Last night I watched Justin Krook’s I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. I happened upon it by accident as is the beauty of Netflix.
On the heels of The Get Down which I binged watched over the weekend from Friday, I was looking for something with either music or a love story at the heart of it. I wasn’t fussed what it was going to be. I just wanted something in the background as I made notes on the novel I’m writing. So when this documentary on the superstar DJ and music producer Steve Aoki started, I really didn’t know what I was in for.
You see, I’m stuck in a time warp. My book is inspired by the ’90s club scene and if there was anything I was getting excited about it was Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down: New York in the 70s and the history of hip hop with the legendary Grandmaster Flash thrown in? Yes, please!
But LA in the early 2000s, that wasn’t my scene so when watching I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead it was great to discover the world that Steve Aoki was responsible for through his label’s club nights: Dim Mak Tuesdays and Banana Split. And with the likes of Pete Tong, Diplo and will.i.am adorning Aoki with their respect, it’s difficult not to admire Aoki’s work ethic that makes you wonder if he is going to burn out anytime soon. It’s been 10 years and he still hasn’t.
Krook’s documentary doesn’t just follow Aoki around the world to parties in awe-inspiring places. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead also tells the story of Aoki’s background that was heavily influenced by his absent father, Rocky Aoki – the founder of the worldwide restaurant chain Benihana which can also be found on the King’s Road.
Whilst the documentary flagged up that I still haven’t visited Benihana, it also showed a man driven to prove his worth to his father. Rocky Aoki was a larger than life character; he was an adrenaline junkie and it’s not difficult to see that his son has a similar way of living.
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead is a good documentary to watch if you love music; you don’t have to particularly like Aoki’s music but you can’t ignore his influence on the club scene over the years. It’s also a great watch because it shows us what you can achieve if you’re hungry enough to make your dream come true.