David Guetta has often used his Dubai home as a pit stop.
As it's a direct flight away from Europe, the US and Asia, the French DJ and producer would often come to his pad mid-tour to unwind before jumping on the plane again.
The pandemic, however, has allowed him to experience the city in a new way.
Major dance music festivals have been cancelled since March last year, and so Guetta has been enjoying his Dubai experience as a true resident.
"It has been great because I never spend this much time here, I am always travelling," he tells The National ahead of Burj Al Arab gig this weekend.
“I have actually been here for six weeks and for me to stay in the same country for such a long time never happens.”
Listen to our interview here:
So what has he been doing with all that Dubai downtime?
“I have been walking around and visiting all these amazing new restaurants,” he says. “I went to [DIFC Japanese restaurant] Clap and it was so amazing. I have generally been impressed by the quality everywhere. I love it here.”
Concerts with a view
This weekend, Guetta will get the chance to mix some work with pleasure. He will perform a show on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab hotel, which will be live-streamed on his social media channels, including Facebook and YouTube, from 6pm on Saturday, February 6.
The rooftop destination will provide a stunning panoramic backdrop to Guetta spinning hits such as I Gotta Feeling, Titanium and Memories.
The concert also aims to raise funds for Unicef and Dubai Cares’ campaign Education Uninterrupted, which supports education and distance learning for children, students and teachers affected by the pandemic.
The Dubai gig is the latest instalment of his United at Home concert series.
Beginning last April, each performance has him teaming up with humanitarian organisations to perform streamed sets from various picturesque locations.
Previous locations included New York City's Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Centre last May and a New Year’s Eve set on the concourse of the Louvre in Paris.
Guetta says the series was created as a gesture of support to his fans.
“We are trying to do something good and that is to give motivation for people to stay at home to avoid the virus from spreading,” he says.
“But we cannot forget that people also have to be entertained. Another reason why I am doing it is that I simply miss playing.”
The future rave sound
So did the pandemic make him realise he took some of his gigs for granted?
“To be honest, I was feeling that my life could never stop and the idea that suddenly I could never play live again in front of a crowd was just crazy. This has been my life for 20 years,” Guetta says.
“But I like to think of myself as a positive person and I am grateful that I have an amazing life. So this time away has been a good opportunity to spend more time with the kids.”
The time off has also been creatively worthwhile, as Guetta has also teamed up with Danish DJ and producer Morten to release a series of bombastic high-energy tracks and remixes.
The massive synths and heaving basslines marking the tracks creates a sound the pair has dubbed “future rave”.
“It is very festival oriented,” Guetta says.
“This is something I am very passionate about. It is about going back to my 1990s roots and mixing with what I think are the sounds of tomorrow.”
Giving back to the fans
But does that kind of anthemic sound resonate with fans when they are listening from home?
“It is something I thought about and did wonder if it made sense. But I did it anyway because I didn’t want to let the fans down and, judging by the reactions online, they were very happy and thankful,” he says.
“You know, a lot of my colleagues stopped releasing records and performing during his time and I think we do owe it to the fans to give them something.”
Once the pandemic abates and mass gatherings can safely resume, Guetta predicts the mother of all music festival seasons.
“I am absolutely positive about this and it will be non-stop partying,” he says.
“I told my kids already to enjoy my company now, because once festivals open again I am gone and I will be playing non-stop for six months.”
David Guetta performs live from Burj Al Arab in Dubai on Saturday, February 6, from 6pm onwards. For more information, visit davidguetta.com