EXCLUSIVE: Steve Aoki on Punk Parties, Lady Gaga, and Bonding With Travis Barker

Aoki and Barker have linked up again on ‘Halfway Dead’

March 16, 2020
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Steve Aoki has that feeling again. The artist, producer, and executive is once again a part of something new and different, and he can’t wait to tell everyone. Earlier this month he dropped “Halfway Dead,” along with Travis Barker and Global Dan, and it’s just like old times.

“When I find an artist that I want to help blow up, like when I found Bloc Party and was able to work with them – giving out the CDs literally out of the trunk of my car. Or The Kills,” Aoki says with intensity. “That same feeling, from almost 20 years ago, I’m feeling it right now.”

“Halfway Dead” takes Aoki back to his Punk DIY roots, combining that grit and groove with his own special touch. Global Dan is that talent for him, in a lot of ways the embodiment of what Aoki has built. The young artist out of Maryland brings bars and attitude, and their latest collaboration defies labels.

In the exclusive interview above, Steve Aoki tells RADIO.COM’s Bryce about his earliest Punk parties in his living room, watching a young Lady Gaga perform, and why he can’t stop working with Travis Barker.

Aoki turned his college apartment into The Pickle Patch back in the day, a place for Punk and Hardcore shows that quickly grew in legend, drawing bands like At The Drive-In. “They had no idea it was a living room,” confesses Aoki. “Cause it had this like, lore. ‘The Pickle Patch.’ All these bands were playing at ‘The Pickle Patch.’”

As Aoki and his Dim Mak Records label grew, so did the parties – eventually growing out of ‘The Pickle Patch’ and into a culture-shaping showcase. “Lady Gaga coming through, performing. That was pretty cool,” he remembers.
“She was just a young artist. She was very hip. She knew what was going on. She wanted to play our party.”

“Halfway Dead” not only is a spotlight for Global Dan, but also another excuse for Aoki to work with Travis Barker. “Travis and I have a great bond, we’ve been working together – it’s crazy to say – over ten years,” says Aoki. “We have a long music relationship. I always go to him when I think about a song like this. He’s the first person I want to work with. And he’s always coming to me with ideas as well.”

“He’s really inspiring,” he adds. “I can go on and on about Travis.”

To hear much more from Steve Aoki, check out the full interview above.

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