At home with Desmo’s eclectic label head Adriano Konialidis

Meet Adriano K, the forward-thinking, world-influenced UAE producer with a raft of new projects lined up for his homegrown label, Desmo.

Adriano K in his home-studio. Satish Kumar / The National
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It wouldn’t take any visitor long to work out how Adriano Konialidis, also known as Adriano K, spends his time. Stepping over the threshold of his Dubai home is like entering a curio shop, the walls and floors lined with exotic instruments from across the globe.

A quick scout uncovers a Mexican hand drum, a Bali steel pan (similar to a hang), a percussive cube from Peru called a cajón, and a guitar made from a cigar box.

But it’s the centrepiece that really gives the game away. Konialidis, a 34-year-old Greek-­Uruguayan, isn’t a mere curiosity collector.

Much of the living space of his cramped one-bedroom apartment is taken up by a huge home-studio, sprawling out from a desk and chair in the centre of the room. It’s a seat the producer has been spending an awful lot of time in of late, with as many as eight projects being prepared for release on his home-grown label, Desmo.

First up is an EP collecting four mixes of the same tune, a Latin-flavoured original composition by Trio De Cajón. The track was recorded by Konialidis three years ago during sessions for his label's debut album, A L.A.S., a two-part collection of traditional Argentinian and Uruguayan folk songs. Each track was presented in both its original trio form, and as a guest remix from one of 14 contributors, including Stimming, The Orb and Mark Farina.

But the one original composition recorded at those sessions – an after-hours jam entitled Cerca del Mar – was left sitting on the shelf. Until recently, when Konialidis decided to repeat the trick with this new release, which presents the original tune alongside three guest remixes. These include a minimal club edit from former Señor Coconut frontman Argenis Brito, a soulful summery reading from Berlin-based Uruguayan Xavi Zeta, and nu-­disco-flavoured collaboration between Konialidis, under his artist name Adriano K, and Megadon Betamax – Aka Mostyn Rischmueller, the Dubai producer last featured on these pages after creating a track entirely from car noises.

Also in the works is a limited 12-inch collecting four brand new remixes of recordings by noted Lebanese singer-songwriter ­Tania Saleh.

“It was all about her voice,” says Konialidis. “I told her from the start, ‘I want to take your music to people that have never heard it’.”

First however is a whole album from Uruguayan singer-­songwriter Pablo Damonte, a mellow, trippy mood piece which combines acoustic instruments with electronic textures, with a debut single in ­November.

Also coming up on Desmo is an electro-funk trio called Monday Club, with Konialidis on keys, and an album of new recordings of centuries old Balkan accordion music.

“I do all of this for the love,” adds Konialidis. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without my ears, and the help of my partners – hopefully there will be reward in years to come.”

• Cerca del Mar is available for pre-order on vinyl now from, and will be available as a digital download later this month