While Mulholland Drivehigh up in the Hollywood Hills may have the views and legacy, its Wonderland Avenue that that has the street cred and infamy (ex-porn star John Holmes was involved in a 1981 quadruple homicide at an apartment on the narrow road). Now, Wonderland Avenue may soon gain notoriety for something new: the world’s most unlikely road where some of America’s most beloved electronic music has been made thanks to Steve Aoki, who named his debut artist album for New York-based Ultra Music and his own label Dim Mak Records, Wonderland.
“There’s some iconic personalities walking up and down Wonderland” Aoki laughs, but that’s not why the artist chooses to live on Wonderland Avenue-he’s there for his home studio and access to big name guests from around the world (think everyone from Kid Cudi to Lil Jon to Afrojack) who are happy to drop by and record with one of the party scene’s greatest rockers.
“Every single day I’m in L.A. I’m recording at my house,” says the busy touring DJ and producer, who by his own admission is only in Southern California for less than 100 days a year these days. “Luckily, L.A.is a place everyone wants to come visit and it’s a cool environment up there” he adds.
Arguably no producer has done more to raise the international profile of Los Angeles in underground electronic music circles than Steve Aoki. He broke bands such as Bloc Party, The Bloody Beetroots, Klaxons and The Gossip through deftly marketed single and full-length releases on his Dim Mak label, which he began in 1996 and now has over 250 releases. Those releases often dovetailed into performances at his weekly Dim Mak nights including Dim Mak studios (still going strong every Tuesday night in the heart of Hollywood). As a label owner and shrewd curator of talent from around the world, those club nights have hosted the debut U.S. performances of hundreds of acts over the last decade from Lady Gaga to Ed Banger Records & Justice, Ke$ha, Skrillex, Kid Cudi, Kaiser Chiefs, No Age to Boys Noize. Aoki’s become a force of nature who has helped turn underground house, electro and harder-edged EDM with rap and rock leanings into the phenomena it is today: regularly pulling in 150,000 fans at events such as Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival and the debut of the IDentity national electronic touring festival.
Aoki’s punk roots go back to the art of the house party, when he was just a student at UCSB he was already booking bands such as The Rapture, Jimmy Eat World, Hot Water Music and At the Drive-In at his Pickle Patch bash and forging relationships with big names that would end up serving him well in the future (he met Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo at a secret show in college). Now, Aoki is readying the next stage of his incredible music career with his first proper full-length release with Wonderland, bringing a lifetime’s worth of passion for bands, DJs and artists of all stripes he has met and/or worked with over the past two decades to the forefront.
More recently he’s been seen collaborating with like-minded producers ranging from Armand Van Helden, Laidback Luke, Afrojack, Boys Noize, The Faint, D.i.M., The Bloody Beetroots, & Junkie XL and can now be found readying his debut artist album which includes collaborations from the likes of Lil Jon, Rivers Cuomo, Sky Ferreira, Chiddy Bang, Travis Barker, Kele of Bloc Party, Kid Cudi, Blaqstarr and the mysterious [[[zuper blahq]]] who can be found on the lead single ‘I’m in the House’.
Also involved in fashion, Aoki has developed lines for KR3W Apparel, Supra Footwear, headphones for WESC, headwear with NEFF, bags with Burton, & a brand new mens/women’s range with his sister Devon.