RIYADH/DUBAI: American-Japanese DJ Steven Hiroyuki Aoki surprised fans at the MDL Beast music festival in Riyadh on Friday with a special remix of tunes by Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu.
“I love collaborating across cultures, it’s my favorite thing in the world,” Aoki told Arab News.
The US-based DJ said that he “very rarely” does remixes like this and that it was his first time working with Arabic music.
“I do this but it’s a special time to be here,” he said, referring to his performance on the second day of the inaugural electronic dance music festival.
Aoki said he was “very excited” to work on the music which he said was a “completely different” sound to what he was used to.
“Producing all of it was really challenging for me in the studio but very inspiring,” he said.
Aoki also remixed tracks by Iraqi singer Majid Al-Muhandes, who co-performed with the DJ on Friday.
Aoki, who performed earlier in July at Jeddah World Fest, said he “loves” the people of Saudi Arabia and that he did not realize he had a huge fan base in the kingdom.
“It is surprising and incredible … to see so many fans in Saudi Arabia … everyone is so loving and so kind. They are just beautiful people,” he said, adding that he was keen to return to the country for future performances.
“The people want it. You feel the energy in the crowd, they want this kind of music here,” he said.
The MDL Beast festival, which attracted 150,000 visitors on Friday, had a variety of food pop-up trucks to feed hungry fans, including Aoki’s Pizzaoki chain based in Los Angeles.
“We sold over 40,000 slices of pizza yesterday. I can’t believe the number,” he said, claiming it was the number one selling food pop-up truck in the festival.