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We Asked Steve Aoki About His Favorite Hardcore and Straight Edge Albums on Ian MacKaye's Birthday

Happy birthday Ian MacKaye!

Steve Aoki then and now

You know about the DJ Steve Aoki, frequent collaborator with Will.I.Am, LMFAO, and Lil Jon, and therefore perfect target for keepers the temple of dance music, but what about the other life of Steve Aoki (Steven Hiroyuki Aoki)? You know, the straight edge teen from Newport Beach, California who was dedicated to the scene, created Dim Mak Records, and played guitar in hardcore bands This Machine Kills and Esperanza? Eh, well now you know. To celebrate the birthday (April 16) of the reluctant patron saint of straight edge, Ian MacKaye, we asked Steve Aoki about his favorite hardcore and straight edge tracks. Here's what he chose:


1. BORN AGAINST – Mary & Child
I covered this song with my band This Machine Kills. It came out on a compilation called Destroy New Granada on my friend Mikey Ott’s label. One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite hardcore bands.

2. TRAGEDY – Confessions of a Suicide Advocate
Tragedy’s first album is filled with some of my favorite hardcore songs ever. This one embodied that dark hardcore sound and fury that I especially loved. I was in a band called Esperanza and we toured up the west coast of the USA with them and it was one of the most honorable experiences touring with one of my favorite bands at the time. They were going to release our first EP then we broke up. Fail!

3. REFUSED – New Noise
"New Noise" has to be one of the significant songs that defined hardcore culture during this era. Also the album The Shape of Punk to Come is one of my favorite albums period. Best fucking band that had something to say.

4. UNBROKEN – In the Name of Progression
When i was in high school I would do whatever it took to go to hardcore shows and going to see Unbroken was always at the top of my list. When I hear this song it takes me back to trying to get on stage so I can climb on the singers back and try to yell into the mic.

Steve Aoki, still hardcore

As a teenager I was a straight hardcore kid. My first tattoo was a Gorilla Biscuits tattoo and this song defined the positive hardcore sound in sXe. I saw them on their reunion tour and felt like a kid again. Still to this day I will put on some GB.


6. THIS MACHINE KILLS – Take Back the Night
I was in my late teens when i started This Machine kills. it was my vehicle to understand how to use my voice, to reclaim an identity that IO found through music and my community. This Machine Kills was my advocacy for self determination and the idea that you can do anything with whatever tools are in front of you.

This song was the start of a 19 year business that still continues on, Dim Mak Records. It was the first release on the label and was my best friend's band. We put out this seven inch of screaming hardcore music with straight edge ideals and was the founding bedrock of my journey in running a label.

8. MINOR THREAT – Out Of Step
Minor Threat as we all know was the first group to coin straight edge and is the first band that most kids listen to when they get introduced in this world. It was on the first mixtape that got me intrigued and inquisitive about this culture. Minor Threat was about the displaced youth, the misunderstood, the rebels, the weirdos … then created a scene that still goes on today. Thank you Ian! Steve Aoki has a new LP due on May 12, listen to a track with Linkin Park (I guess).

Steve Aoki on the internet:
Official Site

Rod Glacial thanks Ian for all that he has done. Find him on Twitter.