What’s On teams up with Hype for the latest news from clubs in Dubai. Mistanoize will be at Casa Latina at Ibis Al Barsha this weekend (August 15).
WHY: Get your rave on to old skool jungle, drum ‘n’ bass, garage and breaks.
Nowadays the accepted route to the top seems to be to produce a big tune then cash in on the DJ gigs that follow. Back in the day it was quite the reverse – you had to earn your stripes, come up through the ranks and impress the right people in the DJ booth before you were ever allowed near a studio. Bucking that trend, though, is Mistanoize, a fierce DJ who is just that, a DJ.
Famed for mesmerising shows with three decks, seamless mixing and plenty of tricks, the UK drum ‘n’ bass don has been honing his skills for more than a decade. “I got into DJing because when I first started listening to drum ‘n’ bass, it was so new to me, I didn’t even know what it was or the story behind it. I was told by a chef where I worked that it was played in clubs by DJs on turntables, so I was like, ‘I gotta get some turntables’ and I did that same week.”
Since then Oli Smith has come to use decks like an extension of his own body, mixing with slick and sick style in clubs all over the world.
As well as an endless list of guest slots, Mistanoize also holds down residencies in his hometown of Birmingham in the UK but also in Moscow. “With both I get to play really long sets, which means I can go all in across the board and go on an actual mission or journey with the crowd.”
As a self-taught DJ, Oli reckons he has been learning ever since day one and is still doing so to this day. “The thing I love with DJing is as long as you don’t just stop doing it, you always advance. The moment you think you’ve nailed it you will get sloppy and that’s when you start to slide backwards. You don’t wanna be that guy who falls behind because he lost the drive.”
Drive certainly isn’t a problem for Mistanoize who is the go-to DJ for myriad classic drum ‘n’ bass labels that want their back catalogues or lead artists showcasing in one succinct and succulent mix. “The mixes are done in chronological order from the first releases up until the last released record or present point,” reveals Oli. “So far I have done them for Ram Records, Shogun Audio, V Recordings, Critical Music, Dispatch Recordings, Bingo Beats Quarantine, True Playaz, Bad Company, Noisia, Commix, Total Science and Black Sun Empire, and have had fantastic support from all the labels and artists personally, along with a huge response from drum ‘n’ bass heads listening to them online, which has been a really great feeling.”
With the rise of dubstep, bass music and ever more healthy cross-pollinations between all other genres, does Mistanoize feel that drum ‘n’ bass is getting left behind? “The boom of dubstep really hit America the most from the people I have met and spoke to about it,” reflects Oli. “And there is also the trap and EDM stuff flying about now, too. But from my experience, I don’t think it’s affected drum ‘n’ bass events in the UK and across Europe much at all.”
The rise of EDM, DJ sets as visual spectaculars and DJing technology like CDJs and sync buttons has also been a big challenge to the traditional art of DJing, beatmatching and building a set with real peaks and troughs. In that respect Mistanoize’s dedication to vinyl and real mixing is something of a throwback. “Let’s face it, since the digital age, the art has died on a major scale,” says Oli. “To me, the real art was vinyl on turntables, feeling the record using your ears and locking the beats, then on top matching your levels, perfectly EQing everything. That’s what I learned and that skill took me most of my DJ life to master to the point I could comfortably mix two or
three decks and not fumble about doing it.”
As well as playing on the decks, Oli also fixes them up, services them and customises them via his Turntable Pimp company. As such, there isn’t anything he doesn’t know about not only the art of DJing, but also the tools required to do so. Be sure to check out his mad skills when he drops into Dubai to kickstart the new Bassworx season this weekend. “It’s an old skool themed event this time so my set is going to be a two-hour mix of some jungle and classic drum ‘n’ bass from the ’90s up to early 2000s I reckon,” he grins. “I’m really looking forward to it as I’ve not done something like this in ages. Plus I’m doing it in Dubai, which is amazing.”
Bassworx Old Skool Party, Casa Latina, Ibis Al Barsha, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Dhs60 (including a free beverage). Friday, August 15. Taxi: Casa Latina, Ibis Al Barsha. facebook.com/Bassworx.DXB
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