A few short days ago, Steve Aoki released a guest editorial via The Daily Beast (article found here), where he gets very candid about his career and what being Steve Aoki entails. With the piece being titled ‘To Cake Or Not To Cake’, it is clear throughout just how honest and open the #8 DJ in the world truly is.
Discussing everything from his onstage caking antics, to the Wunderground parody article that went viral just a year ago, the iconic EDM star bears it all. With this editorial dropping just a month before his release of his newest album, Neon Future, and before headlining sets at the likes of Mysterland, Made In America, and Tomorrowworld!
Check out this short excerpt from TheDailyBeast:
Which brings me to another parody video. This recent one popped up of Laidback Luke, Sander van Doorn, and myself DJing at Luke’s WMC party. I’ve done this party every year with Luke and had a great time. 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.
For people that don’t know what DJs are actually doing up there, when you’re not mixing into the next song or out of the previous one, there is not a lot to do. Of course twisting knobs (taking out the lows, turning up the highs to create your own musical story is all part of DJing itself) but it’s not absolutely necessary. Even playing with the effects to exaggerate a sound or diminish a particular sound is great but once again it isn’t necessary to do it every single song. Do I fuxx with the EQs and twist knobs? Yes, of course I do, but I might not do it all the time. And I give full respect to DJs that spend time working each track into their own style whether by scratching like hip-hop DJs do (an art form all its own) or adding effects, looping other tracks or samples, or whatever else one DJ might do to help tell their story.
So then what do we as DJs do when we are up there, when you’re not mixing from one song to the next? Everyone is different but for me I add in another element to my set which is my props. Depending on a particular song I’ll do a particular action that is connected to that track. I really look at each song in its own context in terms of how it relates to the crowd. And I have to make a decision during that song whether I’m going to amplify the feeling in that song by either working the EQs/effects, looping a sample, letting the song just play out without added extras, or doing something outside the DJ booth (rafts, cakes, etc).
It’s refreshing to see a superstar DJ such as Steve really take on the most polarizing issue against him straight on like this. The piece is well thought out, candid, and most of all, qualifies all that he does in the scene from his perspective. We rarely get such insight from artists in Steve’s position, especially in such great detail. Any fan of dance music should take some time out of their day to read this.