Steve Aoki On Guitar Center & His Obsession With The Future [Interview + SOL REPUBLIC Headphone Giveaway]
Steve Aoki has been receiving a lot of media attention lately. He has appeared in a Guitar Center campaign, released his new album, Neon Future I, and started an interview series with WIRED titled "Neon Future Sessions." Aoki recently sat down with EDM.com to discuss everything he's been working on. Also, he provided EDM.com with a pair of his SOL REPUBLIC headphones to give away. You can enter for a chance to win the headphones at the bottom of the page.
When Guitar Center first approached Aoki about participating in their advertisements, he was very excited. He said, "I thought it was pretty awesome because I'd been going to Guitar Center ever since I bought my first guitar as a kid. It's like I'm pinching myself. I'd been going to this place for over 20 years. It's where I go when I want to buy equipment. You go up, and you see all these rock gods on the wall like Metallica. Now, since they're expanding to dance music, it makes sense that they're talking to a DJ...But I never thought it would be me."
In fact, Aoki almost seemed in awe about the opportunity. He said, "To have something as respected and prestigious as Guitar Center welcome me into their world is incredible. Their 'Greatest Feeling on Earth' slogan is great. It's a great message they are sending. When they told me about the campaign, it spoke to me. It's how I live my life. Living this life and playing this music is really the greatest feeling on earth."
For musicians, Guitar Center can be a life-changing place. Aoki added, "The way I look at it is to make art, you need tools. The definitive toolshed for the kind of art musicians make is Guitar Center. Almost every musician goes to Guitar Center. It's sort of like the rite of passage when your parents get you your first instrument at Guitar Center, whether it's a guitar, keyboard, or drum kit. I've bought everything there. I bought my needles and my Serrato records there. I bought my first keyboard. I got my Triton there. I got tons of headphones from there. I've had a lot of memories going to Guitar Center."
It's ironic that Guitar Center added Aoki as one of its spokespeople, as there are still many rock music enthusiasts who speak negatively about dance music. Aoki said, "Those opinions don't affect me so much. Of course, I hear about it, but as long as we continue to produce and make music, we will overcome all of the media backlash, hate, and negative comments. Like Andy Warhol said, 'Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.' What can you do? Either you go into a battle with them and argue with them, or do you just produce more art?"
Aoki made a bold assertion: "I think a lot of people saying these negative things about dance music are jealous of the attention the dance community is getting right now. It's getting it because people are demanding it. It's the demand that creates the attention. To me, dance music is the voice of this generation, this youth culture right now. When you think of the 60s, you think of rock & roll and Woodstock. When you think of the 2010s, this decade, this is a dance culture generation. The haters exist because they don't want change. People that want the status quo, they hate anything that changes. The same with our music and dance culture."
Aoki provided a perfect example of how dance music can initially fight against change. "I remember in 2007 when electro was introduced in a big way with strong groups like Justice and MSTRKRFT. It was so noisy for the commercial dance fans that it was truly a punk rebellion against commercial dance music. But over the next seven years, it became an important part of our dance community," said Aoki.
Aoki's infatution with the future led to him naming his new album Neon Future I. He revealed, "I have an obsession with the future and where we're going. The ideas that are science fiction to a lot of people are actually becoming real science. Thinking of dying as a disease that we can cure is absurd to 99% of the population, but we are getting to that point. I love talking to scientists, philosophers, and writers who are versed in this field. I'm working with WIRED on an interview series called 'Neon Future Sessions' where I talk to these people."
Aoki included Ray Kurzweil and Aubrey de Grey, two brilliant men who have published intriguing work about the future, on his new album. He said, "I went to Ray's apartment in San Francisco because he works for Google up there. I wrote a song named 'Singularity' a few years ago, and I got Ray to cameo on it. I've been reading his books since 2008. He was the first one to open my eyes to this amazing outlook on the future. After that, I read Ending Aging by Aubrey de Grey. The world who reads these books, watches the TED Talks, and listens to these types of podcasts is a really small world. It really consists of people who are already in the field. What I'm trying to do is take their information and make it more clear so that people can understand why I am so intrigued and passionate about it. If I'm able to explain to you the way I feel about it, I think you can find it interesting."
Aoki's Neon Future I album has been very successful since it was released at the end of September. His music video for "Delirious (Boneless)," featuring Chris Lake, Tujamo, and Kid Ink was released yesterday.
You can buy Neon Future I by heading to the following link: http://smarturl.it/NeonFuture1