Aidin Vaziri | Steve Aoki has built an empire out of spinning records. In the past few years, the 34-year-old celebrity DJ has become one of the most in-demand names on the party circuit, while his record label, Dim Mak, helped introduce chic underground acts such as Bloc Party and the Gossip. Aoki, son of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, also helms a clothing imprint, designs headphones for Wesc, and is co-owner of Korean barbecue restaurant Shin with Danny Masterson, Julian Casablancas from the Strokes and Mark Ronson. He has produced the album “Wonderland,” which includes collaborations with Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Travis Barker and Kid Cudi. He spoke to us at his home in Los Angeles.
Q: I read an interview from a few years ago where you said your goal was to tour less. That doesn’t seem to be working out so well.
A: Obviously. That was the goal. Now I’ve thrown that all out the window. With this album coming out, I’m supporting it pretty much around the world.
Q: You gave up the dream – just like that?
A: You just get used to it. The hardest part is maintaining personal relationships back home. Besides that, I’m completely fine with it. I’ve adapted.
Q: One of your first DJ gigs was for eight people in a dive bar in Los Angeles. Now you regularly perform for 8,000. When was the last time you played a small room?
A: I did a Hermosa Beach show at a bar, and the room could hold 80 people. But they were crammed in there. I don’t know how they paid me. It felt like a house party – sweat was dripping off the ceiling.