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Dj Malkin on His Journey and His Participation to the World’s Biggest Music Festivals

DJ Malkin has come a long way to becoming one of the first Saudi DJs to perform at Tomorrowland.


Photo: Abeer Ahmed

In 2013, DJ Malkin was introduced to the concept of DJing when friends told him that there are people in the world who create their own music and play it to a large audience. “I didn’t know what being a DJ meant, but I knew the names of the people that excelled in the field, such as Tiësto, Hardwell, and Afrojack, so that’s what got me going,” says Ahmad AlMalki, known as DJ Malkin. His stage name comes from his last name, Almalki. “I just decided to put an ‘N’ to turn it into Malkin,” he shrugs.

Malkin’s first memory of music was when he was 14. “I was attracted to Michael Jackson’s songs. I loved how they sounded,” says the artist. The Jeddah-based Malkin began to learn how to create rhythms but was afraid of receiving social backlash. Then, Covid changed everything. His love for music transformed into researching and practicing music. Malkin played at his friend’s studio for about eight months before he felt ready to appear publicly. During this period, the DJ learned various types of EDM music and now focuses on UK garage, tech house, and house music. “I’m always looking for new music and house music trends. I’m still learning something new every day,” he says. “I’m not committed to EDM, even though most people think I can only make EDM.” He hopes to change people’s perspective this coming year as he releases new songs with local artists that have a different flair to them.

The DJ is inspired by a variety of artists, most notably Fred Again and Skrillex. Malkin’s first live performance was in 2021 at the Soundstorm Festival in Riyadh, where he performed his first song. Malkin’s first single, called “YAW,” was inspired by Fisher’s song “Losing It.” “I wanted to make a bass line like it. You can say it’s like muscle building,” says the DJ. The song earned him second place in the best dance music category on Arab music streaming platform Anghami. Another milestone in his career was performing at Tomorrowland in Belgium – “my favorite show,” he comments. While Omar Basaad became the first Saudi to perform at the festival back in 2018, DJ Malkin joined the ranks recently as well. “It was an unforgettable experience because you can see people’s different tastes, what they like, and how they dance… It was something different for me,” he shares.

The 31-year-old artist is also the first and so far only person from Saudi Arabia to sign an exclusive contract with MDLBEAST Records. Malkin attributes his exploration of music to MDLBEAST, praising them for helping local talent grow and succeed. One of the DJ’s most memorable moments was when he noticed Afrojack followed him on Instagram. This connection is what led Malkin to the incredible opportunity to be a part of MDLBEAST and Wall Recordings’ talent program, which is owned by Afrojack.

Malkin doesn’t lose touch of his Saudi heritage when creating music. “I always work on adding some Saudi Arabian elements in most of my songs,” he offers. He is currently working on a collaboration with Saudi pop artist Molham, combining UK garage with Arabic lyrics. “The result is amazing,” Malkin exclaims. “You can see that the song has something in common with Fred Again and Swedish House Mafia, as they both inspired me a lot.” The artist has also posted on his social media a call-out for locals who can sing or write to contact him to “create something special.”

Malkin prepares for his shows by staying calm and organized. “I try to relax, be in a good mood, and arrange the songs I’m going to play,” he says. He likes to make sure everything is perfect ahead of time by visiting the site prior to the show and testing the lights and VFX he created. This year, he aims to release a song with his brother, a Saudi content creator that goes by the name of Virus. As far as dreams and aspirations go, Malkin hopes to become one of the best music producers in the Middle East. His advice to budding Saudi artists? “Make more music and don’t break down.”

Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of Vogue Man Arabia

Style: Mohammad Hazem Rezq
Production: Mohanned Turki, Shamis Ali, Latoya Kessie
Production assistant: Hussain Battar

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