Member of the Dubai-based art and music collective the Deep Crates Cartel, the break DJ opens up his pad in Business Bay for Style.
Having been involved in the hip-hop and B-boy scene for more than a decade, DJ Lobito, aka 31-year-old James De Valera, has vinyl in his blood. A true music fan with an eclectic taste, Lobito’s preferences range from Afrobeat and classic soul to Brazilian beats and reggae. A representative of Africa Bambaataa’s Universal Zulu Nation, Lobito is also a massive fan of low-budget films and collects obscure movie soundtracks and recordings, which he incorporates into his live sets. Despite the hundreds of albums in his flat, the selection is only a small part of his overall collection – the rest are in storage at his family’s villa in Spain, and numbers around 20,000, literally weighing tonnes and worth more than Dhs700,000.
Yet vinyl isn’t Lobito’s only passion; he studied Arabic and spent two years living in Syria’s capital, Damascus, where he picked up some interesting artefacts, including a beautiful wooden chess set.
As a member of Deep Crates Cartel, a collective of graffiti artists, B-boys, producers and DJs, street art is also a huge part of the DJ’s life. His collection of prints ranges from Auckland-based female stencil artist Flox, who uses images of nature to transform grey, urban landscapes, along with artworks from New Zealand’s Cut Collective, including work from Enforce 1.
Lobito hasn’t always been a profession spinner. When he first moved to Dubai six years ago, he worked as a security consultant for the Ministry of Defence where he received some unusual gifts, including an ornate dagger and a General’s Coin for his service.
One of the stand-out artworks in Lobito’s pad is a large canvas of graffiti writing by Dubai-based and fellow Deep Crates member, Sya One. The work was part of a project for a Build Gaza Youth charity event, which raised money for young people in Palestine, proving that there are many more sides to this guy than his extensive record library. www.facebook.com/DeepCratesCartel