DJ Steve Aoki is back with his new LP, "Neon Future II," his follow-up to "Neon Future I," featuring guest stars like Snoop Lion, Linkin Park and JJ Abrams, the director behind movie “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.” We caught up with the Japanese-American artist during some rare down-time to talk about the future of EDM, and life on the road.
Do you feel like a fairy godmother to the new bands that you support?
I’ve had my own record label for about 20 years now. Dim Mak Records turns 20 next year. So finding new talent, discovering emerging artists and helping them to show their creations is something unique for me. It's something I've been doing for a long time. I still believe in the idea of supporting the next generation, the next sound. I, as an artist of electronic music, listen to all kinds of music.
Do you carry a travel diary?
Of course I keep a diary of my travels… [My photographer and videographer] travel with me around the world. They record everything we do and document it on my YouTube channel. My photographer has worked with me for years. He takes pictures of everything. I just put some of that material in a book called“Eat Sleep Cake Repeat.” We have put the vast majority of the photos in this book and there are also some stories in it. In addition, I have a website where I upload the most interesting things that happen during our travels. I live a pretty interesting life, and do not want to miss out on anything.
Does electronic music have an expiration date?
I don’t think so. The musical choice of the new generation has been increasingly based on electronic. Electronic music is really about large gatherings and cultural festivals; it is actually increasingly a true form of artistic experience. You know, you can listen to a hip hop song in the car or a rock song anywhere. But electronic music is made more for the life of entertainment. It is made for big shows. And that's really when you feel something so powerful: when people go to the shows. When you're surrounded by five or 15,000 people, you feel that something really changes in your life. I think the more it’s experienced, the more it grows. As someone who has been playing in various shows around the world, I've seen that. Something that you can’t deny is the emotional impact that this music has on people; it has become the voice of a generation.
Are you affected by the criticism to DJs?
I don’t mind the criticism to electronic music, because it dosen’t affect my world where I can play in front of my fans. If it kept me from really being able to go to the studio and producing new music, or hinder me to do something I love so much, well, yes, then I would worry about it, and perhaps stop doing my thing because of what people think. But everyone has a vision, and with every positive opinion there is a negative one. Everyone can say whatever they want. While there is something to do, and for me to love, that's what makes me really happy. I think it's very simple. If you see a thousand people enjoying something, and only one person lifts a finger against you... you cannot stop everything to try to convince that person. We must learn to let go.
What is your biggest fear?
Not being able to do something for this world. I like to get involved in foundations and health issues. I also hope that my creative process never ends, that’s why we just released a compilation with my two albums, including six new songs. Starting in 2016, I will launch a new song every week for a month… maybe. I’m still working on social networks, and it’s not about how many followers I get, but how many people can access my music and are ready to enjoy it.