Soundbites: Lee Burridge spins in Abu Dhabi.
On March 6, he hits Iris Yas Island's Iris Sundown in the capital city. Ahead of his set, the English DJ told tabloid! all about the spark that started his career, and what it was like being plucked out of the UK and thrown into Hong Kong's budding club scene at the prime of his youth.
Do you still remember the moment you decided, aACAyI want to do this for the rest of my life'?
I was always interested in music from my earliest memories. A cassette player and tapes led to hearing the '80s on the radio. And my dad's jukebox in the pub we lived in -- which I then purchased as 7" records. I loved Madness, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Level 42, and The Cure. I was also into break-dancing, so had some early '80s electro compilations. This I guess led me to EDM when I first heard it at a rave in a field in 1987. A stranger in a nightclub I was working in told me all about it, so I found one. It was love at first sight.
Was it daunting to perform your first set at just 16?
It was more challenging than daunting. I focused on having fun and spinning my sets to the crowd.
You spent a good chunk of your twenties DJing in Hong Kong. What's your fondest memory of that time? What's a valuable lesson it taught you?
I was talent-spotted in a club in the middle of nowhere in the countryside in the UK and offered a job DJing in Hong Kong -- blind luck that changed my life forever. It was the first time I was a full-time DJ and the first time I lived away from my parents. I learned to mix the way I do today, as I was playing seven nights a week. My time there was responsible for instilling the nomadic feeling I still have today and it taught me a lot about people. I was very lucky to be in Hong Kong in the '90s, because nobody else was playing dance music.
What were some of the rookie mistakes you made when starting out?
Not being myself behind the turntables. Play and create from your heart. Don't try to be or sound like someone else. It's a highly competitive environment, but be you.
How, would you say, has your style evolved over the past 30 years?
My DJ craft has not really evolved but has been maintained. I have learned that the format, tools and DJ software have obviously evolved over the past years but they aren't what make a great DJ. You need to know how to programme music into a set to be a really great DJ, in my humble opinion. How to create a flow and a story. I'd say that DJs playing aACAysafe' music that aACAyworks' and that everyone else is playing is doing more damage. Be brave DJs and play from the heart, not from the wallet.
What's your biggest pet peeve as a DJ?
When I am asked the question: Deep House, Electrohouse or Tech house? My answer is always Deeplectechtrohouse. Variety is the only way forward.
What are your three favourite tracks on your set right now?
Wongel, Lost & Found and Treat aACAyem Mean, Keep aACAyem Keen.
Lee Burridge plays Iris Sundown. Event runs from 6pm until late. For reservations, contact 055-1605636.
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