8 Things We Learned from Steve Aoki’s LA Times Feature

Steve Aoki

With Steve Aoki’s album “Neon Future Vol. 1” dropping next month, the superstar DJ/producer recently found time in between his busy schedule to chat with the LA Times about the album, the development of his career and misconceptions about his upbringing.
Here’s what stood out the most to us:
1. He believes “caking” is good for his fans

SA: “Some people are like, ‘That’s so . . . wrong!’ . . . But I’m not caking people out of hate. It’s a love connection. Dance music is an emotional journey. It’s how well you can make people feel something that they haven’t felt . . . The best part to me is post-cake. After the cake has hit their face, they turn around so the whole crowd can see: They’re on top of the . . . world!'”

2. Dim Mak Records began as a non-EDM label

LT: “While enrolled as an undergrad at UC Santa Barbara, Aoki launched Dim Mak Records to release the kind of independent music he loved while also tirelessly writing critical pieces for hardcore fanzines and touring with his punk band, This Machine Kills.”

3. The version of “Boneless” feat. Kid Ink is his most successful track

LT: “It has sold more than 225,000 downloads, is getting major airplay on Top 40 radio stations across the country and has racked up nearly 24 million YouTube streams.”

4. He’s working on a video series called “Neon Future Sessions”

SA: “Whenever I learn something, I want to share it . . . Now I’m in this position where I get to interview the futurists of today, the people involved with my main interests: artificial intelligence, brain research, technology.”

5. He came from money but didn’t get a free ride

LT: “Growing up in affluent Newport Beach after his parents’ divorce, the musician was effectively cut off from his father’s Benihana fortune — estimated to have been worth as much as $100 million — thanks to the elder Aoki’s insistence that his six children attain success without his financial help. Still, the misconception the younger Aoki grew up a ‘rich kid’ has dogged him ever since (not helped by Aoki’s early DJ moniker ‘Kid Millionaire’).”

6. A movie has been made about his relationship with his father

LT: “It’s his family lineage as son of Rocky Aoki — the flamboyant, philandering, speedboat-racing founder of the Benihana restaurant chain — that grabbed the attention of David Gelb, filmmaker behind the documentary ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi.’ An as-yet-untitled documentary produced by Gelb (directed by his protege, Justin Krook) chronicling Aoki’s complicated relationship with his father is set for theatrical release in January by Relativity Media.”

7. He might partner with the CEO of Zappos:

LT: “[Tony] Hsieh has made a personal crusade out of rehabilitating blighted downtown Las Vegas into a burgeoning hipster enclave. During their meeting at a funky outdoor shopping and entertainment center, the two discussed ways Aoki might help Hsieh, including potentially setting up a DJ school for kids or a pop-up store in conjunction with the performer’s Dim Mak record label and fashion line.”

8. He won’t let the haters stop him

SA: “You see the comments come in: ‘Aoki’s a clown, a poser.’ I do feel a bit insecure about it . . . I thought, ‘Maybe I should stop caking.’ But then I thought, ‘I can’t let these people dictate the way I live.’ In this space, it’s all about the moment.'”

Related: Behind the Scenes with Steve Aoki on Tour