Ministry of Sound Dubai

Ministry Of Sound is back in town. So what makes this time different?

Interview, DJ: Hip hop, R&B & D&B

The Ministry’s here, everybody! Er, again. Yeah – while Ministry Of Sound coming to Dubai might have been big news 10 years back, it seems that Ministry-related events are 10-a-fil these days. OK, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea – it’s not too unusual to see Ministry residents and regulars touching down in this fair city. And with Fierce Angel having started their monthly residency at Barasti and Defected coming to Nasimi in November, it’s not like we’re lacking dance brands out here. So why should we be excited this time around?

‘This is a proper, full-on Ministry Of Sound night,’ explains Paul Christodoulou, Ministry’s man about town. ‘We’re bringing out Freemasons, who are massive artists at the minute, and we’re going the full hog with fire-dancers, performers and CD giveaways. This is a real event.’ A far cry from one-man DJ sets, then, and something that is, perhaps, a little more fitting for such a big-name brand. Paul agrees: ‘With all due respect to the promoters who’ve done Ministry nights out here, we’re not sure they’ve ever done it justice before. Ministry was a little concerned that the brand had been tarnished, so we had to do something big.’

Branding is an especially big concern for the night, because Ministry not only plans to go monthly at Chi as of December (it’ll be taking November off, then returning with Danny Rampling in the festive month), it also wants to use Dubai as a base for expanding into the Middle East. ‘We’re looking at Dubai as a fixture for the foreseeable future, at least for 12-18 months. And the city makes a great jumping-off point for other places – Abu Dhabi, obviously, but also out to places like Beirut, Jordan and elsewhere in the Middle East. But Dubai will always be the base for us.’ And Chi, it seems, will be Ministry’s home in the city for now. ‘We’re very happy with the club. Chi Garden’s the closest thing in Dubai to something you’d get in Ibiza, and it’s got great potential – especially now it’s been renovated. It’s all very exciting.’

The Masonic Lodge

Russell Small of Freemasons talks about his Chi@The Lodge gig.

You’re in the studio a lot these days. What are you up to?
We’re in the studio non-stop, writing for ourselves and also some big name artists – but I’d rather not give the whole game-plan away; we’re superstitious and we’ve talked about things before that haven’t come off.

Aww. What’s the longest stint you’ve ever spent in the studio? Did you hallucinate? We once stayed awake for close to 30 hours and briefly thought a cardboard cut-out of Gordon Ramsay was our dad.

In our younger years a couple of days was the norm, but we have found this counterproductive. Now we only do about eight-10 hours at a time, and not through the night.

What can we expect from your set?
It’s normally 90 per cent Freemasons, but sometimes we change things to suit the crowd – it’s always funky and vocal-lead though. I’m really looking forward to the Ministry night as I haven’t played Dubai in years…

Where do you think dance music is going in the future?
At the moment everything is fusing, especially now US R&B has become more dance-orientated. I really think this is a good thing: you’ll get great singers on great songs, creating better commercial dance music.
You remixed ‘Beautiful Liar’; ever consider using this as an opening line to get in with Beyoncé or Shakira? You can tell us. It’s not something either of us would do; it’s just not us. Anyway, they both have big boyfriends and even bigger bodyguards.

Freemasons play Home at Chi, Oct 16, Dhs120 for men, ladies free before midnight.

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