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Egyptian DJ duo take over Dubai dance music festival

It’s considered one of the Middle East’s biggest dance music events and 2016’s edition is upon us

Rachel McArthur

Published: Updated:

It’s considered one of the Middle East’s biggest dance music events and 2016’s edition is just around the corner. Scheduled to take place this weekend, “Kristina Fidelskaya presents Sensation Dubai 2016” will see 30,000 music lovers head to the emirate’s Bab Al Shams for a night headlined by none other than Egyptian trance royalty Aly & Fila.

Marking their debut at the popular live event, the duo will be joined by other big names including Dutch DJ and production duo Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano; Dutch-Turkish DJ and producer Ummet Ozcan and the Grammy-award-winning DJ and producer Afrojack.

We managed to get five minutes with Aly & Fila ahead of their much- anticipated Dubai appearance. Here’s what they had to say about Dubai, the Egyptian music scene and, surprisingly, Metallica.

Q. For those not familiar with you, how would you describe yourselves in one sentence?

As artists and musicians, we are an uplifting trance duo.

Q. What can your UAE fans expect at Sensation 2016?

A journey of trance that’s uplifting and melodic.

Q. Is it a different energy when you play in the Middle East? Do you feel at ‘home’ so to speak?

The crowd in the Middle East is always energetic and vibrant; we have a lot of friends from Egypt and surrounding Middle Eastern countries who always join us, so In a way yes, you feel at home what with the surroundings, the culture and the language. But the crowd feels universal; we are very excited to perform at Sensation.

Q. What do you love the most about playing live?

Seeing the connection with the crowd, playing music that you love and seeing the happiness and smiles on people’s faces and their energy.

Q. What’s the one Aly &Fila-endorsed release music lovers should get behind this year?

“Unbreakable,” our latest single with Roger Shah and Susana.

Q. And what have been your top three tracks of the year so far?

There are so many… three of them are “Amber” by The Thrillseekers; “Push” by James Dymond, and “Unbreakable.”

Q. Do you listen to any Arab/Egyptian artists? If so, who?

We listen to Egyptian artists from our Future Sound of Egypt (FSOE) record label such as Mohamed Ragab, Omar Sherif, Fady & Mina and A&Z.

Q. What about your favourite DJs – who do you support?

We are very proud to have so many great artists signed to our FSOE label such as Ferry Tayle, Darren Porter, The Thrillseekers, Dan Stone, James Dymond, Arctic Moon, Mohamed Ragab, Fady & Mina, A&Z, ReOrder, Stoneface & Terminal, LTN, Monoverse, Alex Ender, Sean Tyas, M.I.K.E Push, Alexander Bergheau, Alan Morris, A&Z, Bjorn Akesson. To name but a few!

Q. What do you make of the current music scene in Egypt at the moment?

It is very good; over the last five years we have hosted our own FSOE events there. We hosted FSOE 400 at the Great Pyramids of Giza and also FSOE 450 at the Karnak Temple in Luxor. This created a lot of awareness for our genre and brands. Also our weekly radio show [of the same name] is on [Egypt’s] Nile FM. We also push Egyptian artists on our record label, so the awareness is certainly growing.

Q. What’s the best thing about the global music industry in 2016?

The togetherness of trance families worldwide.

Q. And what’s the worst thing?

Many hours in the sky flying from country to country.

Q. Many would say that not a lot of Arabs artists have been able to gain the kind of worldwide acclaim that you have. What do you think has been the key to your success?

It’s a difficult one to answer. We have had a lot of great support over the years from artists and our teams around us. We always believe in what we do, and work harder than ever every year.


Q. If you could share a festival line-up with any artist – alive or no longer here – who would you choose?

Wow. Hmm… James Brown, Hans Zimmer, Sasha and Depeche Mode would be a cool mix.

Q. What are your plans for the rest of the year and into 2017?

We are currently working on our next artist album, due for release in 2017. We are also working on our FSOE world tour, which begins June 2017. Then there’s the record label and releases and touring worldwide.

Q. Two major album releases are happening/have happened in recent weeks, so picture this scenario: You get locked in a room and have to listen to one of these records – in its entirety – before being able to leave. Which album would you choose: Metallica’s ‘Hardwired... to Self-Destruct’ or Lady Gaga’s ‘Joanne’?

Metallica. Not what we would normally listen to, but they are legends!