Steve Aoki, the Dim Mak founder, is the latest electronic dance music performer MTV has chosen to spotlight
Steve Aoki will close MTV’s reformatted Woodie Awards at South by Southwest March 15, following the likes of Childish Gambino, Santigold and A$AP Rocky on stage.
The founder of Los Angeles-based Dim Mak records and a long-time DJ/producer from the world of electronic dance music, Aoki said he was “kind of taken aback by the whole idea.”
“I’ve never done an awards ceremony, so I’m actually really honored to be a part of it,” Aoki told TheWrap. “It’s an amazing time where underground music can break out and crack the mainstream code without playing by the conventional rules. I’m really really happy that MTV has opened up its doors to electronic dance music.”
MTV created the Woodie Awards to showcase up and coming or “underground” artists. Past top winners at the event include the Killers, Lupe Fiasco and Kings of Leon.
“It was created to be the antithesis of the big, glossy music awards that exist, to recognize more emerging, cutting-edge artists having success in their own right,” Amy Doyle, MTV's EVP of Music & Talent Strategy, told TheWrap.
Last year, they moved it to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, hosting an awards show one day and a festival the next.
This year they combined the two into an all-day event, culminating in the awards show. Along with the new format, they chose to shine a light on EDM, a burgeoning genre (or group of genres) that has made its way into the mainstream.
They have had major figures in the EDM community DJ their awards shows before, including A-Trak, Diplo and Skrillex at the Woodies and Deadmau5 at the Video Music Awards.
This year, rather than make someone the house DJ, they gave Aoki the closing spot.
Doyle said two members of her team went on a cruise called Holy Ship! — a three-day dance party on a boat — and “came back so inspired by the Steve Aoki performance.”
“They felt like Steve Aoki embodied the spirit of the Woodies with his performance," Doyle said. "Not only does he have his own sound, but different artists that represent sub-genres in EDM all gravitate towards him.”
Aoki’s label represents numerous other artists, such as Datsik, a Canadian dubstep DJ, and Dada Life, a Swedish house duo.
As for Aoki's performance this year?
"I don’t know if I can mention that now," Aoki said, as an MTV spokesman jumped in: "We're not announcing guests, just that he's performing."
"The fact that I'm performing is cool," Aoki said. "Shit, I'm fucking excited about that.
But the day before, Doyle said Aoki "spoke about using a lot of props" and that "the audience might get wet, and hopefully they are strong enough to carry him."
MTV will marshal its multiple platforms behind both Aoki and the Woodies. It will feature Aoki, nominated for the “EDM Effect Woodie,” on MTV’s “10 on Top” March 3 and air his videos all over its networks as the PUSH artist of the week starting Monday, March 5.
The awards show and festival will be live-streamed at Woodies.mtvU.com, and then edited into a 30-minute special that will later air on MTV and MTVu.