Darren Criss x Steve Aoki "Crash Into Me"

by Hannah Jackson

Photo Credit:   Sam Neill

Photo Credit: Sam Neill

Darren Criss is far more than the preppy schoolboy who sang his way into our hearts on Glee. Now 32, he has recently garnered much attention for his work on The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, for which he received many accolades. But what many may be surprised to know about Criss is his affinity for electronic dance music.

Criss pitched Steve Aoki his dream DJ set: an EDM cover of Dave Matthews Band’s iconic “Crash Into Me.” As a longtime admirer of the renowned DJ, Criss was “thrilled he was as game as I was to make it happen.” And it was certainly no easy feat—Aoki and Criss would meet up for a few hours at a time in between the DJ’s nonstop schedule of worldwide performances.

“That song holds a huge nuclear bomb of nostalgia for a lot of people, so sort of dialing into that, but throwing it in a context that people might not be expecting is always something that always really interests me.”

So, what better way to celebrate the launch of a new upbeat banger than to work out to it? When I was first invited to Barry’s Bootcamp for the release of Criss and Aoki’s new song, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Criss showed off both his musical and fitness accomplishments to an intimate crowd of friends, all of whom were eager to sweat it out to his new song, which played several times throughout the duration of the class.

“My manager and I have always had this bit, about if I was an EDM DJ—which I’m absolutely not—what nineties songs I would play in a club [laughs], and what songs I would give like, you know, crazy CO2 cannon-blowing drops to. I always thought it would be cool slash funny if we did ‘Crash Into Me,’ which is a six-minute unconventional ballad in odd time with wind chimes and stuff,” he said.