They’re the new kids on the block, but what do the Mansion boys have in store at their classy Raffles venue? DJ and promoter Kennedy Stephenson talks to James Wilkinson about the present and future of the Mansion nights.
Mansion, then. Why that name?
We called it Mansion because we want it to feel like someone’s house or home, a place with a relaxed atmosphere where people can come together and let their guard down and just enjoy themselves. All the nightlife events up at New Asia Bar will come under the banner of Mansion.
Does Dubai really need another Thursday house night?
There are no house music nights being done in such a stunning venue. Not since the legendary house parties at M-Level years ago has Dubai experienced such a fresh and exciting take on nightlife. The Raffles hotel has definitely raised the bar in terms of style and sophistication. With most venues playing a very safe, mixed bag of average commercial music, Dubai is in desperate need of venues such as New Asia where you can listen to great DJs playing great music.
You’re located in the New Asia Bar in Raffles; what does the venue offer that others don’t?
For starters, when you’re inside New Asia Bar you are literally standing in the capstone of a 20-story pyramid with stunning 360 degree panoramic views of Dubai. It’s amazing. There are two levels with their own unique vibes: clientele can either mingle in New Asia, where they are close to the DJ booth and can soak up the energy, or they can lounge away upstairs in China Moon. There’s also a three-metre-tall Polynesian statue carved out of ebony that rises over the circular bar.
What kind of crowd does the venue pull in?
Anyone ready to experience a dramatic atmosphere and tune into the best local and international DJ talent. We’ve been attracting close to 1,000 people every Thursday.
It’s a classy joint; what’s the dress code? Can I get in with smelly flip-flops and messy hair?
I think it’s more important that people are greeted at face value and judged more on their individual style and attitude more than anything, but yeah, no flip flops. Dress to impress!
Currently Mansion also holds a night on Fridays. What are the differences between the two?
We want the music on Friday to be a little more specialised and cutting edge. Thomas, the resident on that night, has been playing very groovy minimal/tech house and it just sounds amazing in that venue. Friday is also the night we will be inviting international guests to perform.
Do you plan to expand Mansion to cover any other weeknights?
Starting in June we will be rolling out two more nights: retro on Sundays and an urban night on Tuesdays. But on any night of the week clientele can hear a beautiful selection of lounge and deep, blissful house and soul.
What genres of music will you be playing on the night?
When we launch our retro night on Sundays you might hear Pet Shop Boys, Paula Abdul or even Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark! And on Tuesdays, when we launch our urban night, we’ll be playing anything from A Tribe Called Quest to Kanye West. And on the weekend nights you’ll anything from DJ Gregory to Ricardo Villalobos to some cowbells!
Will you be getting any guest DJs in to perform?
We will be bringing out a few guest artists, but we’re still confirming the line-up. We’ll also be hosting a few fashion and lifestyle parties along with some brand tours.
Kennedy plays Mansion on Thursdays 8pm-late; Thomas plays Mansion on Fridays, 8pm-late, both free.