17 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Steve Aoki first envisioned the Neon Future concept back in 2013, he saw it as a meeting point for his fascinations with music, technology, sci-fi, and graphic novels. While author and inventor Ray Kurzweil popped up on Neon Future I and Bill Nye appears on this third installment, pontificating about life on Mars, Aoki’s fifth studio album is more than just a forum to drop, uh, science over EDM beats. It’s really an exploration of dance music’s possibilities. The LA-based producer/DJ/label head tells Apple Music how he and his far-flung list of collaborators folded country, rock, pop, hip-hop, and reggaetón into his already genre-blurring take on dance music.

How did you approach artists from other genres to work with you on this?
I always wanted to do a record with a country artist, but it had to be natural. With Lady Antebellum, they were equally as excited to work with me. That was one of the very exciting curveballs on the album. It took over a year to finally get it to the place where we’re both like, “Okay, we’re done with it.” I think it’s important to do that, when you can sit on a record and the song still feels fresh and new because it’s not, like, married to a trend.

How about with Jim Adkins from Jimmy Eat World on “Golden Days”?
This is a really great story: Back in '97, '98, I was in college and Jimmy Eat World played in my living room and my kitchen! Like, two different times! I remember the first show we had them play, in the kitchen, to like 15, 20 people. Back then, I was in bands, so I looked up to Jimmy Eat World and would try to play guitar like that. So the musical-collaboration dream ended up happening 20 years later. I wrote that song with Calum Hood from 5 Seconds of Summer, Mark Hoppus, John Feldmann, and Travis Barker. It all started in a real raw, live studio space—me with, like, some of the greatest minds in rock right now.

What excites you most these days, musically speaking?
I need diversity—not just in the world, as a human being, but musically. The more diverse I see things, the more colors are added to the palette, the more I can think outside my own box. There’s definitely a strong convergence with a lot of Latin sounds, like reggaetón, and EDM. When I play in Spain, "Azukita" [with Daddy Yankee and Elvis Crespo] is the biggest song in my set. When you try something different and your fan base follows that, it's a really amazing feeling.

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Steve Aoki first envisioned the Neon Future concept back in 2013, he saw it as a meeting point for his fascinations with music, technology, sci-fi, and graphic novels. While author and inventor Ray Kurzweil popped up on Neon Future I and Bill Nye appears on this third installment, pontificating about life on Mars, Aoki’s fifth studio album is more than just a forum to drop, uh, science over EDM beats. It’s really an exploration of dance music’s possibilities. The LA-based producer/DJ/label head tells Apple Music how he and his far-flung list of collaborators folded country, rock, pop, hip-hop, and reggaetón into his already genre-blurring take on dance music.

How did you approach artists from other genres to work with you on this?
I always wanted to do a record with a country artist, but it had to be natural. With Lady Antebellum, they were equally as excited to work with me. That was one of the very exciting curveballs on the album. It took over a year to finally get it to the place where we’re both like, “Okay, we’re done with it.” I think it’s important to do that, when you can sit on a record and the song still feels fresh and new because it’s not, like, married to a trend.

How about with Jim Adkins from Jimmy Eat World on “Golden Days”?
This is a really great story: Back in '97, '98, I was in college and Jimmy Eat World played in my living room and my kitchen! Like, two different times! I remember the first show we had them play, in the kitchen, to like 15, 20 people. Back then, I was in bands, so I looked up to Jimmy Eat World and would try to play guitar like that. So the musical-collaboration dream ended up happening 20 years later. I wrote that song with Calum Hood from 5 Seconds of Summer, Mark Hoppus, John Feldmann, and Travis Barker. It all started in a real raw, live studio space—me with, like, some of the greatest minds in rock right now.

What excites you most these days, musically speaking?
I need diversity—not just in the world, as a human being, but musically. The more diverse I see things, the more colors are added to the palette, the more I can think outside my own box. There’s definitely a strong convergence with a lot of Latin sounds, like reggaetón, and EDM. When I play in Spain, "Azukita" [with Daddy Yankee and Elvis Crespo] is the biggest song in my set. When you try something different and your fan base follows that, it's a really amazing feeling.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
420 Ratings
420 Ratings
Eleanor_C

BTS

BTS skkskskskjsjs

Andi0816

waste your time feat. bts YASSSS

It's a bop!!! I'm sure this whole album will be great...but this single is fire! thanks for this steve aoki i'll be playin' this on repeat :)

Time4freshstart

Garbage

Con Artists

About Steve Aoki

American producer Steve Aoki is also a DJ and the founder of Dim Mak Records, which has counted leading indie rock bands such as Gossip, Bloc Party, the Kills, and the Rakes among its stable of signees. The son of wealthy restauranteur Rocky Aoki, he is of Japanese heritage and calls Los Angeles home. In 2007 he released his first official mix CD, Pillowface & His Airplane Chronicles, on Thrive Records. Featuring tracks by Justice, Klaxons, Mystery Jets, Peaches, Datarock, Yelle, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, and Scanners -- most of them remixed -- Pillowface & His Airplane Chronicles is fairly representative of Aoki's renown as a tastemaking dance party DJ rather than a skillful turntablist.

In 2009 his remix work brought rapper Drake's single "Forever" to the dancefloor, while 2010 saw him release the "I'm in the House" single with Zuper Blahq, alter ego of Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am. Further high-profile artists' material was also reworked by Aoki during this period, with tracks by Michael Jackson, the Killers, and Lenny Kravitz all benefiting, while collaborations with like-minded producers such as Armand van Helden and the Bloody Beetroots continued to appear on Dim Mak. By the end of 2011, the early fruits of sessions for his debut album, Wonderland, had materialized as the singles "Earthquakey People" -- a collaboration with Weezer singer Rivers Cuomo -- and "Tornado," on which Aoki combined forces with the multi-award-winning Tiësto.

In 2012 he released his first EP, It's the End of the World as We Know It. More collaborations followed in 2013, with Aoki reworking a Linkin Park track for the group's remix album Recharged. The resulting "A Light That Never Comes" was released as a single alongside several more remixes. In 2014 he announced details of a forthcoming album titled Neon Future. Marketed as a two-part record, the first installment arrived later in the year with Fall Out Boy, will.i.am, and Waka Flocka Flame among its guests. Neon Future, Vol. 2 followed in 2015 with guest appearances from Rivers Cuomo, Snoop Dogg, and J.J. Abrams. In 2016 Aoki collaborated with One Direction's Louis Tomlinson on the single "Just Hold On," which debuted at number two on the U.K. singles chart and just outside the Top 50 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Aoki's fourth effort arrived in the summer of 2017. Kolony featured appearances by trap rappers Migos and Lil Yachty ("Night Call"), Gucci Mane ("Lit"), Lil Uzi Vert ("Been Balling"), and 2 Chainz ("Without You"). The next year, Aoki released the single "Azukita" with Daddy Yankee, Play N Skillz, and Elvis Crespo. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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