Steve Aoki is a well-traveled individual and yes, he’s known to throw a cake or three during his live performances. But that doesn’t necessarily qualify him as a human Yelp when it comes to finding a good piece of cake in the city.
“I don’t know. I don’t know all the bakers here,” the DJ told me when I jokingly asked him if he could recommend a spot. Aoki chatted with me in his green room ahead of performing downtown as a part of the BUILD Series, a live set that was also streamed on Yahoo Music. “I get the cake delivered to the stage.”
No, Aoki isn’t running to bakeries across the globe picking up cakes. But that doesn’t mean the whole “caking” process is one that he takes lightly; there’s a six-page tour rider specifically for the confection. And in 2015, Aoki said that he would limit throwing cakes in people’s faces to his headlining shows as opposed to festivals due to shoulder strain.
He did make an exception this past March at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and it was quite the toss.
Perhaps the California-native felt a little stronger this past year after clearing parts of his massive touring schedule to work on his new album, “Kolony.” The album marks a departure for Aoki as he changes his process to focus more on the vocalist and less on his music, thus Kolony’s full-fledged venture in to hip-hop.
“I’m not necessarily trying to make EDM records that hip-hop artists can fit on but just make great songs that really give the lead to the vocalist,” he explained. “I’m influenced by everything. When I’m (in New York), I listen to a lot of hip-hop. When I’m traveling overseas I listen to a lot of music from those countries where I go.”
Aoki’s goal was to work “in the now” and throw out the rule book so that first and foremost, he could change the game for himself. Staying present forced the producer at times to meet an artist in their studio or invite one to his, although inevitably some of the collaborations occurred remotely. However in one instance, Aoki reached back in to the vault and dusted off an unreleased acapella.
“With Mase, I mean I had that acapella for years,” Aoki revealed while talking about the track “$4,000,000.” “I’ve been working on that song for years. Luckily, I had ‘Kolony’ to give me a deadline.”
Now that it’s out, the DJ will hit the road, or rather the air again. Aoki spends most of the next month touring Europe, save a quick stop to Kazakhstan. It’ll be his first time performing in the Central Asian country.
Hopefully, somebody knows a good baker in town.