What we do
CARL: Being a DJ isn’t just about blending 2 or more songs together, it’s about having that sense of passion with music. It’s very important to have that distinctive taste that will somewhat “brand” you different among others. Let’s admit it: there are a lot of famous DJ’s out there who are more experienced than we are, but I’d say the “identity” of our music makes us “different.” We specialize in Dirty House, Tribal house & Afro house. Genres as such can only be heard live in music festivals and massive events that do require the specific genre. So penetrating the regular night scene makes everything way more interesting than playing your regular favorite song on repeat.
JAY: For me, being a DJ is really all about your love for music. Once you have this down, everything else will flow. You won’t even realize how much time you’ve spent on practicing and mixing. Playing in the morning would feel just as right as when you play late at night. It’s more than just performing for the crowd; it’s being with them in the journey to euphoria. As a DJ duo, Carl and I collaborate on ideas to see what works and what doesn’t, to see which mixes make sense and which ones we need to scrap. We like to play tribal house music. Something you don’t usually hear in clubs, but is definitely a banger.
How we got into it
CARL: I have always been fascinated by the idea of being a DJ. When I came here in the UAE, I met a seasoned DJ named Andrew who introduced me to the scene and eventually became my mentor. It was overwhelming at first, since I never really thought that I had the potential for it. He taught me the basics, and I found myself hooked with the whole concept. Then I met my fellow DJ “Jay” who works in the same frequency of insanity as I do. Hence, Soniq was born, and the decks became our second home.
JAY: Stress! Yup, because of stress! Working can be toxic at times so I figured there has got to be a way to beat it. One of my close friends, Red, suggested I try DJ’ing. So I got my first mini DJ controller, learned how to play and I was hooked. I couldn’t stop playing. It felt good. A few months later I was introduced to Andrew who handles gigs and club events. He encouraged me to try out playing for crowds to get a feel for it and he invested his time teaching me more about DJ’ing. Andrew later introduced me to Carl who was also a DJ. We got along well so we decided to form a duo.
How we do it
CARL: I can’t say I have a formula or “process” that I stick to. Everywhere I go, whether I’m listening to my usual playlist or accidentally stumbling into a new tune, I always tend to dissect and mix tracks in my head. We come to gigs armed with specific repertoires as our own “music library” for the night, but we often change things up on the spot and do most of the mixing live on decks. Spontaneity is key!
JAY: It’s all about listening to music day in and day out, exposing myself to different genres all the time so I get ideas and inspirations on what songs to play. When I find songs that interest me, I add it to my current playlist. I usually play around with it by mixing it with 2 to 3 songs to see where it fits. Once I feel the vibe, I share it with Carl to get his input. When we both agree that it’s something that we can work with, we put it on hold in our regular playlist and wait for the right moment to play it.
Our journey, thus far
CARL: It’s cool how in such a short time span, we came from just practicing at home, into doing events and regular gigs. We like playing for small, private gatherings where the vibe is very intimate and tribal, but we also like playing for packed houses, such as the one that we had in our first gig in Mint Leaf, and the crowds that we get every Wednesday in Warehouse, at Le Meridien Al Garhoud.
JAY: I would have to say one of the major highlights we’ve had was our first gig at Mint Leaf London, Sheikh Zayed. We were simply duo Dj’s who loved to play. We were fresh out of the oven so it was an awesome surprise that we had the place packed.
Advice to aspiring DJ’s
CARL: Always be brave and bold in doing what you’ve always wanted to do. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself. And yes, the only way to prove oneself is to better thyself.
JAY: Enjoy what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it’s part of life. Take risks. Grab opportunities. Ignore the critics. As the saying goes “Let whoever think whatever. Just keep getting better.” J
Being a DJ is really all about your love for music. Once you have this down, everything else will flow.