Exclusive Interview: Sam Starks Talks Synergy of FIVE Music

Published: Saturday 9th Apr 2022 by Sam

In an ever-changing world, convergence has emerged as one of the central engines powering the entertainment landscape. Indeed, more than ever before, combination offerings are taking center stage as some of the globe’s leading entities champion the fusion of multiple mediums for a maximized experience.

At FIVE Palm Jumeirah, there is a magnetic synergy between music, partying, and creating unforgettable memories by way of these pillars.

That Grape Juice visited the stunning Dubai hotspot FIVE Palm Jumeirah recently and witnessed the magic in motion. From the buoyant bliss of BLING Sundays (which serves up the best in sizzling Hip-Hop & R&B) to the one-of-a-kind beach festival Bohemia (which serves up melodic House all day long), to techno and house music-infused nights during Skyline Thursdays at The Penthouse, music is unquestionably the nucleus of the operation.

Mobilizing this is the aptly titled FIVE Music, which encompasses a record label and various live components to connect those from different walks of life from all around the globe. Indeed, as the age-old adage goes: music is a universal language. And FIVE is most definitely fluent.

We sat down with Sam Starks, Music Director and Resident DJ of FIVE Hotels and Resorts, who opened up about the world-renowned venue and his own journey too.

That Grape Juice (Sam): You’ve been passionate about music from your youth – making playlists in your room! How did you become involved with FIVE?

Sam Starks: Yes! It started with a broad range of musical inspirations. Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, and more.

Then I discovered electronic music and DJing – drawing on all genres. Eventually, I moved to Dubai where I started working and playing at different venues. Soon after, I met FIVE’s CEO Aloki Batra who had been listening to my set while I was playing and came up to me to talk about it. We immediately clicked and decided to start working together. It all started with some initial performances at FIVE Palm Jumeirah, and then – in light of all my experience, knowledge and crowd feel – we joined forces and set out to make the vision for FIVE Music a reality.

That Grape Juice: You’re at the heart of the music here at FIVE. Tell us a little more about your role?

Sam Starks: What makes FIVE unique and special is that everything FIVE operates under one umbrella. There’s no third party setting up and organizing events or running the venues. At FIVE, we have many varied venues offering different styles of award-winning food, atmosphere, and music. So, my role is to make sure all venues – despite their different music styles and vibes – have a unified approach to music and musical identity that is one with FIVE. This encompasses playing the right music at the right moment at the right place… as well as conceptualizing and launching new event concepts for our guests to experience anew onsite. In addition, I’m also leading the growth of FIVE Music’s presence on Spotify and YouTube.

FIVE Music Spotify | FIVE Youtube

 That Grape Juice: FIVE does a stellar job of marrying music and atmosphere. What inspired this fusion?

Sam Starks: It’s all about setting out to bring joy to everyone at FIVE. To create memories of a lifetime. I always say that my role as an artist is about making each and every person feel special. It’s about putting ourselves in the dancing shoes of our guests. We want to ensure that our guests get maximum enjoyment out of their FIVE-styled experiences.

That Grape Juice: The FIVE movement encompasses a hotel, a record label, and so much more. What is the goal with this incredible synchronicity?

Sam Starks: As a luxury lifestyle entertainment experiential hotel, we understand that music plays a huge role during your stay with us. Therefore, we book many world-famous and fan-favorite DJs. FIVE Music was created to produce and release music that reflects the spirit of FIVE. Aside from that, at the core of our belief is that we don’t believe in putting artists, or FIVE, into boxes. We invite performers from different genres and cater to all our guests’ musical needs. We have artists playing electronic music, others who combine that with Pop, as well as some bringing an exciting dash of Hip-Hop. If you listen to FIVE Music’s Spotify playlists, those tracks will be replicated in your musical journey when you come to a party at FIVE.

Playlists: FIVE essentials Hype-Up Behind Closed Doors Afterglow

That Grape Juice: What are you listening to at the moment?

Sam Starks: Currently I’m listening to Sovereign, Jazz, and Pop. These genres help me continually refresh my inspirations as I’m constantly producing tracks and mixes as well. I am, and have always been, an open format DJ, so I genuinely listen to everything! I especially like listening to old tracks and then figuring out how to mix them in with new chart-toppers.

That Grape Juice: Who have been some of your favorite moments/collaborations at FIVE so far?

Sam Starks: A short while ago, we welcomed Pete Tong to Skyline Thursday at The Penthouse, FIVE Palm Jumeirah. It was a truly incredible night. He is an idol for fans and DJs alike, so to play alongside him was personally a moment to cherish. At iconic party palace BLING, Dubai’s most exclusive Hip-Hop nightclub at FIVE Palm Jumeirah, industry legend Fatman Scoop took to the decks. Of course, I could go on… Charlie Sloth, Lost Frequencies, Robin Schulz, Jax Jones, Themba, and more!

FIVE Music Instagram | FIVE Music TikTok

That Grape Juice: Which three words do you feel best describe the FIVE experience?

Sam Starks: Come Press Play!

Connect with FIVE:

FIVE Palm Jumeirah Website
FIVE Youtube
FIVE Music Instagram
FIVE Music TikTok
FIVE Music Spotify


FIVE Essentials
Behind Closed Doors

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