An interview Pierre Ravan ahead of the Dubai-based star's album launch
What’s On teams up with Hype to bring you an interview with Dubai-based DJ Pierre Ravan, who is entertainment director for Pacha Dubai.
As Dubai’s clubbing fraternity awaits the opening of Pacha in the city, we catch up with the club’s entertainment director. A DJ for 27 years and a producer for 25, there’s far more to Persian-born, Dubai-based Pierre Ravan than those two cherries…
When did you first step foot in Dubai and what role did you play in introducing house music to the region? That was 17 years ago, as an artist, with EMI. I came to sign a contract. At that time, I was based in the Czech Republic, in Prague. When communism crumbled, I thought it was beautiful there because there was this feeling of freedom. I was one of the first people to play house music in the clubs there. The clubs didn’t close – they’d stay open until there was just one person left. How crazy is that?
When I came here, I realised that the same thing I’d felt in the Czech Republic in 1990 was the same thing I felt here – a new beginning, a virgin market. Then I started doing a monthly gig here with one of my friends. We did a party called Body And Soul. It was really new and it wasn’t very successful because it was all about house music. We were importing that music from Ibiza and people weren’t into that here. They wanted Euro, cheesy Top 40 music. But we started to get a crowd coming, and at the time there was just one promoter and that was it. We were doing a small private party. And that brought me back to Dubai once a month. I was bringing friends like Roger Sanchez – and it was lovely. That’s how it started.
Can you remember when you discovered house music? François Kevorkian, Frankie Knuckles – may his soul rest in peace now – those were the people who started the beat. And all the messages – “My house”, “In the beginning there was Jack” – it was all about unity. All the lyrics were about love, togetherness, being under one roof and dancing. The first time I heard Mr Fingers [Can You Feel It], I said, “This is the future.” And guess what? I said that 25 years ago and I still think that. House music is timeless. Everything goes back to it. That’s why house music will never die. I feel that people should know that. The intention in creating this style of music was unity, togetherness and love – and that will never disappear.
What makes you claim that Dubai is “a spiritual place”? This is the side of Dubai that people don’t see. A lot of people say that everything here is superficial, but I don’t see that. People don’t see the deepness of Dubai. For me, Dubai is an extremely spiritual place. Dubai has a soul. The thing is, the whole level of the energy that His Highness and the people of this country are giving off is driven by love and passion. I call it spiritual because of the balance. You can find the materialistic side of things or disappear into the desert or find places to meditate every morning. I wish people would explore that.
What is Ibiza famous for? It’s definitely not for spirituality, right? Wrong. The true Ibiza is when you drive up into the mountains and there is this stillness and calmness. There is a very spiritual element to that island that only the local people know about. Ibiza is definitely not just a party place and neither is Dubai.
Tell us about your KaRavan compilation albums… The name and idea came to me in a meditation session I was doing with my friend, Rola. A caravan is a journey that never stops. My KaRavan is created with this vision – a spiritual journey through music. I’m inviting people to join me on this journey, from the daytime to the nighttime, and I don’t care about race, culture, nationality or religion. People just come and party. I created the KaRavan concept eight years ago and once a year I release a KaRavan album. This year, it’s called Utopia [out now on Clubstar]. Last year it was Love. CD 1 is more deep and soulful, and CD 2 is more techno, dark, progressive.
Eight years on, how would you describe all of your KaRavan albums as a collection? I’ve tried to keep the same essence. But like everything, evolution has to be there. If you listen now, and you go back to the first album, you’ll feel that the essence is there, but the albums have evolved. They’re very deep, with strong, positive messages, and they become dark and techno. They go from light to dark, and then back to the light.
What’s next on the horizon? My next big project, as entertainment director, is to help the whole team to open Pacha Ibiza Dubai. I’m also involved with [famous Ibiza sunset bar] Café del Mar, and then there are some festivals in the summer – I’m playing at the World Cup in Brazil. But being here to help open Pacha Ibiza Dubai is the biggest priority right now.