DJ Saif and Sound brings back the 80s and 90s to Abu Dhabi!

Published July 28th, 2015 - 04:00 GMT

Since 2005 DJ Saif and Sound has been a feature of the UAE's clubbing and FM scene. At the age of 18, after securing a gig on the radio, he became the youngest presenter on the country's airwaves.

In 2013 and 2014, Saif opened for the likes of Ludacris, Rita Ora, Jason Derulo and many more. He also played at Beats on the Beach, which took place at the Abu Dhabi Corniche, performing to a crowd of over 30,000 people.

Nightclub People by Crystal Abu Dhabi hosts a weekly retro night on Friday called "Revival," featuring the best hits of the 80s and 90s, where Saif plays.

Here we speak to him to find out more.

What does your usual UAE set consist of? Is it different to any other countries you've played in?

My UAE set differs from one club to another and my sets also differ country to country. As a DJ I read the crowd that I am playing for and observe the type of music they are most enjoying. When I first start my set, I usually play a song from every genre and see which one the crowd enjoys the most and continue my set based on that aspect.

What is the UAE's reputation for clubbing like in the DJ community?

The clubbing scene has risen drastically in the last few years. The nightlife and even the music scene itself has evolved and opened the gates for a lot of different genre DJs. I get a lot of requests on social media from artists in different parts of the world to come and perform in the UAE.

Where is the best place to DJ and why?

People by Crystal Abu Dhabi is actually my favourite club to play at in Abu Dhabi because it combines all the aspects of clubbing in terms of lights, sound system and crowd - the entire set up is amazing. I look forward to DJing at my Friday night residency - "Revival." It's so much fun for everyone.

How did you decide on the name DJ Saif and Sound?

'Saif and Sound' was derived from when I first started my radio show. My manager and I were coming up with names for the show and he jokingly suggested 'Safe and Sound', the saying. I thought it was a cool pun because my name is Saif. It is a great name for a radio show because I want to make sure people are home safe and sound being entertained.

What is the secret behind creating a hit? Is there any formula to the success of tunes? Did you ever create anything that you thought was definitely going to make it and it just didn't work?

The formula is basically having a catchy beat and hook. Nowadays most of the big songs consist of catchy beats, which is why producers have recently started becoming more famous than the artists themselves.

A good rap verse is also a good ingredient that goes into creating a hip-hop hit. Having said that, I am on the radio everyday and I know what songs people like and request all the time. This indicates what the crowd is into and what their most common vibe is. I have previously produced two songs with a couple of producers and believe that we made hits. However, we have not been able to release them as we are waiting for the right moment and right record label to sign those songs.

What advice do you have for aspiring DJs?

Not anyone can become a DJ. It is more about awareness of music. I have been through a lot of situations where I have met a lot of aspiring DJs - most of them who like to show off and not do it for the love of music. DJs need consistent practice. I remember as a teenager, I used to come home from school and instead of taking a nap; I would practice DJing for two to three hours.

Who do you admire in the industry?

DJ-wise, I admire DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Premiere. I used to watch videos of them scratching and juggling tracks and I would copy their styles and techniques. Artist-wise, I admire Ryan Leslie who is not very famous, however I related to him as I watch his studio sessions as a producer. He definitely deserves the fame.

Would you like to collaborate with any artists in particular?

If I ever want to produce a song for an artist, no doubt it would be Kendrick Lamar.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

I am going to be travelling a lot this year. I am doing a lot of international events and gigs. Currently and in the future I am introducing a lot of new events to Abu Dhabi.

Last season I started a DJ Booking agency called "The Project" and I am expanding on that.

Any DJ who is interested in joining can contact bookings@saifandsound.com.


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