Tell us more about your background?
I am a radio presenter on Radio 1 (100.5fm Abu Dhabi, 104.1fm Dubai). My show “Saif and Sound”, the late night show from 7pm – 12am. I am an MC and a DJ and run my entertainment company “The Project Entertainment”.When did you start DJing ?
I started DJing at a young age, probably when I was 15 years old, at private parties and proms. I remember coming home from school and straight away DJ’ing in my room.
What/who were your early influences?
Music is my biggest influence. In terms of DJs, my early influences were DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Premier. I am a big fan of their mixtapes and especially the different projects they involve themselves in. Their mixtapes are awesome and I learn a lot from their skills.
I’m a Hip Hop head. I grew up listening to mostly Notorious BIG and Tupac. I would pick ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ by Tupac to be my favourite song of all time.What was your first record you bought?
I actually purchased a whole album for one record which is ‘Water Runs Dry’ by Boyz II Men. I fell in love with that song and just had to purchase their album ‘II’.
I am mainly influenced by the lights of DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Premier. In terms of making music and performing, I am a big fan of Ryan Leslie. He produces, writes and performs his own music. The art of his hard work which brings people together motivates me to work harder.
What are the challenges of being a successful DJ Today?
The music business is growing so fast in the UAE. Everyone wants to become a DJ. An upcoming DJ needs to be out there and have the right sense of promotion and marketing themselves. It is essential to come up with creative ideas and keep your library up to date.
I start with an extremely eclectic set of music to observe the crowd and see which genre they are more inclined towards and I base my set on that.
What defines a good crowd for you?
A good crowd is one that appreciates a DJs entertainment skill. As I said, for me its very important to connect with the crowd through music and if they give me the reaction I am looking for that means we are all satisfied.
Many DJs play for themselves and get involved in mixing for their ears and not the crowd. DJs need to remember that their sole purpose is to entertain, especially when they get booked for gigs. Its all about connecting with the crowd on a personal level through the sound of music.What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?
Always keep in about the music. Think of different creative ways to promote and market yourself. Stay humble. A piece of advice for upcoming DJs or people who are interested in this career – you MUST have a passion for music and keep up to date with latest music trends, and that will drive you to your practice.Where do you think the scene is headed? One year from now? Five years from now?
UAE is probably the fastest growing country in the world, not only in entertainment but in different industries as well. I can vision UAE becoming the main hub for entertainment with international celebrities coming to shoot music videos and even recording their music here.Tell us more about your upcoming projects and gigs?
I started my entertainment company ‘The Project’ and signed three very talented DJs – DJ Liutik, Andy Von Emmanouel and DJ Jay. I always have something hiding up my sleeves whether its new events or new concepts. I opened up for Nicki Minaj in March and I am always involved with the biggest events that take place in the UAE, like interviewing international artists and even opening up for them as a DJ at various events. Follow ‘The Project’ on social media @theprojectuae and keep up to date with the events.
Describe is a typical day in you life?
I would like to describe my day backwards – from night to day. I usually have a gig at night, so I start at 11pm and finish at 3am. These gigs are mostly in Abu Dhabi. I then go home and wake up early in the morning at around 11am as I have meetings for ‘The Project’. I head to the radio station at about 2pm from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and I am working until 10pm. Now that’s the life of a music multi tasker!