Hussein Hassan, AKA oldyungmayn, is a Palestinian-Egyptian DJ from Dubai. With its emerging epicentre in alternative and youth-dominated music, Hussein is just one of the trailblazing musicians bringing excitement to one of the UAE’s most attractive cities. As shown by the growing popularity of urban festival Sole DXB since its establishment in 2011, youth culture in Dubai is becoming self-defined, opening up a market for young creatives which has not yet been capitalised upon by tradition or the hyper-luxury market. The same can be said for music, where warehouse spaces are being taken over by young people, with the ability to practise a creative freedom which a few years ago was largely a fantasy for Emirati millennials.
This emerging freedom is perhaps most manifest in the placing of Dubai on the regional music platform. Oldyungmayn’s music is testament to that, hosting parties from Dubai to Amman with fellow Dubai-based emerging musicians Karrouhat and Seki Supervillain. Distinct from more international Dubai-based musicians such as Nigerian-born rapper Santi and Reggaeton master Gaby, oldyungmayn and cohort are re-defining what it means to be an Arab musician, through an electronic medium. “You might think its a techno party,” comments Hassan, “but then I'd play some Egyptian wedding music - a.k.a shaebi music - and give you the whole other vibe”
Citing deadmau5 and alternative Arab music as his musical influences (alongside an unashamed emo phase), Hassan is taking advantage of Dubai’s opening mind by experimenting with electronic mixes and using both digital streaming and live DJ sets as his platforms. “I've always been very experimental with my music,” says Hassan, “it’s always been a passion of mine to explore new sounds. At the moment, I've been really focusing on gabber and Arabic music."
Hassan is currently working on his EP, set to release soon. Samples and mixes can be found on his Soundcloud including his latest track ‘2121’, linked here.
This doesn’t just mean that his music is accessible to those in other parts of the region (and beyond), but his emphasis also on live sets allow him to take a step further in bringing electronic music to the forefront of alternative Dubai youth culture. “There isn’t yet an underground scene here in Dubai, that’s all I can say,” says Hassan. However, with Hassan and friends frequenting certain locations such as Alserkal Avenue, Dubai Design District D3 and the Barbary club, he shows that a hub for an alternative music scene in Dubai is definitely a near-sighted reality.
Habibi Collective is a female Middle East + North African filmmaking community and digital archive. It is based in London, although curatorial activity and events are held throughout Europe.