On October 28, Dubai’s much-loved Audio Tonic celebrates its fifth birthday with another night of cutting edge sounds, this time from German DJ Ian Pooley – who releases an EP on the label in the same week – and a surprise guest in the form of Scope. Since October 2006, the weekly night at Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s glamorous al fresco nightspot, 360°, the house music night has built a reputation for bringing out cutting edge DJs and exploring almost every sub-genre going, allowing it to take home the Best House Music Night gong at the Time Out Dubai Nightlife Awards in March this year. With that in mind, we felt it only appropriate to nab the man who made it all happen, 30-year-old Mike Bufton – aka Mr Mr – and find out which moments have most stuck with him over the last half decade.
Most memorable sets
‘They’re so hard to pin down. We’ve had hundreds of DJs, and it’s difficult to remember some of the nights where we would have had smaller DJs play amazing sets. Some of the names that stand out are the regulars we have, like Funk D’Void, and Jimpster as well – he really lives up to his word and his experience as a DJ and a producer every time. Spirit Catcher have been amazing, Ralph Lawson from 2020Vision, he was unbelievable as well, another name worth mentioning is Sébastien Léger, we had him back in 2008, at the time he was producing a really kind of bouncy, electro sound, which is what people wanted back then. We were playing that for two years, and I guess our sound matured from then.’
‘One of my favourite nights, and it wasn’t such a big DJ, but Pete Gooding, he played for us in 2008, and it was kind of the early days, and it was so memorable because it was the first time it started to rain at 360°. No-one really knew what to do, but everyone was kind of like “The music’s amazing, it’s raining, it’s warm...” and he dropped Moby’s track ‘It’s Raining Again’ and the whole place just went absolutely mental. It was pretty nuts. The bar was still serving drinks, and no one was going for cover, no-one really cared! That night was probably the most memorable.’
Best comedy moment
‘It’s really around the weather again. We’ve had a couple of incidents where it’s started raining and people from the crowd have been holding towels across the DJ booth so they can carry on ¬– that happened with Jimpster earlier this year. He was wearing a massive plastic sack raincoat, and the crowd were holding two corners of the towel across the booth at the front, and then there was me with one of the other guys at the back holding the other corners to make a shelter for him! We’ve had some pretty serious, erratic shapes thrown on that dancefloor from post-brunch crowds, which is quite funny. We’ve also got some birds living at 360°, so we’ve had bird poo on the decks, but we’ve got a theory that that’s what has brought us so much good luck. And they’ve never gone anywhere!’
‘There have been cases where the music stopped for 20 minutes, because in the first couple of years the venue wasn’t really cut out for all the DJ equipment. We had a guest DJ in the first year whose opening was an acapella of the Full Metal Jacket film, where this guy is talking about blood and guts and all this stuff, and everyone was like ‘What the hell is going on?’ so I had to get to the DJ booth and tell this guy to get lost. That was a bit of a disaster, because the music that night was tarnished pretty heavily. He’s quite a famous online blogger, but he’s known for his erratic and very far-right attitude.’
‘Definitely winning the Time Out Dubai Nightlife Award 2010 for Best DJ and 2011 winning Best House Night – it was the absolute cherry on the cake. Also, putting 360° in the top 100 clubs in the world in 2009 and 2010. I’ve also got to mention the record label, which launched its first track on October 13. We have music signed and on the way from the likes of Jimpster, Francois Dubois, Till Von Sein, Downtown Party Network, Spin Science and of course Ian Pooley. It’s the next step for us as a dance music brand, and should help push us more into the global eye.’