“Tired,” Steve Aoki honestly replied when we asked him how he was as we settled into his green room filled with a swarm of people and Dim Mak balloons. Can you blame him? The man just flew in from Europe, played a killer set at Electric Zoo for a colossal crowd (see our photos here), and then made his way to Space Ibiza New York for a long night.
Green rooms tend to be mundane, believe it or not, but this was a celebration and there was no time for boredom or jet lag (as there never is for him). It’s apparent that everyone wanted to be around Steve Aoki. And why wouldn’t you? He’s kind, fun, attentive and there’s an infectious spirit about him that makes everyone want to be his best friend.
Or maybe it’s a Dim Mak thing and that’s why they’ve been so successful; the label seems like a close-knit family, rather than a money-making enterprise. For a team to be so cohesively passionate about their work can be rare these days, as labels commonly look for money over talent or passion. But Steve made the former clear in our talk with him, as he praised the artists he signs for their innovative and creative spirits. All of which is slightly humorous as Steve is so present throughout our chat, because he probably has the least time out of anyone for interviews, yet here he is proving the point that he is more devoted to his craft than anyone. This is especially true in the wake of his documentary, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, which showed the world exactly just how hard this guy actually works.
“It was very difficult to watch. It’s like seeing yourself naked in front of other people,” he said regarding the recent hit, which was three years in the making. “I’m just bearing my vulnerability to the world and I can see it alone, but seeing it in a whole theater full of people was very uncomfortable.” He spoke cautiously but with great intent, making it apparent just how much the documentary meant to him, along with everyone who got him to where he is today. The response to I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead was overwhelmingly positive, which made his fan base stronger, larger, and more informed than ever before.
After we finished up, we let Steve and the rest of the Dim Mak crew get back to celebrating as they had a big night ahead of them. To be celebrating the 20th consecutive year of existence as a label, and a wildly successful one at that, is a huge feat. Not many labels can survive for so long, as Steve mentions, but after dancing madly to the beat of the Dim Mak drum (CDJs) all night, I can see exactly why they did.
The night marched on, hosting impressive solo sets (shouts to you Max Styler and ETC!ETC!), insane b2bs (Shaun Frank b2b 3LAU b2b Aoki), and more than enough energy to keep the party going well into the night. It’s only a matter of time before I urgently make my way to another Dim Mak event and tell everyone I know to do the same.
You can take a full look at our sit-down with Steve and the night’s festivities below. If you haven’t checked out his eye-opening documentary, I unabashedly recommend doing that as well.
Whether you’re a newcomer, an OG fan, or you just ended up here because your girlfriend’s cousin who you’ve met once shared it on Facebook, I can tell you one thing–I only have amazing things to say about Steve Aoki, Dim Mak and the rest of their team. I am so excited to watch all of their future success–it’s well deserved…and it has absolutely nothing to do with cake.
Additional editing by Lorenzo Cantera.