The much-loved London DJ talks about playing records and having fun as he prepares to take to the decks for the first time in Dubai. We listen in.
Have you been to Dubai before? I haven’t. I hear more and more people talk about it as an up-and-coming clubbing city. Judging by the bookings that have been made recently, I think the people in Dubai really have their fingers on the pulse. They are bringing some really interesting people over. It’s big talk in London and I’m really looking forward to the experience.
You’re in the duo Husley & Gunz. Are you bringing your Gunz this time around? It’s just me coming this time, but we’re both coming back to play at a later date in December. When we play together our set is louder. We use live keyboards, samplers and stuff like that, so it’s more of a live music experience when we play together, whereas this time around it’s going to be a DJ set.
So what can we expect from your solo set? I’ll be playing a mix of our old tunes mixed with new stuff that is really big in London clubs at the moment. I’ll mix up some of our own new tunes and fellow artists’ promos. There’s a big community of producers and DJs in London that play each others’ music. So when I play in Dubai, there’ll be a lot of music that you haven’t heard before.
What’s your musical background? I’ve played piano and drums for years. My mum had me playing piano since I was six years old, I think. I didn’t directly study music at university, but I was schooled in it as a child.
From playing sonatas to mixing samples. How’d that happen? I think a lot of it happened when I met August [Jacobsen, aka Gunz]. He had a more technical approach to the music, as he’d studied it at university. When I met him I got my passion for making music back. He’s a very skilled musician and far beyond me, technically speaking. I have experience with clubbing and a good knowledge of dance music, though, so we work really well together.
Where is the home of DJ music in Europe? I guess it’s a battle between Berlin and London. The Berlin house scene does cover more ground musically, but London’s clubbing scene is the best in the world from a DJ’s point of view. In London you can go out seven days a week at any time of day and there’ll be people dancing at some club somewhere. Mexico has some amazing producers, but the clubbing scene isn’t very big. Then of course there’s America…
American house music? Yeah. There’re some great clubs now in Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco as well. The clubbing scene’s not big out there, it’s pretty underground, but they come out with some great stuff.
What’s been the most difficult point of your career? Going to London from Denmark without knowing anybody and having to start completely from scratch. There are thousands and thousands of DJs coming to London every month. The first year I was out every night trying to meet people and get a foot in the door there. In London you really need to work at it to get your name recognised.
What advice would you give to DJs in Dubai? If you are honest and play quality, original music, you’ll bring in a small crowd to begin with, but you will develop a loyal following in the long term. Playing big names to be popular brings a lot of people in quickly, but you will also lose them quickly.
Do you think you’ll pick up any Arabic music to use in your tunes? I do that already! I like to make my sets really eclectic and do something different.
What was the first album you ever bought? Well, it was years ago… I was very young and I bought the Top Gun soundtrack on vinyl. I can’t believe I just told you that.
Top Gun? Wow. Will we be hearing a ‘Take My Breath Away’ mix in your set? I don’t think so! We’ll see how the night goes…