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Steve Aoki Talks Neon Future II and Linkin Park Collab

06/09/2015
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(Radio.com) If you could choose one party to be invited to for the rest of your life, you might want to make it a party thrown by EDM superstar Steve Aoki. Here's some people who he might be there, based on his recent activities: Snoop Dogg, who guested on "Youth Dem (Turn Up)" from Aoki's latest, Neon Future II. You might see his other collaborators from the album, including Linkin Park ("Darker Than Blood") or Rivers Cuomo of Weezer ("Light Years").

Another Neon Future II collaborator you might see is J.J. Abrams, who took a bit of time off from working on a little indie film you may have heard of, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to do a vocal for the album. Then there's Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee, whom he recently interviewed for his "Neon Future Sessions" interview series. He also told us a bit about his not-yet-posted "Neon Future" interview with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. So, to review: he's hanging with the guy who created many of Marvel's iconic characters, including most of the Avengers (this summer's hottest movie so far). He's hanging with the guy who, having rebooted the Star Trek franchise, is now doing the same for Star Wars, possibly the most anticipated film of the decade. And he's hanging with the dude from the band with the hottest concert tickets of the summer.

Despite the super mainstream characters he calls his pals, he's still excited when talking about hardcore punk, the genre where he got his start. He's just as enthusiastic about chatting about going to see a Gorilla Biscuits reunion as he is about hanging with the guy bringing Star Wars into the future. The fun thing about interviewing him is, his enthusiasm is infectious, no matter what the subject. Also, you might get to do an #AokiJump with him.

Radio.com: When you work on an album with all these collaborators, are you usually in the studio with them? Does it even matter if you are?

Steve Aoki: When you're in the studio with the people you're working with, it's more efficient and it goes faster. Sometimes, I'm not afforded that luxury. On Neon Future I, I worked in the studio with nearly everyone. It was different on Neon Future II, because it was a more hectic period of time. It takes longer, if you're not in the studio together. Because the fine tweaking… it could take three months to make a change that you could have made in five minutes. If I have Lil' Jon in the studio, I try to get as many vocal takes as I can get out of him, so I can use them for anything else that we can do together [in the future].

Radio.com: You worked with Linkin Park again on this album. Talk about the song "Darker Than Blood."

Steve Aoki: "Darker than Blood" was written at the same time as "A Light That Never Comes" [from Linkin Park's remix album Recharged]. The inception of both of those songs was in 2013. It's been the longest process of finishing a song that I've worked on with another artist. I think it's a testament to sitting on a song, like sitting on an idea for six months and seeing if it is still good. "A Light That Never Comes" sounds more like a Linkin Park production, "Darker Than Blood" sounds more like a Steve Aoki production, even though we were all very involved in both.

Radio.com: Working with J.J. Abrams must have been a huge thrill. Was he working on Star Trek or Wars at the time?

Steve Aoki: I met J.J. a couple of years back, we bonded over synthesizers. Because he's got his own music studio at Bad Robot [Abrams' production company], and it's incredible. It's the most badass studio. I could just live in it, and he loves to geek out. I love that about him. He's got that authentic spirit when it comes to the things that he really loves to do. I went to watch a scene from Star Trek [Into Darkness], where they're running through this jungle [most likely this scene], it was insane. I stayed in touch with him, but I really didn't think he would have time to do something for my album, because I know how heavy duty Star Wars is. I mean, it's the most influential movie of all time! I was like, "Will he? Can he do it?" And he was able to do it. So, that was a huge deal. I haven't seen him in person since he's been working on Star Wars, but I was very honored to get a soundbite. He has a movie trailer quality voice.

Read the full interview here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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