Michal Ho

What makes the idiosyncratic DJ tick? We find out as he prepares for his Dubai debut. You'd be surprised.

DJ feature

He’s made a name for himself as one of dance music’s most idiosyncratic mixers, but what makes Michal Ho tick? Time Out asks the questions.

So what kind of music can we expect to hear from you when you step up to play?
I will be playing live electronics, jamming tracks and loops using software and samplers. The setup is open to all styles, but I will mostly keep it confined to the greater area of tech house and electro minimal, with a dab of funk here and there.

You are renowned for your quirky sense of humour and unusual musical compositions; will you make any concessions to the mainstream on the night?
I am part of the mainstream, since almost everyone is using the same software nowadays. And no, there will be no concessions.

Is dance culture too serious?
If dance culture is seated listening to pink noise with no beats, it may be being too serious. But there are various approaches to dancing and listening, and it is important that it can all be expressed.

Have you played Dubai before?
This is my first time, and I am quite curious to see it.

You were born in Switzerland and grew up in Zimbabwe; did this well-travelled childhood have any effect on your music?
Yes, and if asked how to define it, I would say that in Europe, the emphasis on melody and cadenza is often over-stressed. So I take a different route: instead of opulence, I tend to go for lean arrangements, more of a groove thing. Rhythm is very important.

Your first album was called Screw The Coffeemaker. What did it ever do to you?
I was cooking coffee in one of these old fashioned espresso machines, when suddenly, it blew up. Thankfully, everyone survived, and I translated my near-death experience into music.

Tell us about your greatest DJing moment.
I had a great time at Fabric in London, and I remember a packed festival a couple of years ago in Geneva that really rocked. I also loved jamming live with A Guy Called Gerald and Jay Haze at Watergate in Berlin.

And what was your worst?
A few years ago I had a rather dire moment in my hometown, when somebody poured a drink over my setup. Luckily the drink went right in between the sound card, controller and computer. A friend took over the DJ booth while I powered off and dried my equipment, and after half an hour and wiping the table, I was able to play again.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
If there was only one thing I could wish for, I would choose not to change anything right now. What if it was the wrong thing to change?

Michal Ho plays Plus Minus Sessions at Submarine on Thursday April 24, 10pm-3am. Dhs100 for men, Dhs60 for ladies and FACE card holders. Free entry for anyone wearing Puma trainers.

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