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Steve Aoki's 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead' Documentary Review

| October 09, 2016

Steve Aoki's recent documentary I'll Sleep When I'm Dead was an intimate look into the superstar DJ's life with insights into his upbringing and what made him who he is today. 

The movie was was a glimpse into his daily life, as he is one of the most hard working DJs out there. In 2014 alone, Aoki booked over 300 shows around the world, becoming the most traveled artist and musician in history. The documentary was filmed during the production of his Neon Future album.

Insights About Aoki

In the span of two days, Aoki jets through Sweden and Las Vegas, produces in a Los Angeles Studio session, and then attends a 10-hour video shoot before passing out in his private jet. If anything was clear from this movie was Aoki's incredible work ethic driven by his effort to succeed and follow in his father's footsteps of success. 

The film devotes a lot of time delving into the influence the late elder Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki had on Steve's life. Originally from Japan, the creator of Benihana lived a rockstar lifestyle. It wasn't difficult to see where Steve Aoki got it from. Many fans knew about his father, but didn't know the exact details of their relationship. After his parents' divorce, he didn't see his father that often and was not entitled to any of the money. He had to put up with racism, being one of the only Asian-Americans where he grew up. Everything Aoki got, was from his own fortitude and persistence. 

He achieved many of his goals to impress his father. Rocky Aoki was notoriously dedicated to work and business. He once said that business, health, and then family, in that order, are his priorities. It wasn't until the end of Rocky's life that he saw Steve's success and they had an understanding between one another. It was a fitting way for Aoki to finally have his father's time and approval. 

Aoki Origins

Steve Aoki first got into the scene just wanting to run a record label. He created Dim Mak with some borrowed money from friends, none other than Good Charlotte. Before he created the record label, he rented out a house where he would throw hardcore rock music shows a few times a week. He was an early player in both scenes. 

Dim Mak Tuesdays eventually became a cultural event in Los Angeles. Many up and coming artists and musicians at the time played and partied there. From Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi, Kanye West to Daft Punk. The parties were legendary at a time when the scene was only growing. DJ AM made a huge impact on Steve Aoki as a DJ and he was absolutely devastated when he died. Aoki was hugely influenced by him and by that account influenced many others. His showmanship is unparalleled in the EDM world. 

Living the Dream 

The documentary shows the hard knocks of growing up under the shadow of his father and in his own personal predicaments. It offers a way to see the DJ in a different light with his own set of struggles. But in the end, it's about how Steve Aoki connects with his fans on a deeper level, and how his success has propelled him to the top of the DJing world. 

It's a great watch for anyone who wants to see a family story unfold and manage to capture the day to day things that make someone who they are. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is one of the must watch documentaries for anyone interested in the EDM culture. 

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