Steve Aoki Missed Out on Appearing in a Blockbuster Hollywood Film to Play a Show in Manila

Are you ready for HiROQUEST?
IMAGE Contributed

Steve Aoki is no stranger to Manila. It’s been 15 years since he did his first show at the old Embassy, and although the Fort Strip’s landscape has changed a lot since then, the 44-year-old rock star DJ looks like he hasn’t lost a step one bit. 

Aoki recently released his much-awaited new full-length album HiROQUEST, which features collaborations with artists from different genres such as Taking Back Sunday, Kane Brown, PnB Rock, Goody Grace, and Mod Sun, among others. The album, which was produced over the pandemic, turns angst, anxiety and pent-up energy from the lockdown into new music by the two-time Grammy-nominated artist and producer.

“I love the fans out there,” he says during a virtual interview. “I’ve been coming out there since 2007. I even missed my opportunity to be in Tropic Thunder to play in the Philippines.”

Photo by Contributed.

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It’s been widely reported in the past that he was supposed to have appeared in the Ben Stiller film, which featured an ensemble cast of Hollywood stars, but he had been booked to DJ somewhere else in the world. It’s only now we’ve finally confirmed that it was Manila he chose over that could-have-been cameo.

“I’ve been playing there for 15 years and I just have a great fanbase there,” he says. “A great community that’s always supported me, and I won’t forget that.” 

Something Aoki’s fans can look forward to is the new music from the HiROQUEST album that carry his signature EDM aesthetic while merging with contemporary musical genres like alternative rock, Latin and pop. HiROQUEST features the singles “Just Us Two” with Taking Back Sunday, “Kult” with grandson and Jasiah, and “Save Me” featuring HRVY.

“’Kult’ is the benchmark sound of where this new album will be going,” Aoki shares. “It has some punk-y elements and it’s always about lyrics and the hook. If you can get people to sing something that makes them fill with angst and it evokes some energy, that’s a successful song. It’s like our own social club that lets everyone be part of a shared world. This album will have that synergy, where everyone is part of this club.”

The album’s 26 tracks also introduce us to a new universe created by Aoki that blends music with the exciting world of his new collectible trading card game co-created with MetaZoo Games.

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“This album tells a fantastical story, but it’s also about freedom from restraint. I went right back to my roots—that raw, rock energy and that became the basis of it. From there, I began to explore everything, and it sprouted into so many different genres.”

The tracks make up five chapters that tell stories of five different mythological factions in a future world full of chaos where the protagonist Hiro, an Evergreen Caster, sets off on a quest to collect Pallet Rings and defeat legions of Zombies and Robots. For a limited time, each CD will contain one random card from the HiROQUEST set. Aoki actually opened up a pack for us which revealed a Spook Light card that he signed for Esquire Philippines. The card will be PSA-graded and will be sold on eBay by Aoki as a 1-of-1. 

“It’s been a minute but I know there are some big card collectors in the Philippines, big Pokemon collectors,” he says. “I got my HiROQUEST CD that’s introducing the whole HiROQUEST game and our trading card set. Sixty-four different cards. All single card packs.”

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If the initial run of his cards is any indication, it looks like his new creation’s catching on pretty well with collectors. “We sold 30,000 CDs in five hours in June. We didn’t expect to sell that much. We were just like, we’re just gonna leave this open for a few hours for the die-hard fans, keep it special, keep it rare, and we ended up selling 30,000 CDs so there’s a 30,000 finite card run of the first set of HiROQUEST.”

Aoki has also found much success in the past going beyond just his music and crossing genres and cultures like fashion, art, and technology. HiROQUEST looks to be another one to add to his long list of hits. Still holding the Guinness World Record for being the “Most Traveled Musician in a Single Calendar Year,” Aoki looks forward to returning to the Philippines when he can. 

“it’s been many years since I’ve been back so I’m dying to come back to the Philippines,” he says. “I love Manila; such fond memories, and people there are so friendly, so nice, so polite. You don’t forget that hospitality. I love my Filipino fans.

“I need to come back out there,” he adds. “I need to feel the pulse of the culture again.”

Steve Aokis new album HiROQUEST and his new HiROQUEST collectible trading card game are available now at this site for $5.99

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Mikko Abello
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