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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Abu Dhabi GP: Claptone and Hot Since 82 bring quality house music to Yas Island

The German and UK DJs and producers represent the best of their genre

DJ Claptone's trademark Venetian face mask. Getty Images for Coachella
DJ Claptone's trademark Venetian face mask. Getty Images for Coachella

When it comes to house music performed during the Abu Dhabi F1 weekend, it is a case of quality more than quantity.

The Yas Marina nightspot Iris will be the only place on the island dedicated to the genre and they have picked some of the cream of the crop for the occasion. Performing on the race day night on Sunday is the enigmatic German DJ Claptone, while Thursday will host the British spinner Hot Since 82 on the decks.

While both artists are established performers, each represents various aspects of the genre’s excellence.

When it comes to Claptone, the Berlin-based DJ’s magic can be found in the studio. The 2015 debut album Charmer is a brilliant and evocative selection showcasing house music's ability to accommodate elements of rock and soul into the mix. There is none of the genre's dizzying bass drops and synth peaks, instead there is a welcome intricacy and tastefulness to the affair that is akin to the likes of French house music masters Daft Punk.

Claptone, who performs with a signature gilded Venetian face mask, says his painstaking approach comes from his respect to the album format - an attribute missing in today’s crop of dance music artists.

“That was the goal - to create an album that is both interesting to dance to in the club as well as listen to at home,” he says. “Most dance producers today have albums that are quietly boring because they are essentially compilations of their club-oriented work. If you are going to make an album you need to think about people who will also listen to it at home or in the car. That’s what an album is for me – which is a body of work that you can listen to in one go.”

With Claptone polling at no. 69 in the influential DJ Mag Top 100, the highest position of any house music artist, industry insiders say that Claptone is on the verge of joining the Australian DJ and producer Flume in crossing over to the pop world.

“I am not concerned about that,” he says. “The way that I look at it, if I do cross over then I will come with the idea of making mainstream music better."

Meanwhile, Hot Since 82 – real name Daley Padley - has established himself in the industry with his live shows that include an annual music residency in the party capital Ibiza, in addition to hosting sold-out large scale warehouse dance parties in the UK.

As the head of his own record label Knee Deep in Sound, he states technology has allowed house music to flourish, yet at a price.

“It has become so accessible because you can now make house music all in the box, and by that I mean you don’t need a 58,000 lb mixing desk. You can instead do it all on a small affordable computer, but as a result the music has been diluted,” he says. “So, as an artist and someone who has a label, I really have to work hard to find music that is quality because at the moment it all sounds same-same.”

A lifelong F1 fan, Padley’s disappointment at flying back to the UK immediately after his Thursday performance is tempered by the fact he is heading to a sold-out show in Manchester.

“I come from a family of car racing fans and it is something that I always enjoyed,” he says. “While I am sad to leave quickly I am pleased to be part of it, even if it’s for a night.”

Hot Since 82 and Claptone will perform at Iris Yas Island, on Thursday and Sunday respectively. For reservations at Iris Yas Island, call 055 160 5636.

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