We sat down with Ayolxi ahead of her OPEN TO CLOSE set at Cellar this Saturday. The Dublin-based DJ highlights how Ireland’s stringent licensing laws prevent artists from fully developing their skill sets, with little to no room for experimentation or creative expression under current regulations.

Dublin’s Ayolxi kicks off our OPEN TO CLOSE club series this Saturday at Cellar, a nationwide open-to-close party, where we’ll work with local promoters and venues, helping to showcase the talent we have in Ireland. Extended sets and all-nighters are essential for a DJ’s artistic development. Unfortunately, most DJs have few opportunities to play longer sets in clubs due to our outdated and stringent licensing laws.

We chat to Ayolxi about her forthcoming extended set this Saturday at Cellar.

You can purchase tickets here

Do you find Irish nightclub licensing laws restrictive as a DJ?

100%, the licensing laws in Ireland allow for a maximum of 4 hours at a club night or event, occasionally stretching to 5 if we’re fortunate. This limitation requires promoters to feature a headliner while also squeezing in 1 to 3 local acts as support. With just 4 hours to work with, support acts typically get around 1 hour each. It’s challenging to fully develop your skills in such a short set, as it leaves little room for experimentation and often forces you to condense all your favourite tracks into a brief timeframe. It definitely puts a limit on being able to fully express yourself artistically.

How are you planning to organise your music for an extended set?

To be honest, I tend to leave things until the last minute, and balancing this with a full-time job can sometimes make it difficult to perform at my best. This week, I’m trying to plan bit by bit whenever I have time. I’ll be exploring my library, digging for some oldies while incorporating new tracks, as I typically do with my sets. Since this is an extended set, I’ll have the opportunity to experiment with sounds I wouldn’t usually explore in a standard 1-hour support slot in Dublin. Normally, I organize my sets starting with low-energy tracks, moving to mid-energy, and then to high-energy ones. However, the extended set allows me more flexibility to experiment and dynamically control the energy throughout the night.

Can you give us any sneak peeks of tracks you might play this weekend?

SansibarS1 Type Beat for sure, is one of my favourite EPs of all time. Will definitely try to throw in Biemsix – Chemistry, another one of my favourites! Phara – Flux too, I hold such great memories with this one.

Our limited time in clubs pigeonholes DJs and leaves little room for experimentation; do you have any curveballs planned for this weekend?

I’ll always aim to ensure the crowd experiences something different each time I play. The limited set times in clubs make this more challenging, but Saturday provides a great opportunity for me to throw in as many curveballs as I like to keep the crowd guessing.

Do you have any memories of extended sets from DJs you’ve seen abroad that have influenced your perspective on DJing?

Absolutely. Just two weeks ago, I went to a new club called Open Ground in Dusseldorf to see Quelza perform his first all-night-long set. It was the perfect opportunity to gather some inspiration for Saturday, which I definitely did. I was blown away by everything—the crowd, the venue, the sound system, and Quelza himself. The night was perfect. Quelza showed me the importance of playing whatever you want and not trying to fit a certain ‘sound’. Being authentic and true to yourself goes a long way, not just in music but in life as well. If you put some trust in yourself, the crowd will feel that too, which makes a huge difference.

Do you think playing for longer will change your approach to mixing?

I learn something new with every set I play, so I expect Saturday to be a valuable learning experience. The continuous discovery in music and mixing is what I love most about it; there’s always something new to master, which keeps me incredibly passionate. The drive I have to learn when it comes to music is never-ending.

What are your expectations for your set this weekend?

Dublin crowds can be tough to predict, but honestly, most crowds are. I always aim for a journey set; I like to tell a little story by directing the energy where it feels right in the moment. From attending gigs around Europe, I’ve noticed that the crowd usually trusts the artist to take them on a journey. I hope the crowd on Saturday will give me the same chance to do what I love. I’m really looking forward to this and excited to see where the night takes us!

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