Forget singing the February blues. Soundwave is back with an international line-up, featuring alternative electronic producer and DJ Robert Miles, Joey Negro, dance duo Soul Central and Beirut’s Gunther & Stamina. Local DJs Sam Farsio, Greg Stainer, Smokingroove and David Craig will be holding down the fort at the 3,000-capacity party, and the organisers will have a marquee on hand to be sure the event isn’t thwarted by a seasonal shower.
Here’s what you need to know about this session’s international line-up.
Born in Switzerland to Italian parents, producer Robert Miles is best known for breakout track ‘Children’, a reaction to images of the child victims of war in former Yugoslavia. Since first playing the dance instrumental back in 1994, he has founded his own label S:Alt Records, his tracks have featured in Hollywood blockbuster The Bourne Identity and he’s played a set in a Siberian mine.
‘We were right in the middle of nowhere; we had to get four planes, three of them Cessna planes, which feel pretty dangerous,’ he says. ‘We had a great time and the party was really good, but of course when you go there you’re like ‘whoa’. But the acoustics were great!’ he laughs.
Now firmly back at sea level, Miles is about to release his first solo album since 2004. ‘It’s instrumental, but kind of more alternative rock-oriented, with guests such as [King Crimson guitarist] Robert Fripp. The last album was kind of jazzy,’ he explains. In between albums, though, Miles appears to have found his calling in LA, where he’s been networking in the movie and advertising industries. ‘Children’ gave me the opportunity to get to know people in the industry and get involved with soundtracks, which is something that I really like. I’ve done quite a few now.’
Asked about his forthcoming gig in Dubai, he seems less concerned with the music and more concerned about the weather: when we mention it’s been nippy of late, he asks whether he ought to pack a T-shirt or a jumper. On the subject of his set, however, he gives us a taster of what to expect. ‘I don’t think I’ll be playing any of the old stuff – my taste has changed quite a lot since the ‘Children’ days,’ he reveals. ‘I’m more into minimal and electro, and tech house, so it’s going to be pretty different.’
Gunther & Stamina
Resident DJs at Beirut’s hugely popular, infamous BO18 club for the past five years, Lebanese duo Gunther & Stamina play a mix of techno, progressive and tech house. Starting out separately in Europe before returning to Beirut, the pair have been playing together for the past six years.
‘We came back in 2005 and started playing very small clubs for, like, nothing, just to try to get the crowds going. After that, BO18 contacted us to join the club,’ explains 30-year-old Stamina, real name Elias Merheb.They’ve since been getting involved in the production side, putting together the club’s first compilation album and their own tracks, all of which are set to be released soon on Beatport and iTunes.
‘I think 2011 is going to be a huge year for Gunther and myself. We’ve been working five years to get here, and I think production could lead us to the international stage,’ Stamina explains, adding that their goal is to have tracks released on British trance, house and techno label Bedrock Records. ‘We’ll do our best, and hopefully in 2012 we’ll do something on a label like that.’
We last saw South African DJ Lady Lea when she played a lively house set at Chi in summer 2010. Fortunately for us, she’s keen to return. ‘I like playing anywhere there’s an excited, responsive crowd,’ she says. ‘At Soundwave I’m going to play house with a bit of tech and funky house. It’s always very lively, though depending on the crowd I might go a little bit more progressive and techy.’ Having released 15 albums (with two more due this year) over a DJing career that spans 16 years, not to mention residencies at some of South Africa’s most popular clubs, this lady knows her way around the decks.
One half of British music production duo Soul Central, Timmy Vegas (aka Paul Timothy) has built a name for himself as an accomplished producer and DJ over the past few years. Kicking off with hit track ‘String of Life (Stronger On My Own)’ back in 2005, he has since worked with acts including Frankie Knuckles and the also soon-to-visit-Dubai Fedde Le Grand. Expect to be taken to the deepest realms of house.