Monday | February 22, 2016

Interview of the Week - AJ Razek

Interview of the Week - AJ Razek
The Brunch scene is growing remarkably in the fabulous day life of the Dubai it-crowd. One of the most popular concepts is the Day Vibes Brunch in EDEN Beach Club, located on Rixos Hotel, The Palm. The organizer of the up-scale brunch is the event Company The Rize Group, operated by the two friends AJ Razek and Brent Vitiello. We got a closer chat with The Rize Group founder, AJ Razek; about him and how he ended up in the Dubai nightlife scene all the way from Canada.  

Tell us more about you background?
I am a Canadian National, grew up in Toronto, Ontario, where I also attended York University. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. I founded The Rize Group inc. in 2008 in Toronto. Living in such a multicultural metropolis for most my life has molded the way The Rize Group manages our events, and target our demographics.

How long have you been in Dubai?

I have lived in Dubai now for a bit over 3 years and Brent has lived here just over a year and a half.

How did you end up in the nightlife scene?
I have been involved in nightlife since I was 15 years old. I spent my summers organizing beach events for people of all ages.

Tell us more about The Rize Group?
The Rize Group originally started as a talent buying and concept development company, catering to hospitality groups that required consistent live entertainment and event programing. We initially managed local DJ’s and developed weekly events. The company quickly grew and evolved to work with some of the biggest A-list artists in the world. At that point, we made the decision to expand to Dubai in order to have a more international presence. Since 2013 we managed to book over 100 international acts in The UAE, including debuts for Steve Aoki, French Montana, Seth Troxler, Guy Gerber, August Alsina, The Weeknd and many other exclusive first time appearances in the region.

Brent Vitiello, from Sydney, Australia, joined me last year (2015), and has been a huge contribution to our brand. Brent and I make a great team in business and also as good friends. In this industry it can be a challenge to balance a work relationship with someone you cannot get along with on a social level. Brent will also be launching our Rize offices in Australia where we will export some of our Dubai built brands.

What defines the Day Vibes concept? 
Day Vibes was initially built as a relaxed daytime party for a specific social circle in Dubai. It quickly grew into the cities biggest pool and beachside day party. I would say what defines Day Vibes is the smooth transition from ‘Lets have a quiet beach day to "wow what the hell happened?" Haha.

What can the crowd expect from a day in EDEN?
Beautiful people, great international food menu, unlimited drinks, sun, water, skin….oh and beautiful people!

What are the challenges of opening up a new concept in Dubai?
The real challenge is to actually develop something that you can call a concept, and not just say ‘Hey, we’re open!’.
What kind of music are the people dancing to? 
House and R&B.
What are you expectations for the season?

What’s your opinion of the Dubai Nightlife in general? What are you missing?

I think the only thing we need and that we would love to work on is a multi day festival in a remote destination. Unfortunately there are currently too many restrictions to successfully build this in Dubai.
Describe a typical day in your life?

Normally we wake up early, hit the gym, manage some meetings in the office and in the evenings we often see friends for dinner or we have an event night with The Rize Group. Most people think our work is at the parties, and do not realize the amount of man hours spent in the office and in meetings to make sure these parties are what they are. I work on my own time, which means I work all the time. 
Between myself and Brent, we are constantly working and expanding so please stay tuned. 

The Rize Group also hosts the Ladies Night She's With Us in Tribeca Kitchen and Bar on Tuesdays. DIP Urban Beach, Dubai's first Hip&Hop Beach Party, is also one of their successful brands. As not enough, they are bringing French Montana to EDEN Beach ClubMarch 10th, which will be one of the biggest events next month! You will find all the information on

Text: Emma Sjolin
Photo: Vitaly Gonyukov



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