One of the many reasons that Steve Aoki has become such a respected musician the world over is his penchant for collaboration. LMFAO, Travis Barker, and Weezer‘s Rivers Cuomo are just a handful of artists from the laundry list of eclectic collaborators on Aoki’s latest album, Wonderland.
In a recent interview with KROQ’s Stryker, Aoki discussed how some of these seemingly strange relationships came to be. “I’ve known Foo for a really long time,” he explained when Stryker probed into the origin of Aoki’s relationship with LMFAO’s Red Foo. They met via a number of parties thrown by Aoki’s label, Dim Mak.
Extolling the “Party Rock” star’s singing and songwriting, he highlighted Foo’s “amazing” producing ability and intellect. Before laying down “Livin’ My Love” in the studio, Aoki and Foo “talked music theory for like 6 hours”. LMFAO may be party animals with a wild streak of musical intellect, but they seem to have a taste for the macabre as well.
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The name of Aoki’s album Wonderland is a reference to Alice’s Wonderland or something more grim; the Wonderland murders that took place in Laurel Canyon in the early 80’s. Aoki explained that his studio is in fact in Laurel Canyon on Wonderland Drive, so the title is tangentially related to the latter reference. He went on to say that in an odd coincidence, LMFAO’s Red Foo and SkyBlu in fact lived in the Wonderland murders house when they initially moved to Los Angeles.
Another Aoki collaborator landing more in the rock world is Blink-182’s Travis Barker. The details regarding Barker and Aoki’s first meeting are foggy, but one thing is certain: their connection was through music from the beginning. Aoki explained that his and Barker’s “first working relationship” was collaborating on “Misfits,” a song from the Blink-182 percussionist’s 2011 solo album Give The Drummer Some.
While working on his own Wonderland, Aoki continued to visit Barker’s studio and throw around ideas for new music. When Barker mentioned that he was working on a song with hip hop artist Kid Cudi but “wasn’t sure what to do with it,” Aoki lent a hand. The finished product was the song “Cudi the Kid,” which ended up on Wonderland. He described spending time in Barker’s Studio City, CA space:
“He’s got all these different rooms with all these different kits and it’s got a really great environment. Like history’s being made there. He’s got a good crew around him. It was good to go over to his studio and experience that “Travis Barker Production “ world and work with him so closely.”
With such a diverse group of collaborators under his belt, who is the one person that Steve Aoki wants to work with? The answer was surprising and only came after some coaxing. Without pulling out his “secret list of people” who Aoki really genuinely wants to work this, he shared that the one singer who he’d like to work with probably won’t want to work with him.
Another gem uncovered during the interview; Aoki revealed that it “would be a dream” to work with Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine. He described Zack’s voice as one of the best and Rage as “one of the most influential bands of our generation.” Aoki has been following the singer since the early 90’s, when he fronted the hardcore band Inside Out. The two haven’t met, unless you count Aoki riding a bike past De La Rocha once in front of a coffee shop in Thai Town a decade ago.
Wonderland is available in stores everywhere.
Aoki is throwing a massive birthday party for himself at the Los Angeles’ historic Shrine Auditorium on Wednesday, November 21st. Interested? Prepare yourself for some champagne showers and inflatable raft rides. Tickets are now available.
–Robyn Luttrell, KROQ-FM Los Angeles
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