STORY WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
For Digital First Media
Things should be going great for EDM superstar Steve Aoki right now; early May saw the release of his third album, Neon Futures II, and he has sold out dates booked around the globe. Instead, he has to cancel a bunch of shows because of emergency surgery to remove a nodule from his vocal cords, and was just sued by a woman who alleges her neck was broken at one of his shows in 2012 when Aoki jumped into the crowd.
“It’s hard for me to talk right now,” Aoki said from his home in Los Angeles. “It’s unfortunate but I’ve been losing my voice really quickly on the Neon Future Experience bus tour — I was constantly losing my voice.”
Due to legal ramifications, he couldn’t talk about the lawsuit, but one thing Aoki did want to discuss — raspy voice and all — was his appearance at this year’s Firefly Music Festival. It will be one of his first gigs back after the surgery, and gives him something to be amped about while facing his current situation.
“You look at the lineup, how can you not be excited and impressed?” he enthused. “It’s such a big lineup and big festival. I love playing multi-genre festivals when it’s such a huge, diverse array of artists, not just DJs or bands, but all kinds of artists.”
Firefly, which takes place at the Woodlands in Dover, Del. from June 18-21 boasts headliners Paul McCartney, The Killers and Morrissey among others. Aoki will perform on Saturday, June 20, when Kings of Leon will be headlining. He said that being in such esteemed and varied company was another aspect he was looking forward to.
“You get really into it when the audience doesn’t know who you are; they might know your name, or maybe one song,” Aoki said. “Those are the kind of people I want to play to as well as my fans, especially because Neon Future is not about being insular or being one particular genre; it’s about crossing bridges and looking outside the box.”
Playing multi-genre shows is a test for anyone, but for a DJ, who is often the sole person on the stage, commanding any given crowd’s enthusiasm is difficult. When asked if he prefers his headlining shows as opposed to festival settings, to this reporter’s surprise, Aoki said, “It’s a healthy balance.”
“When I play my own shows, of course, it’s an incredible feeling, because you really have everyone’s attention,” he continued. “The challenge to play at a festival where you are one of many artists, and your job is to keep them there and have all of these people experience your music and your sound. If you do that well, then that’s even a bigger accomplishment.”
For Firefly Music Festival ticket information, visit www.fireflyfestival.com.