Veralkar talks community, Vinyls, and Dubai’s music scene.

If you’re into the music scene in Dubai, you’ve probably met Jayesh Veralkar or attended one of his events. In addition to being a Senior Marketing Manager at Dolby Mena, he is also a resident selector at Honeycomb Hi-Fi, co-founder of [not just] – Dubai’s experiential music community, and of course, Founder of Vinyl Souk DXB.

Vinyl Souk DXB has grown to be a monthly occasion for vinyl collectors and music lovers, offering stalls of vinyl and cassettes for sale, with collectors invited to swap records. Usually, the market has stalls from Afrosynth Records, Analog The Room, Fringe, India Record Co., Omer Tariq, Qualia Audio, Raw Music Store, Sugarhigh Accessories and The Source Distro. Essentially, the event aims to revive analogue culture and foster a community of like-minded individuals.

KHAMSA caught up with Veralkar this week to discuss Dubai’s vinyl culture.

١. Were you always a Vinyl fanatic/collector? What interested you about Vinyl?

It all started during the pandemic when my wife gifted me a record player and a DJ controller. 

Like many of us who picked up different skill sets and hobbies during lockdown – I decided to follow my aspiration to become a DJ. I started recording mixtapes from home and played my first gig in 2021 with the vinyl-only set at The Flip Side (a record store in Dubai). Since then, the hobby turned into an obsession. Shadi Megallaa – the founder of The Flip Side, inspired and supported me in this journey along with DJ Somalie and Oscar Hendricks, who are obsessive vinyl collectors and great DJs based in Dubai. 

٢. Why Vinyl and not CDs?

To be honest, I grew up on cassettes and CDs. I built a fairly large collection of CDs during my work stints in Channel [v] and Sony Music back in India and then lost track. Over the last 5 – 6 years, record players and vinyls are becoming more accessible, so it kind of became a preferred music format. I’ve been hosting DJs who play hybrid sets – vinyl and cassettes. Don’t be surprised if you see DJ playing CDs at Vinyl Souk. Why not? 

٣. What pushed you to host Vinyl Souk in Dubai specifically? What would you like to add to the music scene in this city?

Vinyl markets or record fairs – as they are known all around are quite common events internationally. I have attended a few of those during my travels to San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. With Dubai, it all started with Analogue Circus, a dedicated pop-up for analogue music at 25Hours Hotel One Central. The space inspired me so much that I started pitching the idea of creating open decks for vinyl collectors and a marketplace to trade vinyl and cassettes to the hotel as an extension to Analogue Circus. They loved the idea, so here we are.

The alternative music scene in the city is relatively niche though we are witnessing a surge and demand for community-driven, independent, and cultural events. I hope Vinyl Souk becomes that go-to platform for aspiring collectors and an event known for music discovery through these collectors. 

٤. How do you curate/select the artists that play at the Vinyl Souk event? How much variety do you like to host?

The guiding principle for our curation is to put a spotlight on vinyl collectors and not necessarily seasoned DJs. Most of the selectors playing Vinyl Souk are playing their debut gigs. Also, through our selectors, we want to celebrate UAE’s rich diversity – we are home to 180+ nationalities, and we want to keep our curation as diverse and inclusive. Last edition, we saw three women vinyl collectors playing their first gig in Dubai and playing music styles varied from Arabic rare grooves to Latin, afro-funk, Bollywood, indie-pop, shoegaze and electro – all on vinyl.  

٥. Where do you see Vinyl Souk headed in the future? What are your plans for it?

I believe brands that collaborate often tend to thrive. At Vinyl Souk, we want to organically scale our event with the right collaborations who share the same vision as us – celebrating diversity, promoting music discovery, and focusing on homegrown brands. I am working on a plan to culminate our monthly events into a weekend festival by early 2024.

The upcoming 4th edition of Vinyl Souk at 25Hours Hotel One Central is on July 29th. Zag Erlat, DJ and Host of the popular YouTube channel My Analog Journal, will headline the event along with the local selectors – Dan Greenpeace, Juliana Arbol and DJ Hoffman. For more details, check out their Instagram @vinylsoukdxb.

Rand Al-Hadethi is an art, culture, and fashion writer who approaches all her creative endeavours with a penchant for storytelling. She explores the intersection of fashion, culture, and society and sheds light on talent and cultural movements across the Middle East and the world. Rand also publishes a bi-monthly themed substack newsletter called WebWeaver™. To reach Rand, email her at or follow her on social media @rundoozz.