“I’m just in the business of music and everything that it involves.”
Those were the words of California-based producer-turned-DJ Steve Aoki, who took some time out of his second day off in 32 days to chat with The Badger Herald about his upcoming show at the Orpheum.
Even with a non-stop tour schedule and the responsibility of artist signing and development at his own label, Dim Mak Records, Aoki has managed to start 2012 off right, releasing his new album Wonderland and kicking off the Deadmeat Tour with his label’s first dubstep artist, Datsik.
Although Aoki described his own music as club-friendly, saying, “Some people call it electro; some people call it techno. I just call it dance music, myself,” he sees the tour with Datsik as a positive blending of genres.
“The bass junkies, the dubstep kids, they come to hear Datsik’s sound. My fans come to hear my sound, and we all just kind of mix and have a really good time,” he said. “We’re in an interesting time where you can put together two different artists from two different worlds and have a successful tour.”
And successful it has been.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind show that we’re doing on this tour,” Aoki said.
The DJ worked with a visual team whose previous clients included Daft Punk and Deadmau5 for the lights on the Deadmeat Tour. While the Orpheum may not be big enough to house the full set’s light-up AOKI letters, the DJ promised “an evolved visual set that goes with all my songs.”
An evolved set is also in the cards.
“On this tour, I’ve started to play all my own music,” Aoki said. “Last year, it was about giving as much of a Dim Mak experience as possible, but now I’m focusing on my own music. So when you come to an Aoki show, you get the full Aoki experience.”
At the Orpheum, that experience will include favorites like “Turbulence,” Aoki’s collaboration with Laidback Luke and Lil John, “Warp,” his track with The Bloody Beetroots, and “No Beef,” his new song with Afrojack, along with some half-time songs with dubstep elements.
“When I’m DJing out, I’m playing dancier songs for the floor, banger, kind of like club-bangerish music,” he said.
So visuals and music aside, what three words would Aoki use describe his shows? “Crazy, crazy people,” he said.
“The interaction I have with the crowd is really important to me,” Aoki said. “If they’re giving me love, I want to give them more love. If they’re giving me more love, I want to give them even more love. It’s like we’re dating.”
If Aoki’s past Madison shows are any indication, the Orpheum crowd will be more than ready to give the DJ love.
Datsik is the first to admit his partnership with Steve Aoki for the Deadmeat Tour may seem sketch on paper. Datsik, aka Troy Beetles, dips his swampier dub into a hip-hop influence, compared to Aoki’s slicker, poppy top tracks.
But come Wednesday night at the Orpheum Theater, Datsik is ready to continue the Deadmeat Tour on the Madison dubstep scene.
The city’s lack of an illustrious, gigantic, headliner-magnet venue is no secret, but fans may be in for a treat with the Orpheum’s more intimate setting.
“I change my set up a little bit every single night. When it’s a smaller show, I get a bit more experimental; I try to freak my set as much as I can and do things I might not usually do,” he said. “For me, personally, I really like massive systems and a big crowd, but I like the small intimate clubs, because it feels like you’re connected with the audience.”
While Aoki will provide the mainstream tunes that most fans will be familiar with, Datsik said he will be infusing his set with more underground tracks, drawing from his hip-hop background.
Despite the difference in styles, Datsik said so far the crowds they’ve encountered during the tour haven’t shown up just to see one DJ. He said he’s had good luck in Madison before, with an energetic crowd that “knew what they were doing.”
Promos for the Deadmeat Tour promise the duo will unveil a new live show. Datsik said he will be controlling the light work in a very literal way, through a “crazy live visual rig.” The lights will react to his motions on stage — all while he loops his tracks live.
“I’m constantly busy the whole show. It keeps it interesting,” he said.
Hailing from Canada, Datsik said the dub demand isn’t much different across the border. But crossing borders isn’t the only cross-over in the tour.
Datsik said his interest and influence from hip-hop was easy to transfer to his electronic career: The rhythms, the breaks, the drums and the bass are all ingredients in both hip-hop and his current musical styling.
Hip-hop has been around and been popular for awhile, he said, but now electronic music is on the rise, which might be due in part to how easily the styles play off each other. For his part, Datsik has successfully blended the genres.
With both heavy dub and lighter electro fare, the Datsik-Aoki pair of opposites should be enough to attract even the most reluctant out on a school night.
Steve Aoki and Datsik will stop at the Orpheum on Wednesday as a part of The Deadmeat Tour. Doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are $25. For more information, visit www.majesticmadison.com.