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Steve Aoki Interview - Interview with Steve Aoki


Steve Aoki Interview - Interview with Steve Aoki

Steve Aoki


The mixed CD "Pillowface and His Airplane Chronicles" will serve as an intro for many to the electro scene and the globetrotting DJ Steve Aoki. Those in the know have been following Steve and his record label Dim Mak with essential releases from Bloc Party, Klaxons, The Rakes, and The Gossip. Steve Aoki has deftly mixed the greatest hits of electro (Datarock, Franz Ferdinand, Justice) with cheeky voiceovers (from Spank Rock, Har Mar Superstar, Mickey Avalon) for one of the most compelling mixed CDs of recent memory.

DJ Ron Slomowicz: Are you excited about playing Sundance this year?
Steve Aoki: Yes, definitely. I love it. This is my third year I think, or maybe fourth. I'm not really sure. I like going out there because I'm in one place for at least a couple of days.

RS: Yes, I looked at your touring schedule and it looks like you're everywhere.
Steve Aoki: Sundance is weird because I've yet to see an actual movie there.

RS: So how did you choose the songs for your CD? Is it representative of what you play in your live gigs?
Steve Aoki: That CD is more of a reflection of the current state of music that I'm really involved in and excited about. I think for a lot of kids, it's an introduction to what electro is or defines what electro is to me. As far as electronic music is concerned, there's a huge dividing culture between people that listen to Tiesto and people that listen to Justice. It's also for the kids who already know what electro is, and have been a part of it for years. The tracks are popular, they're purposefully popular and they're purposefully classic in that sound for that reason. I also added all the new hip-hop vocals and different singers and artists that drop their vocals over the tracks.

RS: I've heard this CD referred to as the Rave til Dawn for the electro generation.
Steve Aoki: Yes, yes, for sure!

RS: How did you meet up with all the vocalists that you had drop tracks on here?
Steve Aoki: Well, there's a long history between myself and all those different people who sing on the record. I know them in different capacities. They're all friends of mine, people I respect, and people that I've worked with. Also, it's people that to me are the future of our sound, they define the future of what we're doing, from Spank Rock being the future of hip-hop, to the Faint, who has always been the best of the game, to Uffie, to all these different artists.

RS: There's a lot of buzz on the CD that it is the next big thing. Where do you see the CD going and what kind of influence do you think it's going to have on people?
Steve Aoki: I am really excited about how the retail structure has been on this CD. We just had our sales meeting and we got into all the big chains, Target and Walmart. It's been difficult with how records are selling – actually, how they're not selling – and with the closing down of mom and pop stores, who have been the bread and butter of my label for about ten years. They've been the main support structure of how we sell records. What's left is these huge, massive chains. So, getting into these stores and making it available and accessible to the kids that have no other choice about where they want to buy a physical CD, it's actually been really impressive. So we're doing some more support around that world, so we can be more available to the kids. We're shipping thirty thousand records for the first week.

RS: Being in this for ten years, why wait until now for your first mix CD?
Steve Aoki: You know, I didn't want to do mix CDs for a long time. I wasn't really interested. Most mix CDs are really boring, and I was never really excited about any except Erol Alkan's Bugger Out Mix CD which was a really important CD for me when I came up. Diplo's Fabric Live CD is another classic mix CD – there's only a few that just stand out. With this one, it was like more of kind of cultural landscape. The reasons for this CD coming out was when I saw the effect that all these different groups were having: changing music and creating their own theme, their own community, that's when I was I thought, 'Well, here's a good reason to do a mix CD.' As well as making it different by adding new vocals on all these tracks that everyone knows about. They're purposefully popular, they're tracks that people should already have and they know about but with all new vocals which make it a new track.

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