When it comes to music, Steve Aoki is without a doubt a melodic treasure. Throughout his extensive career, the Japanese-American artist has produced an extensive catalog of body-moving music perfect for any celebration. The Grammy-nominated DJ has spun fist-pumping tunes around the world before sold-out crowds and has caught the heart of many music lovers over the last few decades.
Naturally, with international musical stardom comes the long periods of being on the road and delivering high-energy concerts to his musical followers, even if it means taking on a 28-day multi-city tour and giving the people what they want – see cake throwing – through his latest 31-show KOLONY World Tour.
Although the late-night turn ups and city-hopping can be exhilarating, it can also be exhausting on the body and mind. To combat this, the California native has managed to find a way to balance work with well-being, even if it means squeezing in a push-up or 50. How? Through his self-started Aoki Bootcamp, an accountability-focused workout challenge between himself and members of his team.
“I tour like around 230-300 shows a year, somewhere between that,” shares Aoki. “I might seem as though I’m sprinting through life, but I’m definitely thinking about how long I want to live. I want to last a long time. I always find time to do the workouts. I always find time to be healthy no matter where I am.”
Because of this evident passion for fitness, athletic footwear, and sports performance brand, ASICS decided to team up with Aoki for their latest campaign, I MOVE ME. In “an effort to inspire all people to get moving,” ASICS called on the musician, Olympic athlete Lolo Jones, urban dance crew, Kinjaz and more, to be the new face of the brand and help bring people together and “motivate them to be healthy and happy through movement.”
“ASICS stands for Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, a Sound Mind in a Sound Body and we are so excited to show the world a reimagined interpretation of that mantra,” says Gene McCarthy, President, and CEO of ASICS Americas in a released statement.
“I MOVE ME is more than a campaign. It is a movement representative of the evolution and growth of the ASICS brand. We are setting out to re-frame our narrative, deepen relationships with our core consumers and connect with a new generation of fitness-minded consumers.”
To help strengthen ASICS connection to its consumers, especially those of the younger generation, Aoki will be lending his fashion design experience to ASICS’ Capsule Collection of shoes, clothing, and accessories.
Prior to ASICS and Steve’s recent celebratory Jump Room event in New York City’s Lower East Side, VIBE caught up with Steve Aoki to talk his new partnership with ASICS, how he manages to stay in shape despite his lifestyle as well as his fusion of hip-hop and EDM on his latest album, Kolony.
Congrats on being the face of ASICS’ I MOVE ME campaign. It’s great that you’ve personally practiced living and celebrating life fearlessly while also being mindful of how you treat your body. How did the ASICS partnership come about for you?
The way I live my life is basically in alignment with the ideals of the partnership. I tour like around 230-300 shows a year, somewhere between that. In order for me to continue that at that pace and level, I have to maintain workouts, and maintain a healthy nutrition & diet, and a healthy lifestyle. That’s how I see it. I’m in the long game. I’m not in it to live fast and die young. Maybe I loved that idea when I was a punk kid earlier in my life with a rebellious attitude.
Fashion is also another component of my life. I have my own fashion label [Dim Mak Collection]. I also co-own Vision Streetwear and I’ve been doing merch since I started music as a teenager. I never got into athletics into this capacity but I’ve always wanted to work with a brand before the I MOVE ME campaign. To connect with a brand that’s going to give that creative template and vision, to allow me to be myself and apply a lot of my DNA into my brand. Honestly, this was an amazing fit for me.
“My music is all about movement. My lifestyle is entirely about movement.”
Now, I can apply the fashion angle and the music angle to an athletic company that also has a Japanese heritage [like me]. There was a lot of synergy already [there]. When ASICS discussed the I MOVE ME campaign with me, I was like, “That’s my life.”
Was being active ever your thing while growing up?
When I was younger, I was more of a music guy. I didn’t really excel so much in traditional sports. I was a small Japanese kid hanging out with the big jock. I just barely got any time on the field or time on the court. I just didn’t see myself in that space. But eventually, I found a guitar and then I found a microphone and I found some other friends who didn’t know how to play.
With you always being on the road, how do you really carve out time to exercise?
To create any habit bad or good, you have to do it consistently over time. I created something called Aoki Bootcamp with my team. The boot camp is a regimen that we all agree to and abide by at the beginning of a tour. If you don’t follow that rule, you’re penalized somehow. If you eat the wrong foods, it adds to the workouts that you’re supposed to do. If you don’t do that, you’ll also be penalized financially and you have to pay a fine. That fine, then go to a charitable organization. We take it seriously. We have a Whatsapp group where you have to put in a video of your workout to prove that you’re doing your pushups, your sit-ups, or whatever it may be to add to the repetitions that are allotted for the day.
Once you get into that routine of okay, I’ve got to get my minimum in. You don’t end up doing just the minimum. You do far beyond the minimum, but you’ve got to get into the routine of just doing the minimum. That’s really the idea of creating that good habit of consistency. By the time, it’s your 30th day of doing it, and you can’t imagine not doing it again.
It’s no secret that you’re working on your next studio album, Neon Future III. But with your latest album, Steve Aoki Presents: Kolony, you provide the perfect workout playlist. Can you talk about the creation of that album and how you paired up hip-hop and EDM?
Kolony was entirely inspired by hip-hop and EDM. I don’t think there’s an album like that where an EDM producer has done an entire album with hip-hop inspiration on every song. I’ve been lucky to work with all these incredible artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Migos, Yachty, 2 Chainz, T-Pain, Gucci Mane, and legends like Mase, to find that space where we can build a bridge between our own worlds and make something really unique.
I also changed up my own song format. I took away the drops, took away elements that are purely EDM and let the drop be Quavo. I let the drop be Yachty or someone else. [Hip-hop and EDM] We’re changing the reference, changing the guidelines and just making great music.