It's got to be URBN: 5 minutes with MAD's residents Dany Neville & Devon Kosoko
Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Abu Dhabi nightlife crowd like their urban music and MAD on Yas Island has two of the best urban DJs in the region performing every week. The opulent nightclub features 360-degree projection mapping, huge animated LED screens and an amazing sound system.

We sat down with resident DJs Dany Neville & Devon Kosoko to find out what makes them tick and to find out more about their 'URBN' Friday's. 

Guys, great to meet you both. MAD on Yas Island has brought the 'URBN' night from White Dubai to Abu Dhabi every Friday. Tell us how that came about?

Dany

I think it was a combination of us as a team realising the support we get from people driving down from the capital to URBN Saturdays at White and the power of the brand from a lifestyle stance. That made us want to take to the capital and include it in our movement, as well as the region and eventually the world. 

Devon

Most nights at URBN have over 2000 people, some of which make the drive from the capital to experience the event. We thought it would be a great idea to bring the mountain to Yas Island, so that others can enjoy the URBN experience. 

What's it like to be involved with such a big headlining project here in Abu Dhabi?

Dany

It is always rewarding when we as local DJs are put on a platform to showcase our talents and represent the URBN brand in the presence of world renowned artists such as Jason Derulo, T Pain and many more, they in return spread the word of our capabilities as a team.

Devon

As an international Import, every gig I perform at in the UAE is a blessing, especially when they are this big. To add to the mix world renowned artist such as Ty Dolla $ign, EVE, Neyo (to mention a few) makes the experience that much rewarding.

Past and present, there are so many people that can be described as influential, where do your biggest musical influences lie?

Dany

Personally my influences come from day to day life, not necessarily musicians or artists, I might come across a random situation that reminds me of a certain song. Based on something as simple as that I get influenced building a set. 

Devon

My biggest musical influences are my mother and father. Both being musicians, from young I was tortured with a buffet of music, ranging anything in-between 'Phantom of the Opera' 'The Bird, Charles "Charlie" Parker' 'Dream theatre' 'Buju Banton' to 'Patsy Cline'. Now being older I can appreciate my musical upbringing and single this out to be a defining factor of my eclectic taste. 

Many DJs claim to play 'urban' music, but given the roots and history of the genre, what elements of urban music do you pull on in your live sets? 

Dany

Music has become a massive melting pot of mashed up genres and sounds borrowed from all over. To me it is about the DJs personal lifestyle that translates into the sound.

Devon

URBN is abbreviated from theradio format'urban contemporary.' My track-list could include hip hop, R&B, grime, electronic music such as dubstep, UK garage and drum and bass (often with hip hop vocalists or rappers), and Caribbean music such as reggae, dancehall, reggae-ton, soca etc. Like DJs of the 80's, any other genre can be spliced into my set to add flavour. 

Do you have one track that's your 'go-to' for getting the crowd moving?

Dany

Right now it is Post Malone "White Iverson". Give us a week and that might change about 4 times, that is a testament to how powerful and influential the movement is.

Devon

Rick Astley hit 'Never going to give you up' always gets a reaction on the dance floor.

How do you keep your DJ set interesting for night to night? 

Dany

I think a DJ consistently putting emotion behind a set never fails to interest. It is never what you play, it is always how you play it that tells the story for the night.

Devon

I'm looking to party just as much as the crowd. I search for new music every day, when I hear something fresh with the right energy I'm like a toddler with a Mars bar. My set is kept interesting because every night I'm looking to recreate the excitement I felt when hearing the music for the first time.

You are both accomplished producers in your own rights. Where do you feel most at home, behind the mixing desk, or the decks?

Dany

Second nature to me is playing the music out from an educational perspective, being able to create music came to me as a student of the game. That being said, my comfort zone will forever be behind the decks. 

Devon

I stared DJing as a turntablist, the technical aspect of DJing is dead, so most of the joy I get from DJing is not relevant. In production every hour you put in is valuable. If a producer is better looking or has more followers on Instagram it won't get him/her a better track. I feel like out of the two disciplines this is my future. 

Dany you've recently joined Virgin Radio, following many successful years pioneering urban music in the UAE. What's the new show about?

Dany 

16 years later I felt like I had another story to tell, the story of a lebanese kid born and raised in the UAE that fell in love with Music, point blank, no boundaries or conditions on what to play. Joining the Virgin Team gave me that freedom of expression and representation of my lifestyle, being URBN. 

Devon, you've had success in the UK charts and iTunes Hip Hop chart, are there any new releases we can look forward to?

Devon

I'm submitting to a lot of major artists and have a few placements in the pipeline, 'Inshallah' you will be hearing my productions on radio soon.

Thanks guys, finally before we leave you guys back to the music, tell us, what is the best thing about performing at MAD on Yas Island?

Dany

Like anything the Add-Mind team touches, it's about the packaged experience, from the second you step into a venue, attention to detail is always key, from visuals to lights down to myself and Devon complementing the surroundings musically. 

Devon

The best thing about preforming at MAD on Yas Island is the Abu Dhabi/Yas island crowd. The rambunctious, turbulent, loud, raucous club-goers Make it a joy for me to spin. 

MAD on Yas Islandis a state of the art space brought to life by the ADD-MIND GROUP, the creative team behind successful WHITE DUBAIand IRISbrands. For more information, visit www.madyasisland.com 

Open on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from 11pm-3:30am

For reservations: +971 55 834 6262 | reservations@madonyasisland.com

Facebook: MAD on Yas Island
Instagram: MAD on Yas Island
Snapchat: Madyasisland 

See more at MAD on Yas Island

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