A couple of days after Christmas, I interviewed Steve Aoki, DJ and the head of Dim Mak Records in Los Angeles, and Mark “the Cobra Snake” Hunter, who is known for chronicling the hijinks and various participants of the Los Angeles party scene. I’ve been following their work for almost 5 years, so it was fun to meet them and talk to them in person. Click here to read my Q&A in PDF form.
Both Aoki and Hunter are derided as hipsters who stumbled into fame, but I did a lot of research while preparing for this interview and I think it’s pretty clear from their touring schedules and creative output that both work very hard and have a solid grasp on the marketing aspect of their respective businesses. Before going into music, Aoki seriously considered getting a PhD in Asian American studies and going into academia; Hunter, meanwhile, wrote a business plan for his photo Web site when he was still in high school. During the interview, we talked about their business strategies, the potential for overexposure and Aoki’s continuing interest in Asian American identity politics (and his hero Bruce Lee).
The night before the interview, I went to see Aoki deejay at Luxy. It was jam-packed. None of my photos turned out very well, but that is OK, because Hunter was there to chronicle the whole shindig. Hunter has become something of a celebrity in his own right and when he appeared on the stage, a cheer went up from the crowd. It was funny, because as he was walking around photographing partygoers, yet another photographer was taking snaps of him. I half expected a third photographer to start trailing the pair, but that didn’t happen. Anyway, take a peek at photos on theCobrasnake.com and see if there is anyone you recognize making out with someone they shouldn’t be making out with.
My interview was at NEU Store in the East District (東區). NEU Store and it’s parent company Garden Girl is Taiwan’s exclusive importer of many brands, including Dim Mak Collection (Aoki’s clothing label). I wrote an article about them in December 2008. To see what’s new in the store, check out their blog.