Brazilian DJ and producer Alok has launched his own philanthropic and social institute, Instituto Alok - donating $5.2 million to the scheme so far.
Alok has released his remix of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Living In A Ghost Town’.
The Brazilian EDM star, who was voted No.11 in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs poll 2019, has shared a summery, club-ready remix of the track. ‘Living In A Ghost’ town marks the legendary rock & roll outfit’s first new music since 2012.
This year’s Top 100 Clubs results, powered by Miller Genuine Draft, demonstrated the love and support for our international nightclub scene. More than 600,000 votes were counted from across theplanet, marking the poll’s biggest year yet. Everyone remembers the first time they crossed the threshold of a proper club and first fell in love with this scene. We asked some of the planet’s leading DJs to share their memories with us...
CLUB - A, SAO PAOLO
Kygo has revealed that he will hold a residency at Ushuaïa Ibiza this summer, running Sundays at the Playa d’en Bossa nightspot from 9th July to 10th September.
You can see the full line-ups for Kygo’s residency below, which include guest appearances from recent DJ Mag cover star Oliver Heldens, as well as Kaskade, Alok and many more.
Kygo also recently announced his first ever residency with Las Vegas titans Wynn Nightlife, on a two-year exclusive deal.
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “John Summit.”
ALOK is a deeply thoughtful and reflective soul. A man with a real social conscience, a strong connection to nature and love of the human race that goes way beyond his fans, even though they number in their millions around the world. When we speak to him, he is still basking in the afterglow of the birth of his second child.
“They are like two different galaxies in the same universe,” he beams. “Every day I stare at them as if I’m discovering a new star in the sky. You have to remap and reframe your understanding every day, every minute. It’s a huge exercise of commitment as well as a learning process of the new as a premise of life.”
That's not the only learning the Brazilian has done this year. The extra time at home during the pandemic meant he has expanded his creative world by releasing several songs with international pop stars like Jason Derulo, Tove Lo and John Legend. He also reached out to new trap and hip-hop talents in Brazil to make tracks for the gaming industry that have gone on to pick up over 300 million plays. “Collaborations enrich my repertoire,” he says. “I work with artists who provoke me musically, and the exchange is always a learning experience.”
On top of this, he consolidated the GameChanger platform, which seeks to further qualify competitive scenarios by creating opportunities for young people to transform their lives through FreeFire, the most inclusive mobile game in the world. He also set up the Alok Institute, where he allocates 100% of his FreeFire character's royalties to socio-environmental projects in Brazil, Africa and India. The institute has already supported projects in those countries which promote income generation, fight hunger and create opportunities for human development in various fields. “Digital inclusion is also an important theme for the institute, mainly to give access to and create real opportunities for young people from underprivileged classes,” he tells DJ Mag.
As if that wasn't enough, he has also produced his first album in collaboration with Brazilian indigenous peoples. It arrives in 2022 along with a documentary, Future Is Ancestral, that follows the creative journey and his immersion in indigenous culture as a way of showing its importance to the world. Musically, the album shows a marked transformation from previous ALOK works, “due to the experiences I have lived and my growing desire to inspire people to live and build a new future for all of us”.
ALOK's mission goes way beyond music. He says he always reminds himself never to forget the people who don't have the same privileges he has had: “My biggest goal today is to transform my achievements into opportunities for less fortunate people and to be able to inspire more and more people to have this attitude. If we reviewed the meaning of success and had an agenda based on collectivity, inclusion and human dignity, it would be very powerful.”
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
“It was absolutely amazing and rewarding to see almost all of the 265,000 people who attended the festival having fun and sharing their energy. It was a remarkable moment which I will never forget.”
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
"Before the pandemic, I was doing over 300 shows a year, so with the drastic change I was able to expand the scope of my professional performance as a producer, consolidate projects in the gaming universe, develop audio-visual and launch the Alok Institute.”
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?
“It is very important to address issues such as conscious consumption, forest preservation, renewable energy, not as a problem but as a wish and as a solution.”
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
“With my first album, I have worked with the Brazilian indigenous people. They consider themselves instruments of nature, able to interpret and hear what the forest has to say and turn it into music, to bring healing, celebration, enchantment, reflection and inspiration to people.”
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
“'Found In the Wild' by Eli & Fur, because of its immersive atmosphere.”
“Well, 2019 started for me with my wedding with my beautiful and beloved wife Romana,” explains Alok when DJ Mag asks how the last 12 months have been — congratulations! From then on it was all go for South America’s highest-ranking DJ; over the course of what he describes as a “very intense but productive year [for] me and my crew”, Alok played shows such as Rock In Rio, Tomorrowland, DJ Mag’s Miami pool party, and performed for an “unimaginable crowd” in Japan. One particular highlight, he says, was a “remarkable stopover at Burning Man where we spent a few days experiencing the unknown and unseen” — very mysterious!
Alok explains he’s used his extensive touring time to develop his performance to the benefit of both the crowd and himself. And to top it all off: “We found out that we were expecting a baby and he will be due in January. So much information and feelings combined, it all made my year of 2019 more than priceless and unforgettable so far.” We believe another congratulation is in order...
Do you submit your DJ setlists to the relevant royalties collecting society?
“Yes, and a very good piece of advice is: pay your debts while you can and ask for your rights while you can too. There are several rules that apply when [talking about] royalty. And the more we sell music, the more we owe to someone or the more we are owed by someone.”
What more can we do to combat the mental health crisis in our scene?
“First of all, you need to know how to distinguish what is lifestyle and profession. Being a DJ as a profession is often linked to lifestyle with endless, unmissable and incredible parties. Being aware that this can wear your mind and body apart from all [the] travelling can contribute to a healthier profession.”
Are you personally doing anything to improve the gender balance of line-ups?
“Absolutely! I think the whole world is asking now for more equality in all possible areas and fields, not only connected to music but overall globally. I would even go beyond in saying that the current and next hypes will probably be the female headliners that are taking over the scene, especially the underground one. That is very powerful and beautiful to see and witness.”
What changes have you made this year to be more environmentally friendly?
“I have been sort of going vegetarian for a while now, but in 2019 I have become more conscious about food and the environment. It is a choice and for some a daily sacrifice, but each of us must do something within our powers to contribute more to the planet we live on.”
What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?
“I know it will sound cliché but trust me… it was a pair of CDJs that my parents had back then.”
What’s your guilty pleasure?
“Pre-workout powder [laughs]. Coffee.”
DJ style: “POP.”
Best known for: “‘Favela’, ‘BYOB’, ‘Hear Me Now’, ‘Fuego’, ‘Never Let Me Go’, ‘Me & You’, ‘Ocean’.”
Fave tune of 2018: “Fisher ‘Losing It’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2018: “Vini Vici.”
Whether he’s opening his heart and getting all emotional on massive mid-tempo pop-sprinkled chartlets like ‘I Miss U’, laying down thick Brazilian bass mutants with his mates Vini Vici and Armin van Buuren, or travelling the world playing to some of the largest crowds of his career so far, one thing is certain: Alok has been having a blast this year.
“This year I have travelled and worked a lot at a very insane and crazy pace,” explains the young DJ, who’s now enjoying his fourth consecutive year in the Top 100 — jumping up to an impressive No.13. “I toured in Asia, North America, Europe and South America in surreal and amazingly remarkable festivals and events.”
But don’t worry if you’re concerned he’s over-working himself; just like all the wisest DJs this year, Alok’s paying attention to his wellness and those close to his heart. Echoing his dewy-eyed lyrics and feels on pivotal 2018 tracks of his such as ‘Bella Ciao’ or the massive ‘Ocean’, Alok is every bit the sensitive, caring soul his music suggests. “I always make sure I come home and give my family and fiancé some time, attention and love,” he explains. “It is crucial.”
Words: DAVE JENKINS
You can also win an online course and mentor session as part of Point Blank’s new remix competition