Clubbing’s back! E.M.A interviews two DJ’s taking centre stage in Dubai
E.M.A | 25th May 2021
Clubbing’s back: E.M.A interviews two DJ’s taking centre stage | Our VIVA girl E.M.A has not only scored another record deal, and is soon to launch her latest single, but she’s also forging a career on the decks in Dubai. Here’s her latest column, giving the inside track on the sunshine destination’s music scene.
It’s just been announced in Dubai that DJs are allowed back behind the decks in beach clubs ‘hallelujah praise the lord!’
To celebrate the good news, I caught up with two DJ’s owning the Dubai decks right now, Manchester’s own Natalie Brogan, who I interviewed 12 years ago just before she made the switch from the rainy decks in Manchester to the hot decks in Dubai, and newcomer Bethany Marie from Norfolk.
I caught up with these two beauties at Natalie’s new ladies’ night ‘Sparkle’, which is held every Tuesday at the swanky Grand Plaza Movenpick in Media City. Here’s what they had to say about DJing in Dubai…
E.M.A: Natalie Brogan it’s so good to see you after 12 years, we’ve got a lot to catch up on! First things first tell me about your new night Sparkle at the Grand Plaza?
Natalie: I’ve been playing here for about two years doing their post brunch event, but I wanted to do a ladies’ night for a while now and thought this would be the perfect venue. This is only week six but it’s going really well and it’s really nice to put my name to something.
E.M.A: Let’s go back to your Manchester routes, why did you leave, you were absolutely rocking the DJ scene there, playing at the likes of Venus and Sankeys?
Natalie: I had only been DJing in Manchester for a year and became a resident in the backroom of Sankeys and played the main room once, with Mark Knight, and had my main residency at Venus. Plus, I was also working for Chanel in Kendals, but at the time I didn’t have a boyfriend, I was still living at home and I just felt I didn’t have a reason to stay in the UK. But I was loving DJing so much so I thought I might as well go and try a season in Ibiza. I went there for four months and DJ’d for Pukka Up boat parties and also played with Jon from Mais Musica in Es Paradis.
E.M.A: And how did you end up in Dubai?
Natalie: When I was over in Ibiza, I met a DJ called Billie Clements and she told me about Abu Dhabi and said they are always looking for female DJ’s and I was like, where’s that? So, I moved there and got a DJ residency at Fairmont but was always heading over to Dubai and was making a load of contacts, so then I moved to Dubai and got a residency at Zero Gravity.
E.M.A: Abu Dhabi is really famous for its Formula One events, have you DJ’d at them?
Natalie: Yes, most years, the majority on yachts because all the yachts are in the middle of the track. Also, at the W Hotel and the hospitality suite, which is a really good gig to have, it’s a great event to play at.
E.M.A: All sounds fabulous, but I think Manchester misses you! So, your main residency is at the famous Zero Gravity, how long have you been playing there for?
Natalie: Four years now, it was the one place I really wanted to play at for so long, it took me three years to get in there.
E.M.A: Such a cool venue and they have some big names on. Who have you supported down there?
Natalie: I’ve warmed up for MK, Hannah Wants, Lovely Laura, Kungs, Purple Disco Machine and Sigma.
E.M.A: Nice! And I know you’re a massive fan of the late Erick Morillo and I saw you got to play alongside him before he died.
Natalie: Yes, he is my idol! I went on after him at Q43 that was my absolute dream to be on the same line up as him, it was just a year before he died.
E.M.A: You’re living the Dubai dream, but do you miss anything about Manchester?
Natalie: Obviously, my family and friends but my brother is over here now, and he’s just started to DJ too. I go home every year and every time I go back there’s always something new in Manchester, but all my mates are married and have kids now, so I have to give them about six months’ notice to get on a night out with them haha!
E.M.A: Moving forward DJing in Dubai what are your future plans?
Natalie: I’ve started up an agency company called ‘Music Me by Natalie Brogan’ which I’m now focusing on providing DJ’s and musicians to events and parties around the UAE.
E.M.A: Sounds ace! Final question. As you’ve been on the Dubai DJ scene for quite a while, what advice would you give for DJ’s making it out here?
Natalie: You definitely need a passion for it and to know your music inside out plus networking is a massive thing out here!
E.M.A: Bethany, so you’re part of the Mais Musica crew how did this come about?
Bethany: I was teaching primary school children for five years and I decided not to resign my contract after Jon and David, the owners of Mais Musica, offered me a full-time job with the company being a consultant and one of the DJ’s. It’s a big change but I’m really excited to be part of the Mais Musica team.
E.M.A: How long have you been DJing for?
Bethany: Only since January, I wasn’t even expecting it, it just happened out of the blue. I’ve always been into house music and raves, and DJing was always something I wanted to learn. I met Jon at Breeze and he offered to teach me. At first, I thought I’d just be DJing for drinks for me and the girls, but I never imagined I’d be on the line up for the Rak Weekender.
E.M.A: Amazing! And where was your first gig and how did you feel?
Bethany: It was at the Rak Weekender, I was so nervous I couldn’t eat all day, and then when I came on the decks Jon got everyone to clap which made me even more nervous. But after the first three tunes I dropped it was absolutely fine and I was loving it!
E.M.A: What music do you play?
Bethany: Vocal house, deep house and I love techno music.
E.M.A: Tell me about these Rak Weekenders that Mais Musica host?
Bethany: Jon lives in Rak and when all the entertainment stopped in Dubai he had a meeting with the Hilton and put this concept together. It was originally only going to be one event, but it turned into eleven.
E.M.A: You said before you accidentally fell into DJing, now you’re in the game what’s your end goal?
Bethany: My main goal at the moment is to get better at DJing and more confident, I’ve just been thrown in at the deep end, it’s been a bit scary but I’m having weekly lessons with Jon and Nick Holmes and I cannot wait for my next gig!
E.M.A: Where would be your dream gig in Dubai?
Bethany: My no.1 venue would be Soho Garden because that’s where I’ve always gone out and they always have amazing DJ’s on!
Go give both Bethany and Natalie a follow on instagram @bethanyymarieex @djnataliebrogan plus next time you’re in Dubai make sure to check these two out behind the decks.