Artist Exclusive – Steve Aoki
Mega deejay, producer, remixer, and entrepreneur, Steve Aoki is one of the most well-respected men in the music industry, as he should be — founder of Dim Mak records, which launched careers for The Gossip, Bloc Party, and MSTRKRFT, to name a few. Aoki is a staple to the new music of the millennium — the hybrid of musicians, producers, and remixers crossing over into live deejaying, and making their own brand of dance music.
I had a chance to catch up with the busy man as he crisscrossed the country en route to his gig at The Mid.
How do you gear for the smaller club shows, like The Mid, versus playing for the bigger, festival-type crowds?
Last night I played a new club that just opened in Sacramento called District 30, which is really small, like 400 capacity. When the smaller the gig is and the more intimate, I play different kind of set.
When I’m on stage in front of a lot of people I feel like I should be playing an Aoki set, live music and more vocal tracks, but when I play a smaller show, I turn more into a dj. And for tonight it depends on the layout; I played Waterloo, an 800 capacity club. Once you’re in a room and you see how the room is built it can feel like a big show, a 2,000 capacity show and I do my Aoki set with some new stuff, new hip hop tracks; tracks that are coming out this year on the label (www.dimmak.com).
Will we hear any remixes of any original Dim Mak artists like Klaxons or Bloc Party tonight?
I did remix Klaxons new single so look out for that. But I don’t really go into the archives so much because I have a limited amount of time, I have to pick and chose the tracks that I want to play; its like a showcase of whats to come of Dim Mak, such as remixes and production tracks that I collaborate on, as well as other tracks that I am a fan of.
I hear you’re a punk rock fan, and there is currently a crossover of rock musicians going into the deejay game; how did you crossover and what do you think is to come of the dance music scene?
For me, I am a rock guy, Dim Mak is based on rock music, just in the last three years we progressed into the dance world with artists that were cross overs that we signed in 2007 like The Bloody Beatroots and MSTRKRFT; they have rock backgrounds but they are able to produce what they used to when they were in rock bands, but now with dance music. So that was my cross over appeal, those kinds of artists, that come from two different worlds. For instance, I am doing a collaboration with Skrillex — Skrillex is really gonna change the game because of his background. He is a pro of applying his version of dance music and its hitting people in an exciting way; what he’s doing, to me I look for that kind of art.
And Aoki definitely found his own version of art — showcased in his phenomenal live performance at The Mid. Check out this video from Friday’s performance
Also see what Steve is like on the road, with this clip from his Euro tour