Identity Festival 2011: Steve Aoki Talks Dim Mak Pop-Up Shop and Snorkeling in the Keys

Dude's got a reputation as a one-man rock show. He feeds entire magnums of pricey champagne to his fans for fun. He crowdsurfs and stagedives like a crusty punk let loose in the club. And he's got a beautiful mane of long black hair that's just a little too perfect for the fast vanishing art of headbanging.

But apparently, Steve Aoki still wasn't maximizing his personal potential for pure entertainment. 'Cause now, the Dim Mak mastermind has decided to supplement his infamous stage antics with a massive set and supercharged visuals, which he premiered at yesterday's Identity Festival stop in Noblesville, Indiana.

Still sore from last night and getting set for tonight in Clarkston, Michigan, Aoki spoke with Crossfade about his new live show, the ID Fest, the Dim Mak stage and pop-up shop, playing poker, and snorkeling in the Florida Keys.

Crossfade: So last night, Noblesville, Indiana got the very first taste of the Identity Festival. Were there any wild highlights the rest of the world needs to know?

Steve Aoki: Oh, yeah. On this tour, I'm debuting my live show. And I've been working on it for the last three or four months. It's just structurally and visually awesome. The lighting and what I brought to the stage is something unique that I can only do on a tour like Identity.

On this tour, we're all traveling by buses. So we have, like, a bus full of technicians who are traveling with me and putting the whole stage together. And then I've got another truck following with the big rig. For the next 19 dates, I'll be using this live show. And it's brand new.

Did you have a heavy hand in designing this brand-new Steve Aoki concert experience?

Yeah. I worked with some really great designers who've done many different sets, putting together the look and feel. It's basically inspired by my music.

I spoke with Kaskade yesterday. And he said that you were both marveling at the sheer scale and production value of the ID Fest. What kind of crazy spectacle can the remaining 19 cities expect?

Man, that Kaskade is pretty epic too. It really fits his sound. When I was watching his dress rehearsal, his music is so ethereal and the set is perfect. You gotta make sure the music fits the actual set.

You've got your own Identity stage. What's the official Din Mak party plan?

The Dim Mak stage is a really eclectic roster. I mean, we have Holy Ghost!, a band on DFA. And they just have their own sound.

We have DJ Shadow and he's brought out this egg. It's like a ball that spins and it's loaded with visuals. He calls it a "Shadow Sphere."

There's Datsik, one of my favorite dubstep artists in the US. And then we have Crystal Method and those guys are just awesome.

But yeah ... For the most part, every artist is different from the others. It's a killer musical roster.

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    There's also something called the Dim Mak pop-up shop. What's going down with that part of the project?

    We retrofitted a trailer and we made a store out of it. So we tow it behind the bus and park it by the stage. We collaborated with Tokidoki and made some accessories. And then we're selling Dim Mak, Datsik, and Holy Ghost! t-shirts. Plus, there are going to be meet-and-greets with different artists from the Dim Mak stage.

    So it's a totally moveable merch outlet? That's cool.

    Exactly! I've always sold merch at show. But because I have a bus, I've filled it up with people who can run the shop properly, along with all the technicians for the stage show.

    You get the full experience. You get a t-shirt, check out the show, see different artists, and everything.

    Whether it's Identity or your solo thing, you seem to be always on tour. Besides music, what are you crazy about? Booze? Food? Nude Beaches? What are you constantly trying to track down while you're on the road?

    I just got certified as a scuba diver. So if I can get a day off, I always try to find a new place to dive. You know, expand my diving experience. That, and poker ... I will always find a casino and spend some time to play a little poker.

    Well, Miami's the perfect spot for that kind of fun. Have you done some diving and played some poker in your trips to South Florida?

    Oh, yeah! I was born in Miami. So I've been going down there since I was a little kid. And the first and only time I've ever seen a shark, I was snorkeling off the Florida Keys. Man, I can't forget it!

    Identity Festival. Thursday, August 25. Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. The festival begins at 1 p.m. and tickets cost $63 plus fees via livenation.com. Call 305-358-7550 or visit bayfrontparkmiami.com.

    Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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