DJ MoCity, a celebrated DJ, promoter, and co-founder of Boxout.fm, South Asia's inaugural online community radio, hails from Baghdad and New Delhi. During his youth in New Delhi, where he was an avid hip-hop enthusiast, MoCity has evolved into a seasoned and highly regarded tastemaker in the music scene. He has played a pivotal role in fostering creative communities throughout Asia and the Middle East, contributing significantly to pioneering groups like the Reggae Rajahs (India), the 264 Cru (Dubai), and his acclaimed podcast, Motellacast. MoCity's dedication and philosophy are evident in the impact of his work, showcasing his commitment to the development of diverse musical landscapes. As a global citizen, he leverages his multicultural background to unite audiences and communities across various regions. We talk to MoCity about his first interaction with the nightlife business, his secrets to putting together successful events, the creative scene in Dubai and more.
What Was Your Earliest Interaction with Music That You Remember?
My earliest interaction with music, I would say, is attending a live concert of Amr Diab in Jordan sometime in the mid 90's.
Who Inspires You the Most?
I'd say my situation being from Iraq, being passionate about music. I think I inspire myself more than people inspire me. Might sound selfish, but I definitely inspire myself more than other people do. I look up to other people, but I don't know if they inspire me.
What Were First Interactions with Nightlife and When did You Know that you Wanted to have a career In It?
First interaction with nightlife was in New Delhi, India, around 2002, following my elder brother to the pool place where people played billiards. And then after that, sneaking into the clubs. I had a small situation where I lost a bet to someone, and they took away my mobile. Only way to get my mobile back was to somehow arrange some money so I went to the club owner, the place we used to go to, and I asked him to lend me some cash to pay the people to get my mobile back. He's like, "yeah, you don't have to pay me back the cash, just come to the party the next two weeks with 10-15 people each". That was my first feeling towards, "oh, these people are paying me to be at the party. That's interesting." But yeah, that was really early on, I was around 15.
How Has the Creative Scene Evolved from The First Time You Landed in Dubai Until Now?
Dubai is evolving every day. Every time I go back, things change. Every time I stay there, I see improvements. I would say the 264 left a really big gap once we stopped operating in terms of the culture and underground space. After that, it took a while for younger people to come up and do their thing. Big shoes to fill, but it definitely operates differently now. Dubai is considered underground and cool because of how loud Saudi has become. So, It's interesting.
Which Set/Event of yours is your Favorite so far, and why?
Favorite set is hard to say, but I think the parties that I organized in Delhi, have always been memorable. A couple of parties last year at Monkey Bar in Dubai have been extremely memorable too.
What's The Story Behind the 264 Crew Coming Together, and what Impact did your Label Collective have on Dubai?
The impact is it changed the entire scene. For Dubai, we operated on a different level when it came to underground culture, community building, arts, music and different mediums. The 264 crew was the first of its kind. It was the evolution of things that had come before us, but we really kind of took it to the next level in trying to push the boundaries of electronic music and underground culture. 264 is a random number with a tap number for a night out at a bar with the crew. We were nine people, but the core crew is now five people. 264 crew, special place, special people.
You’ve had huge success in Delhi’s nightlife/event scene, from events such as Delitronica to festivals such as Sunburn, which attracted over 50,000 attendees. What are some key factors you’ve learned about putting together a successful event as a promoter and organizer?
Key factor is having the right team. Key factor is keeping the attendees first and the money second. Key factor is getting all the licenses organized in time. Key factor is attending other events and having a bigger outlook, not just what you think should be the thing. I think my biggest inspiration and what sets me apart from everyone else is that I actually travel. I attend events, I don't just host or create or produce festivals. I travel the world to see how it is, and that allows me then to later create something unique, relevant to the place that I'm located in.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Not doing any of the stuff that I'm doing right now. I think I've given myself about four to five years in this music space and I'll retire after that.
From the beginning of your journey until today, what are the three important things you've learned?
Don't give up.
Don't listen to other people.
Follow your gut.
I feel like these are really important things. Also not having to take everyone into consideration when making decisions. I like to roll different; I just do it; I don't overthink it. And then I'll figure it out if something goes wrong, I'll figure it out later.
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