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Poll 2023: Steve Aoki
Steve Aoki

From: USA

DJ style: “Elevated Dance Music.”

Best known for: “HIROQUEST.”

He may have started out in the world of hardcore punk rock, underground fanzines and harsh electro, but nowadays, Steve Aoki is no stranger to pop. Back in February this year, Aoki released a collaboration with Argentinean artists TINI and La Joaqui. ‘Muñecas’ mixed cumbia, R&B and rap, scoring a chart hit in several Latin American countries and also Spain. “I reached out to TINI pre-COVID and we went back and forth since then to get ‘Muñecas’ finished,” Aoki says.

He also teamed up with Singaporean singer JJ Lin, for the similarly pop-focused ‘The Show’, mixing R&B and shimmering trance riffs. Those songs were indicative of Aoki branching out into other styles beyond dance music, something he’s been doing for a while. Nevertheless, he put out plenty of dance tracks too, including ‘Wild’ with Vini Vici, ‘Friends’ with Dimitri Vegas and Chapter & Verse, ‘Concentrate’ with PUNX and 3LAU, and ‘2 Much 2 Handle’ with Alok. Aoki also released an unexpected remix of old Beach Boys surf rock hit ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’, while his latest single is ‘Paranoia’, an acid-driven house track with vocals from Danna Paola.

In 2023, Steve Aoki was hard at work on his eighth album. In-between constant gigs across the US, he was putting the finishing touches on ‘HIROQUEST: Double Helix’, the sequel to last year’s ‘HIROQUEST: Genesis’. Set for release in November 2023 his Dim Mak label, it features collaborations with R&B star Akon and big-room dance acts like Timmy Trumpet and Galantis.

“I’ve been working on ‘HIROQUEST 2’ and the universe of characters and music it lives in. ‘Double Helix’ introduces five more worlds of characters,” Aoki says. “The music is more to my dance core, and it’s once again a multi-genre album, most of which I play out at my live shows. The first book of HIROQUEST with cards is also coming early 2024.”

His popular weekly podcast, Aoki’s House, continued on Apple Radio, while the DJ also joined horn-tooting EDM king Timmy Trumpet at Amnesia, Ibiza this summer, for four riotous club dates in July and September, replete with deck dancing, plumes of fire, CO2 cannons and high-octane big-room beats. There were plenty of festival shows, with appearances at Ultra Europe in Croatia, Tomorrowland in Belgium, and AIRBEAT ONE and Parookaville in Germany. Looking ahead, more club shows beckon in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sacramento, Boston and Avondale, Arizona before the year is out.

Hero of 2023: “Black Coffee.”

Fave tune of 2023: “&ME, Black Coffee & Keinemusik ‘The Rapture Pt. III’.”

Best DJ set you’ve seen in 2023: “FISHER.”

What was the most exciting tech development of 2023? “AI for me, mainly in lyrics.”

Rising star DJ/producer of 2023: “Knock2.”

What gives you hope for 2024? “Still hungry and wanting to innovate my own world, which makes me excited and hopeful.”