DJ Heroes Shadi Megallaa
Dubai is booming with new nights, new venues and new DJs. But our new regular feature shines a spotlight on the DJs that have been setting the scene long before the SYNC button was even a concept. First up is Ark to Ashes head honcho Shadi Megallaa, and also the man behind the forthcoming vinyl shop set to open later this year…
First club you played in Dubai?
If my memory serves me correctly I believe it was M- level at the Hilton Dubai Creek. It was a night called Deep Textures and I played with my friend Kennedy who I played with frequently back in those days. The year was 2000.
First track you played?
There is no way I’m even going to try to remember what it was. It was probably some UK Tech House or West Coast house. Probably something by the likes of Terry Francis, Kenny Hawkes or someone from the Swag Records crew.
Best change in the city’s club scene?
It’s not one specific change. I’ve been involved in the music scene in Dubai for a very long time. The change was very gradual and took a lot of time. The change happened over 15 years and is still happening. except these days it happens on a much faster rate. It took many many years of getting people used to new sounds. You have to remember that back in those days, terrible R’n’b and Hip Hop ruled the lands and places like Cyclone existed.
Worst change in the city’s club scene?
I’d have to say that the worst thing about the music scene here in Dubai is mega clubs that are run by people who have no idea about music culture and are getting involved in it for all the wrong reasons. I’m also not a fan of Dubai’s Champagne sparkler culture. I’d rather focus on being positive so that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Best club still running from when you started?
none. I was very lucky to be a regular at Terminal iBO. Unfortunately it isn’t around anymore but its spirit still lives. Analog Room comes closest to that spirit. All you need is four black walls, a bar, a well laid out DJ booth and a killer sound system.
The key to longevity as a DJ is…
The key to longevity differs from person to person. As for myself I would have to say is to always put music and my craft first. It’s very easy to get lost in the deep dark
trenches of nightlife and all the fickle BS that comes with it. Another key for me was to never pay attention to things like awards and all the hype involved in this industry. Another saving grace for me has been my studio. It’s my temple. Also always keep searching, digging and learning. never let yourself get stagnant. Most importantly, stay away from the politics of the scene and don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun.
The best way to get gigs is…
Ahhhh, that’s a tricky one. It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation. Unfortunately you need to go out frequently and be visible. This can be very dangerous as you will slowly find yourself focusing on everything other than the music. As for me, I’d rather spend time in the studio or dig for music. The key is to have a balance between going out and supporting your fellow Djs/ promoters but also being very focused on your craft. I’ve been DJing for about 1 years and have yet to fully master this art.
For me it would have to be Kennedy. He rarely DJs around town these days, but back in the day Kennedy used to play a party at The Cellar at the Dubai Aviation Club every Friday. The party was thrown by another friend of mine, Bong Guerrero. Kennedy laid it down every Friday. The vibe at that party was amazing. I rarely ever made it to my first class in Uni on Saturdays. Unfortunately, in the music scene if you aren’t around you are quickly forgotten. Much respect to Kennedy.