After making EDM cool through collaborations with the likes of Iggy Azalea, Travis Barker and Kid Cudi, Steve Aoki is making a name for himself as the casual electro house fan’s DJ of choice.
More accessible than his European counterparts Armin van Buuren, Avicii and Tiesto (you don’t need a lobotomy or a bag of weapons grade Ecstasy to enjoy Aoki) the 37-year-old Japanese-American (rumoured to be worth a cool $14m) is doing his best to make dance fun again.
Here’s what we learned at Aoki’s Brixton show earlier this week.
1 | Aoki Knows How To Connect With His Fans
He mainly does this by smashing baked goods in their faces (mostly those carrying ‘cake me’ signs). At random points during the show, Aoki selects a target, takes a run up, then lets loose, showering the front rows in Victoria Sponge and icing.
His agent assured us all cakes are locally sourced and suitably ‘soft’ (read: ‘delicious’). You don't get that at a Taylor Swift show.
2 | Aoki Goes Through Some Pantene Pro V
When you think of EDM DJs, ‘grooming’ isn’t the first word that comes to mind (especially when they’re hiding under huge Mickey Mouse masks). With the exception of the newly-buff Calvin Harris, most DJs look like they spend all week playing Nintendo in their mum’s basement before venturing out to earn a few million playing remixes off their Mac Book Pros.
Steve Aoki may well enjoy a session or two on Mario Cart but you can’t deny that the man knows how to take care of himself – specifically his hair which maintains a glossy sheen to make a Victoria’s Secret model jealous. No word as of yet whether Aoki travels with a special hair therapist, or if Pantene Pro V is on the rider (other shampoo brands are available).
3 | Aoki’s Loves Aoki
Ok, we’ll admit that it takes balls to get up on stage, whether it’s playing a tiny pub in Scunthorpe full of bored steelworkers (thanks), to selling out arenas worldwide, but Aoki took this to the next level, performing his set from between flashing ten foot high letters spelling out his own surname.
If that wasn’t enough, the overhead LED screens depicted huge, morphing graphics of Aoki’s face throughout. The man also changed his t-shirt not once, but four times, each one printed with his own face. That’s a lot of Aoki.
4 | Aoki Knows His History
EDM may have finally broken America 25 years after it blew up in the dancehalls of Manchester, but you have to give Aoki credit for tipping his hat to the genre’s origins. After wrapping himself in a Union Jack on stage, Aoki put Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ on the decks, taking us all back to a more innocent time of cheap cider and bootcut jeans (1999).
Another flag-waving British anthem came in the form of a supped-up version of 'Wonderwall'. A welcome change to the Piccadilly Circus busker cranking it out on his guitar.
5 | Aoki's Had Too Much Sugar Before Bed
Even a passing Aoki fan knows that the man’s live shows are famous for the DJ plunging from the rafters into an inflatable rubber dinghy held aloft by the crowd (even Dan Bilzerian’s had a go).
What we didn’t know is the man can’t stand still, skipping, running and spinning around the stage in a frankly knackering display of enthusiasm that makes David Guetta look like he’s DJing from behind a zimmer frame.