The Vibey, High-Energy World Of DJ Karrouhat

By Adam Baidawi
09 May 2019
Basil Al Hadi's music bridges the Middle East and the West, championing an unmistakably Arab soundscape along the way

Basil Al Hadi’s hall of fame moustache might be the first thing you see – but it won’t be what you remember about the singer, songwriter, DJ, producer, and hypebeast-around-town.

That honour goes to the ecstatic, full-throttle energy, which he brings without fail to every DJ set and photo shoot he drops – and there’s been plenty of them in the past 12 months. “Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, a hundred times. It has been a really big year for me,” says Al Hadi.

In 2018, the Dubai-based Kuwaiti levelled-up from regional DJ to intercontinental vibe king, playing gigs everywhere from Berlin to Istanbul, and collecting brand collaborations along the way – Burberry, Kenzo and GQ among them.

“When I’m doing something, I’m exchanging energy,” says Al Hadi. “And the people feel it – that’s the best thing about the music that I do.”

Transitioning to the creative arts was never a sure thing for Al Hadi, who spent years working as a project manager for large telecommunication companies. But, wanting to escape the office grind, he went all-in on music.

Sunglasses, $420, necklace, $2390, jacket, $13,000, turtleneck, $980, rings, $430, joggers, $1500, belt, $1850, socks, $120, sandals, $1650, fan, $950, Gucci

The most remarkable feat about Al Hadi’s rise-and-rise has been his ability to bridge the Middle East and the West, championing an unmistakably Arab soundscape along the way.

“We’re living in a very special time. We are representing, for what feels like the first time, our actual sound,” he says. “We’re not copying someone else. Now, they’re copying us. I know that I’ve represented the Arabic sound – that’s a very special thing.”

And while many might assume that a DJ with Al Hadi’s client list (and box-fresh style) might make a move to LA, New York or Berlin, Karrouhat has other ideas.

“I always want to be here in the Middle East,” he shrugs. “I never see myself living somewhere else.”

Photography: Francesco Scotti
Styling: Keanoush Zargham