Sales exec reveals his bedroom secret. No, it's not what it sounds like, he's a bit of a music whizz on the side. We take a peek in his box of tricks.
You live in Dubai now, but where are you from, what made you move out here and how do the two club scenes compare with each other? I’m from the UK and I moved here two years ago to set-up a sales office for a US company. Musically, the club scene here is broadly the same as home, although glamorous venues and better weather make a sharp contrast to queuing in a rainy London back-alley. Several club nights I used to frequent in the UK have globalised themselves and are running regular nights here now, but the ethnic mix of the crowd and absence of recreational drugs – a good thing – creates a noticeably different atmosphere.
You get a gig. How would you like to be described on the club flyer? I’ve been playing deep/tech/electro-flavoured house for the past couple of years, but there’s all manner of randomness in my record box. I tried playing funky house for a while, but I can only manage 30 minutes before I revert to type and it descends back into electronic filth.
What equipment do you use for your mixes? Pioneer CDJ-1000 Mk3s and a well-travelled Allen & Heath Xone:32 mixer are my conventional weapons of choice, although most of the mixes I share with friends have been done in Ableton on a MacBook Pro. I travel a huge amount with work, and Emirates don’t change their film selection often enough, so it’s a great way to avoid boredom at 38,000 feet on a long-haul flight.
What do you think of the music scene here in Dubai? There’s a never-ending supply of the world’s best DJing talent passing through the city, which is nice, but promoters target the wealthy set who like to be seen spending and it results in nights that are a bit bland and formulaic for my taste. I prefer the UK’s variety of smaller venues and niche nights, where the vibe is more about music and people, not money. Bring back iBO!
Which clubs do you tend to frequent and why? Chi, The Apartment and 360° have all had mates from home playing over the winter months so I’ve been there but I wouldn’t call myself a regular. I’d rather chill on a rooftop terrace or do Salsa classes with my girlfriend, who’s trying to cure my ‘two left feet’ syndrome. I probably end up at nights like Cheese and Step-On with a group of friends more than anywhere else…!
Do you ever get in trouble with your neighbours? I’m living in a shared house next-door to a Mosque, so decks are confined to an upstairs lounge and keeping the volume down or sticking to headphones is essential for domestic harmony. That said, the villa has walls like a nuclear bunker, so cranking it when I have the place to myself isn’t a big issue.
What’s the biggest audience you’ve played to so far? 1,000 students at a University bar in the UK years ago, but I prefer smaller venues as they’re more sociable. Dubai’s licensing laws make spontaneous appearances and crashing friends’ gigs impossible, so I’m unlikely to improve on that anytime soon…
Where do you listen to music online? Which are the best websites and forums for bedroom DJs like yourself? I get track listings from a couple of UK radio stations and I get track-tips mailed from other DJ friends, but that tends to be more commercial stuff so I use Beatport and Juno to find alternative remixes. I can zone out and spend hours following the ‘other customers also bought this’ links on those sites – it’s a good way to find new stuff.