Did you enjoy Nasimi’s huge Sandance party back in October? Been waiting in anticipation for the next big bash? Or maybe you missed it altogether? Fear not: Soundwave is here. Billed as Sandance’s ‘cutting-edge cousin’, prepare for another 12-hour session from 2pm to 2am on Friday November 26, headlined by international acts including Zane Lowe, Jonathan Ulysses, Nightmares on Wax and Beirut’s Jade. A few familiar local favourites will also be hitting the decks, including Charl Chaka, David Craig, Matthew Charles, Da Sendri and Mark Pickup.
This time, the party will be held on the newly refurbished Nasimi beach, and the indoor area will be transformed into an urban lounge with sets from Dan Greenpeace and BFG & Fever. There will also be plenty of extra bars and bathrooms, barbecue stations and beach towels to cater for the expected surge in revellers.
To make sure you’re well acquainted, we grabbed some of the guys on the line-up for a brief introduction.
Anyone who attended New Zealand-born, Brit-based MTV and Radio 1 presenter Zane Lowe’s set at Chi in April is no doubt ludicrously excited about his return. The music-ophile, famed for his fast-talking, eclectic radio shows, literally blew the roof off (alright, it was in the garden), finishing at 3am in front of a packed, applauding dancefloor. ‘It was a really good introduction to Dubai,’ he tells us on the phone from London. ‘I was nervous at first, but it was brilliant. It seemed like everyone was really into the idea of music in a broader sense.’ This, coming from a man who has played nearly as many crowds as he has skipped through staccato sentences, is a bit of a compliment. ‘I stuck to more of a party set,’ he explains. ‘But this time I’ll be trying out more things, such as Nero’s new record ‘Me & You’, and two or three originals that I’m road testing for next year. Overall, it will be a fast-moving set.’
Yet another highly-charged performance, then. Where on earth does he find the energy? ‘I have at least two cups of tea per show from the Radio 1 tea-making machine…’ he jokes. ‘But seriously, outside of family, music has always been my primary interest. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t talk about music.’ Produce it, perhaps? ‘Eventually, I’d like to start producing, but right now there’s so much going on with my radio and DJing. Music in general is gearing up for an edgier, more reality-based trend. I don’t mean “reality TV”, but it’s going to reflect what’s on the streets more. We’ll get a new Rage [Against the Machine], we’ll get a new Oasis – they’re all just around the corner.’
To pin down the multi-genre music lover, we throw out possibly the most difficult question he can face: what’s his favourite track of all time? ‘Oh my Lord. Oh man,’ he stumbles. ‘‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere’ by Neil Young. That was just the first one that came into my head.’ He sounds almost as surprised as we are.
Nightmares On Wax
Nightmares On Wax’s DJ Ease, aka British hip-hop DJ George Evelyn, is in a confessional mood during our conversation, revealing how he once stole fried chicken from Snoop Dogg’s dressing room (‘I think that’s probably one of my most surreal moments’). He also admits he has no idea exactly what the Nightmares gang will be playing for the crowd. ‘I’m into feeling the moment and the vibe of everybody,’ Evelyn explains, though he reveals he plans to drop in some tracks from the new album he’s been working on. ‘I’ve been going through some stuff today, thinking: Hmm, I could sneak this in, sneak that in… We’ve actually just received the set times, through, and I wish we were playing longer!’
Though Evelyn often DJs alone under the Nightmares On Wax alias, the whole band will be taking to the stage this time around, and the vibe is likely to encompass everything from what he calls ‘smoky chill-out’
to salsa and hip hop. ‘We represent the feeling of joy and feeling good in music, which everyone has a right to,’ he says. But there’s no chance they’ll struggle on stage, with a sizeable back-catalogue to lean on (Nightmares released their first record in 1989) and plenty of fresh material coming out of the studio. ‘We weave in and out, we go on a journey, playing some of the Nightmares On Wax stuff. but I also like to freestyle. The musicians don’t really know where I’m going, so they go with me.’
Having maintained a 12-year residency at Space in Ibiza, it would be fair to say Ulysses is a dab hand on the decks; at the beginning of the month he released his latest track, ‘Pressure’, on BeatPort and iTunes to rave reviews. According to his own estimations, he’s probably visited Dubai at least 20 times and was last here in April. So what’s so special about this visit? ‘I’ve never done a beach party in Dubai – it’s always been club-oriented – so being on the sand sounds like a lot of fun,’ he says. As for the music? ‘I just got back from Ibiza, so I’m keeping it Hispanic. A little bit of Baila, a bit of Rio, house, samba – we’ll keep it beachified, if that’s even a word.’ While we’re pretty sure the word hasn’t made it into the dictionary yet, we like the sound of it.