IN STEVE AOKI NEWS:
He stage-dives in blow-up rafts, collaborates with everyone from Lil’ Jon to Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and has a coif and beard so distinctive that he can be identified by mere outline. But while Steve Aoki is already a favorite of electronic dance music (EDM) fans, 2012 will be the Dim Mak label head’s breakthrough year.
"When I first heard about Steve Aoki, I only knew that he was a DJ," says Shady Records/Goliath Artists’ Paul Rosenberg, manager to Eminem and formerly DJ AM, one of Aoki’s friends. "Then I saw him play and learned he was more than that. He’s an incredible performer and entertainer. Since then I’ve watched him grow into a genre-defying musical entity that the world needs more of."
Three years in the making, the DJ/producer’s debut album as an artist, “Wonderland,” is due Jan. 17 on Dim Mak in conjunction with Ultra. The wily collection pulls in all the varied elements that have sparked America’s dance revolution, in many cases with the artists who lit the matches. But Aoki isn’t just playing jukebox: “Each song takes on a different personality of my life and career,” he says.
Wonderland sports radio-friendly dance-alongs like “Livin’ My Love” with LMFAO, stoned electro-hop like “Cudi the Kid” with Kid Cudi (and Travis Barker) and irresistibly hooky nuggets like “Ladi Dadi” with Wynter Gordon, a surefire chart-topper. But there’s also first single “Earthquakey People” with Cuomo, a nerdy ’90s-rock throwback, and “The Kids Will Have Their Say,” a nod to Aoki’s hard-rock roots that features Big John Duncan from Scottish punk band the Exploited on guitar.