Time Out chats to Nikki Beatnik about her night in Bahrain
Time Out Bahrain staff
Where are you at the moment, and what are you doing? I’m sitting in France in the sun with a Diet Coke – back to London tomorrow, so probably won’t have sun for long. But then I’m coming to Bahrain to spin at the next Bougi party. My friends there have told me it’s super-hot, but I am looking forward to that. I love, love, love the heat.
Tell us about Bougi – how did you get involved? A great friend of mine from London, Rozan Ahmed, now lives in Bahrain and runs Bougi there along with Ruth Dancer. We originally met on the London social circuit and soon became good friends. When she and Ruth asked me to spin for their parties, I was excited because they gave me carte blanche musically.
So how does it sound? You can expect to hear anything from ’80s to house, disco to electro, mixed with hip hop beats, rock and soul. I like to throw in the unexpected and gauge the crowd, so that no two sets are the same. I also play a lot of my own Beatnik mixes, as myself and my co-producer, Statis, are remixing a lot of records right now, so I play all of those too.
Do you have plans for your set in August? Honestly, I never ever plan a DJ set. I don’t even know what record I’m going to start with five minutes before my set begins. I hate to plan and I think you can tell if someone has, as they don’t watch for crowd reaction. No two crowds are ever the same, so I usually bring too many records – then I can pull out the old, new and the weird and wonderful as I go along.
Will you get the chance to look around Bahrain when you’re over? Oh, I love to look around anywhere that I go. I am a complete tourist, and I take pictures of everything from local food to buildings, people and fashions. Team Bougi have taken me all over the island. They have promised to take me to see the famous horses next time, as I love animals.
Have you checked out the rest of Bahrain’s nightlife scene? I must admit, I’ve only been to the Bougi parties, as I like to be fresh for my gigs, so I had early nights on my last couple of visits. I hope to sample some more if I get to stay longer than two days.
We saw a photo of you at one gig here with some very posh looking headphones… My headphones were hand-made for me by Michelle Roberts, who owns Jake & Gigi. She’s based in Dubai and makes fantastic jewellery and customises bags, phones and other fabulous pieces with crystals and other quirky accessories. They have caused quite a stir literally everywhere I have DJ’d.
When you’re not in Bahrain, where else have you been playing? I just did an amazing fashion show and event in Istanbul for a top Turkish designer, which was quite fabulous. A lot of people attended, and it was held in an outdoor venue, which had a huge DJ booth and a military tank at one end – that was fun! I am also spinning at my own party that I do in London called Fashbashsoundclash. It’s my brainchild with a friend, fashion designer Wale Adeyemi, who has designed clothes for David Beckham among others. We have a style blog and party under the Fashbash mantle in London, which we’re hoping to bring to Bougi at some point.
Have you been producing and remixing lately, too? Oh yes, that is my love and passion, and where my heart is. My brother, Statis, who is an artist/producer, and I have a band together. We make electronic music, which is a mix of hip hop, breakbeat and electronica. We have also been working on many remixes for artists in the UK. I want to remix and produce for some Arabic artists next.
What’s the best gig you’ve done? I don’t have a best gig as such, I have kind of exceeded my own expectations. Some of the ones that stand out are working with Jay-Z for his Rockawear party in London, Fashion Rocks, DJing for Kelis at the Royal Albert Hall the first time she performed Milkshake and also playing in Omar Sharif’s back garden in Lanzarote, which happened to be a cave. I loved working for Ronnie Wood from The Rolling Stones, he is lovely, Lindsay Lohan seemed like a sweet girl, too. I have spun for Alicia Keys a few times, who was also very nice – Ludacris, Puffy, Robert Cavalli… I am forgetting what gigs I have done now, which always happens when people ask me.
Favourite club in the world? The club that holds the most memories is where I made my name as a DJ – 57 Jermyn Street in London. We started a night there, which initially acted as a social platform for our personal friends to hang out on a Tuesday and listen to quality music. It then grew, with people like Madonna, NERD and Leonardo DiCaprio turning up.
What funny things have you seen while you were DJ’ing? Oh my gosh, so many, but I wouldn’t want to get sued!
What music do you listen to? It varies. One day I’ll listen to ‘80s music – electronic stuff like Herbie Hancock and lots of ’80s pop – then ’90s house like Guy Called Gerald, Inner City or Derrick May, then the next day it’ll be soul music like Aretha or Stevie Wonder. Hip hop is in my blood and I will always listen to it. And the artist I never get tired of is Prince – I can listen to his songs all day, every day.
What’s the best thing about DJing Bahrain? I love Bougi, as it’s run by my girls and they are doing something really special in the GCC. The best things about Bougi and Bahrain are the people, the fun attitude, the vibe of the party… the venues chosen always look amazing, too. And Bahrain – I have literally fallen in love with Bahrain.