We take a sneaky peek behind the scenes at Dubai's hottest online radio station. You wouldn't believe what we found - prepare to be excited.
Submarine’s regular Friday night beat freaks will no doubt already be ahead of the curve on this one, but the rest of you might want to give a minute’s silence for the passing of the venue’s Lush Radio nights, which had done a sterling job of promoting local and international DJs in Dubai. Don’t bow your heads for too long, however: the Friday night party slot has been taken over by ToOurHouse, as the two-and-a-half-year-old Lush Radio website that started it all off prepares to move on to bigger and better things.
But hey, let’s rewind for a second and explain just what’s going on here. Step up Vassiliy Anatoli, aka DJ Vas Floyd, co-creator of Lush Radio online, to give us the low-down on the download: ‘The website was designed to promote fresh DJs and fresh music. It’s not connected to any certain genre, just dance music in Dubai, and it’s there to make the whole clubbing scene more happening. It’s not really for profit, it’s just there to get the music scene going.’
So far so good. But what does the site do to achieve that aim? ‘The website now contains a full guide on what’s happening in Dubai; it’s like a Dubai portal, letting people know what’s going on musically.’ Not, Vas assures us, that he’s planning to overthrow Time Out any time soon. ‘It’s not a magazine; it’s an online audio journal, like a big iPod of DJ sets and a guide to what’s happening at the venues in Dubai.’
The idea being, essentially, to allow anyone who’s unsure about an upcoming set to listen to an online mix from that DJ, and to let anyone who missed the set – or loved it so much that they want to hear it again – to stream it into their computer speakers. So it must have seemed like a mighty fine idea, back in February, to start hosting their own nights at Submarine as a promo piece.
But these good intentions backfired just a little, as other promoters grew concerned at what they saw as a conflict of interest. Why, they thought, should they let their DJs put mixes and sets on a site whose club nights are rivalling their own? As a result, Vas decided to retire the Lush Radio nights and focus on making the site even stronger, with – hopefully – more content from other promoters.
He adds that while the site is endorsed by New Dawn, the entertainment company behind the Audio Tonic and Revolve nights at 360°, there will not be any bias on the site. ‘I know a lot of people in the Dubai clubbing industry and I think the message is clear that we will be looking to be associated with everybody,’ he says. And although the site will no longer have its own club nights, Vas doesn’t think that it will result in a drop-off in its visibility on the scene: ‘It’s all to do with networking. Lush Radio is picking up users every day, and we will gain popularity as we move away from the nights because that will encourage different parties to become involved in the project.’ He adds: ‘We will be looking into sponsoring nights for an exchange of services; they would mention Lush Radio and in return we could record the event.’
And it’s not stopping there; Vas also plans to develop the features on the site further, turning it into a one-stop club shop. Not only is Vas adding a gallery option that will allow browsers to see the nights as well as listen to them, he also has even bigger designs that mean big changes for a certain other Dubai-based clubbing site. ‘The future plan is to merge Platinum List with Lush Radio,’ he says. ‘At the moment, all you can do on Platinum List is get yourself signed up to guestlists at certain venues, but eventually you’ll be able to go online to Lush Radio, get yourself placed on the guest list, listen to what else is going on out there, look at the pictures from previous nights and experience the whole thing.’
And while Vas isn’t ruling out future Lush Radio club nights, he is adamant that he’s learned from his previous experiences: ‘I wouldn’t mind one party here or another party there, but I don’t think we’re interested in holding a regular night and pigeonholing ourselves into one event or one venue,’ he states. And there you have it. Lush Radio is dead. Long live Lush Radio.