A backstage pass into Steve Aoki's world of cake-throwing, bodyweight workouts, and self-care.
DJ-producer Steve Aoki / @steveaoki by Caesar Sebastian
No two days are the same for 2X Grammy-nominated DJ and producer, Steve Aoki, as he straddles his many other identities: label owner, talent scout, fitness guru, philanthropist, self-proclaimed pizza pro, cake-throwing king and now a member of the #TeamGalaxy crew. Find out how he records music, runs a label, gets inspired, and stays fit and focused—all while travelling as one of the world’s busiest DJs.
Nailing his street photography pose / @steveaoki by Alexander Federic
Behind the hustle
Aoki could’ve settled for stardom, simply by slaying it as a world-renowned DJ and producer. But as his hustle soared, so did his private jet. His motivation? “My father,” he reveals. “The biggest thing I learned from him was being an entrepreneur and having a competitive spirit. He ingrained in me a drive that fuels everything I do.”
On top of his own musical pursuits, Aoki advances the careers of artists he believes in through his record label, Dim Mak – which has since evolved to include Aoki's streetwear couture line, Dim Mak Collection, and event production for some of today’s biggest names in dance music.
Extreme accountability towards health
Self-care doesn’t take a back seat when Aoki’s on the road—in fact, he suggests the opposite as he looks to meditation and “a nice cup of matcha” as essentials for his morning routine. “Personally, I think you are what you put into your body,” he explains. “The foods you eat, the rest you get, the workouts you complete – all of that combined has an effect on your mental and physical health.”
Outside of the obvious health benefits it provides (like his luscious locks), exercise is key to keeping up with the lifestyle he’s built. “It’s when you get to a new place and you take a moment to lay down or go get food that you start to lose that motivation that you had to work out. So you just have to get up and do it.”
"You are what you put into your body."
No gym, no problem
But how does he find the time? “My go-to workout routines are the Aoki Bootcamp exercises I’ve developed,” he answers. “They are high intensity, bodyweight resistance workouts that can be done anywhere at anytime. They can be done in five minutes or they can be done in 30 minutes … I’ve done these workouts on the side of the road, on the tarmac waiting for our plane to take off; anywhere I can do them, I’ve done them.”
Jot down or record your creative ideas wherever they spark.
As a globe-trotting digital nomad, Aoki draws inspiration for music from his ever-changing surroundings: “Constantly being on the road means I’m constantly inspired by the cultures and sounds around me. I record these sounds and the melodies they inspire as voice notes in my phone, and when I get a minute at home, I love getting into my studio and really diving into these ideas.” As for his creative process? “There is no one way for me,” he admits. “I’m lucky that I always feel inspired and ready to create. I guess I picked the right career. Or maybe it picked me?”
“I’m lucky that I always feel inspired and ready to create. I guess I picked the right career. Or maybe it picked me?”
Showing his support for mental health awareness / @steveaoki
Using his platform for positive change
Behind this rockstar exterior, Aoki is just as noble as he is multitalented. In 2012, he founded the Aoki Foundation to fund brain research and preservation while also supporting other humanitarian causes. “There’s nothing more important to me than the brain,” Aoki comments. “I want to see a world in which no one suffers from degenerative brain diseases. A world where science and technology play a key role in the longevity of the lives of our loved ones."
Putting on an unforgettable show
Aoki never fails to give his fans an unforgettable experience at his shows—from cake-throwing and blasting CO2 at his sets. “The idea for cake-throwing itself came from a music video that Autoerotique, an act on my label Dim Mak, made where cakes would explode in slow motion in people’s faces after blowing out the candles. The video really took off, and so I started throwing cakes at people to promote the video. To this day it’s an essential and in-demand part of my show,” he explains. His POV? “You have to think outside of the box if you want to stand out and succeed, and that’s what #TeamGalaxy is all about.”