to crowds? I have 10 years of experience in front of crowds.
What is the biggest number of people you have played for? The biggest number was in Sri Lanka – it was a crowd of somewhere around 2,000 people at the Triton Hotel in Sri Lanka.
As a professional contestant, do you think that you have a natural advantage over the competition? No, I don’t think that I have a natural advantage, but my experience has given me the self-confidence to put on a show. There are lots of up-and-coming, talented DJs who will be playing the PALME nights, so I think it will be a hard competition for sure.
What do you hope to take from this competition? I want to take the top PALME DJ title! I also want to enjoy the ride and the experience.
What will you be doing in five years’ time? I can’t tell you in detail – except to say that I will still be behind the decks – but I have plans in place and in five years I’ll be reaping the benefits.
The third Palme Middle East DJ Competition pre-qualifying heat will take place on Tuesday April 15 at The Lodge, 9pm-12midnight, free till 10pm, then 75Dhs.