Sanctuary’s resident DJ and multi-award-winner talks tunes, crowns and podcasts. Here's what happened
What kind of music do you play in your Sanctuary sets? If I’m playing in the terrace I’ll keep it deep and sexy, with a bit of funk. In the main room I start playing with deep and progressive tunes until about midnight – that’s when the dancefloor gets packed – and from then on I play uplifting progressive, tribal, tech and minimal tunes. Anything good, to be honest.
Is there such a thing as playing too much commercial music? Any track, whether it has a vocal in it or not, can become commercial music. It’s just a matter of time. There were so many underground tunes that became commercial hits, like Eric Prydz’s ‘Proper Education’ and John Dahlbäck’s ‘Pyramid’.
This time last year you were declared the grand winner of the Palme Middle East DJ competition. Did you expect to win? I had no doubt that I was going to win as all the judges were good friends of mine! Joking aside, my only concern was playing full-on house when the judging was based on creativity and genre-mixing. But I thought it would be better to play one style of music perfectly than to play lots of styles – that can sound terrible if you get it wrong. Also, the other DJs played their best sets in the first round whereas I saved my best set for the final. It was a risk, but it paid off.
How has your career changed since you won the competition? After I won the competition I got an invitation from a guy at [equipment manufacturer] Pioneer to go to Bangkok and play against the best DJs in the whole of Asia. I accepted, won and became the number-one DJ in Asia in 2008. After that, I started getting more international gigs. Also, Pioneer asked me to be their official DJ in the region, which is an honour.
Were you tempted to get yourself a crown and call yourself King DJ? No not at all. There’s always someone better than you, no matter what field you’re in. I don’t even like to tell people that I’m a DJ. I don’t know why. Maybe because there are so many DJs out there?
Your sets are used in the Sanctuary podcasts. What’s all that about? Once a month, Sanctuary records the DJs’ sets live in the main room, terrace and urban sessions. Each one showcases a different kind of music. Then the music is put online.
Does the knowledge that your work is going to be recorded forever change the way you play? Absolutely. I’ll try not to play any exclusive tracks that are still unreleased – except my own productions and remixes – and try to play something that people can listen to afterwards as well as in the club.
Isn’t podcast a silly word? Hmm. I always thought people were just saying ‘broadcast’ too fast. I guess I’m the silly one now?