Steve Aoki Talks About Pacific Festival: OC and How Growing Up in Conservative OC Turned Him into a Hipster Icon

Steve Aoki grew up in Newport Beach in the '80s and '90s, and he says growing up in a very conservative, white part of Orange County definitely "turned me into the person that I am." Aoki took solace in Orange County's hardcore punk scene and immersed himself in music.

Fifteen years after moving away from Orange County, Aoki is a world-renowned DJ, heads the DimMak label, books various dance music festivals around the country and introduces cutting-edge music to locals by way of the Pacific Festival: OC, happening this weekend in Costa Mesa.

(Note to self: raise kids in Newport Beach to raise successful hipster icons.)

Aoki explains that Pacific Festival: OC got started because there's not much going on by way of festival life. "It's five minutes from my mom's house, where I grew up," he said.
Saturday is a showcase for upcoming bands and DJs, including AokiThe Sounds, Miami HorrorChiddy Bang, while Sunday's lineup caters more to Orange County with reggae acts such as Rebelution and other local bands. Aoki and co. aim to bring the festival to the doors of OC residents by ushering it into Triangle Square. "I don't know if something like this could've happened even a year ago," he said, "we're introducing a lot of [up-and-coming] sound to Orange County people who are finally accepting of something like this." 

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Ironically, the group originally wanted to hold the festival at Oak Canyon Ranch by Irvine Lake, but because of the Electric Daisy Carnival fiasco, there were complications getting permits. "Orange County itself is really conservative, so I wasn't surprised," Aoki said. Aoki gives props to Mike Tunney, who "lives and breathes Orange County. [The festival] really his brainchild."

Aoki's Picks:
1. Chiddy Bang "They're definitely on the rise--Chiddyis an amazing rapper, quick witted and funny. That group is really special."

2. Miami Horror "It's their first American live show."

3. Rob Roy. "He's  somewhere between Andre 3000 and D'angelo."

4. DJ DC from Austria: A contender for the Guinness Book of World Record's longest DJ set--"He is deejaying as we speak!"

Pacific Festival will be held on Sept. 4 and 5 at Triangle Square, Costa Mesa. Tickets start at $25; 21+.

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