Homegrown :: Tim Kay

Dubai is bursting at the seams with local talent, some terrific, some down right terrible. Each week (hopefully, if we’re not too partied out) OHM will profile one of the more terrific resident regulars round town for a little something we like to call ‘Homegrown’. In our next interview we expand our horizons with some questions from a different perspective…

Where are you from?

I was born in London but later moved to Birmingham for University.

Why are you a DJ and why Dubai? Tell us a bit about you and your sound…

My family pushed me through music lessons ever since I was 4 years old. It was a natural progression to move into dance music. After Uni I had DJ’d a lot of big clubs in the UK playing the harder edged form of house music having residencies with Sundissential and Godskitchen. I did a few seasons in Ibiza and then landed back in Birmingham for a few years and worked for Massive Records.

I moved to Dubai in 2008 to follow the property boom, just a shame the credit crunch hit shortly after I arrived, the party scene exploded and my DJ bookings fortunately built quickly.

How did you start DJing, vinyl, CD’s or software? Do you think those without vinyl foundations are true to the craft? Do you think the artistry of Djing has been lost?

I could talk about this all day! Understanding the theory of music helped me a lot when I was learning to mix on vinyl’s 13 years ago, especially in a time when records weren’t dj friendly! It still took me around a year to be able to beat match perfectly on vinyl. Its something the new generation don’t really need to worry about now. I believe I can teach anybody how to mix in a day using current technology. I think its only logical if an easier way to do something comes into the market its going to be popular. That started with the birth of the mp3 and then into the digital world of djing. It is a tragedy that the 1210 has become obsolete, but we as the consumers have forced that and can only blame ourselves. I do have big respect for DJ’s using vinyl as control mediums, I would use it myself if the clubs were equipped well enough here in Dubai. Unfortunately they’re not!

I am however a very big believer that the DJ is all about feeding the crowd. Technology has allowed me to have all my music from 10 years ago at the touch of a button, being able to drop loops/acapellas/tracks straight into the mix. That wouldn’t of been so easy on vinyl! But many peoples argument is, do you want it to be easy? There’s a lot of new technology that baffles the purist, and pioneers like James Zabiela add some serious creativity into their set. Pioneer has the new RMX piece of kit which is basically a new efx1000, and NI has some cool controllers and new software out 31st May. I’m looking forward to checking them out! Saying that, I’m a true believer in ‘its not what you got, but how you use it’.

Do you think DJ’s also need to be promoters these days or is that still solely the job of the promoter. Without local agents how do you promote yourself to venues and promoters/ bookers?

I think there has to be a very fine line, as a DJ I will always promote myself, if that involves pushing a night, fine. But being used as a promotional tool rather than providing the music isn’t something I wanna get involved in.  I will never be forced to do anything but play good music, if a promoter thinks differently I wont work with them.

I’ve been fortunate to secure long-term contracts with some of the best clubs In Dubai. The beauty here is that’s all controlled by the hotels, its not like Europe where your dealing with the underworld.

What does Dubai have that other party capitals lack? Is their room for everyone here to stake claim and have a following/crowd?

No I think its actually the complete opposite. A lot of DJ’s are struggling. Most of the top local DJ’s you will see have very good day jobs, and DJ’ing is just for fun. I think its quite hard to build a following unless you can lock a contract at a club. I was fortunate to play for 3 years in Atlantis – Sanctuary now known as Ndulge. Its either that or you need lots of good productions and get work off the back of that.

Aside from Ramadan Dubai is probably one of the few places in the world you can go to a full club every night of the week.

I’m now djing at some of Dubai’s most high profile clubs, as we all know the bigger clubs in Dubai prefer commercial music, which I’m happy to play, for me its about getting a solid position and educating from within. That’s the only way we will build this scene!

Do you produce? If so tell us about your studio set up? What is your take on software production as compared to hardware and modular synths?

I do produce and I’ve had a few releases that got charted by DJ’s like Roger Sanchez. I use Logic and Ableton currently. I’ve always used software so never got into the hardware side of things. I am grade 8 piano so a midi keyboard is enough for me. I do wish I had more time to produce, right now I’m so busy working day and night its not really my first priority.

Do you think producers make good DJ’s and vice versa, or is it purely a new promotional tool to get DJ’s on the decks?

In today’s market generally yes. Because a producer can use the same software like Ableton in his DJ set. Deadmau5 is known for saying he can’t mix on vinyl. I met a vey big engineer in Germany a couple weeks ago when I was djing there. He also said he can’t mix and will never DJ, but gets a buzz just knowing his tracks are doing well. I guess DJ’ing isn’t for everybody!

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to for all the wrong reasons?

Well I have to say since being in Dubai I’ve massively broadened my musical appreciation for different styles of music, I never thought I’d be getting down to rnb, moshing to rock bands or trying to understand jazz music! I’m not going to single out a club or promotion but we are blessed with having so much choice, and I regularly find myself having amazing nights at places I would least expect it.

Dubai has so many big DJ’s and Singers coming in each week, and I really think we’re making history here.

Tim plays iLL Comms Friday May 18th at Trilogy Club Dubai. You can listen to Tim here.

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