You know Steve Aoki. He’s the cake-slinging DJ and performer known for throwing some of the best bashes around the world. He employs state-of-the-art production elements—such as his long-running enlistment of Kryoman, the LED cryo-shooting robot—and always goes all out to give his audience the time of their lives. Aoki returns to Hakkasan on November 19, and will celebrate his birthday with another show there on November 21. We asked Aoki, how does a man known for throwing parties celebrate his own birthday?
What have been your best birthdays?
I spend my birthday in different places all around the world because I’m always touring. If I’m in America, I’ll have a birthday party on the day and I’ll have a birthday week celebration. I’ll do parties in Miami and Las Vegas, wherever I’m playing. I’m the guy who brings the cake out at the shows. It’s fitting to throw a nice little birthday party.
We made birthday T-shirts at Hakkasan, like, two years ago, which was really cool. We gave them out at the shows. I had a birthday party at Dim Mak Studios, this really small club I used to own in Hollywood. Steve Angello and I played. His birthday is [about a week] before mine, and we did a back-to-back set.
What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received?
DJ AM gave me a brand-new laptop. My laptop had been destroyed by Champagne and all that stuff. Back then, in 2008, when he hooked me up, we were playing everywhere. People were always around you. It’s not like you were high up onstage. It was probably the most expensive gift I’ve received from a friend. It was a big deal, because he was not only one of my best friends, but he’s someone I really looked up to. I’ll never forget that.
What present do you want most this year?
It’s not about physical things for me. What I’m excited about is just the experiences. Just being able to spend more time with people I care about, whether it’s family or friends. That’s what I look forward to the most.
What’s the coolest present you’ve ever gotten someone else for their birthday?
The best presents are the ones that you really put some time into instead of just going to a store and buying things. Back in the day, I used to make mix tapes, like, proper mix tapes. Cassette mix tapes. That was my gift to my family. I made my dad two mix tapes: one of stuff that I was listening to at the time, so he could hear what I liked, and then one of old rock ‘n’ roll music from his childhood.
What kind of music were you listening to at the time?
When I was 14, I was listening to a lot of straight-edge hardcore; I was a straight-edge kid. It was all screaming, and these bands singing about unity and brotherhood. Things like that. [Or] rock ’n’ roll—the Beatles, Rolling Stones, that kind of stuff.
What flavor birthday cake are you going to get this year?
I have no idea, but my favorite flavor is strawberry shortcake. As girly as that sounds, it’s my favorite cake for eating. [But] for throwing, any cake that’s really, really soft and has lots of frosting and colors. The more colorful frosting, the better. Then your cake face is white, green, yellow and red …
I’ve gotten a close look at some of those cakes that you throw, and they’re massive.
Yeah, they’re good cakes.