What’s On and Hype preview the 2014 Pioneer DJ Middle East Championships, taking place at Al Joud Centre, Al Quoz on September 5. Get DJ tips from experts.

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Think the sync button is the worst invention ever? Believe that DJing is an art form and have a palette of tricks up your sleeve? The search for the Middle East’s best turntablists gets underway this week and judges are on the lookout for creativity and flair on top of mad mixing and scratching skills.

“The calibre of DJs throughout the years has risen significantly,” said Marko Smokingroove, who is a judge at the 2014 Pioneer DJ Middle East Championships for the fourth year. “Each year, the contestants are more creative and skilful in their routines, utilising all the equipment available, dropping four-deck mixes and some expertly crafted use of FX and live remixing. The bar is set higher and I’m confident the next generation of DJs will shake up the scene in a big way.”

The first two qualifying rounds take place at DJ Corner, Al Quoz, on Friday and Saturday, followed by two more qualifying battles the week after (September 12 and 13) at Eastern Commercial Agencies, in Al Maktoum Road, Deira. The final is scheduled to take place at Dubai’s Zero Gravity venue on September 25.

Marko said it was necessary for all contestants to “go that extra mile” if they hoped to lift the title. “I always look out for a DJ who expresses their vision,” he added. “I don’t generally drop points for the beats slightly slipping out as long as it’s corrected quickly. A true Pioneer Champion has a perfectly balanced mix of technical ability, showmanship, individual style and the ability to create something fresh on the fly. And I always look out for those who really enjoy what they’re doing as that’s when a DJ is at their best.”

The competition is broken down into two categories – the six-minute short mix (urban and hip-hop) and the 15-minute long mix (house, tech and techno). Last year DJ KaBoo was named Short Mix Champion and Subandrio lifted the Long Mix Champion title.

Looking forward to this year’s battles, Marko advised DJs entering the competition to “practise, practise, practise. Don’t let a slight mishap in your routine throw your game off. Correct it, move on, it’s a short amount of time in which to impress so make the most of it.” He added: “Don’t come to the competition playing a basic club set; this is designed to test all your abilities and beat trickery.”

September 5 and 6
DJ Corner, Al Joud Centre, Street 15a, Al Quoz, near Sheikh Zayed Road, Friday, 6pm. Metro: Noor Islamic. Tel: (04) 3807470. facebook.com/PioneerDJMEA

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