Formula E’s resident DJ ready to take on ‘massive crowd’ in Diriyah

EJ makes his first visit to Saudi Arabia embarking on a three-day Formula E event. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Formula E’s resident DJ ready to take on ‘massive crowd’ in Diriyah

  • EJ expresses his excitement over coming to Riyadh for the three-day Formula E event
  • “I created the ‘EJ’ persona to grow with the championship”

RIYADH: You may never have heard of EJ, but he’s making headlines ... at least in the DJ world.

EJ, who remains a mystery to many, with his Darth Vader-style helmet, has become the exclusive DJ resident for global entertainment brand and race championship, Formula E, the electric street racing series taking on the world’s tracks. In fact, music has complemented the ferocity of the electric cars from the very moment they took off.

EJ has also joined ranks with Armin van Buuren, a Dutch DJ, record producer and remixer and owner of the legendary Armada, an independent record label that specializes in releasing electronic music.

In an interview with Arab News, EJ talks to us about his rise to fame and expresses his avid excitement over coming to Riyadh for the three-day Formula E event.

This is EJ’s first visit to Saudi Arabia. Staying for less than a week, he hopes to see “other places and not just the race track.”

Despite having toured the world with Formula E, he says he’s particularly excited about performing in the Saudi town of Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh.

“I have performed at every Formula E race since the first race in Beijing back in September 2014. As far as I know, we are only racing in Diriyah for now, which we plan to return to in the coming years.”

Thanks to such events, visitors from all over the world are for the first time flocking to Riyadh for entertainment, not business. The launch of a new e-visa application exclusive to the race has helped open wide Saudi doors to tourists.

The Diriyah E-Prix Formula E also promises to be a festival of sorts, with many activities to keep families entertained. “We are anticipating a massive crowd,” says EJ. “From the race to concerts, games zones and an e-village, there will be something for everyone and we are sure crowds are going to love it.”

EJ has built a global following over the years, playing to audiences of up to 20 million people. The rising star, who began pursuing his passion when he was just 15 years old, envisioned creating a sort of cinematic, “fast and furious” type feel among spectators.

“It was fun playing at friends’ parties and on pirate radio stations in London,” he said. 

“I was then encouraged to DJ in Ibiza, Spain, which is a big party island, for four years and got to work on some amazing brands, among them Ministry of Sound, a big global dance music brand. I eventually moved back to London and toured the world with them for 10 years. It was a truly incred- ible time.”

He met the Formula E team in 2013. “I created the ‘EJ’ persona to grow with the championship,” said EJ, who now produces the music for the TV-broadcast race and even plays at other events related to the series.

He also DJs in Croatia and still does some gigs in Ibiza. Most recently, he signed with Gareth Emery’s record label, Garuda. 

“Gareth and Armin are both heroes to me, so I’m blessed to be working with them,” says the enigmatic DJ whose nationality remains a mystery to most of us. For now, though, watch out for EJ as he “burns the tracks.”


Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. (SPA)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

  • Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927).
The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.