We speak to the James Aramouni who started off in social media in Lebanon and found his way to hosting Drive Time in Dubai.
James Aramouni is the bright encouraging, west-coast US accented sunshine voice of cheerfulness on his new show on drive time on Dubai’s Dance 97.8 FM.
The station which opened a year and a month’s change continues picking up momentum in filling a gap desperately needed to represent the sound of all variations of electronic dance music, with an increasing reach in community involvement.
James can be heard interviewing a local promoter, giving them a platform to share a deeper angle with a ‘face to the name’ behind an event, to playing commercial house or EDM tracks.
How are you finding it doing your show, you started on in December?
I did, shortly before the new year. It’s been great. I’m big on music and radio. Not to mention the vibe at Dance FM and in the UAE in general is indisputable.
What are some of your key highlights or memories made so far over the last three months on the station?
The sense of community around the Dance Music scene in the UAE is fascinating. Every time people come together for that one cause it’s magic. You see it with most genres but with Dance Music there’s that added…zest for life. You’ve got 10, 100, or 1,000 people and everyone’s got some stuff going on but when you get on the dancefloor, it’s all forgotten. It’s like you turn one part of your brain off and another comes alive. Coming in close second has been hosting guests at Dance FM along the likes of Sam Feldt, Magda, Camelphat; all spectacular human beings.
Your last shows were on a breakfast slot in Lebanon, how does the two gigs compare? Do you prefer breakfast or drive time?
They differ in content of course, the old gig had completely different gears in motion. The best thing about Drive Time is you’ve had a long day, you’re just trying to get home, and this dude on your radio knows that. So he’s not going to talk your ear off. He’s human too, and he knows music is the cure as much as you do. Finally, no cap, I’m really happy I don’t have to hit the hay early or wake up before the rooster crows anymore!
How did you get your first shots in radio? How did you make it happen?
I had moved to Beirut and was sitting in a coffee shop applying for bank jobs (my degree is in Business Management Economics, ironic). While going through the grunt work, I had a particular station on and I zoned out, had flashbacks of driving to school as a kid and listening to breakfast shows every day. Then I thought, “Why not?”, so I closed all tabs and applied to every radio station in Lebanon almost. Got a call about 30 minutes later for a social media internship at one of them and they saw my passion for it. Definitely a “meant to be” moment. From there I built my craft.
What’s your opinion about the dance music scene and events in Dubai compared to Beirut, or the Middle East in general?
I touched on this a bit already, but in comparison to Beirut I’d say it has less of an underground feel to it here in the UAE. Not that it is “mainstream”, but it feels more integrated into everyday society here. I think it’s also safe to say the range of DJs/producers that are coming to Dubai and the UAE outnumber the rest of the Middle East at least tenfold.
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Who are some of your latest discoveries in terms of Dubai music producers?
Okay there’s a lot, but off the top I’ve been impressed by Hollaphonic and they’re really cool guys. Michka and MOII are super talented. A few of the people I’ve been blessed to meet who are quite gifted: Joe Mango, Jake Gray, Jean B, and Adam Graca.
Who are some of your fave international dance acts?
I’m in love with anything Calvin Harris or Deadmau5. They make gold. Martin Garrix is another favourite. A lot of respect also for Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Major Lazer and Kygo.
Any favourite gigs or festivals you attended lately that really stood out and why?
Rudimental so far, there’s just an energy there that’s incomparable. Looking forward to a few in the coming days & weeks though but I’ll keep you guessing.
Any advice for anyone wishing to get into the music industry in general?
With any industry I firmly hold the opinion that it’s not for everyone.
That being said, if you have the passion for it and you think you’re capable, go for it.
James is on Dance 97.8 FM UAE weekdays Sunday – Thursday 4 PM – 8 PM