Steve Aoki has his hands in nearly everything—from food to fashion and more—and it's a good thing for all of us.
His latest venture, NEON FUTURE, a dystopian comic book series set 30 years in the future, is a collaboration with Impact Theory founder Tom Bilyeu and Eisner Award-winning writer Jim Krueger (DC Comics Justice, Marvel, Earth X). To celebrate the new series, Aoki will be signing copies of the comic book at Multiverse Corps. Comics in Miami tonight.
The famed DJ chatted with us about the comic book signing, plans to release new music this summer and his favorite artists right now.
Hit records, a label, a clothing line, a pizza chain, a podcast, a memoir coming, now a comic book—what interested you in delving into that world?
STEVE AOKI: Before music, before fashion, really before anything that passionately changed my life, I was diving into comic books as a kid. And comics were the first foray for me that opened up my imagination. It also just got me into a whole world of creating my own stories and reading other stories and understanding what it really takes to become a storyteller. So it was a seminal moment in my career to build out some of my own adventures myself.
What does it feel like to be immortalized in a comic book?
SA: I’m floored by it, honestly. When I really think about it, I think about when I was a kid and how’d I’d feel, and it’d be as if I’m dreaming and it’s not real life. It’s something you’d never expect to happen. It’s not really me in the comic, it’s a character who I strive to be. That character immortalized is a character that I’m happy we created. He’s a leader and is someone that we can all strive to become. I think the story in itself in NEON FUTURE is an incredible story. It makes me so proud that I’m part of this project.
If you could have any superpower in real life, which would you choose?
SA: Easily Green Lantern’s. He is able to turn his imagination into real life. If he wants to fly, he can fly; if he wants to swim, he can swim; if he wants to go into space, he can fly into space. Whatever he imagines can come true. So, basically, rolled up into one, it’s kind of an unfair superhuman trait because you can just do anything. After reading Green Lantern comics, it seemed to be clear that his powers were my favorite one.
Are you working on new music?
SA: Yes, I am. I just dropped my single with MONSTA X called “Play it Cool” and my collaboration with Alok called “Do It Again.” I’m actually working on a ton of new music, including a lot of remixes as well. And with summer coming, big festivals coming, I’m going to be dropping a lot more EDM records, songs that will be good for my shows and my big festival shows. The best way to keep up with me is to follow me on all my socials. I’m always dropping hints of what’s to come.
Are there any music legends you'd like to collaborate with?
SA: There’s a long list of them: Eminem is still top on my list, Drake, BLACKPINK. There are a few others that I’m reaching out to. I just love the idea of collaborating across different genres and for any future music expect the unexpected.
Who are you listening to now?
SA: Everyone from Daddy Yankee—I love his new song “Con Calma”—to Bad Bunny and J Balvin, to BLACKPINK, BTS and MONSTA X. I love Al Walker‘s new album. I still love listening to Travis Scott‘s new album. I’ve been going back in and listening to Rage Against the Machine again too. All kinds of stuff.
I read that you hold the Guinness World Record for being the most traveled DJ in the world, so where are you off to next?
SA: I fly to Miami to do a comic book in-store signing at Multiverse Corps. Comics. It’s my first comic book signing for issue number two of NEON FUTURE, which I’m excited about. I will also be playing at LIV. Then I fly to Kansas City to do a show during the day and fly to Vegas to do Hakkasan at night. Then Saturday morning I fly all the way to Philly to play a show and then Sunday I come right back to Vegas to spend time with my family. It’s just one of those hectic weeks. I just posted my May “Double Rainbow” tour and there’s over 20 shows just in May and it’s just going to get busier and busier.
Any must-have travel items?
SA: Eye mask—check. My Samsung tablet—check. My SVN Sound Bluetooth headphones. Those are my go-to for working out, watching movies, listening to music. I need those headphones with me when I’m on the go. I always bring out a new piece from the DMMK 1 of 1 series by Dim Mak collection. I’ve been working with an incredible artist and we’ve been making special limited 1 of 1 pieces for my clothing brand. I think it’s one of my favorite things to do: to select a new item for the week, rock it the whole week onstage, everywhere I go and then put it up on the site to sell. Got to look fresh cut, got to wear some new stuff and got to keep it changing.
Favorite beach destination?
SA: Obviously Miami, it’s always warm there and the water is always nice. I always love going to Miami. I’m in Miami every other month because I play at LIV and STORY so much. Hawaii, same kind of feeling there. The weather is always nice. I have family there and it’s definitely one of my favorite places to go because it’s so familiar. During the summer, I love going to Ibiza, Mykonos. You’ll find me bouncing between those two spots because I have so many shows out there.
When you have downtime, if any, where do you like to hang out in Miami?
SA: I love hanging out at Dave Grutman’s house. His house is a lot of fun. He’s one of my really close friends and I always end up there whether I’m working out there or doing some training or fitness there, some boxing, jumping on his boat, or having a nice meal. Dave’s one of the most hospitable friends that I have, so I love spending time with him and his family. Or you will find me a LIV or STORY. I’m always playing at one of his clubs. I also love 1 Hotel because they have such great food accommodations and I just love their rooms.
I definitely pop by my brother’s restaurant, Doraku Sushi, to get some sushi when I’m in Miami. We have a little café there called Bluetree Café. I get my juice on there. I do my rounds; I go to South Beach, I go to Brickell. I like moving around when I’m in Miami.
Photography by Brian Ziff