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Poll 2023: Alok

From: Brazil

DJ style: “Brazilian bass, dance-pop, hyper-techno.”

Best known for: “Bringing Brazilian bass music to the global level.”

“I've been working hard, producing music, learning to be a father every day, making some seemingly crazy ideas come true, and trying to take life lightly even with a hectic schedule of travel and shows,” says Alok. In typical fashion he’s playing it down somewhat.

Alok is nothing short of a DJing colossus in his home nation of Brazil. To see in the New Year, he played to a reported one million people on the beach in Fortaleza, a city in the north-east of the nation. Drone footage that circulated online looked more like a scene from Lord Of The Rings than a DJ set, but that’s just testament to the passion of the Brazilian people to get behind their heroes. He later played a ginormous Carnival show, and in August “I had my own show on Brazil's most famous beach, Copacabana, where I performed for hundreds of thousands of people on a 360-degree pyramid-shaped stage. It was insane,” he adds. Elsewhere he’s played all the usual mega-fests like Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas, and Untold, and renowned superclubs like Ushuaïa Ibiza, Boston’s Big Night Live, and Cavo Paradiso in Mykonos.

On the production front, September saw Alok drop the soaring trance of ‘Jungle’ with The Chainsmokers and Mae Stephens, while August was all about the percussive ‘Drum Machine’ with Pickle. In June, just in time for festival season, he teamed up with Ava Max for ‘Car Keys (Ayla)’, which borrowed the signature riff from 1996 trance missive ‘Ayla’ and even garnered a remix from Tiësto. May saw a collab with Steve Aoki, ‘2 Much 2 Handle’, which pitted a chuggy tech beat against electro-house synths. April delivered a double-whammy with the sultry ‘Mami Mami’ and epic prog of Solardo collab ‘Over Again’. And in January and February, Alok dropped several versions of the ‘Lola’s Theme’-sampling ‘Work With My Love’ alongside James Arthur.

Perhaps his most important project (apart from raising his two kids alongside his wife Romana Novais), however, has been the launch of his ‘THE FUTURE IS ANCESTRAL’ project. The multi-pronged campaign, headed up by the artist’s Instituto Alok foundation, aims to promote and protect the Indigenous peoples of Brazil, and will produce several albums, a documentary, a monetary fund and more. Alok kicked it all off at the United Nations in New York with a show featuring Indigenous artists and a light-up drone display. “Overall, it's been a few intense, productive, and learning-filled months,” says Alok. Not half! 

Fave tune of 2023: “Peggy Gou ‘(It Goes Like) Nanana’.”

Hero of 2023: “Fred again..”

Best DJ set you’ve seen in 2023: “CRi.”

What was the most exciting tech development of 2023? “Artificial intelligence.”

Rising star DJ/producer of 2023: “Mochakk.”

What gives you hope for 2024? “It gives me hope to see that music can be an instrument of healing and transformation for people. I want to see artists, technicians, and music producers more and more, through their work, inspiring and engaging people in positive actions that lead us towards a more dignified, inclusive, and sustainable life.”