Steve Aoki, resident party starter: "I want to maximize fun. I want to break the fun meter'"
Steve Aoki is singularly focused on making sure your ass is partying. As founder of the now-famous Dim Mak record label, Aoki has built his dance party into an empire. Live, his over-the-top antics range from paddling through the crowd on a raft to tossing cake into the screaming audience. When he's not stage diving right into the heart of the party, Aoki's making electro-house that will keep you sweating all night. We spoke with him about recent collaborations, what's in the works for the new album and just why he wanted to work with the likes of Richard Simmons.
Westword:Let's talk about this new video for "Bring You to Life."
Steve Aoki: I wanted this funny -- I had the opportunity to work with Richard Simmons, and I wanted to do a video with him on this song. It's called "Bring You to Life," and it's about the juxtaposition of us in our own worlds getting criss-crossed. It's just funny, given he was a legend back in the day, and he's just a funny dude. I had to do something with him for this one. I'm glad it worked out.
How did that collaboration come together?
My team was working with him on some stuff, and they always bring up different ideas, and with that one, I was totally down with it. I love doing things out of the box. I like when people say, "That's so weird and random!" I want to do different shit than most people.
What is your draw to working "outside the box?"
I grew up in that lifestyle and community of already being out of the box. I was into punk and hardcore, and we were a bunch of alienated youth that formed our own little niche. We picked up tools as we went along and created our own universe, and I love that ideology. I still hold true to that at 35, and it's those kinds of unique approaches to life that bring the diversity out.
In the video process, how hands on are you involved in the story line?
It depends on each video. "Singularity" I did with Ray Kurzweil, and in my homage to him, I wrote the story, so I was fully engulfed and immersed in that video. I didn't direct it, and we had a director of photography there, so it was more of a short film. What I did take from that is cinematography lessons and doing more in that world. It's like a whole new world of being creative. It's exciting jumping into something with a team that already knows what they are doing.
Do you use the song for video? How do the video and song come together creatively for you?
It really is case by case. For some, it really adheres to the song title. "Singularity" is about the future and the how it's technologically advanced. With "Bring You to Life," you can take that line and develop any sort of story for that. You can do something emotional and use a lot of different treatments. I wanted to do a video with Richard Simmons, so I couldn't do more of an emotional thing. I wanted to poke fun at ourselves, and love doing that all the time, anyway.