What’s On and Hype chat to Mike Bufton as he gears up for Audio Tonic @ 360 Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, celebrating eight years of success in the UAE.

Despite the odd grey hair, promoter, DJ and label boss Mike Bufton is feeling great after eight years at the helm of his Audio Tonic club nights. As Mike and his crew prepare to welcome Visionquest’s Lee Curtiss to the club’s eighth birthday celebrations, on Friday May 2, he admits that he’s never faced such aggressive competition as over the past six months.

“There are new venues opening and promoters pushing new events all the time in Dubai, especially in the past six months,” he said shortly before walking away with an Outstanding Contribution gong at the inaugural Hype Awards last week. “It’s been the same over the past eight years but never quite so aggressive.”

Mike believes that sticking to the club’s musical and artistic direction has helped secure its longevity. “We don’t rely on playing music that people recognise,” he added. “Our fan base trust us to give them new sounds not only from the resident DJs, but most importantly from our guest DJs. We pride ourselves on unearthing unheard talent. Over the eight years we’ve had Sébastien Léger, Justin Martin, Funkagenda, Noir, Hot Since 82, Dusky and Tube & Berger all play for us before they became famous names in the club scene.”

Looking forward to a rocking birthday set when Lee Curtiss takes to the decks, Mike said: “Lee has been instrumental in pushing house music forward over the last two or three years so this is a rather big booking for us indeed.”

Like Audio Tonic, Mike has no intention of slowing down. “I have exactly eight grey hairs on my head,” he laughed. “But I can honestly say that it only seems like yesterday that Audio Tonic began.”

360°, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, Friday May 2, 4pm to 3am, free guestlist entry before 8pm. Taxi: Jumeriah Beach Hotel. audiotonic.net