Steve Aoki

(Steven Hiroyuki Aoki)

Steve Aoki
Steve Aoki
  • Born: November 30, 1977
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Musician, Record Producer, DJ, Music Executive

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Steven Hiroyuki Aoki is an American electro house musician, record producer, DJ, and music executive. In 2012, Pollstar designated Aoki as the highest grossing dance artist in North America from tours. He has collaborated with artists such as will.i.am, Afrojack, LMFAO, Linkin Park, Iggy Azalea, Lil Jon, blink-182, Laidback Luke, BTS, Louis Tomlinson, Rise Against, Vini Vici and Fall Out Boy and is known for his remixes of artists such as Kid Cudi. Aoki has released several Billboard-charting studio albums as well, notably Wonderland, which was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronica Album in 2013. He is the founder of the Steve Aoki Charitable Fund, which raises money for global humanitarian relief organizations.

Quotes About
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A lot of my building blocks - who I am kind of as an artist - all came from being in L.A.
Artists are creating their own genre sound, and other artists are building upon that sound and already creating a huge subculture created around one particular sound created by one artist. So, with all that happening, the genres are going to break down, and there's going to be a multitude of sound coming out.
Artists have so much more control of their futures - they don't need to rely so much on major labels or big companies to help them. You have artists like Skrillex that can dominate so much that he gets 5 Grammy nominees, and he's clearly an underground artist.
At my shows, I want to be totally sharp and focused on every single song, on every single thing that I do, and plus, I have to because I'm, like, caking someone and have to run back and mix the next song... and I have so much fast, quick reflex timing.
Being a musician since I was a teen, Guitar Center is the staple. You need anything to create, it's there. You need a Guitar Center. You gotta give it homage. It's a tool shed, and without the tool shed, it's hard to create.
'Boneless,' even though we were thinking about servicing it to radio, it made more sense putting a vocal on there. This was actually the first time that I really looked at doing a song for radio and kind of let go of some control and listened to a lot of different radio pluggers and had Ultra come in and help out with ideas. Time
Dance music is an emotional journey. It's how well you can make people feel something that they haven't felt. Music, Chants & Rapps
Dance music is my love, is my passion, is my life. I live for my fans and take my art very seriously. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Music, Chants & Rapps
Extending our lives, extending our creativity, opening up the mysteries of the brain. All those things that are really exciting - that's kind of the basis of 'Neon Future,' and that's why I interviewed Ray Kurzweil and Aubrey de Grey. Future
For a DJ at my level, you can really go through life and travel the world without seeing a single thing. It's harder to go out and see the sights than it is to play a show. Life ;Travel
For a producer, you want to be in L.A. You want to be close to the action, and in L.A. there are always singers, artists, songwriters, collaborators and other producers. It's easy to get access to all that, which gives you more opportunity to work records. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
For me, I guess the general reason for using social media is that the connection I have with people who are interested in my music is extremely important to me. That connection is like the pillar in everything I do. I want to embrace that connection and make it stronger. Music, Chants & Rapps
High school and college were my punk, formative years. I was playing hardcore, learning to be a musician. In bands, you tour, but you're paid nothing; you're playing to 50 people in a basement, sleeping in a van, and you love it. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I always tell up-and-coming DJs you have to really love what you do and find that interest to drive you. It requires so much attention to detail, and it takes up a lot of your time. You hear a song, and there are so many little pieces that make that song work. It requires a lot of patience, diligence and resilience. Time ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I feel pretty comfortable in front of a camera.
I have been doing merch' since I was 15 and in bands when I was a teenager - silk-screening shirts, making the emulsion in my mom's closet I converted into a dark room, through college. That's essentially how us bands survived was selling homemade t-shirts.
I like looking at a future where we're expanding our creativity and brightening our lives. I believe that eventually we'll get to a point where we'll be able to live indefinitely through our technology. Future ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I love to work with artists that were able to find a brand new name and create something really exciting and fresh. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I love working with producers, like doing the record with Laidback Luke on 'Turbulence' and working with Afrojack on 'No Beef.' Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I never cake someone who doesn't want to be caked - at least, I try not to. Sometimes I miss my target. I'm pretty much going through the crowd making sure I find someone who wants to get caked. If you don't want to get caked, shake your head or tell me you don't want to get caked. It's that easy.
I started using a raft at my shows in 2009, and in 2011, I started caking people.
I wasn't sheltered or spoiled. All the money I made, I made myself. Money, Coins & Minting
I wrote probably my phattest banging record with Knife Party: 'Pile Driver.'
I'm 36, but I still feel like a punk kid with $200 in my savings account.
It's a really diverse time in music, with all these different DJs and all these different categories, and we are all taking footnotes from everyone else. There are no real genre boundaries anymore; you can take a trance idea and put it into a trap record - it's not that uncommon. Time ;Music, Chants & Rapps
It's of course important to mention that when DJing, I'm building my own story through the music. I'm figuring out what song to play next, what song to play after that, and how the two will blend together. How the emotion is going to develop from one song to another. So I first build that storyline. Music, Chants & Rapps
I've been doing my record label for 15 years called Dim Mak. I started my label when I was 19 in '96. I started putting out an eclectic roster of artists. In 2003, we found a band called Bloc Party, and in 2004, we started getting remixes for Bloc Party, and at the same time I was throwing Dim Mak parties in Los Angeles. Time
My favorite book is 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson. History
My favorite country to visit is Japan.
My favorite food is Ramen. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
My first job was working at Benihana as kitchen help. In college, I was a telemarketer for a company at the same time I was a bike messenger for this greasy fast-food place. Time
My life, I swear, is, like, 75% public. I have a very small percentage of my life that is private. But I do keep that private life private. Life
'Neon Future' is, in short, a positive outlook on human progress and technology, looking forward to a bright, colorful utopia. It's embracing the future and looking toward the future in a more optimistic way. Future ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
No matter what I do, I can't help but feel that I'm under a microscope. Some of it is completely silly, and some of it is meant to be hurtful. For example, a website accumulated all of my music videos to point out perceived Illuminati images. I loved that one. Of course, it was all ridiculous but funny. Music, Chants & Rapps ;Humor
On my YouTube channel, I put up 3-4 videos a week, and I spend a lot of money to maintain that content. When I travel, I travel with a videographer and a photographer no matter what. Travel ;Money, Coins & Minting
Self-discovery is so important in identity processing: who you hang out with, what clothes you wear, what shows you see. As a kid, I found out about things through friends. I would go to hardcore shows with 50 people.
The craziest thing I've probably done during a show is the balcony dive - it was pretty scary. I was like, 'This could result in an injury of mine,' but somehow I survived.
The ephemeral part of this work is that in music production, the sounds evolve so much faster than it used to, which means that you really have to put in a lot of work and effort in constantly designing the next sound that will move the culture forward. Music, Chants & Rapps ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The haters and the trolls have always used me as an excuse to make fun of something that is out of the ordinary, something that doesn't necessarily make sense to them. For whatever reason, I have always been a target that people love to attack. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
The record labels used to spend money on advertising, and social media has replaced that entirely - it's putting magazines out of business. It's put big companies into completely reinventing their strategies. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Money, Coins & Minting
The thought of bringing a cake into a dance music show is a bizarre one. The idea of rafting on top of people is just as bizarre as well. And I think whenever something bizarre comes into play, it immediately becomes an easy target. And for those reasons, I know that I have been the target of criticism. Music, Chants & Rapps
The way I pick who gets caked is generally by who shows me the most energy and is screaming for it. I still can't help but ask myself... should I stop caking people? Will that stop the haters from hating? Stop giving the trolls more content to target me with?
There's a big gaping hole in the EDM space for songwriting. It's one thing to learn how to be a great sound designer and become big just on sound design. Especially if you're in the dubstep category, it's like, how much fatter and more interesting can you make those drops.
Vegas is a very fickle market that's about fun. It will change to what people want.
When I work with artists, I give them a general guideline of what my vision is. Then they're going to speak their minds on how they view it, too. The song that defines 'Neon Future' the best is the title track. I wrote that with Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun. It's through his words. We had an amazing songwriting session together, connecting. Future ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
When I'm at a show, I'm there to have fun. Let's just not care for a moment. So this cake in your face is to make you lose your mind. And it's not about caring about whatever you are wearing and caring what other people are thinking about you. Out of the context, I'm trying to develop something else.
Whenever I work with different artists, I expand as a song writer, as a producer, and I always want to try and find the bridge between my world and their world. Work, Workers & The Labor Force