DJ celebrates Dubai’s musical diversity

Could Dubai’s multiculturalism make it the perfect place for a new international sound? DJ Max Chipchase reckons so

Vision: Dubai is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. In what ways does that influence its music scene?

DJ Max Chipchase: There is an enormous range of nationalities with an ever-increasing amount of venues sprouting up all the time that cater to different music tastes. There is the DJ culture, which is essentially nightclubs and beach parties. But you’ve also got a jazz scene, rock scene and all the other different genres of music that any multicultural city such as Dubai needs to cater to. Add in the local music, so traditional Arabic and Emirati sounds, and you’ve got a diverse and potent mix.

I’ve had the good fortune of performing for the last five years at the Dubai World Cup Long Weekend, organised by Falcon and Associates. It hosts people from all over the world, so the music I play reflects that. I keep the Middle Eastern theme but then throw in sounds from India, China, Latin America… so fusing all kinds of different styles and genres. I love it!

V: Is there a unique Dubai ‘sound’?

A: The indigenous Dubai music scene is certainly growing. When I first visited in 1990, Dubai was a very different city. Flash-forward to 2015 and it’s barely recognisable and I’m sure that in a very short space of time it will grow even more. The music scene is in its infancy. But what’s exciting is it’s a fusion of the international with the local and I think it’s going to lead to something really interesting. This is the interesting time, the time when the scene is almost at its most creative because there are no limitations.

V: Is Dubai attracting more international talent?

A: Dubai has long attracted a strong influx of international artists to perform. I would imagine also that more and more people are relocating to Dubai because if you look at the British scene, for example, London today for artists is so expensive in terms of cost of living. The same goes for New York. So people are looking for places where they can go and be creative and still live a good life.

V: You recently performed in Beijing for Dubai Week in China, and have played sets at some high-profile weddings. Tell us more.

A: The biggest one I did was in Hong Kong for [singer-songwriter] Coco Lee. It was quite incredible. We had Alicia Keys, Neo, Bruno Mars and Black Eyed Peas all performing which, even for a festival, would be a pretty stellar line-up. So, for a wedding, it was something else.