Artist Interviews

Steve Aoki! Winter Sound System Interview!

Our most anticipated interview so far this year is here! Our Skype interview with the man Steve Aoki!!! An early morning for us and a late night for him didn’t stop him having a live chat with us and letting us know whats going down with Dim Mak, his respect for the Australian crowd and his newest projects! Please excuse some spelling errors of some names and it was transcribed and we wanted to bring the interview to you as fast as we could! We hope your just as excited for a good read and to learn more about the man Steve Aoki himself!

Dim Mak is obviously a massive part of you life, how did it all start?
Dim mak the label started in 96, I guess that’s like 14 years ago. I was in college and at the time it wasn’t a electronic label, it was more a Rock label, Punk records, indie bands, and for a good 10 years that’s what we were putting out. 2007 was when started emerging into the dance scene. The first artists we signed were The Bloody Beetroots & Mstrkrft, then the last 3 years we have been have developing that scene by signing other small artists like Felix Cartal, Herve, Armand Van Helden, Sound of Stereo, Gtronic, Sandro Silva, SonicC and Auto Erotic. We have a pretty extensive singles library, we have tones of singles from different artists that we just signed for singles deals and as far as the album sales its a little different. We still do some rock formatted artists like All Leather, Willows, Scanners but its not as much as it used to be.

Is your Rifoki Ep under your label?
Yer, Rifoki as well, we just put out a record last month. It almost makes sense because its just me and Bob (Rifo). Are you going to continue doing that stuff? Yer we plan to record a full album in January. Bob’s gonna come out and stay here for a month and were gonna put together a full album of material. We recorded that first Ep in like 5 days, we spent 5 days in the studio straight, morning till night and wrote, rehearsed and recorded all those tracks with the help of Congorock as well cause he plays the Guitar.

Yer we were a bit disappointed that there were only like 5 tracks, I was like I want some more! Now you’ve been in the music industry for such a long time, what are the pro’s and con’s?
The music industry is a very unforgiving business. For as long as I’ve been doing it I still haven’t made any money. As far as making my ends meet, no matter how well we do we just can’t get past that place were we are living pretty. Its just been a tough environment but we’ve been adapting and evolving how people access music and kind of grown with that current and also been able to do different things around the artist like we put on lots of party’s and festivals. Obviously were doing like the Dim Mak stages at festivals, lots of promotion with our artists outside of records and marketing, we work with different companies that sponsor different events and that would help subsidize cost and build the company up to that level but as far as a brand, were definitely become a global brand cause all our artists are global. All of our artist tour around the world, I mean not necessary everywhere but Asia, Australia, New Zealand, The America’s (North, South and Central) Canada, Europe, not so much the middle east but we are constantly touring. We have very good relationships with all of our artists that are touring so we have up-t0-date information. We try to be a hub for all the artists so they can give us information so we can give it back some back to them. Our fans and supports are another thing. With Dim Mak we have kept a consistent level of communication with the people that follow us, so we’ve built a very loyal and committed following. We have our weekly email that goes out to a near 100,000 people, which are a very specifically focused bunch of people, not just randoms. Stuff like that, all that stuff is really important to the label.

You have a hell of a lot of fans in Australia, are you looking forward to Winter Sound System?
Yer man, I mean Australia is I would say one of my favourite places in the world to play!
Its a shame, its like a good thing and a bad thing that I can only come out there once a year but its good cause I don’t want to be their to much cause otherwise people might get sick of me or something, but at the same time I want to come back as much as possible cause I love being in Australia in general and I have a few friends out there and the crowds are just amazing and your music awareness in Australia is just different than any other place so a song like Warp we just hit gold in Australia and that wouldn’t happen in America.

How did you enjoy your last gigs in Australia, you played at the family night club in Brisbane, overall did you enjoy it?
Brisbane was a very epic first show! My first show of the club tour and it was sieving with fucking energy! It was so dense, like the crowd was ready to burn the whole club down kinda vibe, but yer it was really great, really good first show. Id say Brisbane and Sydney were the best 2. As far as who takes the crown for the best show id have to say it would be out of those two. The Sydney show was actually really epic cause I love that room! For me its not just the crowd that makes the show epic, its the way the room is like, the stage and how people can gather around the stage and stuff like that! I played Gold Coast the year before and it was one of the most memorable festival gigs I’ve ever done! Its pretty much that whole Queensland area.

Other than winter sound system, what are you going to be getting up to whilst your down here? I heard you enjoy Bondi?
Yer I do, I think I have 4 days in between the tour so I think I’m gonna spend two days in Brisbane and two days in Sydney and might see some friends in Sydney and just chill out.

Are you ever gonna get some big Australian artists under your Dim Mak Label?

I’ve actually been looking into it, you know I like the Aston Shuffle guys, I like Beni, I like White Noise. There is a couple of guys from your neck of the woods that I really like. The really good ones are already picked up so..  You have a great label like Ministry of Sound is a really great label, they work all our artists with a great a great promotion and there’s Modular. I’ve known them for years and years and years and was actually the reason I came to Australia for the first time I did 4 or 5 years ago. Modular is one of those global label, its a great label and they keep backing the Australian artists which is really cool. The Bang Gang guys doing their singles releases and stuff and their show’s great, I’ve been working with them. There’s Shock and Elusive, I know so many labels from Australia its funny.

So whats on next on the production cards for yourself?
There is a ton of different things, my main project is my album, so I’m finishing up my album and its all features so it takes time, I’m 80% with done with the music but I got to get the vocals and stuff organized.
Any hints who’s doing some vocals?
Well you know, there will be Zuper Blahq, Rivas Quomo from Weezer, Kelly from Bloc Party, Lil John, Kid Cudi, KO Kruse, Sky Feraira, but I don’t want to give away to much cause there down to be apart of it but they haven’t yet done the vocal. Its like I say, its pretty diverse from the way of Genres. There a Pop vocalist a Hip Hop vocalist a Rock vocalist. So thats my main project that I’ve been working on for quite some time and then on top of that its easy for me to work with a producer and churn out a club banger but that’s not my priority churning out club bangers, I’ll always jump into a studio and do something quickly for a couple of hours cause and that’s always interesting cause you always have a different take on how you would produce a song when you work with some else and there’s tonnes of collaborations. I have Armand Van Helden, I did a track with him and that’s coming out this Summer (our winter), I did a pretty extensive session with Afrojack, we worked day and night for a few days and wrote 5 songs. Some of those will be for my own solo album and some for his Solo album and then some will be our own Collaborative record. Laidback Luke, we have a big song we just finished with Lil John doing some Vocals. I just asked Lil John to jump on with some locals to liven it up a bit. Its a pretty massive track for me for my club sets. I just finished a track with Sydney Samson and that was like a morning session from 9 am till 12:00am and we wrote a song like a Club stomping banger and then yer I think there some other stuff but I don’t know.

Do you ever feel Overwhelmed by working with some of these massive names your Collaborating with? Or do they find it Overwhelming working with you?
Nah, it’s always pretty humble, you kno,  whenever I work with Laidback Luke, we work in his bedroom. He’s studio is a small little bedroom, like really tiny.

Yer, he made his “Break the house” in like a day!
Yer he is an amazing producer, he’s very fast! Cause he’s not just a producer he’s a sound designer. I’m more of a song writer, like a keyboard song writer, I’m not much of a sound designer but there are certain people that have both and they just kill it cause their so fast cause they know exactly what sound they want to produce and how to find and access that sound so like I feel my library is so limited when I work with some of these people and I’m just amazed about how knowledgeable and experienced they are. It’s amazing to work with these different of producers so you can see where the process is coming from.  Armand Van Helden he still works on a really old system and he won’t upgrade cause he knows that system he’s comfortable and he knows how to work in that environment and he’s like “i will not upgrade, I have no interest” and then he churns out these amazing tracks on a system that is 10 years old.

Did you have tips for the Beginner Dj’s and Producers out there?
This might sound generic but produce the sound that you really really speaks to you, that makes you unique sounding, don’t try to do something cause everyone else is doing it. The Dutch sound is big but don’t make the Dutch sound your sound, do a sound that you think is the biggest sound to you. Cause its easy to get swayed and do all kinds of stuff and lose your own sound.

We will have a bit of fun for our last question, you’ve made a name for yourself crowd surfing after and during your sets, has there ever been any inapproprite carry’s or something like that? Like people grabbing my balls or something? Haha yer,
well, no, lucky I’m not a girl or something. I remember when Lady Gaga when she first started touring, she’d always tour and do the same thing and crowd surf and I just thought that was really funny, cause she’s so big now. When she first started playing at the Dim Mak party and she was crowd surfing, that question would be really good to ask her, she’s wearing a dress you know..

Has there ever been any embarrassing moments? like not making it onto the crowd etc
Well I’d say 2007, I was really really drunk and that was the last time I got that drunk, I actually quit drinking last year cause It was a mess before, so I got really drunk and I remember before my set me and Somy were pounding alcohol, I can’t remember who else was involved but we were partying out in the Justice trailer and we all just fucking pounding it but you see those guys are french and they can handle liquor and I just can’t handle it at all I just was having to much fun and I got on and Dj’d a 5 minute set, I was so drunk I think I passed out while I was playing and then they cut of the music so then I decided to do a stage dive but I didn’t let the crowd know I was going to jump in the crowd and I fucking ate shit, and I still to this day have a problem with my elbow. My right elbow, I have to go to the doctors and get surgery, for an injury that happened three years ago cause I think there is like a bone floating in my skin somewhere.

So your never getting that drunk again im guessing?
Well I quit drinking completely, I’m straight edge now, pretty much.

Thanks for having the interview champ!

Thanks for having me!

Thanks again Steve Aoki! We are very much looking forward to his new album and the rest of his releases coming up! We think its going to be a big year for Mr Aoki! Anyway, if you haven’t heard some of these masterpieces from Steve himself then here you are!

I’m in the House (ft. [[[zuper blahq]]]) – Steve Aoki

Pets Dance (Steve Aoki Remix) – SPA

Pursuit of Hapiness (Steve Aoki Dance Remix) – Kid Cudi

Gifted (Steve Aoki Remix) – NASA << Highly Recommended!


4 thoughts on “Steve Aoki! Winter Sound System Interview!

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