Who's at the decks at chillout Soluna? Well we're about to find out. Time Out reports from the front line.
Soluna is bringing some much-needed chillout action to Saturday nights. But who’s at the decks? James Wilkinson talks to promoter and resident DJ Buff Wise.
What’s your role at Soluna? I’m the promoter, alongside my business partner Tammy from Prestige Clubbing, and I’m also the resident DJ.
What genres of music can we hear on the night? Ambient styles when the sun is setting and, when the moon is rising, a host of Balearic beauties.
So are we there to dance or lounge about? The first part of the evening is not about dancing, it’s all about taking in the ambience of the sunset, so we play the music that accompanies that. Then, when the moon is in the sky and nightfall has come, we really open the vaults to many, many genres of music adhering to the old-school Balearic vibe of ‘anything goes’, but in a cool down-tempo way.
Are you the only DJ? No – the other resident is Safet who, for such a young age, has such a wide selection of musical tastes that fits perfectly with our concept.
How did the night come about? When I first went to Ibiza in 1989 and sat on the rocks at Cafe Del Mar watching the sun set, it blew my mind. There were hundreds of people sitting on the rocks watching this amazing sunset with the most incredible music being played in the background by Jose Padilla, the Godfather of chill out, who was mixing film scores with classical music and downtempo electronic vibes. The other inspiration was Alfredo at Amnesia Club; he was mixing 80s soul, new wave and Reggae with Chicago house and even the theme tune to Hill Street Blues. The energy that both these DJs and venues created was like no other and has long inspired me.
Er, right. So what does this have to do with Soluna? Well. a few months ago I was walking along the beach at the Mina A’Salam hotel and saw this venue, The Leyali Tent, that was being run as a restaurant. I looked at the location and it was right on the beach in direct view of the sunset and the famous Burj Al Arab hotel, and I could just see the vision in my head there and then: people chilling on the beach in a beautiful location, watching the sun set to beautiful, blissed-out vibes and then later sitting in an atmosphere built on the traditions of Jose and Alfredo in Ibiza, where we break down musical barriers. It’s a dream come true to create this kind of event in Dubai.
What does The Leyali Tent have that other venues don’t? I truly believe we have the most beautiful venue and location in Dubai. It’s right on Mina A’Salam beach, just a few feet from the waves, with a direct view of the sunset and the Burj Al Arab. We have a stunning terrace and a beautiful Arabic-style tent. In my eyes it doesn’t get any better than that!
It’s getting really hot – will Soluna shut down for summer? No way! We have just installed two huge AC units inside the tent and we are now working on our production with drapes and projectors. It’s a stunning location inside as well as out, and the tent has floor-to-ceiling windows showing the panoramic view, so you can enjoy the sunsets in a cool venue throughout the summer.
How will this affect the atmosphere of the venue? Everyone wants to be outside as much as they can, but we all feel that being inside the venue takes nothing away. The views are still there, the vibes are still there and the AC means that you’re in comfortable surroundings.