What’s On previews Todd Terry in Dubai. Todd Terry at Q43, Media One, Media City is on April 30 and is free. Read this Todd Terry interview.
Todd Terry is talking differences. There’s a difference between making songs and making tracks. There’s a difference between being a legacy DJ and being a legendary DJ. And, compared to the first time he played the city, he sees a big difference in Dubai.
“When making songs the arrangement has to be key,” Terry says, “because you never know what could turn into a very radio-orientated thing. So you want to always follow a really simple structure when you’re doing a song.
“Doing a track – it could be all over the place. It could be a little bit of this, a little bit of that. It could be four bars, could be eight bars. You can really trip it up.”
The Brooklyn-born DJ, producer and InHouse Records boss has been around since the very beginning of house music. He began making and playing house in the late 1980s. Under various monikers, his songs have been chart hits and his tracks club anthems.
Terry’s approaching 50 now and as a DJ is busier than ever. With the recent house music revival – both in the charts and in the clubs – Terry is regularly namechecked by a new generation of DJ-producers as one of the artists who inspired their sound.
“The word legend – I appreciate that when I hear it from people. I think that’s great. And it also keeps me going. It definitely gives me some type of power because I know whatever I do – songs and tracks – I have to really put my all into it, because people are definitely checking it out.”
While he’s happy with the legend tag, he works hard to make sure he never becomes a legacy DJ – playing the same tracks, to the same faces, at nostalgia nights.
“What’s really big to me is doing collaborations with some of the new guys. That’s the best way to stay relevant. Beats and sounds and snares and drumrolls can change at any moment. So if you just stay true to who you think is really hot out there, and mix it up with them, I think you can last forever.”
In April Terry plays Q43 alongside local DJs Mark Pickup and Guess Hu. And he says each time he plays Dubai the crowd is better and more knowledgeable than the last.
“Before, they were just a little too commercial to get a good grip on the real house music sound. So I didn’t know if I was playing for the crowd or playing for the promoter, but it made it a little bit hard to deal with. DJing in Dubai now is a lot more fun, because now they get more funky and they’re appreciating real house music.”
Q43, Dubai Media City, Dubai, 8pm to 3am, free. Tel: (04) 4435403. Metro: Nakheel. q43dubai.com