NAME: Steve Hiroyuki Aoki
AKA: "Kid Millionaire"
BIRTHDATE: November 30, 1977
HOMETOWN: Newport Beach, CA via Miami, FL
For this week's artist spotlight, it's about time I pay homage to the award-winning electro/house mogul, Steve Aoki. With his punk attitude and rock-star personality, he is not only an expert at crowd control but also a creator and innovator of all sorts. The man behind the music, is a master of sound, business, fashion and entertainment, as a whole. So, whether you're neck deep in the house scene or just tune into the radio on occasion, there's no doubt you know the name... and if you don't already, you will. His music gets regular radio play and can be heard from mainstream to underground clubs all over the world and, of course, the comfort of your own home. Simply put, he is everywhere.
Today, his first studio album, "Wonderland," hit the shelves. Prior to the official release, it was made available for download via iTunes and you better believe I was one of many to get my hands on it!
Once a vocalist for the screamo band, This Machine Kills, most of his music is now in the EDM genre. This, however, has not stopped him from being featured by magazines like, Rolling Stones. The music video for his latest single, "Ladi Dadi," with Wynter Gordon was just featured on Rollingstones.com and here's what he had to say about it, "This was the first time I ever got to do action [in a music video]," says Aoki. "I loved the entire experience, especially our amazing balcony-diving, stair falling stunt doubles!"
But before further a-do, I'll let the video speak for itself:
For me, one of Aoki's best MOs is his ability to work a crowd. Not only is he an incredible producer, he is also an impeccable DJ and performer. To be frank, I can see why fans absolutely love him because I do, too.
Here's a quick video clip from when I caught him live at Surrender Nightclub in Las Vegas, where he is a current resident and host to Friday night's "Aoki's House":
The song playing, "No Beef," is an track born of the collaboration between him and Afrojack. It also happens to be one of my favorite songs of 2011.
Below, is the official music video:
The long-haired, punk rock look isn't just a facade. As you can see, Aoki knows how to get down. “When I play my music today it brings out the punk spirit. The antics come out as natural manifestations of the music,” he says. Amongst one of these antics is the infamous champagne shower. On more than one occasion, I've witnessed him spraying champagne (from the bottle andhis own mouth) into a sea of half-naked party-goers, who literally soak it up and beg for more. For many, this has become somewhat of an expectation; go to one of his shows and be prepared to sweat off some calories... and leave sticky.
Don't believe it? This is Steve Aoki we're talking about! Watch here, as he leaves one happy man covered in icing:
Without question, Aoki is one of the most exciting DJs to catch behind the decks because he doesn't hide behind them for the entire performance. As often as possible, he is in front of the DJ booth, interacting directly with the crowd. Whether he's giving whipped-cream shooters, Dom Perignon showers, or Grey Goose shots straight into the mouths of Aoki-lovers, it's obvious that he appreciates his fans.
In an interview, he compared DJing to surfing by saying, “When I’m playing my sets, it’s about finding a swell and riding it the right way. It has to translate and connect so people can keep riding with you.”
We've seen how Aoki thrives at clubs, raves and festivals... but are you curious to see how this DJ survives in the wild? Videos, like the one below, can be seen on his Youtubepage.
Just 2 weekends ago, he was a part of the lineup for Holy Ship!, which sailed its maiden voyage for a 3 day party from the coast of Florida to the Bahamas. In addition to this, Aoki has headlined a bucket-list of massive EDM festivals, including IDentity, which he speaks about here:
I was at the IDentity Fest stop in San Francisco to catch this performance with Kaskade and let me just say, this video doesn't even do it justice. It was truly INSANE.
The response he receives during a performance is somewhat staggering but with his energy and charisma, it's almost impossible not to love him! Anyone who's been to one (or many) of his shows can testify that he is a true crowd pleaser. And for anyone who's been in the sea of people during one of his performances, he gives the chance to relive that moment by tagging themselves on his Facebook fanpage.
For those who haven't had a chance to see him live, you might be able to catch him during The Deadmeat Tour, which is set to hit cities in North America over the next couple months.
His father, Rocky Aoki, started the popular franchise, Benihana, but Steve Aoki doesn't display the typical mentality of someone born into wealth. Nor, did he grow up like the average California socialite. Rather, he was raised by his mother in a traditional Japanese home and has become an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. With numerous businesses to keep him busy, he doesn't stop there; he uses his resources to help and further the careers of others.
By his early 20's, Aoki created the record label, Dim Mak, which he used to successfully launch the careers of artists such as Bloc Party, MSTRKRFT and The Bloody Beetroots, just to name a couple. With The Deadmeat Tour, he sets forth to feature Datsik, Alvin Risk, Autoerotique, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Mustard Pimp, Terravita and more.
Being Japanese/American, myself, I've always had an affinity toward other Japanese Americans so when I first caught wind of Steve Aoki, I was an instant fan, almost by default. Beyond that, however, the more I've come to know of him, the more I genuinely admire. It was interesting to get his thoughts on his ethnicity, as well as, what inspired him to name his record label after his childhood hero, Bruce Lee.
As said by Steve Aoki, himself, "I think it's important for us to voice our opinions, to produce and create things that people can be part of, that come from us.. that come from what we do." And with that said, I proudly give him the VIP Club Scene stamp of approval. I'm sure many would agree.
If you haven't already tuned in to his show, "Aoki's House," on Sirius XM... here's a little something for your listening pleasure:
...along with a some videos to enjoy.
I hope everyone is having a fabulous week!