Interview: Becca Nelson
Aoki was somewhere on the other side of the globe when we caught up with him lat June, but cheerfully succumbed to a stateside REAX interview. Read his words here.
REAX: Dim Mak has to take credit for the rise of the now-ubiquitous indie-electro scene; without Bloc Party, a lot of hipsters would not know when to hit the dance floor. And you also helped seminal acts like MSTRKRFT and Klaxons gain their popularity. Now that these artists are tiptoeing around mainstream recognition, what’s your take on the scene?
SA: The scene is still small. It’s concentrated; when our players go out and rock the clubs the energy level is high because the intensity in the dance music is high. This music is made for youth the same way punk was made for the youth. You don’t see Erick Morrillo fans rockin’ out to MSTRKRFT or the Bloody Beetroots. We’ve carved out our own scene from dance music but we are still growing and it’s important to know that we have plenty of work to do. This is just the start.
REAX: So, who’s the future?
SA: The Bloody Beetroots.
REAX: With so much going on in your music career, what inspired you to start a clothing line?
SA: We started from merchandise. I’ve been screen-printing Dim Mak t-shirts since the dawn of the label in 1996. I’ve been screen-printing shirts since I was in high school bands… its part of the DIY culture I grew up in: making your own fanzines, printing your own tees, starting your own bands, etc. We just institutionalized our tees and created a business due to a demand a few years ago. It’s now the most successful financial piece in the Dim Mak game.
REAX: You’ve been quoted as saying that “music is my life.” But now, after branching out into a clothing line, restaurant partner, and record exec, what’s the thing that keeps you going? If you had to cut out every endeavor but one, what would remain?
SA: Producing/playing music. I can see myself doing that for the rest of my life.
REAX: An exhaustive list of all your projects would take pages, but as of late, what are you most dedicated to? Are you still working with Blake Miller from Moving Units?
SA: Blake and I are on a hiatus. He’s busy working on his solo project and Moving Units, but since our last Weird Science remix (the moniker under which Aoki and Miller released some killer productions), I’ve produced a ton of remixes under my own name.
I’ve been working on a solo album that will see the light of day in 2010. Got five more songs to go to finish the record, but for now, I have a single: “I’m In The House (ft. [zuper blahq]]]” that drops in August or September.
REAX: You’ve single-handedly launched very influential bands, have worldwide appeal as a DJ, and are now finding success as a designer and culture-monger. But, you seem pretty stuck to California; how do your travels around the world rack up to your homestead… are ever tempted to relocate?
SA: I love L.A. It’s my favorite place to live. I’ve learned this city now; I can avoid the shitty qualities and embrace the best parts of the city. Everyone eventually comes through L.A., so even if I don’t travel, I’ll see my friends rolling through. And the weather… you can’t deny the weather. It’s always the same sunny warm weather.
I love Paris, New York, Tokyo…. And I’ve done some crazy shows in Barcelona, Singapore, Kua Lumpur, Montreal, Melbourne, Mexico City, and more… these have all been insane places to play live. L.A. is home, but it’s not my favorite place to play. I’d rather just chill when I’m here.
REAX: What is up for you this summer (besides kicking off the dog days in style for Tampa at the PULP anniversary)?
SA: Mainly Europe and Asia. I’m in Manila as I type this. I’m on the road almost 25 days a month, 300 days a year, so the answer to whether I’m touring is perpetually yes.
REAX: On a parting note, can you leave us with some crazy tour stories?
SA: My brain is too warped right now. I’ve had plenty of disasters and plenty of amazing shows and plenty of embarrassing moments. I always blog about all three at either one of my two blogs: www.dimmak.com (which is updated by over 30 bloggers daily) and www.steveaoki.com. See you in the pit!