What’s On teams up with pals Hype to preview DJ T at The Basement in Dubai. His set at The Basement, Boutique 7 Hotel, Tecom is December 11.

Maya Jane Coles
Underground clubbing
Creamfields Abu Dhabi
– Hype Awards
– Hype’s Dubai A-Z

“It’s a platform for us to bring the artists we love, and to play the music we love – proper house in a real club environment.” So says Mike Bufton of Shibuya, his recently launched club night in Tecom.

While Mike’s award-winning Audio Tonic party at 360° offers dancing outdoors by the sea, the weekly Shibuya is all about getting up close and personal, dancing shoulder to shoulder and experiencing the music as one in the intimate basement club called, insightfully enough, The Basement.

After successfully launching last month, Shibuya welcomes enduring house DJ, producer, journalist and label manager DJ T to party with them this weekend, whilst Mobilee’s AND.ID line-up on December 18.

“We booked DJ T last year at 360º and he was amazing,” says Mike. “But I’ve heard him in a club before and it was an incredible experience. He’s one of the industry’s true legends who has stayed true to his sound, and is a true musical connoisseur. I have no doubt he is going to tear The Basement apart.”

That’s pretty much a given because DJ T, born Thomas Koch, has been active on the scene for 25 years. The German started out in the mid-’80s with various DJ residencies at his local clubs in Frankfurt, including the now legendary Dorian Gray, where the likes of Sven Väth also started out. Not long later, T founded a magazine that continues to be a bastion of good quality underground music to this day. Although he gave up the editorship ten years ago, Groove magazine has seen the likes of Ewan Pearson and Nina Kraviz writing topical columns on a regular basis and is still a go-to recourse for dance heads in Germany.

The next chapter of his life in music saw Koch running the famous Monza club in Frankfurt. Under his tenure the club fomented a global reputation, regularly played host to the finest DJs of the day and often set out on tour to places like Ibiza. As if that wasn’t enough for one man to have achieved, his next step was to co-found the hugely successful Berlin based record label Get Physical Music in 2002. He did so with peers MANDY and Booka Shade and the label inadvertently ushered in a whole new generation of tech-house stars from Nôze to Jesse Rose and Tiger Stripes, as well as spawning a mix series that continues to this day.

Back in 2010, though, T decided to focus on his own career more than he ever had before and so handed the reins of the label to his cohorts and began touring and producing much more often. The first fruits of his labour from this period came in the form of his third artist album, The Pleasure Principle, which was a much more nuanced journey through deep house and tech than your average album. Informed by years spent digging in crates and hoarding vinyl, it was as diverse and varied, yet coherent, as one of his own DJ sets.

A fine example of such a set arrived as part of Fabric’s on going mix series back on 2010. It called upon disco as much as deep house, techno as much as the bass-heavy sounds of the day and proved that T has, can, and will forever move with the times, whilst always staying true to his roots. His famous edits and remixes prove that, and often find him visiting or revisiting music from across the ages and tweaking it to his own ends.

“Sometimes this additional value is not more than extending important parts or reducing unimportant ones and giving it a mix-friendlier intro and outro,” he said recently. “That’s not much of a creative work, of course, but it suddenly makes a track much more enjoyable for the DJ and for the audience.”

When quizzed about the current state of house music, T is forthcoming with his well-informed views. “I find no true soul in 80 per cent of what’s called deep house these days, but I find a lot of soul in harder versions of house or in techno stuff. Arttu, Midland, ItaloJohnson, Jimmy Edgar, Makam, DJ Koze, Mr G, Tuff City Kids, The Organ Grinder, Gerd, Soul Clap, Matrixx Man and Mike Dehnert are artists that come to my mind talking about that. Since I got a bit jaded with deep house and disco in the past 18 months, I was more and more turning towards a harder, more groove and beat focused sound, often with an analogue drum machine feel. But for a few weeks I’ve been sitting in the studio again with my new production partner Emanuel Satie and I’m working on stuff that might surprise a lot of people…”

Everybody likes surprises, and DJ T has been full of them throughout his career, so what his next move will be, besides coming to headline in Dubai, is anyone’s guess.

December 11
DJ T at Shibuya, The Basement, Boutique 7 Hotel, Tecom, Dubai; Dhs100. 10pm to 3am. facebook.com/thebasementb7

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