Interview: NSI Talks About Dubai’s DJ Circuit And Life As A Resident DJ

From sunsets to after-parties and warming up the dance floor for headliner acts, there’s no stopping for NSI, resident DJ at The Penthouse. DubaiLAD had the opportunity to talk with the Greek DJ about the local DJ circuit, day in the life of a resident DJ, beginnings from Mykonos’ party scene and the challenges of being a resident DJ.

Hello NSI! Tell us about your style of music

I started DJing professionally when I was 19-years old and over the last 16-years, my music has definitely evolved. Today, I play all types of house music from electronic to deep and tech. Essentially, I love house music! In addition to my residency at The Penthouse, I also have a show on Best Radio (92.6 Athens). I used to dream about playing on this radio station when I was a kid and two years ago, they asked me. My show airs from 2-4pm every Saturday and Sunday. The timing means I play a very different type of music – think nu jazz, nu disco, electronica and downtempo. I love the challenge of finding new tracks for this show.

What’s your day-to-day work life like as a resident DJ?

I play five nights a week at The Penthouse and every day is completely different. During the week, I play the earlier evening sets and on Thursdays and Fridays I warm up for our main act and play the after parties until 5 am. On Fridays, it’s up early (well early for me!) for the sunset session at 5 pm. After that, I go home or see one of my friend’s DJ, and then head back for the afterparty at 3 am. Weekends are definitely the busiest days of my week so Sundays and Mondays are usually about catching up on some much-needed sleep.

I really enjoy the afterparty sets. In the last six months, I’ve started to build up a regular group of party goers on a Thursday and Friday. It’s great to see the same familiar faces, who enjoy my music and see the views across the Marina. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better office!

Tell us about your time DJing in Mykonos?

I’m Greek so to be able to play in my home country to such an international audience is the dream. I’ve played the last three years in Mykonos during the summer and I love the energy of the place. There is no party island quite like it.

How did the move from Mykonos to Dubai happen?

It happened purely by chance. I played a couple of Skyline Thursdays at The Penthouse as their guest DJ, and one day they asked me to come back as their resident. I love the venue and Dubai is an amazing city so I didn’t even think twice about the move, I just got straight on the plane.

What’s your take on Dubai’s DJ circuit?

I think Dubai is very similar to Mykonos in terms of the energy you get from the music. As well as attracting big names from around the world, there are also some great local DJs and amazing venues. I think the competition is high but generally speaking, I think that’s a good thing. It keeps you at the top of your game and means you are always being challenged, which is never a bad thing.

You played alongside some of the biggest names from the circuit, like Disciples and Claptone. Do you recall any fond memories?

I’ve been really fortunate to play alongside some very big names in the industry. One of my favourite parties so far has been with Tube & Berger and Offaia. A couple of weeks ago when I was warming up for De La Swing, I turned around in the DJ booth and saw Nic Fanciulli behind me. I didn’t even know he was going to be there but it was great to see him enjoying my set.

What are the challenges you face while playing opening and closing sets?

I often play the warm-up set for the guest DJs at Skyline Thursdays, which is really important as it sets the tone for the main act and gets the audience ready. Finding the right balance between encouraging people to get on the dancefloor and then handing the decks to the next DJ can be challenging. As for the afterparty, I think the most difficult part about that is ensuring you maintain the guest DJ’s audience long into the night, even if they have left for the next gig. I love the afterparty sets at The Penthouse. I always want to keep the party going.

According to you, which DJs do you find on top of their game?

There are lots of DJs I admire but I’m a big fan of Solomun and Black Coffee. In Greece, we have a saying that roughly translates to “a good host doesn’t wear blinkers”, and I think that’s the same for Black Coffee and Solomun. Although their style of music is quite different, they aren’t blinkered in their approach to music; they have an open-minded attitude and they give their soul to the crowd. I love that idea.

Lastly, what’s the road ahead for NSI?

I’ve just started producing and recently finished my first track. It’s the perfect sunset track for The Penthouse. I played it for the first time last week and had some great feedback from the crowd so I am excited to see where I can go with this in the future.