We’ve got something fresh coming up from Dubai-based The 264 Cru. They recently formed their own label 264 Records and focus on releasing regional and international talent. Following from the label’s debut release of Tunisian producer AELI’s Late Future Calls LP, the second release is a diversions 01 from Red Bull Music Academy affiliate CEE.
The EP was recorded at the Dusun and is an ethereal fusion of CEE’s organic jungle surroundings enveloped in warm, brooding bass tones. Borrowing influences from around the world and subtly marrying them with his own, CEE has crafted something of a bridge between cultures, East and West, electronic and acoustic. You can order the EP on their bandcamp page: https://cee77.bandcamp.com/album/diversions-01
Our man Lukasz caught up with the 264 Cru and tried to find out more…
What is the 264 collective and why should we care?
Danilo: I’d say The 264 Cru is a collective of like-minded people who find themselves living in Dubai and wanting to contribute to its cultural growth as well as that of the region as a whole and naturally spanning over into Asia as well. We want to give the sounds and music we love a home in our adopted home but it was never only about the parties, we want to push people, including ourselves, to create, collaborate, and build something special. 264 Records is a natural extension of what we set out to do and we’re happy to be sharing some awesome music with the world.
How would you guys describe the scene out in the Middle East and across Asia? What type of obstacles are you guys overcoming to make it flourish?
Mo: I think some of the key struggles in our region would have to be lack of independent radio or even half decent programming, dedicated music venues for concerts, as well as licensing and permissions. All the official paperwork that goes into each event is very time consuming; from printing the tickets and getting the tax paid off, to applying for a one-time $600 performance permit for each artist we host. Also the mainstream media are very dominant and it’s hard to get a word in edgewise.
Danilo: It’s true there’s a lot of red tape that is challenging but regardless of that the scene is considerably vibrant when it comes to nightlife, it’s not all stuff that I want to go to but over the past 5 or 6 years we’ve had ridiculous names come through Dubai that I don’t think people would have ever imagined. With the amount of nights and parties going on an outsider would think it’s actually quite easy to run a successful party.
Who are some of the key players? Who should we be watching out for? (artists, labels, podcasts, festivals)
Mo: Check out, Satwa 3000, Sole DXB, Fibre to start with.
Danilo: Since I’ve lived here 17 years there are too many to name, I always like to credit guys from the early days but if you’re asking about current picks, my boys from DUST and Jembe Music as well as Analog Room are key influences and motivators for doing what we’re doing. It’s not about bringing DJ So and So or being the first to do X,Y, & Z but doing it in a way that makes people understand it, connect with it, and ultimately to be involved in it themselves.
I had a conversation with Maral Salmassi aka Kali about how in the 60s, there was a musical dialogue going on across the Middle East, all the way through India and S/E Asia, that got interrupted by the rise of fundamentalism in the area – you guys are kind of bring that back, right?
Danilo: Mo has been developing his connections across the region for a long time and the rest of the Cru also has its outreach, I’m not so sure we’re bringing back the musical dialogue so much as we’re just getting involved in the conversation and that naturally forms a link with those who are around and can hear it and want to listen. If that makes any sense?
You can order the EP on their bandcamp page: https://cee77.bandcamp.com/album/diversions-01