31 1 / 2012

Club night, Dust, has made its burgeoning rep putting the strut and imaginative beats into Dubai nightlife and its new regular live event at The Music Room looks set to cement that status.

The first edition this month welcomes pioneering Lebanese jazz/soul/funk/much-more-beyond crewBeirut Groove Collective (plus DJ action from Megadon BetamaxJames Locksmith and Mr Yeti). We dropped DJ and founding member Ernesto Chahoud a line to get the lowdown on getting down with BGC…

Beirut Groove Collective’s Ernesto Chahoud  (Credit: Nancy Siam)

Your primary focus is Afro-American music. Was it a case of almost creating your own scene in Beirut when you started out? Or was there already a thriving underground?
We created our own scene, indeed. There was no underground scene for Afro-American music in Beirut at all. It never existed before Beirut Groove Collective.  Beirut’s clubbing reputation is big in the region, but it’s not based on the quality of the music as much as the aggression of its nightlife and architecture of its clubs. It’s a sad thing, but the nightlife scene is incredibly money-orientated. We weren’t into clubbing in Beirut. We were more into house parties. We’d install a soundsystem, decks, invite our friends and be banging the whole building.

What kind of crowd are you hoping for in Dubai?
It’s our first time playing in Dubai, but we know the quality of Dust, so we’re expecting a cool, hip crowd; the best in the city, for sure.

How large is the collective?
Very big. We usually work with 10 to 14 different artists each time we throw an event: DJs, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, painters, video artists, photographer and so on. For Dubai it will be the two founders of the Beirut Groove Collective – Rami Obeid aka Stickfiggr, and myself – Heavy G, a DJ and filmmaker who will be documenting the event, and visuals from several BGC artists screened all night. It’s an amazing recipe for a real old skool unique dance party, the best you can get in the region.

One of Dust’s architects, DJ Solo aka Wriggly Scott, has played in Lebanon before too, right?
He came to support us in Beirut. He launched his album and blessed the decks at our Superstar Sessions Vol. 2. It was an amazing gig, one of the best, in an abandoned warehouse in the deep heart of the industrial area of Beirut. We had 500-plus people dancing all night. We first met through Stickfiggr, who is a friend of Solo, and Heavy G knew about his party Freshly Laced.

Are there any BGC records on the way?
I released very limited copies of my second album,Broken Bridges, three weeks ago. It’s a collaboration with Oma El Fil recorded at the Red Bull Music Academy in Beirut. This album has nothing to do with what I spin at all. It’s experimental electronic music.

Any final words?
We’re so exited to hit the decks in Dubai and funk it up.

Feb 17, The Music Room, Majestic Hotel, Bur Dubai, Dubai, 10pm to 3am, Dhs50. Tel: (050) 2484054. thebgc.posterous.com