When you hear the name Steve Aoki, what is the first thing that comes to your head? Cakes, champagne, rafts? The Japanese – American DJ and producer, who is known more for his “in front of the console” antics rather than behind it, recently opened up in a letter aimed at his critics to address all the criticism and hate that has been coming towards him.
The musician writes about the allegations that say he plays pre-recorded sets on stage. Aoki retorts to that statement:
“For the record, I’ve never played a mix CD or faked DJing. In fact I started out on turntables and records, then learned Serato, CDJs, Serato video for my visual show and now often will use memory cards plugged into CDJs when I’m playing back to back with friends.”
Talking about the more recent incident when he, Laidback Luke and Sander van Doorn were playing a B2B set at Luke’s WMC party, where video footage of them appeared, showing them play a pre-recorded set, which gave them a lot of flak, he says
“We all bring SD cards, freestyling for an hour or so, taking turns from track to track. However the clip that appeared online was a very short snippet, recorded in between mixes. Taken out of context, people think that we’re just playing a mix CD and not DJing at all. Even Art Department, who I’m actually a fan of, jumped on the bandwagon.”
He also wrote extensively about his playing style on stage, how he builds his sets
“It’s of course important to mention that when DJing, I’m building my own story through the music. I’m figuring out what song to play next, what song to play after that and how the two will blend together. How the emotion is going to develop from one song to another. So I first build that storyline. Then I use those props to further develop that story. Once again I’m here telling my story through my set and I want to bring out a narrative that feels, sounds, looks, (and with the cake, no pun intended) tastes different and unique. When you go to a DJ show the music is the main reason why you are there. But you cannot deny that when you go you are experiencing the show through all of your senses. What you see and feel are part of the experience. It’s not just what you hear. It’s all your senses coming together in one grouped feeling. So when you come to a Steve Aoki show you get a Steve Aoki experience.”
He also explains how he incorporated the whole “caking experience” during his sets and justifies the whole point of it.
“I know it sounds really cheesy, but at the end of the day, that’s the whole point. These tools of expression are meant to create and amplify energy. ”
He wraps up things by justifying his choices:
“I want to make that connection so powerful, something that will never be forgotten. And that’s why I bring the cake out or the raft out. When I see the person who was begging for the cake then get covered in frosting as the crowd roars, smiling from ear to ear, it’s a unique and incredibly exciting feeling for myself, for them and for the crowd. I love being part of that energy, being part of that feeling. ”
For him, no matter what he does, he’ll still be hated or made fun of. Because there’s no context where he’s coming from.
So love the man or hate him. He’ll continue doing what he loves. In his own words: “When you come to a Steve Aoki show you get a Steve Aoki experience. ” And his choice is to cake.
Read the full piece here.