It’s time to check in on the Steve Aoki Vegas bucket list. In our last installment, the globe-trotting DJ who lives right here in Henderson was sharing the stage with Celine Dion for a performance of “My Heart Will Go On” during a November benefit concert at Caesars Palace for the Las Vegas Victims Fund. That would be a career pinnacle for most.
But Aoki outdid himself with himself Tuesday night, getting wild and weird at the launch party for the new DJ Experience at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, also the unveiling event of Aoki’s wax figure. After describing the painstaking process behind the creation of his doppelgänger, the Grammy-nominated dance music artist smashed a cake into the figure’s face, ate some of the cake from its wax face, posed for photos with fans and jumped behind the decks to play a mini-set including cameo appearances by his mom and rapper Desiigner.
“I’m just trying to make this day as weird as possible,” Aoki said. “I was kind of making out with myself and trying to get the cake out of my mustache, or, the wax figure mustache. When I was staring into my own eyes, it was definitely like he was looking back at me.”
In all seriousness — which is never that serious when Aoki is involved — receiving the replica was an honor, especially considering wax Aoki will be permanently enshrined on the Las Vegas Strip. The Madame Tussauds is located at the Venetian.
“It’s a proud moment since Las Vegas is very dear to me now and very much my home,” he said. “When anybody comes here and is excited about Las Vegas and thinking about who are the trademark people, I’m here. If it could be anywhere, I would pick here, and the club life is very much an anchor of the [Las Vegas] experience.”
Aoki had been a headliner at the hottest Vegas nightclubs and dayclubs well before he moved his headquarters from Los Angeles to Henderson about four years ago. Though he’s constantly touring the world — currently wrapping up his Kolony North American Tour, a massive production he likens more to a Broadway show than a dance music concert — he’s managed to build some strong connections in the local community. He recently acquired a championship esports team, Rogue, and said music is the cultural connection between the nightclub and gamer universes.
“Gamers listen to music while they game. When I’m on Twitch I’m listening to music in the background and I even started a sublabel on my label, Dim Mak, that’s almost specifically for gamers,” he said. “It’s copyright-free music gamers can play on their Twitch streams and the music we make is all lyric-less, all dubstep and trap and EDM sounds that are great when you’re mobbing through ‘Fortnite’ or ‘Call of Duty.’
“But people need music. People need to go and dance and let loose. In the gaming world, I’m so happy it’s growing at the rate that it’s growing, but club life isn’t going anywhere. Certain things will never go away and will always be the foundation of what people love in Las Vegas, and that includes gambling and music.”