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Interview:
Steve Aoki expands his electronic music palette
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Steve Aoki has distinguished himself as a record company executive (Dim Mak) and as a hit DJ-producer with remixes for Drake, Lenny Kravitz, Bloc Party, Snoop Dogg, Robin Thicke, Kid Cudi and will.i.am.

But this year’s “Wonderland” goes a step forward to establish Aoki as a songwriter-artist with a guest-laden (Weezer’s River Cuomo, Lil Jon, LMFAO, Chiddy Bang) set of original material.

“I love it,” says Aoki, 34, whose father founded the Benihana restaurant chain. “I’ve been in the business of developing artists and bands since ’96, and as I became a producer I was also DJing more and touring more and got more used to writing my own music. But instead of being in the live room recording with guitars and bass and drums, which I was doing since I was a teenager, I started doing it on laptops and on my own.

“It’s a different step to take altogether, but definitely the one that makes the most sense for me. I’m really proud of the kind of music I’m making.”

And those who turn out for Aoki’s live sets will hear plenty of that music despite his long résumé of material with other artists.

“I’m playing an entire Aoki kind of set now, which is really cool,” he says. “All the production, all the visuals, the lighting, everything is set around my music — from ‘Wonderland’ and some other stuff I’ve been working on. It’s not a DJ set; it’s a real show.

“It’s just different than me DJing and playing other people’s music. I’ve learned a lot in this process, and I can’t wait to do more with it.”

The Dim Mak Deadmeat Tour with Steve Aoki, Datsik, Mustard Pimp and Matt Porter takes place Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $60, $35 and $25. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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