Those we have lost

Matan ‘Kido’ Elmalem, 42: DJ & trance music legend, beloved friend

Killed after playing his last set at the Supernova music festival at Kibbutz Re’im on October 7

Matan Elmalem,42, also known as 'Kido,' was killed on October 7 2023, after playing his last set at the Supernova festival at Kibbutz Re'im. (Courtesy)
Matan Elmalem,42, also known as 'Kido,' was killed on October 7 2023, after playing his last set at the Supernova festival at Kibbutz Re'im. (Courtesy)

Matan ‘Kido’ Elmalem, 42, was killed at the Supernova festival at Kibbutz Re’im after playing what would be his last set on the DJ stage at the outdoor music festival on October 7, 2023.

Originally from the desert town of Dimona, Elmalem was a music-lover from an early age, blasting Guns N’ Roses and Metallica from his childhood bedroom, and later becoming a sought-after teen DJ at school events and high school parties in the small town.

As his music career grew, Elmalem adopted the professional name DJ Kido and traveled the world, playing at top music festivals and events in Europe, India, South America, and Japan, which he called home for about a year.

He was at the height of his career, a talented and beloved world-famous DJ and legend in the trance music scene in Israel and abroad, family and friends say.

Early Saturday morning on October 7, Elmalem was at the helm of one of several stages at the massive trance event, which drew an overall crowd of some 3,500 people. Terrorists killed about one out of every 10 people at the event during the massacre at Supernova and abducted some two dozen.

Elmalem was initially listed as missing before his body was found by friends who went looking for him at the festival.

“Your friends didn’t stop the search, they went with the permission of the brigade commander, crawled on the floor for miles at night, and found your bag and your car, your personal equipment, but not your phone. The next day they came back and went over the whole area again — no army, no police, no ZAKA, only them. And they found your phone, your ring, and next to these, your body. My son, my love, watch over the family,” his father Shimon Elmalem said in his eulogy.

Elmalem’s sister, Lyn Elmalem, said that at his funeral, which drew hundreds, people would come up to the family and tell them of Elmalem’s heroics that devastating morning.

One man who was at the event told Lyn that there were partygoers who were under the influence of substances “and Matan brought them to a safe place, calmed them down and helped them leave the area.”

“He returned to help more people. This is what typifies him best. He always said about people in distress, ‘And what if she were my little sister?’ And it caused him to be very sensitive,” she said.

Lyn described a loving, doting older brother for whom music was life and who became a powerhouse in the trance genre.

“He fought for trance. I didn’t understand this music and didn’t understand what they enjoy about it, but he tried to explain to me that there’s meaning behind it and that it’s an entire world that needs to be studied,” she said.

Omri Elmalem, his younger brother, also described the joy of being his sibling.

“My Matani, ever since I can remember I know that I have an older brother who watches over me… There was always someone who said, ‘Are you Kido’s brother? Wow, you look alike.’ Then they start with the stories, about a party you were at together, or a production. They always mention how special a person you are, how much they love you, even if you haven’t spoken in a decade,” he said at the funeral.

Friend and mentor Mikko Barak paid tribute to Elmalem in a Facebook post, recalling his first meeting with the young, ambitious DJ many years ago and their music journey together since.

“My Kido, my child, I’ve been trying to find the words but I can’t, I don’t know how to say goodbye, I can’t find sense in the words I’m writing… My head refuses to grasp that you’re not here anymore, and my heart explodes with pain,” said Barak. “You left a mark on everyone you touched in the short time you had to live.”

Gal Amos, who goes by the stage name DJ Galapagos, was a long-time music partner of Elmalem’s. He told Channel 12: “Matan is one of the best people I have ever met in my life. A huge heart of giving and an entire scene got to experience this colorful human being who was an integral part of the DNA of global trance culture. He had a special charm.”

Amos said Elmalem was that friend who always brought people together: “The Friday dinners at his house, he made sure to gather everyone and that everyone would take part… The new generation may not know, but Matan was a big name in the world.”

“He always said: ‘I am trance,’” recalled Dan Label, the artistic director of the Forum Club in Beersheba, who worked closely with Elmalem over the past two years. “It was his life. A true professional, he treated every evening he managed as if it were an Independence Day celebration. He was punctilious about time and hospitality for the artists to the highest level. Trance artists from around the world knew it wasn’t just about coming and playing –- it was being a guest of Kido.”

As a DJ, Elmalem was “an encyclopedia of trance,” Label said. “He was the best.”

“All of the life stories we wrote together, I will take with me forever. Rest in peace, my dear brother. See you at the big party in the sky,” Amos bid Elmalem in farewell.

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