I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: Steve Aoki Documentary
I’m a sucker for biographical documentaries, so when Netflix started pushing its new Steve Aoki doc, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, I immediately updated my to-watch list. Then a few days ago, my lab planned an upcoming Benihana trip (don’t ask), and I could wait no longer to learn about the Aoki legacy. You guys, I loved this movie. But it’s definitely not for everyone.
Steve Aoki is an EDM (electronic dance music) DJ/musician who is one of the industry’s most energetic presences. The man tours, interviews, social medias (cause that’s a verb...), and performs all day every day. He is nonstop, and it’s exhausting to even hear about his schedule.
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead explores the origins of Steve Aoki’s superhuman stamina and work ethic. The film’s producers look no further than Steve’s father, Rocky Aoki, a famed sportsman, daredevil, and founder of the Benihana restaurant chain. The documentary lingers on Steve’s persistent desire to follow in Rocky’s footsteps, revealing the impressive commitment and drive this has fueled.
Where the film really shines is in its stunning visuals and the way it captures Steve’s boundless energy. I also appreciated the glimpse into the passion and sheer amount of time that Aoki puts in (I have always been fascinated by people who live and breathe their passions. More on that later). It’s easy to look at wealthy, successful celebrities – particularly those of famous lineages – and assume that their fame and fortune were handed to them. This movie does an excellent job dispelling that perception of Aoki, whose schedule alone is a testament to his discipline. Although I in no way think bringing EDM to the masses is an irreplaceable public service, I respect that the guy works his ass off to do something he loves: connecting with a ton of people by making a lot of fun music and starting a hell of a lot of parties. While his career path is not particularly intellectual, Aoki comes across as a thoughtful guy who may in fact be afraid of the introspection and insight he could tend toward during moments of solitude (which we're told he avoids at all costs).
I recommend checking the film out – it’s a super energetic and fun documentary, and it really is visually beautiful. Full disclosure: I may be biased because I actually enjoy EDM (I maintain that there is no better genre for running or powering through a long lab day). But yea, there’s no getting around the fact that if you dislike the repetitiveness of EDM, you’re probably not going be thrilled with this film.