Steve Aoki Steps Deeper Into 'Neon Future III' With Album Breakdown: Exclusive

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In 2014, Steve Aoki launched into a musical journey that took him not solely all over the world, however into the way forward for music. His album Neon Future featured collaborations with artists throughout genres and tempered Aoki's tone round a central theme of know-how and hope.

"The idea is de facto about embracing know-how," Aoki says, "the way forward for science and concepts, music and humanity. It's simply the final overview of a techno future optimist."

Four years later, Aoki continues to discover these themes of collaboration and experimentation. Neon Future III may simply be essentially the most world within the sequence to this point, with voices and grooves that characterize Korea, France, Norway, Brazil, Kosovo, rock, pop, hip-hop and even nation music. He labored with a few of his biggest idols on this one. Even Bill Nye the Science Guy makes an look.

"Neon Future III (Intro)"
The intro I made with this unbelievable pianist from France named Julian Marshall. Definitely examine him out. My sister Devon would at all times take heed to his music earlier than she'd go to be, and play her youngsters his music. She'll simply rave about him. It's essentially the most lovely piano you've ever heard. I reached out to him about collaborating. (The intro) is ominous, a bit darkish, nearly such as you're about to observe a film that goes into area. I've these actually superb piano melodies that he wrote, and I additionally wished to come back off with a bang. With Neon Future III, you've received the spacey, darkish component from Julian Marshall, and you've got a banger of a drop. It's only a approach to say 'Hello, we're right here. What's up? This is Neon Future III."

"Just Hold On" feat. Louis Tomlinson 
"Just Hold On" was large report. I by no means knew what fan golf equipment had been like till I did that music. I had followers that help my music all over the world, and they're superb. They helped me out, however after I did the music with Louis Tomlinson, I received swept up within the drive the Directioners. I didn't notice the facility that they've to actually get the ball transferring, so far as actually getting the music on the market to the world. They're very sensible, very sharp. There's lots of of 1000's of them working collectively like a military to get your music on the market. Louis is simply an absolute legend, ra eally right down to Earth, humble dude that has an excellent voice and a coronary heart of gold. I simply love working with Louis, such an important man. We grew to become actually good pals over this music, and I simply love seeing how far the music'll go.

"Waste It on Me" feat. BTS
Talking concerning the followers - wow. These followers are completely unbelievable. The BTS Army is actually a military that works day and evening to get the music on the market. Just completely the very best crew you could possibly have in your aspect. This was the third music that BTS and I did within the final 12 months ... These guys are household. I despatched them the bones of "Wasted On Me." They beloved it, and I used to be crossing my fingers, as a result of it's all in English. It's simply such a deal with to the worldwide viewers that BTS has. I really like the nuances of how they sing the music. You don't have to comply with a sure field such as you did again within the day. When I work with singers and completely different vocalists, we go take after take after take to get the very best. I'm undecided what number of instances they labored on it of their studio, however no matter take they despatched me, I didn't wish to change. I really like how uncooked and pure and real it's. This is an especially significant music, my most significant music on the album. There's a number of historical past in that music, and the worldwide footprint that this music has already within the first week, it's already completely unbelievable.

"Be Somebody" with Nicky Romero feat. Kiiara
This music was a superb testomony to treating your concepts within the studio like nice wine. Me and Romero labored on the music of this music for over a 12 months. We would examine again in on this concept each few months ... to see If this melody goes sound recent irrespective of while you take heed to it. Months later, if it actually works straight away, you've one thing that has an opportunity to be a timeless music. The objective is to make each music you make as timeless as doable. Of all of the songs I've had, there are particular ones that actually have had this high quality, and also you wish to simply proceed to attempt to excellent that ability set. This music actually felt that approach to us, and Kiara jumped on it and put that additional juice on it, that x-factor that it wanted to actually rise above. Lyrically, I feel it's like such an important music for any time - now and the long run, as a result of it's about independence and being sturdy by means of attempting instances. It's a really highly effective music, lyrically.

"Pretender" feat. Lil Yachty & AJR​
"Pretender" was a really enjoyable music. AJR, they're simply so witty, so sharp. They write unbelievable songs to start with, nice hooks, melodies and lyrics - oh god. The lyrics of this music are so excellent for proper now. The manner that we reside our lives by means of Instagram, how we put ourselves out there may be the indicator of why this music is so vital now. We all do it. We're like "oh, we go so arduous on the fitness center, we're consuming so wholesome, we're dwelling our greatest lives." We don't wish to submit up the pictures of us once we're down. Lil Yachty completely killed it. I bear in mind being within the studio with him in Atlanta. I flew on the market, and he simply went within the sales space, performed it, and simply nailed his verses instantly. Yacthy can also be younger, so he's similar to "I'm going to hint again to after I was in highschool and what it felt wish to strive to slot in." He's telling his personal story, which, he's an important storyteller. It's catchy. It's enjoyable. It's related.

"A Lover and a Memory" feat. Mike Posner
I used to be within the studio with him. During this time period, he was making music that was a bit darker. This is pre-beard Mike Posner. That period of music he was making, I feel he really didn't even launch a number of his different songs, as a result of he type of determined to go in a distinct route. I'm glad I used to be capable of take this music from him and switch it into "A Lover and A Memory," as a result of it's received this darkish feeling to it within the a manner Mike sings it. It's so susceptible and so emotional. He is a singer-songwriter. He actually sings from the guts, and this music actually cuts proper to that place. Lyrically, you possibly can really feel it. Vocally, you possibly can really feel it. I did my finest with actually attempting to go with that musically on the manufacturing aspect. I completely love this music. It's one of the crucial heartfelt songs on the album. When I reached out to him, he was working a pair completely different songs, and that was one. I'm so drawn to this music, simply the vulnerability in how he's singing it. At the tip of the day, it's only a testomony to what we attempt to do as producers and musicians; actually lower by means of all of the noise and get to the core of what we're attempting to say. The unhappy songs are those that make us really feel and permit us to be susceptible.

"Why Are We So Broken" feat. blink-182
Why are we so damaged in a typical blink-182 music title. They're simply witty, they usually at all times have a darkish twist to their lyrics. As you sing alongside, you notice you're singing alongside to is a few bizarre lyrics - at all times. I really like this music. There is a lot vocal interaction between Mark Hoppus and Matt Skiba on the music. They sing backwards and forwards continuously on this one, they usually do such a superb job vocally, however the lyrics are within the true blink-182 type. If you're keen on blink-182, you'll simply robotically latch on to the lyrics and the melodies. The melodies are 100 p.c trademark clean, and also you hear Travis drums on there. He's my favourite drummer of all time. This collaboration began in John Feldmann's studio, working with blink. I dropped at my studio, and my objective was to actually ensure that either side of the genres are represented as a lot as doable. I would like everybody to listen to the bass, the guitar, the harmonies, the vocals, the drums; all that stuff. The arduous half is mixing either side, the electronics aspect and the reside aspect. It's tougher than you assume, and it actually took a very long time 'until we lastly received it. It's in an unbelievable place of blending each cultures. Also, I grew up listening to blink. I've at all times wished collaboration with blink. I've labored with Travis since 2010 on varied concepts ... however we by no means received to the purpose of doing a blink music, so I'm simply so glad we lastly received to that time.

"Golden Days" feat. Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World
I used to be within the studio with John Feldmann, this time with Calum Hood from 5 Seconds of Summer, and Travis and Mark. We had been engaged on the bones of "Golden Days," like actual writers room work. John had an enormous piece of the writing, Mark had an enormous piece of lyrics, Travis was on drums, and Calum was making the bass line. We weren't certain what was going to occur with the music, however we received all that the association down, the naked bones. I took it again to my studio, tweaked it out, constructed the drop. I really performed some bass and guitar on the music as properly, had extra enjoyable with it. Then, I actually wish to get Jim Adkins from Jimmy Eat World on that the music. I've this very lengthy historical past with Jimmy Eat World. The first time I used to be placing on exhibits, it was at this vegan co-op, and we had exhibits in our kitchen. Only like 15 or 20 folks can really match within the room, and Jimmy Eat World got here and performed in '97 or no matter, then they got here again possibly like six months later. Here we're, 20 years later, and I'm working with this band. It's simply completely phenomenal. Jim was all about it, and he killed it. He simply did an important job singing the music and made an important collaboration of the story.

"Our Love Glows" feat. Lady Antebellum
That was curve ball of the album for lots of us. You don't ever see EDM and nation coming collectively, and that dialog pricks my ears up. I wish to work with genres of music that haven't actually labored within the area. I really like the problem of creating an important music, and I really like increasing my musical tastes and turning into a greater producer total. Just like something, if I wish to work with a rustic artist, they must wish to work with me as properly. I've really put my feelers into the nation area, and Lady Antebellum we're additionally very focused on working with me. It was like a match made in heaven, like "holy shit, you'll by no means anticipate it, however we wanna work with you," and I'm like, "no, I wanna work with you." It's like a dream first date the place all of it goes properly. They had been very forthcoming, they usually wrote an unbelievable thought for the music. This took time, too, like a superb 12 months plus to develop to what it's now. Just like nice wine. This isn't about placing the music out straight away. This is about making the very best music we are able to from the music that I really like that you simply despatched me. I actually wish to characterize each worlds and actually get each of our followers to actually choose the music up and have or not it's theirs.

"Anything More" feat. Era Istrefi
Once once more, the concept there's no borders with music. I really like that this album spans the globe. She is totally an unbelievable singer, and I've at all times wished to work along with her. She crushed it with the world cup music with Will Smith and Nicky Jam. I used to be actually glad to see her title mild up in that manner. After that, I feel she lower "Anything More." I'd had "Anything More" as an thought for a very long time, and I wished to get the fitting vocalist for it, the fitting vocal sound. I really like her voice. It was a type of issues the place I already actually wished to work along with her, I knew she would kill it, after which she laid it down. It was such a pure match, like a glove. I feel the music is for all the school youngsters on the market. You're broke, and all you care about is being along with your accomplice, boyfriend, girlfriend or no matter it could be. You don't want something extra. When I used to be making this music with the songwriters I work with, I simply noticed all the school college students I play to, it referring to their lives; a broke, ravenous pupil, and also you simply wish to smoke some bushes, chill along with your man or gil, and that's all you care about. The blissful time of being younger.

"All Night" with Lauren Jauregui 
That music was a really significant music for me. I really like Fifth Harmony. I used to be a extremely massive fan of Lauren as an individual, not simply as this voice and expertise that she is. She's a really outspoken lady that simply stands up for those who are underrepresented, individuals who need assistance with getting their voice on the market. She cares so much about human rights, and I really like seeing her feed and simply cheerleading her on. She's received a vibe when she walks right into a studio. The vitality modifications all collectively. She's a magical fairy, coming in and simply dropping fairy mud on all the pieces, making all the pieces simply activate. And she's such a tough employee, too. She'll work until the late-late hours. For a lady that's in a lady band, you'd assume there'd be this diva component, and there's none of that. She is available in there and works her tail off and needs the very best for the music. Absolutely inspirational - and her voice, oh my god. She goes within the sales space, I imply, I might give her reward far and wide. The music is a number of enjoyable, we had a good time making the music. We spent numerous days in my studio in LA, and capturing the music video. Actually capturing the music video on Cahuenga on this small bar that I used to play at after I was first arising as a DJ. That was fairly cool, to return down reminiscence lane.

"Do Not Disturb" feat. Bella Thorne
I really like Bella. I'd say one of the crucial skilled artists I've labored with. Always confirmed up early, like, behind schedule. We did just a few studio periods, and she or he would present up earlier than me, and it's my studio. She's an actress. She's received that self-discipline to deal with her work with the utmost care and accountability. She's additionally a diehard studio lady. She goes in there, works her tail off, and delivers what she's actually good at delivering. We grew to become good pals, as a result of she's working with one other artist on my label Dim Mak; Prince Fox. She made a music known as "Just Call" which is an unbelievable music, and from that we simply saved speaking. I used to be like, "I received this unbelievable music for you; a brilliant horny music known as 'Do Not Disturb.'" We plan to do some enjoyable stuff with the music video. She's going to direct the video. She's a really sharp, sensible, clever lady. She's received so much occurring, as a result of she will be able to. She actually is aware of her imaginative and prescient. She is unbelievable at constructing her personal model. I give it as much as her.

"Lie to Me" feat. Ina Wroldsen
That music I made with a Norwegian artist, Ina, who's really written and sang songs everyone knows. From working with Calvin Harris to Jax Jones and numerous different superb producers. She's a phenomenon to be reckoned with, and she or he really wrote "Lie To Me" when she was like 19 or 20 years outdated. She's been sitting on that music, the melodies and lyrics, for an extended, very long time. I heard it, and I used to be like, "wow, that is such an emotional music," and the way in which she sings it was so cool. People can really feel the music from her, the way in which she sings the lyrics of the music, of what it feels wish to be in a relationship the place you're type of misplaced in it. She mentioned, "that is one thing that I wrote after I was actually younger," and I might sense that. When you're younger in a relationship, you are inclined to really feel that manner. I feel lots of people can relate to that. This is a good music for the summer season, so we launched that music in summer season of 2018, this previous summer season.

"Azukita" with Daddy Yankee, Play-N-Skillz & Elvis Crespo
Azukita is my first Spanish-sung Latin report. It's a very long time coming, as a result of an enormous a part of my success as an artist, I've to offer props to all my my Central American, South American and Spanish followers, and all of the Spanish-speaking Latinos and Latinos in America. They're such a big contingent of how I've grown as an artist. Really, with this one, I wished to mix each worlds. I wished to make an EDM drop, make it enjoyable, make it dance-y, after which actually have the reggaeton vibe for Daddy Yankee to do his factor, and Elvis Crespo do his factor. I labored on the manufacturing aspect with Play-N-Skillz, and simply actually mix all of the worlds collectively. It's completed extremely properly within the dance world and streaming. The music video was phenomenal and superb to work with. Also, simply, Daddy Yankee is the godfather. He's a legend. For my first Latin report to be with Daddy Yankee is an exceptional feat. It's considered one of my proudest music I've ever made.

"Hoovela" with TWIIG
"Hoovela" is a pure EDM banger. TWIIG are two superb producers all the way in which from Croatia. We made the music sampling "Baile de Favela," this unbelievable funk information from Brazil. When you hear that in Brazil, folks go loopy. Millions of individuals love this music. I used to play "Baile de Favela" report in my units, and Brazilians would simply lose it. It's a type of melodies and songs that actually characterize the funk sound in Brazil. I used to be capable of to clear the pattern and velocity it up. That's why it's known as "Hoovela." It's a hybrid of "Favela," and the primary pattern which is my voice going "hoo." Right earlier than the drop, you hear a "hoo," and that's me, so we had been similar to "properly, had been gonna name it 'Hoovela.'" It's one of the crucial lit songs in my set after I play out reside. If you come to a Steve Aoki present, you're going to undoubtedly hear "Hoovela," and the group's going to be leaping the whole manner by means of the music. I'm going out to (Brazil) subsequent 12 months, so I'm gonna be enjoying "Hoovela" most likely two or three instances in my set.

"What We Started" with Don Diablo & Lush & Simon feat. BullySongs
"What We Started" is one other mega collaboration with Don Diablo, Lush & Simon and BullySongs. Don Diablo is doing an unbelievable job elevating consciousness within the tradition, in our EDM area, making unbelievable songs. Lush & Simon are superb Italian producers that added so much to the music, and BullySongs is the singer. This music is an ode to EDM. This is what we're. This is who we're. It's a proud second. It's like a victory lap, us elevating this EDM flag and being happy with the place we come from. In the music video, we actually showcase that. We're these youngsters, we're collectively engaged on this music, after which we maintain up our arms, and we're collectively at Tomorrowland. It's a music I at all times shut off with my set, and everybody's received their arms up within the air. Whats unbelievable is that this music was by no means a radio report, however in my crowd, everybody's singing the music. Everybody is aware of the music, which is a testomony that exhibits how impactful and the way highly effective the EDM area. If they actually love your music, they don't want the help from these bigger establishments to interrupt the report.

"Noble Gas" feat. Bill Nye
The first time I frolicked with Bill, we did a panel collectively for Fast Company. We had been sitting within the inexperienced room, and I used to be speaking to him concerning the Neon Future album, most likely boring his thoughts about what I assumed the long run was going to be. He's similar to, "I'm the science man, you don't want to inform me something." He was entertaining me, and I appreciated his time. I used to be like "pay attention, I do know that is gonna sound bizarre, however I wish to work with you on music, and if there's a manner we are able to collaborate collectively let's do it." He was like "get your tape recorder out, and I'll let you know what my model of the neon future is." He type of went on his personal manner like, ", neon is a noble fuel. I wanna speak about that." And I'm like, " what? You're Bill Nye the science man, you possibly can speak about no matter you need, and we'll make it a collaboration." I simply recorded him proper then there, and it was the bones of the music. I went again within the studio, and since that assembly I've labored on the music numerous instances. I don't know what number of variations I made from that music - a ton. It was one of many final songs for Neon Future III that I made. It's a heavy music. I wished to start out heavy and finish heavy.

Neon Future III  is out now on Ultra Records. Step into its world sound and by no means look again, beneath.