Steve Aoki’s creativity in “Neon Future II” transcends time and space.
When super producer/DJ Steve Aoki isn’t touring the world spinning original electro music to the masses, he plays at his comfy residency inside Hakkasan Nightclub in Las Vegas. Last week, the American sci-fi loving musical innovator released the followup to “Neon Future I,” his third record appropriately titled “Neon Future II.” On Thursday (May 21), the renowned producer will take Hakkasan by storm to celebrate his album release party (tickets here), but before the madness goes down in Sin City, Aoki took a moment to chat with BreatheHeavy.com about his impending vocal surgery after 20 years of screaming in clubs that forced him to cancel a handful of European shows, his perception of time and how that relates to reality (re: Neon Future), featuring “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director JJ Abrams on the record and if he’d ever duet with Britney Spears (he saw her Piece of Me show a few months ago).
How do you feel about having to get surgery on your vocal cord?
It’s hard, but it has to be done. Laying down before I go under… I’ll be freaked out, but it has to be done or else I’ll miss out more and I won’t be able to use my voice at all. I thought I could fix it without having any surgery, but the doctor that I saw said there’s no chance, and he showed me pictures, and he said ‘there’s just no way.’ It is what it is.
Are you a spiritual person?
Yes. Spirituality is a big gray area. It could mean a lot of different things. I’m not spiritual in the sense of organized religion. I believe that there’s a process in developing new technology, and evolving as a species is a spiritual process because we ultimately become more creative by understanding the brain and the mysteries that we’re blocking. All these things are a spiritual process.
What’s your perception of time?
Well, “Neon Future I” I talk about more technology and science… finding ways in living indefinitely through technology. The idea of time there actually has a point. Ray Kurzweil talks about 2045 is the year that singularity will break wide open, because of the way in which we’re moving at an exponential level. “Neon Future II”… it’s a different process. It’s introducing the idea of looking outward into space.
Do you foresee releasing a “Neon Future X?”
That’ll be eight albums later (laughs). We’ll see.
What’s your favorite “Neon Future II” collaboration?
One of my favorite names on the album is JJ Abrams. Although it didn’t take me much time to do that song, I think he really defined the album. The best way for me to close out “Neon Future II…” what he represents, how much of his contribution has influenced our culture and the way we look at science, space. As far as the musical contributions, Walk Off The Earth was one of my favorites. It was a whole new role-book on how to think about how to turn this song into a song that has an Aoki feeling with all different sounds.
Who’s someone you haven’t worked with yet that you want to?
A lot of people! I already started working on new music and new features. The tail-end of what we were finishing up on “Neon Future II,” I’ve finished up music that I’ll put on another album. Similar to “Neon Future I, II,” I’m not in a rush. I kind of like to sit on songs for a long period of time and see if they still have meaning to me. There’s a different way I write a single about a club or writing a song or concept for a project… When I work with certain artists, I’m not really thinking how this is going to sound in a club.
Do you prefer writing songs for the club or artists?
I like both. I’ve played at clubs, that’s what I do. I enjoy doing it cause it’s also a quick release. Albums are a long, long undertaking, and there’s times when I’m extremely frustrated, extremely overwhelmed, but when the album’s done and finished, it’s got to be one of the greatest feelings because you really toil it, you work so hard on something that’s so complicated and has so many layers.
What is success in music?
I think if your music connects to people in the way it connects to you. A song can connect to you in a really deep way, and it just goes over other peoples’ head. I think that’s a common issue to have. Some artists evolve and mature in their production faster than their own audience. I would say the most important thing is that you yourself are happy with your own music and it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. If you’re able to have that connection with other people and share that same feeling you get – that’s a win.
Would you ever consider doing a song with Britney?
I love Britney Spears. I’ve always been a fan of hers. I wouldn’t rule that out. You never know. Even big artists will want to do it, but labels cock block. It’s happened to me a few times where I’ve worked side-by-side in the studio with artists. We were pretty much close to putting [the song] out, then the label stopped everything. That’s really lowered my expectations. But yea, I love her.
Your life mantra?
By any means necessary.