UCSB alumnus turned DJ Steve Aoki brought his beats back to Isla Vista on Friday for a performance at the Hub.
Aoki, the driving force behind growing music label Dim Mak Records, appeared free of charge for UCSB students thanks to Associated Students Program Board fees. In addition to his show at the Hub, Aoki also sat down for a candid interview with the Daily Nexus and KCSB to reflect on his career and time at UCSB.
“I lived in a few houses, the most notorious house would be the 6542 Sabado Tarde, apartment A house,” Aoki, a women’s studies and sociology major said. “That’s where we had over 200 bands perform in that living room.”
His former Isla Vista abode, which gained infamy as the ‘Pickle Patch,’ hosted some of the best up-and-coming bands of the time including At The Drive-In and Jimmy Eat World. In addition to making his mark on the Isla Vista music scene by hosting about 23 shows per month in the Pickle Patch living room, Aoki is also the man to thank for a concert space at Biko House.
“These bands at the time were massive bands,” Aoki said. “They [At The Drive In] were playing the Greek Theatre, then they were playing in our fucking living room!”
Despite his influence on the music scene at UCSB, Aoki wasn’t sure what kind of welcome his alma mater would offer.
“My expectations are all over the place,” Aoki said. “I didn’t realize that it was going to sell out. It’s cool to hear that, of course.”
Outside the Hub, students waited in line excitedly, some humming the tune of Aoki’s most popular track, “Warp 1.9.” Inside, Deejay Raph warmed up the crowd for Aoki with an upbeat blend of dance tracks. With the entire Hub audience jumping up and down once Aoki took the stage, the energy in the room reached a whole new level.
A few students even had a little too much fun. Matt Black, a fourth-year sociology major, said the music excited him so much that he scaled the rafters with the help of his peers.
“The crowd was already so crazy. I just had to get up there, so I got my two friends [to] give me a boost,” Black said. “They pulled me down and took me to the cops, but they just let me go. I didn’t have any priors or anything.”
Aoki’s set included a number of new tracks created by the artist, as well as some crowd favorites such as “Warp 1.9,” and tunes from some of his record label’s performers, such as “Cornelius,” courtesy of the Bloody Beetroots. Some of his most impressive moments included his electro remix of “New Noise,” by the Refused, and an encore that had the entire crowd singing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and catching Aoki as he leapt from his speaker stacks.
The UCSB alum has come a long way since the Pickle Patch — he founded and currently sits at the helm of Dim Mak Records, which has signed big acts from the worlds of rock and dance music such as MSTRKRFT and Bloc Party.
To hear the full interview with Steve Aoki online, go to www.kcsb.org.