Fresh off of his Dead Meat tour, and the release of his new album, Wonderland, Steve Aoki seriously does it all. While kicking it in the press tent, we sat down with Steve to find out how he juggles so many different ventures at once, while continually producing incredible music. Read the interview below to get an insight into how the Kid Millionaire does it all.
Swaager: You’re such a huge presence in the music scene, and at the same time you have so many endeavors that you’ve taken on – you have clothing lines, a restaurant that you’re a partner in and you’ve just released an album. Where do you get all the inspiration to be able to perform on all these different platforms and keep everything going? Steve Aoki: To manage all of the different things happening in my life, it requires a really efficient, effective and collective team. I really try to find the best people to try and manage all these different operations. The label, we have seventeen people working just on Dim Mak. Under the Dim Mak arm, we’re not just in the business of selling records, we’re in the business of advancing music and doing all sorts of business with music. So, with our artists, we reinvent, we stage the festivals, we have our club, we put out records, we help get songs onto TV and into videos, stuff like that. With clothing, I have a whole arm that’s working on that too. Obviously with the production, that’s the one thing where I’m really focused entirely on that and with all the different singers that I’m working with. Touring is a whole other beast as well because I’m on the road all the time.
Absolutely, you lead a busy life. Your new album has taken a turn, you’ve moved towards a different type of sound. Do you want to tell us about your new album and what influenced you in the creation of that album? The album is a chronicle of the last three years of influences that have affected my production. That’s why you have a whole spectrum of sound, I’ve been working on it since 2007, really. The inception of the idea came out around 2009, but I’ve been working on the beats for a long time. I’ve been saving them, kind of holding them hostage. Instead of releasing them single by single, I’ve just been putting the collaborations I’ve done out in the last three years just to get kids excited about the music. This album is particularly different from writing a bunch of club songs. I just wanted to write the best songs I could write with the different vocalists I worked with to find the best song possible. instead of writing the sickest drop with the sickest build. It’s a completely different process of songwriting.
You just finished with your Deadmeat tour with Datsik, which city stood out to you particularly? My biggest headlining show of my career was in San Francisco with 7,200 people. That was epic. It was like a festival in a show. That was fucking crazy.
Was it different pairing up with someone like Datsik, who is primarily a dubstep artist for the tour? Do you think that brought out something different in your music? My friends are definitely my biggest inspirations and influences. Whenever I hear their sound, of course it’s going to affect the way that I look at my songs or the way that I look at producing a new song. With Datsik, I love his production; I’m so inspired by him and we’re working on a couple tracks as well. We have one that we’ve almost finished on the road. My last two remixes have dubstep parts in the song. My last couple tracks that I’ve written, “Ooh” and “Cudi the Kid,” those are dubstep dropper records. That’s the great thing about electronic music right now, you can break all kinds of rules now. You don’t have to stick within one genre. You don’t have to be like “Fuck, I’m a trance artist. I can’t do anything with electro.” Trance and electro have practically merged at this point. Tiesto made the move and now everyone else is like, “Oh yeah, I’m going to play 130 BPM records and I’m a full on trance head.” I played right before Eddie Halliwell, he’s one of the biggest trance DJ’s I’ve seen in Ibiza. He opened up with “Antidote,” the Knife Party/Swedish House Mafia song which is a dropper electro house record, you know? In 2007 or 2008, it was like one genre sits over here and one genre sits over here and we will not mix. Now we’re all together and it’s okay to have trance elements in a dubstep song or a dubstep sound in electro records. People are more accepting. The fact that Tiesto and I could collaborate on a track and have it be heavily supported by the community is a big deal. Three years ago, who knows if that could have happened.