Gilles Peterson in the hot seat

The connoisseur of exotic sounds speaks ahead of Dubai gig Discuss this article

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The UK-based acid jazz DJ talks to Benita Adesuyan about Dubai and finding the perfect beat ahead of his appearance at Atlantis The Palm on March 21.

When you come to Dubai, where do you like to go? Do you get a chance to explore?
I’ve been here a few times before, but I don’t think I’ve thoroughly explored the city. They used to take me to the desert a lot, and it’s quite nice to get out of the madness. It’s such a busy city, especially if you come to it from Europe, and I wanted to get a feel of the non-expat community. I like to get out into different parts of any city that I go to.

Who are you listening to now that you rate?
There’s so much music coming out of the UK right now. People like James Blake have gone on to be international stars. I also really like The xx, and people like Sampha, Sango and a girl called Rosie Lowe.

How do you keep up with new music?
You have to become a bit of an expert – I listen to music all the time, whether it’s through running my record label, radio shows or being a club DJ. I’ve been doing this for 35 years and I’m still loving it more than ever. I’m fortunate that my job is my hobby.

What’s your most memorable gig?
Some of my favourite gigs have been in Japan. I always come back really boosted and encouraged – it’s like there’s a magical powder they spray on you as you leave the country. I also enjoy playing at my festival in France, The Worldwide Festival, in Sète. That’s become the culmination of what I do really, as a curator and DJ so I can invite all my favourite bands and DJs and we have a great crowd from all over the world.

What’s the key to a great DJ set?
For the DJ to find himself in a place where he is happy and can be creative. The audience feel the energy from the DJ, and I hate it when I go to places and I’m not really in the mood, or you have to turn it on. The best is when the DJ and the audience are in the same place – in some spiritual club where they can connect.

What kind of set can we expect from you?
I’m leaning towards my more Brazilian stuff at the moment, because I’ve been making a record out there.

What do you make of celebrity DJs like Paris Hilton?
It’s all good. It’s like music – on one side you’ve got X-Factor and on the other side you’ve got James Blake – it can all work together. You need the Paris Hiltons to keep some people interested in the art of DJing. I don’t have a problem with them, as long as they don’t try to muscle in on me!

Your Facebook profile says you’re ‘looking for the perfect beat’ – do you think you’ll ever find it?
I think it’s my onward mission – I’ll always be looking for it. It’s amazing how music can always reinvent itself... So no, I don’t think I’ll ever find it.
Gilles Peterson DJs at Live @ Atlantis on Friday March 21. Tickets from Dhs200.

By Benita Adesuyan
Time Out Doha,

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