Steven Hiroyuki Aoki was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Newport Beach, California. He graduated from Newport Harbor High School in 1995, where he was a star player on the varsity badminton team. He is the third child of Rocky Aoki and Chizuru Kobayashi. His father was a former Japanese wrestler who also founded the restaurant chain Benihana. He has two older siblings, sister Kana (who is sometimes called by her middle name "Grace"), and brother Kevin (owner of Doraku Sushi restaurant). He also has three half-siblings, all of whom are younger: half-brother Kyle and half-sisters Echo, and Devon, a model and actress. As a child, Steve lived with his grandfather and grandmother, his mother, and his two older siblings.Aoki attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with 2 BAs; one in Feminist Studies and the other in Sociology. In college, he produced do-it-yourself records and ran underground concerts out of his Biko roos in the Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative, which was located in Isla Vista, a section of residential land adjacent to UCSB. As a concert venue, the apartment became known as The Pickle Patch.By his early 20s, Aoki had built his own record label, which he named Dim Mak. It is speculated this is in reference to the alleged cause of death of his childhood hero, Bruce Lee, but may also be a reference to a 1970's comic book martial arts phenomenon known as Count Dante.He has also been in numerous bands, including This Machine Kills, which released an album on Ebullition Records, Esperanza, and The Fire Next Time.