Interviews and Articles Exclusive Interview with Steve Aoki
Steve Aoki played a killer show last Wednesday, November 16th, at Club Zoo in Pittsburgh, PA. Prior to the show I was able to catch up with Steve on the phone for a Exclusive Interview! In this exclusive interview Steve covers everything from the beginning to his latest collab and everything in between! If you missed the show, check out photos from the event here

LOLLI: Hi Steve, how are you?

Steve Aoki: Good, I’m doing good.

LOLLI: First off I want to thank you so much for taking the time before your show tonight to take the time to talk to us.

Steve Aoki: Yeah I know, thanks for doing the interview!

LOLLI: Oh definitely. So first off... how did you go from studying Sociology and Women's Studies to creating a record label to becoming a dj and producer?

Steve Aoki: Oh that’s a long story!

LOLLI: Haha, well you can give us the abbreviated story if you’d like!

Steve Aoki: Well besides all the academic stuff, I grew up with punk and hardcore music that became the base of everything that I do as a producer, a record label, you know... owner, and everything else... fashion, and hardcore stuff... and that’s never changed. I got involved in the hardcore community when I was a little kid... I was 13 and it gave me the tools... or showed me the tools... to do whatever I needed to do. I started doing zines by the time I was 15 years old. I learned all the instruments enough to be in band by the time I was 16. I was putting on shows by the time I was in high school. All those things, they were what hardcore kids were doing... and didn’t require really any money. All it required was time. You could always find the resources to get those things done. So at the end of the day, when you looked at it, they were like art projects. They weren’t really businesses, they were like art projects. It wasn’t about how much money we made. It was about being successful. Putting out zines that people cared about, and being in bands, putting out music... and that stayed with me through all of college. I decided to stay with music instead of pursuing the academic career... and it slowly transformed from that world to the DJing world. When I moved to Los Angeles in 02.. 2002... I started throwing Dim Mak parties around all the bands that we signed. In 2003 I got the 7 inch from a band called Block Party, and then we ended up putting their record out in 2004 and 2005... and during that whole time we’re throwing all these indie parties and that’s when I started DJing. You know I broke into house music not from the front door, but like from the side. I was like the rock thrown into the wrong house. I broke through the window.

LOLLI: Well, you certainly made a place in that home! Haha.

Steve Aoki: Haha

LOLLI: So, you’ve done collaborations with an impressive lineup of artists including your one with Tiesto, which released yesterday. Can you give us a little bit of a brief summary about this collaboration?

Steve Aoki: Yeah yeah, it’s a great collab because you can really imagine our two different sounds together in that song. It’s got a really big heavy drop and a really melodic kind of open area section. It just has two different worlds of music combine into one... and it works amazingly in the clubs. It’s awesome! And Tiesto is one of the fucking nicest dudes in this business. He’s a great guy.

LOLLI: Yeah I actually was able to catch the preview on YouTube the day before yesterday and I really liked what I heard so far.

Steve Aoki: Cool!

LOLLI: So it’s pre-show, obviously, you have a show in Pittsburgh tonight. Do you have any pre or post show rituals that you always find yourself doing?

Steve Aoki: I try to take a nap before the show if I can, just because sometimes that’s the best sleep I can get on the road. That’s the important thing, to try to catch up on sleep.

LOLLI: Oh definitely!

Steve Aoki: It’s the one thing I’m missing, and the one thing I’m trying to catch up on. Besides that, I’m always on Happy Cow trying to find the best organic food in each city. I TRY to eat healthy on the road.

LOLLI: Yeah I can imagine that would be kind of difficult if you don’t know where you’re going, so a good app probably helps that!

Steve Aoki: So what is one of the most shocking things that has happened to you.. either on tour or at a show?

Steve Aoki: The whole show is pretty shocking.

LOLLI: Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it tonight!

Steve Aoki: Yeah I know, it’s awesome... kids going crazy... for me it’s always shocking. It’s pretty wild.

Steve Aoki: So wait... is this interview for Pittsburgh?

LOLLI: Yeah, well I mean started in Pittsburgh but we’ve taken it national. We actually redesigned and relaunched the site and we’re doing a lot more national things now, but our heart will always be in Pittsburgh. But yeah I’m actually in Pittsburgh right now! We’ll be at the show tonight!

Steve Aoki: Come say hi!

LOLLI: I definitely will! Now I have a few more questions... one is what do you think about the very obvious dubstep craze over the past few years? What do you think helped it gain so much popularity in comparison to other genres of EDM and do you think any other EDM genre has the potential to gain that much popularity?

Steve Aoki: Well just like everything, there’s an ebb and flow. Especially with music and underground music. I mean I remember when electro first came on the scene in ‘07 and that was a massive massive kind of insurgence. I kind of feel like that’s happening with dubstep now. Give it a couple years and there will be something else. It’s really hard to say. It’s a lot of different reasons. Most of the reasons that things become the forefront are the right time and place of a producer that’s making something completely unique and interesting and new and fresh. So you add two or three of those guys in the mix that are globally changing the sound of a genre and you’re going to find a lot of guys that sound like them that will help start the change.

LOLLI: So do you think EDM belongs in the mainstream scene, kind of how it has been the past couple years?

Steve Aoki: Well the thing is, when electronic music becomes played in mainstream on radio and things like that, it no longer becomes electronic... it warps into pop music. Pop music kind of survives in the mainstream light, so it kind of takes from different genres of music that it can to sound cutting edge, fresh, and new... pop music you know? There’s a difference. There’s electronic music and then there’s, what we’re talking about. And the thing is, electronic music as an underground genre will always be there and there are so many different subgenres and so many different sounds... there’s so many different groups of DJs. I mean its just big, so big, to just dive into it. There’s so many things happening in electronic music. It’s not going anywhere, you know? I’m sure that pop music will continue to take and sample from electronic music, and that will always be around. I mean it will change, whatever’s popular, whatever’s changing... they’re going to sample from that.

LOLLI: Definitely.... I’ll finish up with one more question. If someone had told you, when you were still in college, when you were starting up Dim Mak, and all that kind of stuff, that you would be where you are today... would you have believed them?

Steve Aoki: Absolutely not!

LOLLI: Hahaha!

Steve Aoki: I mean first of all, in 1996, I didn’t even know what a DJ was! I didn’t even know what DJing was til like 2001. I started DJing when I was 22 years old. Even then, at that moment, there’s no way, there’s no fucking way.

LOLLI: Well I think everybody is pretty happy that you made it to where you are today.

Steve Aoki: Yeah, thank you!

LOLLI: I’m looking forward to tonight. We will certainly swing by and say hello, but that’s about all we have.

Steve Aoki: Alright, thanks a lot!

LOLLI: See you tonight, thank you!

Want to learn more about Steve Aoki? Check out his site here (

Want to check out the Rex Theater? Check out their site here (

Want an interview or article written to promote your event? Email Sara at
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