Full Time DJ-producer, Part Time Poker Player
DJ Aoki, performing at Surrender, talks about winning big
DJ-producer Steve Aoki describes himself as “a poker nut” who mingles with the pros, winning as much as $20,000 and losing as big as $5,000.
Aoki — performing tonight at Encore’s Surrender — says the adrenaline surge he gets from winning is the same rush he gets from recording a song.
“When I finish a track that’s an absolute banger,” he says, “you get that same feeling as when you go all-in on a hand, someone follows suit, and you know you’ve beat them.”
This week, Aoki released a whole new album, “Wonderland,” full of bangers.
As you know, album sales now are the domain of MP3s and iTunes.
But Aoki says if he has one major piece of advice to aspiring DJs, it’s to start with a turntable and vinyl records.
“The first things they should understand is the value of music,” he says. “We’re in the digital age, right, and everyone’s playing with USB sticks” and DJ equipment.
But amateur DJs who begin with digital may not feel emotionally connected with songs, he says.
“When I used to buy records, it was so important to have that song,” he says. “You searched and you sought for that particular record — sometimes for months or longer.
“You’d play that record out in a different way than you’d play out a digital MP3. It teaches you the value of that song, of the music.”
Aoki himself has collected many thousands of vinyl records. About 80 percent of it is “non-DJ punk and hardcore” music. The other 20 percent is dance music.
He still cherishes the art of album covers.
“If I had enough wall space, I would frame all my records. To me, it’s artwork, just beautiful point-in-time documentation of that music in its purest form.”
ADAM LEVINE SINGS
One of the biggest trends in nightclubs is pop stars performing in them, instead of just walking across a red carpet and waving at clubbers.
Adam Levine — frontman for Maroon 5 and a coach on NBC’s “The Voice” — sings tonight at 1 Oak at The Mirage.
Mya appears at Rain at the Palms tonight, and Bow Wow hosts at Chateau on Saturday, but they are not performing.
Clubs are a perfect outlet for entertainers. They get good money. Ticketmaster isn’t involved. And unlike their concert tours, they don’t have to take 18 tractor-trailers full of gear to stage a full show.
Levine tells me there’s even more to it than that: The club atmosphere is fun in its own way.
“It’s new and different for me. I get to go and enjoy the party and perform,” he says. “I don’t get out much, so I’m excited.
“It’s an all-inclusive, interesting thing,” he says. “It’s a really cool thing.”
Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.