Friday, September 22, 2017

Feature

DAN GREENPEACE // DJ

September 12, 2017
221

Beachroad head to the hills, actually to The Villa, Dubai to meet DJ and Talent booker to the stars Mr Dan Greenpeace and check out his man cave, studio and mega vinyl collection.

NAME? // Dan Greenpeace (non-government obvs).

PLACE OF BIRTH? // Leeds, England.

YOUR FIRST JOB? // I was an usher at a cinema, collected tickets, sold ice creams.

YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION? // Talent Booker / Artist Manager / Semi-Retired DJ.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN DUBAI? // Working here regularly since 2007 but living permanently since 2014.

WHERE DID YOU FIRST REALISE YOU WANTED TO BE A MUSICIAN? // Not consciously but around 9 or 10 I fell in love with vinyl as my parents had a lot and a semi-decent turntable and tape deck at home which I'd experiment with and make pause-mixtapes. I basically taught myself to DJ. 

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON DUBAI AS A CITY? // Dubai is now home for me. My work is here, my family are here and we're very settled. Over the last ten years I've seen the live music scene grow massively and it's been a privilege to be a part of that growth. It's on the right track creatively and I'm excited to see where it is in another 10 years.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO HANG OUT IN DUBAI? // My studio as I'm in my comfort zone but I like to find a quiet bit of beach and have some peace and quiet. For eating I love the Amongst Few Cafe.

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IN DUBAI? // The live music / club scene is already very established, the music industry has a long way to go but it's on the right track. Other major Cities are way ahead just because they're more mature 'markets' but at least there is an 'industry' to support new talent here now.

WHAT COULD IMPROVE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IN OUR REGION? //  I think an area for improvement is radio. It's generally dominated by 'Top 40' chart music but with stations like Dance FM emerging there's more hope for a 'specialist / emerging talent' support structure too.   

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A DJ AND ENTER THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND WHAT WERE THE MAIN CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY? // As I mentioned, growing up around vinyl and parents loving music gave me an early awareness. As I formed my own musical tastes late 70's / and early 80's I experienced the initial thrill of discovering Rap / Hip-Hop culture when it was brand new. A lot of people I know had the same experience but veered off into Dance or Rock music but I always stuck with hip-hop and followed my passion. That just guided me along rather than any grand design. Although the music industry is thriving in markets like UK and Europe, the most challenging time was managing artists in the UK, it's a very tough and competitive market.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICAL ERA? // Hip-Hop from the 87-89 period or Soul, Jazz and Funk from '71-'76.

WHO WOULD APPEAR IN YOUR DREAM ARTIST FESTIVAL LINE UP, DEAD OR ALIVE? // I actually experienced it for real recently at the Eric B & Rakim "Paid In Full" 30 year anniversary show at Harlem Apollo, NYC. It was almost all my favourite acts of all time on one stage.

YOUR PROUDEST MUSICAL MOMENT? // I'm too modest generally but I am proud of my contribution to music and culture.

CHOOSE 3 ACTS / DJ'S / MUSICIANS YOU WOULD LOVE TO DO A TOUR WITH? // DJ Premier, DJ Jazzy Jeff and my new favourite DJ Koco Akashimokita from Japan.

YOUR 5 DESERT ISLAND DISCS? // Impossible but I'll throw you some randoms picks off my head. Reuben Wilson 'We're In Love', Ultramagnetic MC's 'Funky', Eric B & Rakim 'My Melody', James Brown 'Make It Funky', Money Mark 'Never Stop'.

WHERE WOULD YOU BUILD YOUR DREAM RECORDING STUDIO? // Somewhere on a mountain with an amazing view. 

PICK YOUR 5 FAVOURITE ALBUM COVERS // Public Enemy 'Yo Bum Rush The Show', Ice T 'Power', Eric B & Rakim 'Follow The Leader', MC Lyte 'Lyte As A Rock', Notorious BIG 'Ready To Die'.

BEST TOUR YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN? // I was proud to give Ed Sheeran his first Middle East / India tour, that was a highlight of my professional career as a booking agent for sure. 

WORST TOUR YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN? // I wouldn't say worst, but a DJ myself I was a tour DJ for a LA based rap group called Ugly Duckling and we toured Europe. That was my first experience of proper tour life which was fun but not easy. I respect touring artists. It's not as glamorous as it seems. 

ANY TOURING OR ONSTAGE MISHAPS? // As a DJ mainly when we started using Serato to DJ rather than actual vinyl. There are so many technical issues that can go wrong, you really have to think on the spot and trouble shoot. 20 seconds of silence can feel like 20 minutes. Vinyl was harder to carry but less stressful.

ANY FUTURE PROJECTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? // Shows this year I'm involved with are Party In The Park with Liam Gallagher and Chemical Brothers, Rufus Wainwright at Dubai Opera. I do all the DJ bookings at Nasimi Beach, Atlantis The Palm and they have loads of great DJ's coming and my favourite Dubai event is Sole DXB plus a few more I can't talk about yet.

YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Family.

YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Not a fear but ants really annoy me.

IF YOU COULD HAVE A MEAL WITH ANYONE ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // Larry David.

WHO IS YOUR MUSICAL HERO? // DJ Premier.

WHAT DOES DUBAI MEAN TO YOU? // Life, family, business, pleasure and exciting opportunities.

WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Not sure but I fondly remember feigning illness to have a day off school to buy the latest Adam & The Ants single with my grandad. I've been a vinyl junkie since an early age.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // Too hard to pin that down. I've worked with many people that have influenced or inspired me and I've learnt from all those relationships.

WHAT WAS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // At time of writing my son's 3rd birthday probably. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR GRAND CHILDREN? // Listen to your parents, work hard at school, read a lot and follow your heart.

YOUR WORST TRAIT? // Picking my nose and sometimes talking over people, I try very hard not to do both but they're hereditary.

THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // I have really tried hard to learn not to judge, if someone gets me mad, I try and understand why it made me mad and deal with that first then try to understand where they behaved in that way.

WHO WOULD PLAY YOUR PART IN A MOVIE? // Maybe one of my kids, like Ice Cube's son in Straight Outta Compton.

LAST RECORD / CASSETTE /  DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // A KPM 'library' record called 'Industrial Panorama'.

FAVOURITE BOOK? // My friend's book he recently released called 'My life as a failed white rapper' - his life story and pretty much mine too.

LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // Same as above. I paid for my copy.

FAVOURITE  FILM? // Obvious, but Star Wars: A New Hope.

FAVOURITE CLOTHING / FASHION BRAND RIGHT NOW? // Top of the list always Maharishi but locally it's Amongst Few or Anthology

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // Travel.

THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // A car accident I had circa 2001, broke a couple of bones, head smashed the window but somehow I was extremely lucky and recovered after 8 weeks or so. I still have a broken collar bone to this day.

FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // The place I want to go but have never been yet, Japan.

LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Don't have one really.

HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Listen to music.

WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER PASSIONS OUTSIDE OF MUSIC? // I travel when I can but apart from music my life is busy enough with family and work.

FAVOURITE FOOD? // I recently went vegetarian so anything spicy and veggie. 

BEACH OR DESERT? // Desert.

URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban.

ADIDAS OR NIKE? // I have a lot of both.

FISH OR CHIPS? // Both, that's the only way.

COFFEE OR TEA? // Tea.

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Louis CK.

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? // The amount of questions you've asked me.

FINALLY, YOUR MESSAGE? // It's like a jungle out there...

CONNECT WITH DAN GREENPEACE // DJ

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