Chatting up Steve Aoki as he preps to celebrate his birthday at Hakkasan

Deep party: Steve Aoki contemplates life year-round, not just on his birthday.
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Is it true you still haven’t fully moved into your home in Henderson? I’m moving in [this week]. I’m still spending four months of the year living in Ibiza, and now I’m back, but for the last two years I’ve been living in an apartment waiting for my house to be built. But it’s like, stage one of 10 stages of development.

Are you still working on a possible restaurant project in Las Vegas? I do have some other businesses in the pipeline, and some other fashion [stuff], but I don’t want to make announcements, you know, put the cart before the horse.

You are one of the rare superstar DJs with a very well-defined lifestyle brand. How do you manage your various enterprises? I’ve always had a cultural brand, so to speak, even before I was a DJ. But I wouldn’t say brand. That’s a strange term. The way I see it, it’s a community, or it’s building something special for a community. I started Dim Mak [records] in ’96. In college, we had our own little culture and scene we built. The thing about a brand is you’re thinking more about the bottom line than how you’re affecting culture. Whatever I do, I think about it that way, from the artists’ perspective and not the bottom line.

You’ll turn 38 at the end of the month. You’re already a pretty inward-looking dude, but do birthdays make you contemplate things like mere mortals do? Yeah. I never really thought about it like that, though. I do have days when I reflect on life, that sense of clarity and presence, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be on a birthday. I remember a birthday in India, and one in Sydney, so it is what it is wherever I am. That’s the lifestyle.

Your Steve Aoki Charitable Fund will focus on Keep Memory Alive next year, among a few other groups. I’m really excited you brought that up because it’s local but at the same time, it’s so incredibly global. The reach from that organization and what it’s doing in Las Vegas is some of the most important research on brain degenerative diseases, and it’s incredible that it’s happening in our own neighborhood. Raising money is part of it, but I also like to provide insight into this world to the demographic that knows me through music. There’s not much discourse there yet, so I’m happy to at least become a bridge, to get people connected. And that’s part of what Neon Future means, to build our own future through science and technology, to have happier, healthier, longer lives, and to have memories. What are we without memories?

Speaking of memories, what was your most memorable show of the year? I played Omnia for the first time and that was one of my absolute favorites, because it was a locals show. I haven’t had a lot of chances to do that—it’s been more big weekend shows when the tourists come through, and I love doing that, too. It’s a new crowd and energy every single time. But locals, they don’t have the allure and mystique of Las Vegas because it’s your backyard, and I was really curious how it’d be, and it just went down much bigger. It blew my expectations out of the water. And it’s my home turf now, the people that live here and work in this industry, so it was really heartwarming.

Steve Aoki with Fergie DJ, DJ Turbulence. November 21, 10:30 p.m., $40+ men, $30+ women. Hakkasan, 702-891-3838.

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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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