Outcast turned electro musician, Steve Aoki, makes nonconformity cool
As a young boy growing up in Newport Beach, Steve Aoki stuck out like a sore thumb. He was too small to fit in with the jocks, he had a traditional Japanese home wherein no English was spoken, he loved rock music, and his father, a former Japanese Olympic wrestler and the founder of the Benihana restaurant chain, was an estranged figure living on the east coast.
“The status quo is very conservative, one-sided, with not much character,” Aoki says of Newport. “You’re either in, or you’re very out.”
When he couldn’t break into the athletic circle as a teenager, Aoki was welcomed with open arms into the punk community—a niche that the now-electro house musician credits as his inspiration in song and in life.