Last night, superstar DJ and top grossing dance artist Steve Aoki went and dropped a bombshell, revealing just two days after the release of his third studio album, Neon Futures II, that he’ll be undergoing emergency surgery on his “severely messed up vocal chords.” It couldn’t come at a worse time, not just with the release of new music, but its interrupting of a massive tour that is supporting it. To date, Aoki has had to scrap five European dates from the itinerary.
Vanyaland rang up a bummed out and raspy voiced Aoki to get the skinny on the situation, careful not to have him overextend the already damaged voice. But we did have to ask him about that recent bang up collaboration between The Prodigy and Sleaford Mods which attacks lazy and unoriginal DJs.
Michael Christopher: Dude…tell me about this surgery news that broke yesterday.
Steve Aoki: Yeah, it’s hard for me to talk right now… 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. It was more often than usual. My voice has always been a bit scratchy but I never really did much about it, and then I went to a really great doctor in L.A. and he’s like, “Yeah, you have a really crazy nodule and it has to be surgically removed, or you’ll do irreparable damage. And you have to do it soon — you can’t wait.” So I just have to do it.
What does the surgery itself entail — they just have to go in and cut it out?
Yeah, it’s like a very intricate, very, very specialized surgery that they basically bring in a… I don’t even know what it is, a knife or something and they push it down my throat and fucking… slice something off.
How are you with surgery in general? Do stress over stuff like that?
I’m not happy about it. You never know what can happen… I don’t know. But if I don’t do it, I won’t have a voice. And strangely enough, and what most people don’t know, I actually sing a lot when I’m working on music; so I can’t even really do that.
And the way you are with performances, you get really into and do a lot of screaming during them, so I could see how it could kind of cripple your shows.
Yeah, the last couple shows and this coming weekend I have LAoki, our big L.A. show, and then next weekend I have four shows and I am not — I can’t be talking. And after this surgery I can’t be talking for like two months.
I don’t want to keep you any longer, because I know how taxing this is, but early next month you have a couple of dates lined up in Ibiza. What’s your take on the new song by The Prodigy titled “Ibiza,” and their attack on DJ culture, specificially those who just phone it in for the money, don’t have much talent to speak of and basically just pre-record their sets.
With any genre you have that kind of artist. I’m not angry about that, I think that every place has a group of people who are in it for the wrong reasons, and I think they are commenting on that. I fucking love The Prodigy man. I am a huge fan and a friend of them too, so I get it. They’re always going to put their opinions out there and I like it. There’s nothing wrong with being critical.