Pukka Up in Dubai: DJ Mark Robinson interview

As the iconic Ibiza clubbing brand lands in Dubai, we corner the label’s main man for a chat


Since kicking off the post-summer season with their ‘Break In’ themed party a few weeks back, fresh-faced anti-bling promoters Younique have welcomed a diverse mix of music to Media One’s expansive and empty Level 9 space – from a ’90s party to an indie hoe-down. And this weekend the team are preparing to up the ante with their first international guest at the venue – and he’s a man who comes with a fair whack behind him.

After 15 years on the London scene, in 2010 Mark Robinson was signed up to manage Pukka Up’s label, a job he’s juggled with gigging across the globe representing the global clubbing brand. Said brand started a decade ago with a boat party on London’s River Thames, then invaded the capital’s clubs like Turnmills and Pacha before migrating swiftly to Ibiza, where it’s become a mainstay of the clubbers’ paradise. So expect a taste of sandy shores when Robinson gets behind the decks on Thursday August 29. Ahead of the date, we grilled the 35-year-old DJ – who also makes up one-third of production team The Str8jackets – on his record collection and more.

Tell us about Pukka Up in the length of a Tweet.
THE Legendary Ibiza Boat Parties, 200+ Global Annual Tour events & successful record Label group. #lovepukkaup #ibizalovesme #pukkauprecords

What’s the last record you bought?
Thankfully I'm lucky enough to get promo copies of all relevant stuff for gigs – however I recently bought the Daft Punk and Disclosure album.

And the first record you bought?
Well the first 12 inch was SL2 'On a Ragga Tip’ – I was a real drum and bass kid! Although I'm sure I spent my pocket money on a 7 inch version of ‘The Chicken Song’ by Spitting Image when I was nine...

The record you can’t help but play every night?
For the last eight months or so it’s probably been our own Str8jackets re-edit of 'Au Seve' by Julio Bashmore – it’s a pretty banging tribal House mix of it which always rocks it.

The record you whip out when things aren’t going entirely to plan?
If it’s a tough crowd I'll generally try and lay well known acapellas over cooler tracks first, and then if that still doesn’t work I'll usually look to bring out the big vocal tracks. One track which has got me out of jail a number of times is Erick Morillo’s 'Live Your Life' – it’s a real Pukka Up anthem and works every time.

The record you would put on if you found out the world was going to end in seven minutes?
Seven minutes! That gives me time for two! Kings of Leon 'Sex on Fire' first, then Rudimental 'Feel The Love'. If the mrs was there I'd try squeeze in Al Green’s 'Let’s Stay Together', too..

Describe your personality in five words.
Childish. Passionate. Driven. Open. Happy.

Now describe your music in five words

If I wasn’t a DJ I would be...
A booking agent or manager – they make all the money [laughs].

What’s your best Dubai memory?
Probably the first time I played at 360° – what an amazing setting, and the party was awesome too.

If I’ve never heard of you, what tune should I hear?
I'm part of production group The Str8jackets so check out our single with Sam Obernik (‘Love & Oxygen’).

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
I'll have a limited amount of Pukka Up compilation albums to give away on the night so make sure you bring your dancing shoes!
Pukka Up on Level 9 takes place on Thursday August 29. Free entry. 5pm-3am (happy hour before 8pm). Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (O4 427 1000).

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