"It doesn’t matter what ethnicity you are, and they’re just dominating"
Speaking to The Metro, Aoki said Asian representation is still lacking but is gradually increasing.
“As far as representation for Asians, it’s still lacklustre,” he said. “There’s far and few between of Asian musicians and artists that I’ve noticed.”
Aoki said that he sees more Asian artists coming out of the east.
‘There’s a lot of Asian DJs, youth coming up now, a lot more Asian singers,” the 42 year old said. “That’s why I love working with K-pop artists and Chinese artists and Japanese artists. I love being able to work with other Asian artists even though they’re not Asian American.”
“I think it is changing a lot because of the rise of K-pop. Growing up as a kid and not having Asian role models, was really difficult aspirationally,” the Asian American DJ added.
Aoki went on to praise Bruce Lee for blowing open the doors for Asian representation in America.
“But when I saw Bruce Lee that was beloved by the world…my white friends, Latino friends and black friends were obsessed with Bruce Lee and he was an Asian face,” Aoki said.
“That meant a lot to me and he’s always been my guiding aspirational goal in life.”
Aoki then likened the fame of Lee to Kpop. “Now there’s K-pop, there’s BTS, there’s groups that are beloved by the world. It doesn’t matter what ethnicity you are, and they’re just dominating.”
“With artists like that that can help rise other Asians up and have representation, I’m excited seeing that more because of BTS and K-pop. It’s a slow change though.”
Aoki was then asked if he would be interested in making Kpop music.
“I’m a very playful adventurous guy and I always dip my toes everywhere in the music world,” he said. “It might not be K-pop, it might be something you would never expect.”
Aoki’s latest track Imagine features AJ Mitchell and producer Frank Walker.
“This song is very relatable, it’s a song that a lot of people on the first listen will totally get it, they’ll get the chills down their spine,’ he said of the track. ‘Their hairs should rise. I have high expectations for this song.”
In May, Spotify celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month with Aoki.