Steve Aoki

 

Electro-house king never was interested in the family business - Benihana

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By Michael Hamersly

After stuffing your face on Thanksgiving, why not work it off the next day at "Dancegiving"? Yes, Revolution in Fort Lauderdale is hosting an all-day electronic music festival on Black Friday, featuring electro-house kings Steve Aoki and Wolfgang Gartner, club-banging DJ duo LA Riots and local stars Robbie Rivera and Cedric Gervais. For 16 hours, groove to sick beats, trippy visuals and live performers, inside and outside, all conceived by the minds behind Dayglow, the "world's largest paint party."
 
Aoki comes from a fascinating background: His father founded the Benihana restaurant chain, his brother owns Doraku Sushi in Miami Beach, and his younger half-sister is supermodel and actress Devon Aoki. He groggily talked to Miami.com after a night celebrating his birthday with fellow DJ Steve Angello and Swedish House Mafia member (who will spin at Space Saturday night).
 
First off, happy birthday.
In all honesty, it's actually Nov. 30, but I'll take it. I had a party last night at my club in L.A., and I did it as a joint birthday party with Steve Angello, whose birthday is a little bit before yesterday.
 
What can we expect from Friday's show?
The set for an event like that will be a lot of my own music, because the kids come out and want to hear the tracks that I've made with vocals on it. And I'll be playing a lot of new material, so I'm excited about dropping the new records and seeing how the kids like it.
 
Do you know your time slot yet, and how long you'll play?
I'll probably play 90 minutes. But I have no idea when I'm going on - I usually find out day-of.
 
How do you feel about daytime events as opposed to a night in a club?
It's a different vibe - it can be a little bit more intimidating, because the great thing about a club is you're masked with the darkness, and the darkness helps. In daytime, everyone's just kind of lounging, hanging out. Once the energy level has picked up and you get all the kids excited and ready for having a good time, it's like anything else.
 
Your father founded Benihana and your brother owns Doraku. How did you end up DJing, and not in the restaurant biz?
I never was that interested in joining the business as a kid. Growing up, my interests were always music first. I found the hardcore scene when I was like 14, and everything I did was about the music - playing in bands, doing interviews like yourself of other artists, doing my own shows, starting a record label. I just wanted to do that. But nowadays, now that I'm turning 33, I've gotten some influence from my family - I've opened up two restaurants in L.A., and am talking with my brother about doing some kind of business with him. But that's a recent development for me.
 
When you started DJing, did you start off with electro, or did that evolve?
Well, electro is in relation to dance music, a very, very youthful genre - it still needs its time to mature, like it's a toddler in the stage of growth. In dance music, there's so many genres and subgenres, and I think it's gonna keep growing more rapidly due to the fact that music is so much more accessible than it was six years ago, or even four years, or even one year ago. Everything's changing. So the whole electro thing - I was a supporter, an early adopter of the sound, of a lot of artists that maybe wouldn't call themselves electro, but others would - like Justice would be one of the most important artists that bridge more of the rock and dance audiences, bring in a different audience than your typical house artists. But still using dance sounds in a live-band setting.

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