Steve Aoki is up for his second Grammy nomination this year in the Best Music Film category for his Netflix documentary I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Competing against Beyoncé’s Lemonade and the Beatles’ Ron Howard-directed Eight Days a Week, it’s one of the toughest, and most varied categories this year.
“When we made the doc, I didn’t even think about it in the category of the Grammys,” Aoki tells Rolling Stone. He barely even realized that it had been released on Netflix, given how long he had been filmed for the feature and the time it took to produce it. The film explores Aoki’s relationship with his looming father Rocky Aoki, the founder of Benihana, as the superstar DJ prepares for one of the biggest shows of his career.
“I travel with a team already that documents everything,” Aoki explains of how easy it was to have the documentary crew following him around for the film. Once he got to a level of trust with the crew, he let them “unlock any doorway” they wanted to enter, including his relationship with his father. “There’s some doors I didn’t really want to open,” he explains. “I don’t really talk about my father. I don’t really talk about my past. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to start that conversation.”
Aoki’s “Just Hold On” collaborator Louis Tomlinson offered some words of support to Aoki, who finds it difficult to watch the movie now that it’s out there. “It’s so good, Steve,” Tomlinson says directly to Aoki.