It’s time to Netflix and chill with Steve Aoki, as his fast-paced documentary I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead arrives on the streaming service this week. As you’ll see in the film, the DJ, who will celebrate the 20-year anniversary of his record label Dim Mak at the Electric Zoo Festival in New York on September 3, travels the globe to perform at gigantic clubs and festivals — and to find the best outdoor adventures along the way. Here he reveals to Jet Set his favorite vacation spots to jump off cliffs and out of planes, take flips on snowboards, and party with tens of thousands of new friends.
Photos: Caesar Sebastian
1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
“Dubai is always an incredible destination,” Aoki says. “I always call it ‘the adult playground.’ It’s a place to have fun and to do all kinds of fun stuff. You can go dunebuggying on sand dunes across desert, which I’ve done a few times. And the skydiving there! It’s the longest freefall before you check the parachute. You get the longest freefall of anywhere in the world, and you get this view of The Palm, which is this beautiful man-made island of hotels.”
2. Ibiza, Spain
"The Spanish island of Ibiza is known as a club capital of the world, but Aoki says there’s a whole other side to it. “In the summertime, I’m mainly in Europe and I play in a lot of tropical destinations,” he explains. “I did one real interesting day where I went cliff diving with one of the world’s best divers, and a cliff diving expert in Ibiza. We did 10 dives in 10 different locations in one day — it was incredible!
Ibiza is such a great destination because you think of it as an electronic music haven — it’s like the bedrock of dance music in Europe. It has a history there to be called that. A lot of the bigger DJs have a [summer] residency there, so any time you want to go to a club, there’s going to be all different kinds of electronic music being played, whether it’s EDM or minimal techno or house music, you will find it. And then outside of the clubs, it’s a beautiful coastal island with so many places to eat and go out on a boat. It’s incredible to watch the sunset — [some] of the best sunsets in the whole world — and the food is always incredible Mediterranean food, always fresh. And there’s a million places to jump off a cliff!”
3. Mammoth Lakes, California
When it’s time for the snowy season, you’ll likely find Aoki back home in California. “I love to snowboard and I have a special relationship with Mammoth Mountain, so I end up there a lot. Last year, I worked out a situation with them where they were able to rope off a run for me so that I could learn how to do this backflip onto a really huge airbag. It had an Olympic takeoff, so you have a takeoff that’s like 12 feet high that throws you out. I always wanted to a backflip and ever since I was a kid I had never gotten good enough to get there. And also I never had the balls to try that — I was afraid I was going to eat sh-t! And now that I’m older, I was like, if I don’t do this now, I’m never going to do it, I’m never going to live the dream that I always wanted as a kid.”
4. Hakuba, Japan
That is, you’ll find him on Mammoth Mountain unless he has the chance to travel to the Japanese Alps. “My favorite place to go snowboarding is in Hakuba, Japan,” he reveals. “I went with some of my friends and with Red Bull and we were building our own jumps in the backcountry and landing in the deepest powder and having the most massive runs with no one on the hill. It’s just full powder — the best conditions I’ve ever been in. We made a movie; it’s on my YouTube channel.
Aoki recommends Malta, a small archipelago in the Central Mediterranean Sea, as an off-the-beaten path place to play during the day and party at night. He recently played one of his biggest gigs of the year there, the annual free open air party Isle of MTV, with rapper Wiz Khalifa and 70,000 revelers, and loves scuba diving in the Mediterranean.
“It’s a fortified [archipelago], so everywhere you go, you see these huge walls where you can imagine history unfolding with wars, people just trying to conquer it, and they just held strong because their defense systems were so incredible,” he says of Malta. “So what became of that was a graveyard of planes and boats and military this, that, and the other all around it. So if you’re a scuba diver, it’s like a wreck-diving dream. I was just there and did a wreck dive and it was so cool because we went through a tankard that blew apart in half and I was swimming down these dark holes that led to where people slept. It’s a great party destination and scuba diving heaven.”
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