With the Identity Festival — America's first touring electronic dance music fest — starting Thursday, producer Steve Aoki has his studio (and nearly all the Dim Mak Records team) packed and ready for a road trip.
Kaskade, Avicii, Nervo, Skrillex, Afrojack, Steve Lawler and Aoki are among the performers who will hit more than 20 cities on the inaugural festival. Aoki will be the featured performer on the Dim Mak Stage, and he's planning to debut a new stage show on the tour.
"I don't want to give away anything that we've been developing the past eight months, but it's pretty epic," Aoki told MTV News recently. "It's the only way I could do it, the only way I could really bring it out is with a bus. So this tour allows me to do that.
"I always do these crazy festivals, hopping tours in Australia or even Europe. But in America, this is the first of its kind, the first dance touring festival with all these different DJs," Aoki added. "And I'm gonna be on a bus — it's my first bus tour as well."
Aoki's bus will be hauling a retail store loaded with merchandise designed by Tokidoki specially made for Dim Mak Records, including T-shirts, flash drives, iPhone cases and more. The Dim Mak tour bus includes a production studio that will mirror Aoki's normal setup, and the producer hopes it will help him find more time in the studio while on the road.
"Being on the road, when you're flying and your downtime is in hotel rooms and transports to the airport or back to the shows and stuff like that, you have zero time to produce, zero time to make any music," he said. "And on the bus, I'm outfitting it with my own studio. I'm rigging my monitors. So it's gonna be a productive month for me."
This week, Aoki released "No Beef," his latest collaboration with good buddy and Identity tourmate Afrojack, featuring Miss Palmer. Aoki and Afrojack have a few new songs in the can — and there's a chance they might try them out during the Identity Festival.
"Nick [van de Wall, a.k.a. Afrojack], I regard him as one of my best friends," Aoki said. "So when we get in the studio, we're just having fun, man. It doesn't feel like work. We're going in there, we're just being creative and doodling, and all of a sudden we come up with these tracks, and we're like, 'Holy sh--, this actually sounds really good.' So we have a couple different ideas in the vault, and we have to let them out properly."
The monthlong Identity Festival begins Thursday in Indianapolis suburb Noblesville, Indiana — an ideal setting for Aoki to debut his new show and try to reach fans who have never had the chance to see him before.
"It's given me a lot of opportunities to try new things and travel the U.S., hit these smaller cities like Indiana, Indianapolis, and bring this kind of show. It's gonna be a lot of fun, all these DJs roaming around the country."
You can find a complete list of tour dates at IDFestival.com.