The rate at which Dubai’s nightlife scene has been growing over the winter season is nothing short of startling. Based on the number of huge name club openings in recent months, you’d be right in saying that this city is now on a pretty mega growth trajectory.
Dubai is starting to become one of the world’s premier party hotspots. On top of the city’s biggest superclubs like BASE and WHITE Dubai (each with a capacity reaching into the thousands), there are some significant newcomers adding to that list, too.
Famed Las Vegas pool party hotspot Drai’s opened this year, US celebrity hangout 1 OAK, too, and, most recently, Gotha Dubai – the Middle Eastern import of the Cannes-based superclub.
It is at the latter where French superstar DJ Martin Solveig performed, flying in from Europe for a Saturday night show on the club’s opening weekend.
Known for massive hits Intoxicated, All Stars and Hello, it’s no surprise that the club was packed for his performance, and the crowd erupted at every drop.
Surely then, Solveig is in a better position than most to judge the city’s growing nightlife reputation.
“I think Dubai is the most accessible sunny destination, especially during the winter,” he tells us backstage at Gotha. “It’s fun to play here, that’s for sure.”
Fun is one thing, but is the city getting close to threatening the likes of Las Vegas and Ibiza as a global party and clubbing destination?
“It’s one of those places where there’s a lot happening on a dance [music] level. Obviously there’s a lot going on – big shows, festivals and clubs opening,” he says.
“I don’t want to compare it, because it’s not the same [as those places], but it’s growing and maybe one day it will be up there with the best.”
Solveig is deep in the writing phase of his new album – his first since 2011’s Smash – which he says will mark a big shift away from his previous format of exclusively writing “club bangers”.
“It will be something very personal,” he says. “It’s difficult to answer why, but having been making music for 20 years I have a better understanding of how I want to lead my different projects.
I finally decided to do an album because I had so many tracks and songs that I think are extremely exciting – not necessarily ‘club bangers’ – but they are the songs I wanted to write.
“When you release just singles, people expect a certain thing, something that’ll just go in a club and that’s it,” he says. “But when you release 11 or 12 songs all together, it’s also about having music you can just listen to, with a narrative.”
One of the elements of album writing that Solveig has really enjoyed, he says, is creating music that broadens out, and creates new musical dimensions, which promise a new live experience for him and the audience next year.
“2019 will be a live year for me,” he says. “I will be doing far fewer club shows, which means I will be doing more solo concerts and some festivals, but with a live setup. It’s not going to be a DJ decks setup.”
“There will be a band, yes. There will be singing, and we will be performing in different ways. It’s something I did ten years ago, but then I went back to DJing for a while. Now I’m coming back to live shows.”
Famous for his collaborations with top names such as Bloc Party and Madonna, Solveig is always on the look out for new talent to work with on his projects.
“It’s about voices that I’m extremely sensitive to,” he says. “It’s difficult for me to work with someone with whom I don’t have that special connection – strictly in a vocal dimesion – regardless of the profile of the artist.”
With Solveig a bit of regular on the Dubai club circuit, the DJ reveals that the city may be part of his plans for a huge world tour in 2019.
“It’s not a secret that the tour is being organised, and right now it’s all in the planning stages. Of course, if the occasion is there I’d absolutely love to bring my live show to Dubai,” he says.
Perhaps, then, an apperance on one of the city’s biggest stages beckons for one of the music industry’s most respected DJs. Maybe we’ll see him at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre or at the Autism Rocks Arena soon. We can hope, at least.