Al­bum the bridge for se­duc­tive spin

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CLUBBING -

ORLD-RENOWNED DJ and pro­ducer Steve Aoki says he wanted to demon­strate all his dif­fer­ent styles of pro­duc­tion on his new al­bum, Won­der­land.

It may not be ac­cu­rate to call Aoki the face of the new elec­tronic-mu­sic move­ment in the US, but he is one of the few DJs in the coun­try who is in­stantly iden­ti­fi­able as the be­spec­ta­cled Skrillex or the masked, grin­ning car­i­ca­ture known as dead­mau5.

Per­haps that’s why Aoki, founder of in­flu­en­tial elec­tronic mu­sic la­bel Dim Mak, has be­come one of the coun­try’s top tour­ing DJs, spin­ning for tens of thou­sands of fans at mas­sive fes­ti­vals and on TV at the mtvU Woodie Awards. With his glossy syn­the­sis­ers and se­duc­tive elec­tro beats, Aoki, 34, bridges the gap be­tween top 40 pop and indie-club cred.

His first proper al­bum, Won­der­land, fea­tures col­lab­o­ra­tions with LMFAO, Kid Cudi and Weezer singer Rivers Cuomo. Ahead of his up­com­ing Aus­tralian tour, Aoki chats about the state of dance mu­sic. A lot of DJs aren’t re­leas­ing al­bums – they’re just do­ing sin­gles, remixes, mix­tapes. . . Why was it im­por­tant to you to re­lease an al­bum?

I come from a world of rock ’n’ roll, where al­bums de­fined artists. It wasn’t the EP that de­fined you, it was the al­bum. It wasn’t a par­tic­u­lar song. Like Weezer’s Pinker­ton al­bum is what’s defin­ing of Weezer to me, not El Scor­cho. Or Propagandhi’s Less Talk, More Rock – that en­tire al­bum was the cen­tre­piece of the punk time in my life. Or Gorilla Bis­cuits’ Start To­day or the Prodigy’s first al­bum. I’m still in that space. I want to put out an al­bum that’s defin­ing of my sound in 2012. I agree with you – it’s the sin­gles that de­fine DJs. And some of the top 10 DJs in the world don’t re­lease al­bums at all – Afro­jack, Laid­back Luke, Avicii. They don’t have al­bums, but they’re con­sid­ered lit­er­ally the top DJs in US DJ Steve Aoki em­braces a fan dur­ing his set at last month’s Sun­set Strip Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in West Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia What’s the big­gest dif­fer­ence you’ve no­ticed be­tween DJing live now and in, say, 2009?

In Amer­ica, it’s just blown-up. And it’s not just the amount of peo­ple. It’s the en­ergy. The ex­cite­ment. The en­thu­si­asm. The pas­sion. All of that is just in­cred­i­ble. You play a fes­ti­val show – say, Ul­tra – and you can see 50,000 peo­ple in front of you, if you’re play­ing the main stage. But not only do you see that many peo­ple, you see at least half of them jump­ing in uni­son. It’s in­cred­i­ble to be able to have that kind of en­ergy and con­nec­tion with the au­di­ence. the world and they have ev­ery right, be­cause these songs are global hits that tran­scend cul­ture and lan­guage. Was it easy to find col­lab­o­ra­tors for this al­bum?

It’s not easy, man. It’s one thing to talk to some­one about do­ing a record and it’s an­other thing to ac­tu­ally do the record. This al­bum, I was able to get it all done be­cause I took it upon my­self to reach out to all the dif­fer­ent artists. All of them, I know on a per­sonal ba­sis. It’s like, I can’t reach out to, like, Garth Brooks, you know what I mean? I have to know some­one that re­spects and likes my mu­sic. How do you know Brooks doesn’t like your mu­sic?

Yeah, I mean, who knows? But I know will.i.am per­son­ally; he’s been com­ing to Dim Mak par­ties in LA for years, sup­port­ing dance mu­sic. We al­ready did a record to­gether, so work­ing with him was very nat­u­ral and or­ganic. I’ve known Kanye (West) for­ever. I’ve known Travis Barker for a long time. These are peo­ple that I look to as my party part­ners in crime. I hit up these peo­ple be­cause I know them per­son­ally, they know where I’m com­ing from, what my take on the dance world is.

Steve Aoki plays The Met, in Bris­bane, on Oc­to­ber 11.

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