By Michael Kaiser
The name Aoki is probably one you’ve heard before. From Hiroaki “Rocky” Aoki, the Japanese Olympic wrestler and founder of Benihana, to Devon Aoki, the famous actress, and fashion model, the Aoki family has stretched its influence across the world. The most prominent member of the family is, in my opinion, is Steve Aoki who has had an outstanding effect on the music and fashion industries.
Not only has Steve Aoki created his own record label, Dim Mak Records, but he has also worked with some of the biggest artists in the world, including will.i.am, BTS, the Backstreet Boys, Fall Out Boy, and more. With the incredible impact Steve Aoki has had, it’s no wonder he has consistently had a spot on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Artists.
Rocky Aoki, Steve Aoki’s father, has always cast a big shadow over his kids. After all, being the child of a famous sportsman and the founder of Benihana is a lot to live up to. According to Steve Aoki, his father is the driving force behind his career and he was constantly pushing his kids to try harder and do better. This no doubt contributed to Steve Aoki’s tireless work effort.
In 2016, Steve Aoki released a documentary titled “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead on Netflix.” This documentary shows just how crazy and hectic his life is. Steve Aoki is always on the move and constantly creating new music. He has begun playing over 300 shows per year, making him one of the most successful DJs and producers in the world. Described as “a machine” and “the quintessential grind of DJs,” Steve Aoki has forever changed the music game.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to see Steve Aoki perform live, then you know that besides playing an array of different music, his shows stand out for two other reasons – crowd control and cake. I’ve been fortunate enough to see him perform at multiple festivals and his live sets are always some of the best. Steve Aoki’s shows have stood out because he likes to get the entire crowd involved and get everybody moving.
He has also become famous for throwing cake into the crowds during his set. If you’re unfamiliar with Steve Aoki then this probably sounds strange, but getting “caked” has become part of Steve Aoki’s brand. People bring signs reading “cake me” and try to get as close to the stage as they can during his sets just to have the opportunity to get a cake thrown in their face by Steve Aoki. Antics like this have helped him stand out and gain more influence, which in turn has led to him being able to record songs with bigger artists from around the world.
Steve Aoki has released multiple installments of his album titled Neon Future that features a variety of artists from different genres. Some of the most famous artists featured on these albums include blink-182, will.i.am, Waka Flocka, and even Bill Nye (the science guy). In the installments of Neon Future that have been released, Steve Aoki has successfully united various dissimilar genres like country, rock, hip-hop, and pop, into 4 wonderfully unique albums. The first Neon Future album was released in 2014 and the fourth and final installment was released in 2020 on Steve Aoki’s record label, Dim Mak Records. I would highly recommend Neon Future because it features great artists like Waka Flocka, Fall Out Boy, will.i.am, and Flux Pavillion.
Dim Mak Records was created by Steve Aoki in 1996 when he was only 19 years old. While he was still in college, Steve Aoki and his friends began throwing parties and having shows in their small apartment in Santa Barbara. Since its creation, Dim Mak Records has grown exceptionally and been associated with many different artists including Zedd, Bloc Party, The Kills, Tiesto, and Lil Jon.
In 2014, Steve Aoki expanded his brand to the fashion industry by releasing his own clothing line, the Dim Mak Collection. He has collaborated with famous artists like David Guetta and Migos to advertise and grow the Dim Mak Collection and has even been featured in fashion magazines like Vogue. Steve Aoki’s vigorous and consistent work has made Dim Mak exceptionally popular, especially in L.A.
Steve Aoki’s impressive work ethic has caused him to become a major influencer in multiple fields. Since the start of his career, Steve Aoki has been expanding his name and brand across the music and fashion industries, and he’s recently jumped into the food industry as well with his own New York-style pizza chain, Pizzaoki. His consistent hard work and zealous attitude have earned him a spot as one of the most famous and successful artists in history.
Featured Image by Brian Roettinger and Brian Ziff