Excerpt from an Interview with Steve Aoki at Hotel Meridien, Vienna:
Alexandra: This is the last gig of a massive euro tour, you do about 300 a year which is pretty impressive. Welcome to Vienna! What was the first album you ever bought and how did that music influence you?
Steve: I thinkI am just gonna say Gorilla Biscuits, that one I really remember. WhenI turned 17, and I even got the tattoo of the band on my back and I still have that. You, know, back then I was a punk. I became Straight Edge when I turned 14, and it became my life. In hardcore and punk world, you gotta adapt your whole lifestyle, it takes up all your time, the way you dress, the kinda people you hang out with. Your whole life is dedication, it’s ado it yourself kinda thing. And it’s all about learning to play instruments. By the time I hit 16, I wrote my own music, every instrument. And in college, I ended being a singer for my first band and we were already doing tours then.
Alexandra: How was it like living like being a touring musician at such an early age?
Steve: It was crazy, in college, people were doing lots of drugs and we did over 20 shows a month already then. By the time I was like 19, we were playing with bands like The Locust.
Alexandra: Was that when you realized that that music was all you wanted to do and that it would be enough to get by cash wise?
Steve: When I was in college, I started my label, in 1996. When I finished school I had to make a decision–it was between more school and music. I was thinking of doing a PHD and becoming a professor, and the label wasn’t making any money at the time.
Alexandra: What hit it off, then?
Steve: After I got accepted to all these great school programs, I didn’t think „wow, I made it“. It was over, after I got there I knew that I could’ve had that and so I had to move on. So I put out The Killers first record in 2002. And that got me excited, I believed in that. I became their tour manager, their merch seller, their driver. It seemed right.