It’s no secret that Dubai’s clubbing scene is becoming more diverse every month, with nights celebrating all kinds of music springing up here and there. So maybe it’s time to push it on a little further. Maybe the next big step isn’t going to be about offering different music, but about offering a different experience. And maybe Just Kidd In, the new night at The Apartment, is that big step.
‘We’re holding it every Saturday, and it’s going to be completely different every time,’ explains Richie Kidd, one of the three men – along with Just Lance and Chris Smith – who’ve put the night together. ‘We’ve got DJs of course, but we’re also going to be hosting either fashion or art – or fashion and art – every week. And it could be performance art, musicians, painters, portraits… we want to make it a surprise every time.’
Which makes us wonder what the point of the night is. Surely you go to a gallery for musing and to a club for music? Isn’t there a danger of this being less than the sum of its parts? But Richie is unfazed. ‘You can enjoy the music and there are lots of places where you can sit down and chat, but it’s about the overall experience. The music, the fashion and the art don’t become separate things, the people become the thing.
‘The whole idea is to bring a cliquey crowd and a non-cliquey crowd together. If you’re into art then come down and enjoy that, but also listen to the music as well because it’s all the result of a creative process. And why not come down? You’ve got nothing to lose and you could have an amazing time. And it might broaden your horizons a bit too.’
The night has already had a low-key ‘soft launch’ in which it hosted the works of Dubai-based fashion designer Buffi Jashanmal. The night had models strutting through the crowds, and design illustrations decorating the club’s walls. ‘People were quite astounded. They didn’t quite know what to make of it. They assumed that the pictures Buffi had put up were the new Hed Kandi illustrations, because they had these preconceptions that illustrations in clubs mean Hed Kandi. So I went around speaking to as many people as I could, to inform them of what was going on. Once they knew, it changed their whole perception of the night. The night’s about opening your mind to different possibilities and challenging your preconceptions.’
This isn’t the first time that fashion and dance culture have been mixed; Plan B’s Eclipse nights trod similar ground, but Richie is adamant that this is an absolute coincidence. And in any case, Eclipse never followed the artistic path. It certainly never got Vivek Premachandran, local artist and publisher of art magazine Cliché, on board as artistic director. He’ll also be performing at this Saturday’s event. ‘I’ll be doing a live painting thing,’ he says. ‘I’ll put up a huge canvas and have a camera capturing me painting, then a projector throwing that image over me and what I’m making. So it’s kind of a déjà vu thing happening, like an animation in live motion.
‘We might also put up some prints from our artists. We’ve got works from a German street artist called THS and a British collective called The Bastard Project and we have friends from India who have given us things too. So we’re going to see how we can use all of these pieces in the club.’
Club – now there’s a word we’d almost forgotten about. All of this talk of art and fashion makes it easy to forget that music will be a big part of the night. So what can we expect to hear? Richie says, ‘At the moment, I play UK garage and two-step, and Just Lance plays everything from tech to jackin’ house. Chris Smith is well-known for progressive and upfront house, but he won’t be around just yet, most likely after Ramadan. We’ve also got Ricardo Da Force bringing funky, soulful house. He’s very well respected in the industry and surprisingly underplayed in Dubai.’
Although these DJs will form the night’s music element, Richie is insistent that they’re no more important than anyone else involved in the night. ‘We’ve already got an artistic director and we’re going to bring in a fashion director, and eventually we’ll get a music director and say, “It’s not about us, it’s about the concept, do what you want.” And if we get to play now and again, that’s a bonus. It’s a journey that could go anywhere and we’re going to take that ride as far as it will go, and hope that people will come with us.’
Just Kidd In runs every Saturday at The Apartment.