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Catching up with ALOK: Electronic music megastar

Electronic megastar ALOK, who hails from Brazil, chatted about his latest endeavors.

ALOK
ALOK. Photo Credit: Hudson Rennan
ALOK. Photo Credit: Hudson Rennan

Electronic megastar ALOK, who hails from Brazil, chatted about his latest endeavors.

How did it feel to land at No. 4 in DJ Mag this year?

This fourth place in DJ Mag has a huge importance on my trajectory. It symbolizes the progress I have made in my career and the fidelity to what I believe in artistically. I often wonder which way to go and titles like this give me the assurance that the path is right.

With each year and each new level conquered, I am even more aware that I would not be able to walk this far alone. It’s not just mine, but my fans, my team, and all my partners who accompany me on this journey. Funny that the feeling, despite the accumulated experiences, is that I’m just getting started.

 What inspires your music and songwriting?

Life inspires me, the experiences I have, the stories I live, the ideals I believe in. Each song is unique and inspiration can come from different sources, for example, I travel a lot. Looking at nature, especially the sea, I am inspired, whether by the movement of the waves, or the noise that comes from it.

Sometimes I get into a creative process as a way of understanding something I’m going through. I spent the European summer observing the resumption of shows, the reopening of clubs, the effervescence of Ibiza, the public’s desire to be together again, and how the market was dealing with this new moment.

All these observations kept circling in my head. When I returned to Brazil, I started working on some musical productions and, somehow, those days in Europe were reflected in my creations.

I understood that such music would work at the festival in Romania, but maybe it wouldn’t make the same sense in other countries, or that other sounds would be perfect for the North American market.

What I’m trying to say is that inspiration has an abstract aspect, but it also comes from observing everyday things and helps me better understand who I am artistically and where I want to go.

Coming off the success of “Deep Down,” you’ve just released “All By Myself” with Ellie Goulding… How did that song happen?

The story behind each of the songs I make is a curious one. This new one with Ellie Goulding, for example, I received from the person responsible for the strategy of my international releases, who goes after partnerships, etc.

Through him, I received a cappella with Ellie’s vocals last year. I started to work on it, but I stopped, I thought it wasn’t turning out the way I wanted. Sometime later, after reviewing my files, I came across the song again.

Then I started a melody that was very reminiscent of Depeche Mode, “Enjoy the Silence”, which I really like. I thought: what if I used this melody in the song?  I thought it was perfect, when the melody comes, the Depeche Mode beat comes in.

I went after the sample release, and I got it. With the authorization, we changed some more details, Sigala added to this process as well, and it was ready for you to enjoy it! 

Also, this song really brings out the personality of the three of us, which is a challenge when doing a project that involves different people. I was quite happy with the result.

There’s a curiosity about this partnership, there was a moment when I thought the song was ready, it was the way everyone would enjoy it, so I sent it to Ellie. She said, I don’t need to go to the studio, just adjust some things.

More than 30 audio channels came back with three seconds of Ellie’s vocals. I found her level of precision and perfectionism amazing.

How does it feel to know your music has become so loved across the world? 

There’s something in my presentation that I value a lot: the connection I establish with the audience. It is essential to feel that the audience and I are witnessing a unique experience that will only happen at that moment and in that way.

When a song manages to reach the hearts, minds, and bodies of people around the world, my task is accomplished! I’m always moved by the reports of someone who says that a song of mine marked a certain event in their life or that one of my songs helped them face a more delicate moment. It is these deep connections that art makes possible.

What was it like to take part in “The Future is Ancestral” project here in New York?

At the heart of Instituto Alok’s mission is the desire to inspire positive attitudes to mobilize the engagement of people and companies to adopt socio-environmental responsibility policies.

At the United Nations in New York, we invited companies and foundations to join our intention to create a fund to support indigenous productions in the areas of cinema, music, games, and digital communication.

This is of great importance in the sense of re-signifying the perception that the world has about native peoples. This fund also supports projects that use technology for the well-being of villages and the preservation of biomes.

The Fund’s idea is to invite third-sector companies and organizations, as well as individuals, to contribute to the creation of a platform where everyone can work together to strengthen indigenous identity in society, expanding the repertoire of these cultures and establishing a new understanding of its importance for the planetary future.

From there, we will financially support cultural and technological projects centered on indigenous people. They are less than five percent of the world’s population but are responsible for protecting approximately 80 percent of biodiversity.

Their presence at the UN reaffirms them in society and in all public spaces. Showing the world that they were at the very top of the UN Headquarters was symbolically a strong message; a warning to the world that we need to think about climate demands collectively and listen to what indigenous people have to say to us.

That’s why, in addition to the musical performance, a dialogue panel was held on how the entertainment industry can contribute to changing the imagination about the identity of native peoples and their importance in the co-creation of a fair and sustainable future.

In addition, next year we will release a documentary that records my trajectory with the indigenous people and the teachings that the forest has to tell us. All income will be donated to support the participating indigenous peoples.

What is the title of the current chapter of your life?

Sense, meaning. I am currently looking for what is coherent to me, which is an inner dialogue with my artistic and citizen ideals.

Which artists would you like to work with as your dream collaboration choices in music?

Internationally, I think Coldplay and U2.

Were there any moments in your career that helped define you?

I’m a free spirit, I go where the music calls and takes me. This means that I am constantly looking for new challenges, and discoveries, that I am less concerned with defining myself and more with questioning myself and creating new possibilities.

For example, watching my 2019 Tomorrowland set I can’t identify with myself anymore. It’s the Alok of the past. Even though everything said it was the right way to go [for success], I couldn’t connect with that way anymore. If I were the same, I think there would be something wrong with me.

If you were to have any superpower what would it be and why?

The cure. But I know that music heals, I have learned this from the indigenous people who, for millennia, bring healing in their songs and pray.

In the FreeFire game, I became a character who has the power of healing. Through the Alok Institute, I try to promote healing that is not exactly literal, in the sense that there is a problem and lead to a solution for it, but in the sense of provoking changes that in the medium and long term will revert to benefits not only for individuals but for a whole collective.

I wish that the people impacted by the projects we develop at the Institute, can soon become social agents, agents of healing.

What does the word success mean to you?

Success is a set of factors. It might be an egoic word, but it might be recognition of hard work as a team. It can be status, but it can be meekness of doing what you believe in. Success comes with responsibility.

I have my responsibilities as an artist, as a husband, as a father, as a son, and above all, as a citizen. Success is recognizing my privileges and knowing how to empathize with others.

What would you like to say to your fans?

I want to thank you for the space in being able to talk a little about the things I think and believe. Telling the public that I am full of will and creativity, challenging myself more and more to bring a show that connects us, to bring joy, well-being, and awareness also because I believe in art, in music, as a way to broaden our horizons.

For more information on electronic superstar ALOK, follow him on Instagram and his Linktree page.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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