We went behind the scenes at the UAE's game-changing superclub
DJ Pierre Ravan reveals what we can expect when the Ibiza superclub opens in Dubai.
It’s one of the most famous nightclub brands on the planet, which has featured DJ residencies from big hitters such as Bob Sinclar, David Guetta, Pete Tong and Swedish House Mafia, and it’s dominated the Ibiza clubbing scene since opening on the Spanish isle in 1973. Now, Pacha is coming to Dubai.
The superclub is promising a variety of different musical experiences for its first foray into the city’s nightlife scene. Set to open imminently in the 27,000sqft space formerly occupied by Trilogy in Souk Madinat Jumeirah, it’s a tantalising addition. Deep and soulful house is likely to feature on its new rooftop space and a policy of funky and nu disco in its red room, as well as more mainstream house in the main indoor space.
With room for more than 1,500 clubbers, live entertainers, a top sound system and even a lounge area for fine dining, it’s clear that Pacha is set to become more than merely a dancefloor with a DJ.
The man tasked with bringing the brand to the UAE is Pierre Ravan, 42, who has been appointed entertainment director for Dubai’s branch of the world-renowned nightclub. He’s quick to stress the music played will retain a sense of the DJs’ individual styles. ‘House music is not what people know today – that’s EDM [electronic dance music],’ he scoffs. Ravan asserts that his team at Pacha have been cherry-picked from the most significant clubbing centres on the planet, with the DJ revealing that the majority of his colleagues have been selected from London, Ibiza, Spain and even Las Vegas.
Ravan was the first headline DJ on the opening night of the now defunct Trilogy, where Pacha will be located, and remembers the unique energy of the three-storey space. One of the first on the house music scene in Dubai, Ravan fondly remembers a time when he used to spin tracks on stage in a space that is now occupied by a bar at Carter’s pub in Wafi. ‘I came in 1996 and there was only one club. When we were playing house music, people would say, “what is this?” because they were simply going to the pub. There weren’t nightclubs, so when I came once a month the DJ at Carter’s said: “I want to do something with house.” There was a beautiful stage where the bar is now and on that stage was the DJ booth. In 1996, Dubai was the best place because there was only one place, one roof and unity.’
Ravan, who is now an international DJ in his own right and travels frequently to gigs, believes Dubai has a special quality when it comes to the party scene. ‘For me, Dubai is one of the best places to be. I was in Estonia, the Czech Republic, the craziest places and Dubai is the future. The level of energy is neutral – it’s still evolving but in a very positive direction.
I travel every week for international gigs and I can tell you that this place has its own charisma.’
Ravan has recently released a new album Utopia. The 26-track CD is the latest of eight in his KaRavan series and while he admits that the commercial viability of physical CDs is dwindling, it’s still seen as wholly important for his record company to differentiate themselves from competitors through rich brand content. He’s keen to stress that the description of his music as ‘spiritual’ is not reflective of a religious or ethnic sentiment and although it does contain tribal beats and chants, he refers to it simply as ‘music from the heart’.
He recalls his release for Buddha Bar in 2000, where his fusion style of music was misinterpreted by the public who associated the word ‘fusion’ with ethnic, or world music. The idea of KaRavan is related to the word ‘caravan’ and is a metaphorical journey in music, which will only end when you reach ‘your destination’. And with Pacha’s launch on the horizon, it certainly looks like this DJ’s particular musical chapter is only just beginning. Utopia is available at Virgin Megastore Middle East. Search for Pacha Dubai on Facebook for more info.