It all started in 1999 when Dionysos discovered Trance music for the very first time. Evolving from an avid listener to an obsessive record collector to a skilled DJ to a promising producer, Dionysos progressed in his musical career with a fast pace while developing his reputation locally as the one reference for Progressive Trance.
Dionysos has devastated clubs and venues all over Beirut city- the clubbing capital of the Middle East – and all across the nation. His acquired taste in electronic music and skillful DJing techniques earned him big room event spots side to side with the likes of Marco V, Deep Dish, Dubfire, Sharam, Fred Baker, and Greg Nash to name but a few, in addition to countless guest appearances on top radio shows all over the globe.
Today, Dionysos is based in Dubai and still active in the Lebanese scene. “NRJ Mastermix with Dionysos” is his weekly show on Europe’s and Lebanon’s leading radio station (Friday at 1AM Beirut time). Dionysos’ current sound can best be described as “genderless”, architecting a cross-genre fusion of contrasting yet complementary sounds into a careful blend of electric electronica.
The future appears to be very bright for Dionysos, with many forthcoming event spots lined up all throughout 2009 and his very first single scheduled to be released on a major record label soon.
- When did you start DJing?
I started DJing in 1999, shortly after discovering electronic dance music via the dominant sound of that time – Trance. I immediately fell in love with the sound and knew that I won’t be fully satisfied if I only listened to it; I needed to do something with it. I was driven by an urge to spread this music in Lebanon during a time when it was unknown to the vast majority of Lebanese. When all these factors came together, DJing was the natural next step for me. I started out with amateur DJ software to then evolve to learning the real craft of DJing on actual decks. I also grew from throwing small house parties for my friends to getting more and more exposure in clubs and other venues. Next thing you know I’m playing for crowds of thousands alongside such DJ superstars as Marco V, Dubfire, Sharam, Fred Baker, etc… Somewhere along the line in 2008 I joined the nation’s leading radio station NRJ Lebanon where I host a weekly radio show “NRJ Mastermix with Dio” Fridays at 11. In early 2008 I got into music production and have already signed one release to a major record label: “C-rouge & Raneem + Dionysos – Table For Three”, including a remix of my own. Other original productions of mine are in the funnel and will be released shortly. I spent most of 2008 in Dubai for career purposes but have now relocated back to Beirut and I’m very much looking forward to resuming my DJing activities. Next up, I’m closing for Trance legends Cosmic Gate & John ’00’ Fleming on March 13, brought to us by Poliakov Vodka in partnership with NRJ. Lots of other plans are also in place for 2010 so watch this space!
- What are you inspirations?
I draw inspiration from a multitude of sources, there’s so much energy out there to get inspired from. In terms of musicians, my strongest inspiration is undoubtedly Jean Michel Jarre – the godfather of electronic music. I’ve been an avid fan of Jarre’s genius ever since I was a child, and I continued to get inspired by his masterpieces today, decades after the orchestrated them. I even remixed my favorite Jarre piece “Rendez-Vous” and called it “Rendez-Vous A Beyrouth”. I also get very much inspired by the innumerable contemporary electronic music producers who keep innovating fresh sounds that set trends. But perhaps what inspires me most are the crowds I play my music to, be it an intimate crowd at a club or a massive crowd at a rave, each type of crowd sends a different shiver down my spine and sends me home with a stronger drive to do more music.
- Define your genre of music.
The people who know me well enough often use this question to tease me! The reason is I do not restrict myself to a particular well-defined genre. In the 1999-2007 era I was certainly a full-on Trance DJ and I take pride in my musical roots, but early 2008 onwards my taste began gradually shifting away from Trance and into other realms of electronic music. My appreciation for electronic music matured into more of an eclectic approach, carefully blending several genres and creating a fusion of different sounds. This is certainly more challenging to achieve compared with restricting oneself to a specific genre, but this is precisely the sort of message I send through my music: open your mind, break down the barriers between genres, and innovate. No advancement is music, any music, was ever achieved with musicians restricting themselves to genres and boundaries.
- What was your best event and why?
Hard to choose as I was lucky to take part of many outstanding events, in both small and large venues. To date, I would say my favorite event was closing for Dubfire in October 2008, as there was an emotional factor attached to it since it was my last performance before leaving Lebanon, and all my friends and fans had intentionally stayed up late till the end of the event waiting to hear me out. But I equally enjoy smaller events in clubs where I can connect to the crowd more intimately; in this angle I would say my gigs at The Basement stand out, it’s definitely my favorite venue in town. But I have a feeling that the forthcoming event with Cosmic Gate and John ’00’ Fleming will top my list!
- What’s your 5 year plan?
Keep spreading my music locally, regionally, and globally, not only through DJing but also through production.
- What other activities do you do on the side? Job, family?
Music is my passion, a hobby I take very seriously and work very hard on, but I am also a management consultant with a leading global firm, constantly traveling across the Middle East to help organizations work. Away from my music and my career, I spend the little free time I have left with the people I care about… but if you go and ask them they’ll tell you I’m always ditching their plans to lock myself up in my studio!
- Describe Lebanon in one sentence.
To use the lyrics from the beautiful Above & Beyond song: a place called home…
- Describe the World in one sentence.
I will quote Ferry Corsten on this one: LOUD, ELECTRONIC, FEROCIOUS!