What’s with the name? Are you named after a gun?
Ah! When I started DJing nobody really knew me, so I came to the club and said: “I’ll play if you give me a magnum [of bubbly] for free.” They called me Magnum and it stayed that way. That was eight years ago.
What’s it like being P Diddy’s official tour DJ?
It’s always amazing – we always go to completely different clubs, different cities, with different crowds. He’s really pushed me – he wants everything to be special.
How did you two meet?
We met five years ago in Cannes. He had a yacht there and I was hanging around – I was meant to be DJing a party, but he asked me if I could do his party on his yacht. Of course I said yes. I have so much respect for him. Then he started asking for me whenever he was in Europe; now he asks for me in New York, everywhere… that’s pretty cool.
You must have some interesting stories.
Every time I play [there’s] a story – it’s always something new. I’m always very stressed, but he tries to make me feel comfortable. He’s like a second father to me.
What’s the crowd like in high-end clubs like Movida?
It’s very difficult to play to these kinds of people. They want hip-hop, electro, rock – they want every kind of music and it’s hard to mix everything together. But they’re my favourite audiences because I love the challenge.
And Dubai as a city?
Dubai is one of my favourite cities – yes, really. Everything is huge… it’s perfect. You’re in this crazy desert with buildings like New York. And the people at the parties are really receptive to the music. Before I came I didn’t really expect people to know about the music, but they do.
How did you get involved with Jay-Z and Kanye West on collaborative album Watch the Throne?
I DJ for Kanye in New York – I also DJ for Beyoncé – and they were having an Easter party in Paris at this restaurant called Le George, which I got asked to DJ. Kayne was nodding his head the whole evening –
I was playing classic soul – and he came up to the DJ booth and said, “Can you come to the studio after dinner?” I thought I was just going to watch them work on this masterpiece, but he started asking me to play some of my samples, and that’s where we got the ideas for “Otis” and “New Day”. It was very easy – they’re very, very cool people. They’re not into the “star” thing. They’re just easy – “you like music, can we work together?” I was like a kid on Christmas Day. Watching Jay-Z rap – wow – he’s one of my heroes. It was amazing.
For more on DJ Magnum, see www.djmagnum.fr. For more on Movida, see www.movida-london.com/dubai.