Artist Spotlight: Steve Aoki

By Patrick Doss
     The rise of electronic dance music (EDM) in the United States is a phenomenon that is quite evident across the industry, but there is one man who is taking the industry by storm, one cake at a time. Steve Aoki, the face of electro house in the United States, is that man.

As the son of Chizuru Kobayashi and Rocky Aoki, the former wrestler, and founder of the famous Japanese restaurant chain, Benihana, Steve has certainly created a legacy for himself. In 1996 at the age of 19 he founded his record company Dim Mak. As of September 22, 2014, the record label has had 586 releases.

In 2007, Aoki released Pillowface and His Airplane Chronicles, a mix album for Thrive Records. The album went as high as number 8 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums Chart. His first single came in 2008 with Blake Miller of the band Moving Units. Under the alias Weird Science, the duo collaborated to create “Haus of Cards”.

     Aoki began to see even more success in the year 2011 with the release of his collaboration with producer Laidback Luke, and well known rap artist Lil Jon, entitled “Turbulence”. Later that year, he released “No Beef”, a collaboration with Dutch producer Afrojack. In January of 2012, his album Wonderland made it to 59 on the Billboard 200, and 6 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums Chart. It was nominated for Best Dance/Electronica Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards, but lost to Skrillex’s Bangarang album.

His 2012 Deadmeat Tour alongside Canadian dubstep producer Datsik, was certainly one of his more successful endeavors. During the tour, he began to be known for his wild stage antics of caking, the act of throwing cake at the audience members, and crowd surfing in a blowup raft. Aoki’s brand of outrageous concert experiences has certainly acquired him a loyal fan base.

On May 31, 2012, Aoki and Indonesian producer Angger Dimas released their collaboration featuring a newly discovered rap artist Iggy Azalea entitled “Beat Down”. The song did not chart in the United States, but found success in the United Kingdom, charting as high as number 10 on the UK Dance Charts.

In October of 2013, Aoki collaborated with alternative rock group Linkin Park to create the dance track “A Light That Never Comes”. The song was Aoki’s first ever appearance in the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 65. In June 2014, Aoki produced “Delirious (Boneless)” with Chris Lake and Tujamo. The vocals were performed by Los Angeles based rapper Kid Ink. The song made it to number 90 on the Hot 100 chart.

On September 30 look for Aoki’s next album Neon Future I to be released. The album looks to be spectacular, with collaborations featuring Fall Out Boy, will.i.am, Waka Flocka Flame, Machine Gun Kelly, Flux Pavilion, and many more. Steve Aoki is certainly changing the dance music scene in the United States and beyond.