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The wild life of Steve Aoki, one of the highest-paid DJs



Champagne and cake throwing aside, he's also a health and fitness obsessive — so much so that he started an "Aoki Boot Camp" for his crew. Steve Aoki is one of the most-travelled musicians in the world.

In 2012, he won a Guinness World Record for being the most-travelled musician in one year, playing 168 shows in 41 countries. Last year, he played more than 200 shows in 12 months, according to Forbes.

The 39-year-old is also the fifth highest-paid DJ in the world, earning $29.5 million (£22.9 million) last year.

Despite Aoki's private jet lifestyle, which is packed with parties, celebrities, and bottles of sparkling rosé, he's still, somehow, a health and fitness obsessive — so much so that he started an "Aoki Boot Camp" for him and his crew to abide by when they're on the road (or in the air).

As son of Benihana founder Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki, he's also a keen businessman — he owns his own record label and recently debuted a fashion line.

Still, Aoki has a less professional side. His massive following — 6.6 million on Twitter, 8.3 million on Facebook, and 5.5 on Instagram — know him for spraying champagne or chucking cakes at his fans — big ones, that have even hurt people at times.

As he releases his first hip-hop album — a step change from his usual EDM mixes — Business Insider caught up with Aoki to hear about his wild life on the road.

This is Steve Aoki, the fifth highest-paid DJ in the world. He's also one of the most travelled musicians in the world — he even won a Guinness World Record for it in 2012.

He won for being the most travelled musician in one year in 2012, playing 168 shows in 41 countries.

He also won records for the "longest crowd cheer" and "the most glo-sticks lit simultaneously" at an LA show in 2013 — both have which have since been beat.

He was born in Miami, and grew up in Newport Beach. He started his own record label — Dim Mak — in his early 20s. After graduating from college in University of California, Santa Barbara, Aoki told Business Insider he moved to LA to turn his "record label into a proper business."

He thought, "I'm going to ditch the academic card and try to really make this happen," he said. "It's the perfect place to start a record label, a hub of music around the world."

He said the first step was building a brand. "The best way to it is to throw parties," he said.

"I started throwing these parties, I would have my band come and DJ them," he said. "I was booking shows and having my bands come and perform, [and they] started to do these consistent residencies."

The parties mostly took place in small bars and hosted 50-100 people. Artists who were signed to his label — MSTRKRFT, Bloc Party — would come and DJ, while bands like The Killers, The Shins, and The Yayayas would come and perform.

"We'd create a little culture, and guess who was opening the DJ set?" he said. "The only way I could get my gigs back then was through the events."

Over time, he learned how to be a better DJ, and started working on vinyl. He began remixing big artists — and eventually started releasing his own music. Perhaps it's hardly surprising Aoki has become quite the businessman. His father was Benihana founder Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki, who passed away in 2008.

Perhaps it's hardly surprising Aoki has become quite the businessman. His father was Benihana founder Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki, who passed away in 2008. (Dave Pickoff / AP)

"He was an incredible brand owner, he was an incredible marketing guy and he was always bringing everything back to his brand, so no matter what he was doing — whether it was some extreme sports to hanging out with big celebrities to TV time to anything he was doing outside of the restaurant business — he was always tying into Benihana," Aoki said.

"He built that brand in a very authentic, very organic way, and for a Japanese American living at that time and being able to make it in the US from nothing to the richest story, it's an incredible feat, absolutely incredible, so you got to give it up to him."

It seems he's carrying on the legacy — here, he cooks at Benihana for guests including Bilzerian. Ultimately, he says his favourite part of the job is "connecting people from all over the world." "That connection at the end of the day is why I'm doing what I'm doing," he said. As he stated in this Instagram post, it seems "childhood dreams do come true."

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