Label Spotlight | Dim Mak
Chances are, you’ve heard of the Dim Mak record label– or at the very least seen Steve Aoki hurl himself off a stage wearing a Dim Mak tank. Started by Aoki in 1996, Dim Mak is a big player in the electronic music scene, and definitely a label to keep an eye on for fresh new music.
Dim Mak boasts a roster of more than 90 artists, spanning across tons of genres, from R&B to drum & bass to electro house. While the label has diversity, you’ll find many more artists on the electro house side of things than trance. Some big names on the label include Bloody Beetroots, Dada Life, Felix Cartal, Tommy Trash, and Steve Aoki of course.
Dim Mak means “death touch” in Chinese. Aoki started the label with $400 while still in college at UCSB, and he says naming the label “Dim Mak” serves to him as a homage to Bruce Lee, who he says was a key Asian role model for him while growing up. The label didn’t start with electronic music in mind, but with the signing of Bloody Beetroots and MSTRKRFT in 2007, the label found a dance focus.
And who can blame him for shifting gears? Bloody Beetroots and MSTRKRFT have produced colossal tunes that make crowds everywhere go nuts.
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Steve Aoki has made this label much more than a background player in EDM: Dim Mak is a brand. His Dim Mak tanks are a staple in his everyday getup, and he has an entire online shop dedicated to the label. Everyday mall-goers also got the chance to score a Dim Mak graphic tank when Aoki partnered with Forever 21 this spring.
One Dim Mak artist to keep on the lookout for is Clockwork, a New York-based DJ/producer. You’ve probably heard his massive tune “Squad Up” during last festival season– it’s exactly what caught Aoki’s attention.
Aoki signed Clockwork after this track blew up, making him the youngest artist ever to be signed to Dim Mak, at 18. With the support and guidance from fellow younger artists in the game Felix Cartal and AutoErotique, Clockwork is sure to keep making waves in the electronic dance scene.
If you want to hear more about how Dim Mak came to be, check out this video. It’s a really great look into the history of Dim Mak and Aoki’s mindset in general.
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