First up – you’re not the DJ Shadow, are you?
No. Obviously he’s the most famous one, but I came up with my name before I’d heard of him, when I was back in school. I chose it when me and my friends – like [former PALME Middle East DJ of the year] DJ Cowboy – entered a DJing competition. It’s only in the last few years, as I’ve started releasing singles and remixes, that the conflict [between names] has been brought to my attention.
I did a remix for Jay Sean recently, for the song ‘Stay’. When it was released in the UK, the BBC and record label both said that there would be a problem. Obviously they couldn’t call me DJ Shadow, because of the other DJ. So they started calling me Shadow Dubai.
How did the remix happen?
Jay Sean came down to do a gig at Kandy Club last February. As I was driving with him, he heard my remix of ‘Dera Saath’, an old Bollywood song, and he loved it. He was talking about how the remixes for his next single – which at that time was ‘Maybe’ – were coming along and I offered to do a remix if he was interested. Nothing came out of that for about two and a half months so I kind of forgot about it. Then I got an email from Jay’s management asking if I wanted to do a remix of his next single. They had a lot of artists working on the remixes, but only three were chosen and one of those was me, which was great.
What made it stand out?
I gave it a complete desi music twist. I stripped out the R&B sound and added female vocals by an Indian Bollywood singer called Anushka Manchanda, then I added extra flute to it. They liked the fact that I’d changed it from an R&B song into something that was quite different.
Jay Sean’s moved away from the Indian sound though, hasn’t he?
Yeah, I was a bit hesitant to make a desi remix at first, because he’s moving away from that scene and getting into the mainstream R&B market. But once he heard it, he said, ‘I need this on the single.’ Now we’re in talks for his next single as well.
How’s it gone down in the UK?
I just checked it out now and it’s been A-listed on the BBC Radio Asian Network for 10 weeks in a row, which is quite big, I guess. A-listed songs get the most airtime – there are like eight or 10 songs that get A-listed every week and one of them is mine.
What about elsewhere?
I played it in Kandy Club in September and it became quite an underground hit and it’s played on the radios, and it’s been leaked and downloaded from my MySpace and played on stations in Pakistan and India. So it’s been quite an underground hit even though it’s not been released yet there officially.
Where can people buy the single?
Apparently Dubai doesn’t sell singles, so they will have to get it online from HMV and all the other online shops.
What have you got lined up for the future?
I’m concentrating on my own album now; it’s an eight song remix album with one original production and it should be done by December. They’re mostly romantic that have been taken from the 70s and 80s and given a housey remix. The vocals have been redone and the samples have been changed to make them sound more modern. I’ve also got remixes for two other artists: H-Dhami and Sona Family. They should be finished in the next couple of months.
DJ Shadow Dubai plays Touch on August 7 and 14.