By Brett Fujioka
It’s summer and music fans across the city are gearing up for the party of the season. The annual Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) commences at
Exposition Park and the L.A. Coliseum this weekend on June 25 and 26.
EDC is an electronic dance music festival with five different stages and last year it garnered an attendance of over 140,000 people making it the largest outside of Europe. Steve Aoki and Ryan Raddon, two of the festival’s performing musicians, not only have personal connections to Japan and the Japanese American community at large.
Ryan Raddon, better known as Kaskade, is a house musician who released his 6th studio album, Dynasty, in April with music featured in films such as “Sex and the City” and “The Devil Wears Prada.” Between his freshman and sophomore years in college, he went on a missions trip to Japan with the Latter Day Saints. At the time, the music scene didn’t influence his tastes.
“I was so ingrained in what I was doing,” he said during an interview with the Rafu Shimpo. “It was strictly missionary. Music didn’t play much of a role. Everything I learned happened after.”
He still speaks affectionately of his experiences in Japan.
“The people were very polite and receptive. Even if they didn’t believe what I believed, they were still willing to have a conversation with God and the differences between Christianity and Buddhism.”
After becoming fluent in Japanese during his two-year stay there, Kaskade continued to practice the language whenever the opportunity presented itself.
“The people [in Japan]were willing to correct and help me with my Japanese,” he said. “It was an interesting experience.”
Despite being uninvolved with the Japanese music scene at the time, musicians currently from Japan such as A Hundred Birds managed to leave a mark on him. Kaskade has played with them several times and even remixed one of their tracks, “Amar Gora.” He lists Tokyo as one of his favorite places to perform.
“They are always just so respectful and thankful when I play out there,” he said. “It’s interesting because I think Asians are reserved, but when they go to party and go to shows, they go crazy.”
Steve Aoki has taken the stage name Kid Millionaire and is another DJ performing at EDC. His father, Rocky Aoki, is the restaurant tycoon of
“My father had a major influence throughout my life with just his ethos and work ethic,” Aoki said on his relationship with his father. “I learned a lot from him on that level. It’s funny, because he was in this band [Rowdy Sounds], but he’s not much of a music guy…One thing about him was that he was accepting of interesting and unique ideas. When I was in high school and got into punk and hardcore. It’s like a whole lifestyle change. So when I got into that he still accepted me.”
Like Kaskade, Aoki speaks fondly of his performances in Japan.
“There’s a definite kinship I share besides the fact I’m Japanese,” he said. “These people are absolute fans of music. They absolutely know their songs. When they follow an artist they go deep…Japan’s a consumer culture. It’s where people will go out and buy the music where in America people ask how do I get it for free. That’s how record companies still exist in Japan.”
In addition to his career as a musician, Aoki developed his own clothing line through Dim Mak Records and a separate one with his half-sister, actress Devon Aoki.
“Japanese street fashion had a major effect on my own personal outlook,” he said, citing designers Hiroshi Fujiwara, Jun Takahashi, and Yohji Yamamoto as influences that stood out to him.
Regarding EDC itself, Aoki promised a lot of new material from his up and coming album.
“My album has Claude Kelly, Super Black, Lil Jon, Kid Cudi, Sky Ferreira, Black Star, and I’ll be having some surprise special guests at my show,” Aoki said.
Kaskade also spoke enthusiastically about the upcoming festival.
“A lot of craziness,” he said. “[It’ll] pretty much [be]total chaos.”
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Information is available online at www.electricdaisycarnival.com. Doors open at 2 p.m. on both days. Brett Fujioka is a freelance writer. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Rafu Shimpo.