Tomorrowland headliner DJ Martin Solveig: 'Labels are for canned food, not for music'

Belgium festival Tomorrowland will be streamed in Dubai this weekend

DJ Martin Solveig is headlining at Unite with Tomorrowland in Dubai on Saturday
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One of the world's biggest dance parties is coming to the UAE this weekend – well, sort of. Unite with Tomorrowland Dubai will not only see the crowd raving along to performances at the Dubai Festival City Arena, but also with live broadcasts from Belgium, where the original Tomorrowland is held.
The day promises an embarrassment of riches for dance-music connoisseurs. Leading the Saturday line-up in Dubai is French producer and DJ Martin Solveig, Poland's Tom Swoon and Belgium's Robert Falcon. The real heavy-hitters, playing on the big screen include the Dutch trance master Armin van Buuren and American spinner KSHMR.
A Tomorrowland regular, Solveig spoke to The National before the big gig and says he is excited to see the event finding a home in the Middle East. "It's the most-famous [dance-music] festival brand in the world. Its concept is to gather people from all over the world, no matter where you come from, your skin colour or religious beliefs," he says.
"It's great to see this festival travelling to other cities. It gives even more strength to this universal message that we're better off dancing together."
Solveig, 40, is no stranger to the UAE, having established himself as a regular performer here by playing a couple of dates a year in the ­Emirates since 2015 – the last being in May with a storming set at Zero Gravity's last bash before the summer break.
Dubai is fast becoming a party destination to rival Spain's famed Ibiza, he says. "The party people of Dubai and I have learnt to discover each other for the last three or four years. "There's a very special energy there, the more I come the better it gets. It's truly the number one spot for all those who don't want to wait until Ibiza's opening to celebrate. This destination has become essential."
Born in Paris, Solveig's potent and multi-layered compositions are derived from his classical-music training. At the age of 18 he began making a name for himself in the ­European dance community with gigs at famous Parisian night spots L'Enfer and Les Bains Douches.
While Solveig's albums were moderately successful, he gained the attention of ­Madonna, who tapped him to co-write songs for her 2012 album MDNA, including the chart-topping singles Give Me All Your Luvin' and Turn Up the Radio. Solveig has recently released his latest single All Stars with promising pop talent, the 21-year-old Finish singer Alma. Bright and anthemic, the track has been steadily pulling in the crowds in the Ibiza super-club Pacha, where Solveig is in the midst of a weekly residency stretching till October.
With electronic dance music now the new pop staple, Solveig believes tags such as EDM are slowly becoming redundant when it comes to producing music. 
So how would the veteran describe his work? According to Solveig it all comes down to gut feelings. "Labels are for canned food. When it comes to making music I stick to two basic principles – following my instinct and having fun doing what I do," he says.
"I like to free myself from musical barriers, so if you'd really want me to label my sound I'd keep it as wide as possible – it's electronic for sure."
Unite with Tomorrowland Dubai is on Saturday at the Dubai Festival City Arena from 2pm until 3am. Tickets cost from Dh590 at Dubai.