Norman Jay interview

Captain of the Good Times Sound System on being back in UAE

Interview, Hot seat, The Knowledge

Norman, welcome back! What have you been up to since we last saw you?
Everything! [Laughs] I don’t know where to start – it’s been fantastic. I just got back from a tour of China and South-East Asia and a great little festival in Greece. It’s the start of the UK’s festival season here,
so I’m just preparing for that and trying to get my new Good Times album ready. And I’ve just learned last week that I’m being offered an honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire. It’s a doctorate in music, so I’m kind of bowled over by that.

What are you looking forward to about being in Dubai again?
Catching up with a couple of old friends. I love coming to Dubai. The weather’s hot, the gigs are always great and the crowd always show me a lot of love, for which I’m eternally grateful, and it’s just an amazing vibe. I can honestly say I’ve never had a bad gig in Dubai.

Which festivals are you off to this year?
I’m headlining at The Big Chill in the UK; I think there are also slots for me at a couple of really cool smaller festivals, which I can’t remember offhand. I’m at Glastonbury, probably both the V Festivals and a smaller festival called Winterwell in Gloucestershire, which is fantastic. It’s only small – 2,000 people. There’s a growing number of these boutique festivals in the UK. In the future, I’d like to play an outdoor event in Dubai, I think it would be fantastic. I would love to play at an outdoor event here.

If you weren’t DJing, is there any other profession you could imagine yourself in?
If I’d learned to play an instrument, I would like to have been in a band or something. I guess I’m a frustrated musician, which is why I chose to play records instead. I think I would have ended up in fashion, probably.

Would you get into the design side?
My partner Jane and I are seriously considering doing a bespoke line of hats. A small collection of bespoke hand-made hats, not for mass production or anything like that, because it takes Jane about six hours to make one of my hats and they’d all be hand-made.

If you’re not behind the DJ booth, what’s your ideal night out?
I love a quiet night out at a good restaurant with friends, and no music! [Laughs] Music for me is a bit of a busman’s holiday, because I’m so closely involved with it.

Norman Jay plays Trilogy on Friday June 10.

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