13 underground UAE music shows (that are actually good)

By

Sick of terrible radio? Searching for good music? Tune in to 13 of the UAE’s best podcasts and online radio shows for those who seek underground sounds…

Let’s be frank. Dubai’s radio shows leave a lot to be desired when it comes to representing the underground sounds we seek out with such fervour in clubs at the weekend.

Of course, there have been welcome chinks in the mainstream commercial fodder that clogs up the airwaves – like when Simon ‘Schooly’ Phillips introduced Mike ‘Mr-Mr’ Bufton’s audio tonic show to Radio 1, for example. But Radio 1 and its sister station Radio 2 were pulled off air recently after Abu Dhabi Media withdrew the stations’ frequency licences.

There’s been a flurry of activity over at Virgin Radio, meanwhile, with the recent introduction of new digital radio brands Virgin Radio Beat and Virgin Radio Chill, with Virgin Radio Beat described as “the UAE’s only brand dedicated to playing club anthems, 24 hours a day, seven days a week”, by its Middle Eastern owners Arabian Radio Network.

At the moment, the Virgin Radio Beat schedule is predominantly full of syndicated shows from the likes of big cheesers Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Sander van Doorn and Nicky Romero, although shows from Carl Cox, Nicole Moudaber and Adam Beyer should keep techno fiends happy. And as the recently launched digital station finds its feet, we’re sure we’ll see more local DJs invited to provide some tuneage.

 

But do a little digging and you’ll discover a wealth of UAE-based DJs already providing tunes, banter, interviews and mixes via their own podcasts or online radio shows. We invited a selection of local tunesmiths to reveal the pick of the bunch, so turn on, tune in and drop out.

1. Show: #itsallwarped

Recommended by: Maks and Paul Josef

Frequency: Twice a month

Who’s behind it: Adam Rahman

Who’s that: “Adam is the man we can thank for first bringing techno music to the UAE over ten years ago through his own efforts as a DJ and through his Warped parties staged around town,” says Maks. “He’s one of the pioneers in the techno scene in Dubai and a monster behind the decks. He’s my No.1 local techno artist,” adds Paul.

Why you should tune in: You can expect imaginative and fresh music every time, and if techno is in your blood you’ll feel right at home here.

Special features: Guest DJs and producers around the UAE and wider region deliver sets of varying tastes and styles.

Find it at: soundcloud.com/warped-music

2. Show: Bassworx DXB on Lazer FM

woodleWoodle

Recommended by: Somalie

Frequency: Every Tuesday, 8pm to 10pm (Gulf Standard Time)

Who’s behind it: Woodle & Tigger with weekly guests

Who’s that: Woodle is the DJ and promoter behind Dubai’s rather raucous drum ‘n’ bass night Bassworx, and the Tigger moniker belongs to Keir Doswell. The pair started this spin-off radio show back in April and they’ve been having a lot of fun with it since.

Why you should tune in: The weekly show features all the great music and DJs you hear at Bassworx, with the area’s best drum ‘n’ bass DJs on rotation.

Special features: Guests so far have included the likes of Mach4, Dubijad, Masscon and Anderson Lima.

Find it at: lazerfm.co.uk and past shows at mixcloud.com/bassworx_dxb

MORE FROM HYPE
*The best of Dubai’s nightlife: The winners at the Hype Awards*
*The party pictures from the Hype Awards. Were you there?*
*The Dubai pose epidemic – you’ll know it when you see it*

3. Show: Motellacast

Recommended by: Finlay Lefox and Paul Josef

Frequency: Weekly

Who’s behind it: DJ MoCity

mo cityPhoto: Hyku D Photography

Who’s that: If you don’t know DJ Mocity then it’s safe to assume you’ve been living under a rock. Not only is MoCity one of the head chiefs at The 264 Cru and their infamous Karak Beats party, he has also curated the sound at events like Lo-fi, D3 and Sole DXB. “I’d go as far as to say that MoCity has helped change the shape of Dubai’s music scene as we know it for good,” says Finlay. “DJ, MC and probably the one guy in the industry who can handle the full A to Z behind any event, MoCity is also famous for his impressive moustache and supplying fun vibes everywhere,” adds Paul.

Why you should tune in: For over a year, DJ MoCity has been serving up “a delicious music spread for your head” on a weekly basis, introducing listeners to his eclectic selections. “Restlessly seeking out new sounds, unknown producers and, in his own words, the ‘new-new’, this is the only podcast in Dubai, maybe even the whole UAE, with such a wide selection of world renowned international and local artists,” says Finlay. “Motellacast has helped put the UAE on the map to listeners across the globe.”

“Covering jazz, soul, funk, disco, reggae, electronica, hip-hop, chillout and more, if you’re not a genre snob, this could be your weekly tutorial in good music,” insists Paul.

Special features: Most shows have a special guest and highlights so far include Essarai, Alexander Nut, Tim Parker, Addison Groove, Zed Bias, Chunky, Kutmah, Om Unit and Sarah Farina.

Find it at: mixcloud.com/motellacast and motellacast.com

4. Show: Sub Division Podcast

Recommended by: Stu Todd

Frequency: Weekly

Who’s behind it: Andy McGirr

Who’s that: Originally from the UK and now living in the UAE, Andy has held residencies at Le Classique and Chameleon Club, dropping his style of house and techno. Hailing from Scotland, he’s played at top venues there like The Arches (Glasgow),

Liquid Room (Edinburgh) and The Ice Factory (Perth), while the likes of Dubfire, Phunk Investigation, Stonebridge and Jon Rundell have not only remixed his tracks but also supported his productions worldwide.

Why you should tune in: Still in its infancy but growing in popularity each week, Sub Division is a one-hour show packed with the best underground house music and crossover techno sounds from around the world.

Special features: Guest mixes from local and international DJs. Somalie and Fuente have already repped Dubai, and a mix from Ibiza resident and Craft Underground label owner Alex Descarada has already added an international touch.

Find it at: soundcloud.com/andymcgirr and on iTunes

5. Show: Booty Bangers

Recommended by: Somalie

Frequency: Monthly

Who’s behind it: The 264 Cru

Who’s that: The 264 Cru is a music, arts and culture collective in Dubai with the goal to push diverse sounds and artistically driven initiatives, and to change the perception of Dubai around the globe.

Why you should tune in: Booty Bangers is a ‘turn it up’ mix for your pre-party on a Thursday night to get you in the mood for the weekend. Each month an international DJ, who is currently killing their game, mixes an hour of their favourite bangers that they are playing out across the world. The mixes have also been accompanied with comic book style artwork and story lines, which feature the selected DJ in cartoon form, created by the very talented designer Charlotte van Wesseldine.

Special features: So far the series has featured top names like Barely Legal, Roska, Jon 1st, Murder He Wrote and Champion with input too from The 264 Cru’s Finlay Lefox.

Find it at: mixcloud.com/the264cru

6. Show: Back To The Beach

Recommended by: Michael Dunne

Frequency: A few new mixes every month

Who’s behind it: Andy G & Curtis Randles

Who’s that: In their own words: “Two old fools who spent too long DJing in Ibiza in the ’90s.” Back then Andy was one of the original four resident DJs at Ibiza’s legendary Bora Bora and Curtis was in charge of music at Kanya, providing the sunset soundtrack for countless years. Andy has now been in the UAE for four years and is resident DJ at La Cala, bringing the real deal Balearic sound of Ibiza to the shores of Ghantoot.

Curtis-RandlesCurtis Randles 

Why you should tune in: The podcast showcases the more eclectic side of some much-loved DJs from the UAE to Ibiza and beyond. The concept is simple: an hour-long mix of music to enjoy while chilling on the beach. “Anything goes, as long as it sounds good in the sunshine,” says Michael.

Special features: “Every episode contains a massively eclectic musical selection, spanning funk, soul, reggae, house, hip-hop, ambient, drum ‘n’ bass and that ol’ devil called Balearic beat,” explains Michael. “The UAE’s own Dubijad also turned in a killer reggae mix for episode 18. Well worth a listen.”

Find it at: Search for Back To The Beach Podcast on iTunes

7. Show: Conceptual on Insomniafm

Gabriel-Floriani3

Recommended by: Stu Todd

Frequency: The first Friday of the month, 9pm (GST)

Who’s behind it: Gabriel Floriani

Who’s that: Gabriel is resident DJ at Plus Minus and regularly warms up for the biggest and best international artists.

Why you should tune in: Conceptual is a mix of deep and upfront club tracks, all in Gabriel’s unique atmospheric style. “His mixes have a great flow to them and I find them very hypnotic,” says Stu.

Special features: Veering away from relying on other people’s mixes, Conceptual showcases Gabriel’s own awesome mixing ability.

Find it at: insomniafm.com

8. Show: The Comedown Mix

Recommended by: Lesley Wright

Frequency: Every Saturday

Who’s behind it: The 264 Cru

Who’s that: A diverse multicultural collective of DJs, creatives and vibe hounds who’ve taken it upon themselves to shake up Dubai’s music and cultural scene, and the guys behind Karak Beats (Best Bass Night winner at this year’s Hype Awards) and the Future Sailors boat parties.

Why you should tune in: For the day after the night before, The Comedown series caters to your fragile needs every Saturday and eases you back into ‘normal’ mode just in time for the week ahead. Handpicked by the gang, each guest is a dope selector and genre-busting music aficionado.

Special features: Indulge in a musical head massage from respected local music nuts and DJs, to rising regional talents like Abri & Flamingods, to globally renowned selectors like Tim Parker and DJ Algoriddim.

Find it at: mixcloud.com/the264cru

9. Show: Miss Foster’s House Warming

Miss-Fosters4

Recommended by: Jack Woodcock

Frequency: Weekly

Who’s behind it: Miss Foster

Who’s that: UK lass Miss Foster used to co-host the Curiosity Club house party radio show on Select UK and rock dancefloors in South London and beyond. Since bringing her infectious smile and energy to Dubai, she’s joined Sunstroke’s pool of resident DJs, with Sunstroke boss Jack Woodcock describing her as “one of the best new DJs in town”.

Why you should tune in: If thumping house music is your thing then this is for you.

Special features: Great feelgood tunes from start to finish

Find it at: download the Virgin Radio DXB app

10. Show: The Dysfunktion Podcast

Recommended by: Lesley Wright

Frequency: Fortnightly

Who’s behind it: The same lads behind Dubai techno night Dysfunktion, which you can find at Story Rooftop Lounge. Tobie Allen plays host and Julian Lovett takes care of the technical schnizzle.

Who’s that: Bootleg Social Records boss Tobie is a bit of a music veteran from the UK who wasted no time getting involved in the UAE scene after he relocated to Dubai, setting up the regionally friendly imprint Ma’ana Music. He bonded with music head Ju over their love of techno – and inherent dislike of sparklers.

Charl-Chaka3Charl Chaka 

Why you should tune in: The show is an hour-long chat with anyone who is part of the music scene – not just techno heads. “We want to humanise the people that make the UAE shake,” says Tobie. “Everyone has a story and we want to dig deep and share those stories.” Previous guests have included Shibuya promoter and DJ Marko Smokingroove, Hollaphonic’s Olly Wood, Infusion boss Charl Chaka and Blue Marlin UAE resident Frederick Stone. The chats are both insightful and funny.

Special features: Listen out for the “Guess the quote” spot

Find it at: Search for The Dsyfunktion Podcast on iTunes

11. Show: The Shady Shadow Show

shadi Shadi Megallaa 

Recommended by: Stu Todd

Frequency: Every second Friday

Who’s behind it: Shadi Megallaa

Who’s that: Shadi’s a bit of a well-known face around town and has been involved in the Dubai music scene since 2000. He’s a resident at Dubai’s Analog Room party and runs his own record label, Ark To Ashes. Vinyl fiends in Dubai are keenly awaiting the opening of his record store, The Flipside, due to open in Al Quoz in the next few months.

Why you should tune in: The show covers just about every genre of music imaginable with a lot of banter and many unexpected turns along the way. “Nothing is scripted and mayhem usually ensues,” says Stu.

Special features: There’s a guest each time with Hassan Alwan, Hani Q, Salar Ansari, Soho, 264 Cru (C.O.B, Essarai and Radyous) and Makrodot amongst those to put in an appearance.

Find it at: mixcloud.com/Shadi_Megallaa

12. Show: Fresh Select

KEV-FRESH

Recommended by: Stu Todd

Frequency: Every Monday

Who’s behind it: Kev Fresh

Who’s that: Kiwi Kev Fresh cut his teeth in his home country of New Zealand before spreading his reach as far as Canada, India, Sri Lanka and Australia. The Fresh Select is just that: a broad spectrum of beats taking in hip-hop, funk, disco, house and bass.

Find it at: mixcloud.com/kevfresh

13. Show: The Dukkan Show

omar-ot

Recommended by: DJ MoCity

Frequency: Bi-monthly

Who’s behind it: Irshad, Toofless and Omar OT

Who’s that: Both Irshad and Toofless come from a hip-hop/rap/MC background and Omar OT brings in the radio show element. DJ MoCity describes them as “good people with good chat” and “good folks doing good things”.

Why you should tune in: “It’s more of a talk show than a music show although there is a 15 to 20 minute mini mix each time,” explains MoCity, “and the talks with really interesting characters behind the music scene are intimate and detailed.”

Special features: Check out episodes 004 and 005 where MoCity goes into detail about his colourful music-driven life.

Find it at: dukkanshow.com

– For more on Dubai’s music, lifestyle & club culture straight to your newsfeed, like Hype on Facebook.