When dance floor legends are mentioned, Steve Aoki is one of the most frequently included names. The two-time Grammy nominated artist/DJ/producer has crossed musical boundaries throughout his seven albums, collaborating with everyone from Maluma to Rob Thomas to Cardi B, among legions of others. Also a philanthropist, Aoki has founded both The Aoki Foundation (which supports organizations in the area of brain science research) and is also venturing into launching his own artists, under the Dim Mak record label. This Saturday March 12th, Steve Aoki is returning to HQ2 for a much anticipated set, where we can expect to hear not just crowd favorite tracks, but some hidden gems from the vault. Here, we grabbed some of our own favorite tracks and you’ll quickly see why an evening with Steve Aoki at HQ2 is never a night to be missed.
Artists frequently look to collaborate with artists like Steve Aoki to take their music to the next level, but it’s rare that four of pop music’s biggest ingenues get the chance to merge their talents together, resulting in some true dance floor magic. Aoki took the landmark track “Girls” (featuring Rita Ora, Cardi B, Bebe Rexhia and Charli XCX on an all-star girl power anthem), creating a haunting and wonderfully reimagined version of the original. His maneuvering of the artist’s vocals puts a fresh spin on a crowd favorite, but letting artists like Cardi B continue to shine through displayed Aoki’s true production prowess.
There is nothing like hearing some classics on the dance floor to truly set the tone for the evening, and George Benson’s 1980 infectious single “Give Me The Night” is one of those tracks, personified. While the original is already a favorite, putting this track in the hands of Steve Aoki totally recreates it into something fresh and almost brand new. Various percussion elements along with some true production wizardry still give that feeling of extreme familiarity when hearing Benson’s signature vocals, but having that patented Aoki magic sprinkled on it makes it a single worth revisiting entirely.
Initially an unorthodox pairing, Steve Aoki and The Backstreet Boys quickly showed any detractors exactly why their partnership created a rare musical moment. The track “Let It Be Me” (from Aoki’s stunning 2020 album Neon Future) manages to showcase the familiar hook-heavy pop music the Backstreet Boys are so familiar and beloved for, but manages to thread so many of the production elements that Aoki tracks are known for. While not a throbbing bass-heavy track, this is a must for any true Aoki-phile to have included in their catalog of favorites.
As he emerges as a force to reckon with on the pop charts himself, Darren Criss teamed up with Steve Aoki for a stunning recreation of The Dave Matthews Band anthem “Crash Into Me” (showcased on Aoki’s Neon Future IV album). While it may seem like an unexpected pairing, Aoki managed to mold Criss’ vocals into a true dance floor powerhouse track. The drops come at just the perfect time, showcasing Criss’ familiar verses, yet at the same time, putting Aoki’s own stamp on the track, with the combined efforts resulting in a musical treat (the bridge is particularly a must-hear moment in the track)!
Steve Aoki’s latest track is titled “Kult”, pairing Aoki up with Grandson and Jasiah. Dabbling in a bit of a harder sound, “Kult” is a refreshing direction for Aoki to take, with vocals traded by both Grandson and Jasiah, with the backdrop of thrashing guitars behind them. With both Grandson and Jasiah already as fans, the admiration is most definitely mutual, with Aoki saying in a press release “‘KULT’ is the first taste from my upcoming album and showcases some of the new and old sounds that have recently inspired me,” he says. “Grandson and Jasiah have both been killing it recently, so I was excited to get them together on a track. The energy and lyrics capture a certain kind of feeling that will shake you to your core and possibly even persuade you to join the KULT.”