Cake-throwing and stage-diving on rafts have been a mainstay in the live shows of one electro house musician and producer, but the stage antics are expected to captivate attendees in Columbus with a surprise guest in tow.
Steve Aoki, internationally renowned DJ and producer and founder of Dim Mak Records, is bringing a new element to his Aokify America Tour show in Columbus Tuesday, which he calls “neon future technology.” Derived from the name of his upcoming album “Neon Future,” set to release in 2014, Aoki said Tuesday will be a “full party-mode show.”
Aoki is set to play an entire set at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, with doors opening at 6 p.m., along with dubstep DJ and producer, Borgore, whose real name is Asaf Borger, rapper Waka Flocka Flame, whose real name is Juaquin Malphurs, and Canadian electro house DJ and producer Felix Cartal, whose real name is Taelor Deitcher. Deorro and Kyroman are also scheduled to perform.
“It’s amazing how diverse the lineup is. I’m bringing out all the fun stuff that people know me about, and apart from that, I’m bringing out a new element to my show that teases the new album, and it involves LED and robots and things that I wear,” Aoki said. “It’s really interesting, one-of-a-kind technology that you can’t see anywhere else in the world and this tour is showcasing that.”
Aside from these additional props, Aoki’s mystery guest is going to be an extremely special guest, especially for the people in Ohio, he stressed.
“I’m not going to say who it is, but people will be very upset that they didn’t come to the show to see this particular person,” Aoki said. “It’s very cool, and it’s the very first time I’ve ever done something with this guy. We have a song together, I’ll leave it at that.”
To Aoki, performing as a DJ during live shows requires more than the musical aspects in order for the audience to enjoy themselves.
“I’ve been bringing props onto my show since 2009. I always want to bring something new to the show that I can use to entertain the crowd, because as much as I love DJing and mixing, in between the mixes, I want to go and interact with the audience,” Aoki said. “There is some stuff that I’ve brought to the stage that didn’t work and I just took them off and some of the things that stuck, and the things that stuck were the cakes and the boats. People wanted it, so I go by demand. If you want something, I’ll bring it.”
Aoki intends to include some new songs in his Columbus set that will be part of his new album. He compares “Neon Future” to his previous album, “Wonderland,” released in January 2012, and said the production for the new album is “leaps and bounds beyond ‘Wonderland.’”
“The songwriting is a lot bigger and better and grandiose. The sound design has been refined and retuned. It’s a whole new palette of sounds, and you’ll be hearing a lot of those songs during my set,” Aoki said. “That’s the great thing about dance music, in that sense. Producers like myself will write some music and we’ll test them out right away and we can change it again.”
During this tour, he also collaborated with Borgore and Waka Flocka Flame to produce new tracks.
As someone whose life centers around doing what he loves in the electronic dance scene, Aoki said it is crucial for him to stay disciplined and manage his time wisely when he’s on the road, which includes striking a balance between making music and keeping his body healthy.
“You’ve got to give priority to the things that you love, and never get lazy,” Aoki said. “There are two things that I never want to get, and that’s lazy and jaded. Those are bad words.”
He also lashed out on the negative image that has often been associated with electronic dance shows.
“I don’t do drugs and I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life. When you take Molly and you go to shows, you don’t even know what they’re playing anymore. When you’re too drunk, you definitely can’t remember anything,” Aoki said. “It’s like, if you stay focused on the music, it will take you to a place where you’re supposed to go. I feel bad that these kids don’t see that, but they’re going to do what they’re going to do, I’m not going to be righteous about it.”
Sharon Gunawan, a third-year in biochemistry who has been a fan of Aoki since attending the March 2013 Ultra Music Festival in Miami, agreed with the statement that the music during these shows gives the crowd a different kind of high.
“The crowd likes the same thing, and it makes you feel like you want to join them,” Gunawan said. “It’s all really supporting of each other.”
Kori Bronstein, a first-year in exercise science education who has been a fan of Aoki’s music for three years, is excited to be attending his show for the first time and to experience first-hand the stage antics which has made the Aoki shows famous.
“I’m actually from New Jersey, and I’ve been wanting to see him for so long, and finally I see that he’s playing at the LC, so obviously I was going to go,” Bronstein said.
The Aokify America Tour’s Columbus stop is scheduled for Tuesday at the LC Pavilion on 405 Neil Ave. Tickets are available for $25 through Ticketmaster. Doors are set to open at 6 p.m.