This weekend, an offshoot of the Belgium’s popular EDM festival Tomorrowland, Unite with Tommorowland, will return to the UAE for a full day of streamed and live sets.
The festival, best known for its eccentric themes, vibrant colours and elaborate productions, will take place at du Forum in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night, a change from last year’s Dubai Festival City venue.
On the mainstage in Yas Island, Dutch DJ duo Lucas & Steve will lead a slate of artists and producers, including Ummet Ozcan, D.O.D., Omar Basaad, Barry Fore, Regi, DJ Licious, Marcus Santoro and SmokinGroove. Meanwhile, Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike will broadcast their sets live from Tomorrowland in Belgium.
Ahead of the full-day festival, which kicks off at 2pm, we caught up with Lucas & Steve to find out why they keep coming back for more.
This isn’t the first time you’ve performed at a Tomorrowland event. What is it about Tomorrowland that makes it special?
First of all, no Tomorrowland event goes by without the whole world knowing about it. It’s always a big deal reaching news channels frequently. It’s so well organised and the stages are always so beautiful that visitors as well as DJs are talking about it all the time. This creates something magical about these events, which makes it very special.
What was it like the first time you performed at Tomorrowland? Were you nervous?
The first time we played at Tomorrowland was in 2016. We played at Lost Frequencies stage (the Opera) that time. Yes, we were very nervous! As I said, everybody is talking about the event and knows that you’re playing there, so this can really build a certain tension, but mostly positive excitement.
What’s your biggest fear when you’re playing a big festival? How do you get in the zone beforehand?
Fortunately it doesn’t happen frequently, but jumping around the stage during our sets comes with a risk of accidentally hitting a wrong button on our DJ gear. This can result in… silence. Needless to say, [it] can be very dangerous to the party-vibe. Gotta be careful with that! To get ourselves in the vibe beforehand, we go and watch the crowd to see how they’re doing and to what kind of performance they would respond well. Do we need to build our set up really easily or should we give all energy at once? This [puts] us at ease because we know what to do.
Can you tell us a little bit about your recent single, I Could Be Wrong?
The track is a collaboration with R’n’B legend Brandy, from the US. We’ve been in love with her warm voice for a long time already, and we found ourselves lucky she wanted to collaborate on this project. We wanted to do a house-y pop-track, with a lot of summer going on.
When did each of you know you wanted to do this job for a living?
We’ve both known this for a long time, I think when we were about 12, we already had this ambition.
How did the two of you meet — and why did you decide to start making music together, rather than each on your own?
We [had] met in primary school already, but we were in different years so [we] never really got to meet properly. We’re from a small town in the Netherlands [Maastricht], so we got to know each other [through] DJing. We started to DJ together for fun and make music together. This worked really well for us, so we decided to join as a duo permanently.
There are a lot of big name DJs who are Dutch. Is it a big part of the culture in the Netherlands?
Yes it is! The Dutch have always been good at making dance music commercial. That’s what a couple of the pioneers did and a lot of Dutch DJs went big globally. Dance is always on the radio in the Netherlands, so people grow up with it.
Who would you say is your favourite Dutch DJ other than yourselves — and why?
There are a lot of legends (Tiesto, Armin van Buuren) that we like. We’ve seen a lot of sets by Chocolate Puma and they always deliver an incredible energy.
Recently, the EDM world suffered a huge loss with the passing of Avicii. Tim spoke extensively about the hardships of touring heavily, and the toll it takes. Do you think that’s a conversation that needs to be opened, regarding mental health and well-being in the EDM world?
Of course it is, not only in the EDM world. Globally mental health issues are taboo. People can be helped better with their issues if open conversation about it is possible. With regard to the music industry, we should all look after each other the best way possible.
Finally, what’s something you haven’t achieved as Lucas & Steve yet that you would like to accomplish in the future?
There are a lot of collaborations that we would love to do. Some in the pop-world, some in the club scene. We’ve got so many plans and we’re sure a lot of them will be reality in the future. We’re looking forward to it.
Don’t miss it
Tickets for Unite for Tomorrowland start from Dh495. The event is 21+ only.