May 03 2018

J.Rocc With You

New York-Le Bain
We chat with the original Beat Junkie and Funky President J.Rocc before he plays for the first time at Le Bain on Friday, May 18th.
A seminal force in the rise of instrumental hip-hop, J.Rocc started DJing in the '80s before founding the DJ collective Beat Junkies in 1992 with Melo-D and Rhettmatic. In addition to numerous mixtapes and his own releases for the LA label Stones Throw (including his first album, Some Cold Rock Stuf, in 2011), the Californian DJ has been touring with Madlib's live shows since the early 2000s. 
J.Rocc's Boiler Room DJ set (2014)

LE BAIN: You started DJing in 1981 because of the record cover of "Buffalo Gals" by Malcolm McLaren. What can you tell us today about that record and its cover?

J.ROCC: The DJs (World Famous Supreme Team) sounded like they were having fun on the record and then they showed the 1200 turntable on the back cover. I never saw those before because my turntables were belt drive. I always wanted to be a radio DJ and the Supreme Team made it sound so good. 

Is there another record cover that had a comparable influence on you?
No, that was the only one that had a picture of turntables on it. I would stare at that forever and question why they were using a cheap mixer.
"Buffalo Gals" by Malcolm McLaren & World Famous Supreme Team

Your latest project is "Share My Bed," which combines J Dilla’s instrumentals and MJ’s vocals. Could you describe your state of mind when working on it?

It was something that I did a long time ago and a few people asked me what happened to it. I decided to just release it for free. Bandcamp makes it so easy for artists to get their music out to the public, especially something like that. Soundcloud would have shut that down already.

And another recent project of yours was "Thugs Ballads," which combine Sade and Mobb Deep.
I made that because of the projects like “Fela vs. De La Soul” or “Marvin Gaye vs. Mos Def.” I was just thinking of two things that don’t go together. Sade and Mobb Deep just made me laugh, so I went with that. It was more of a fun thing to do. I didn’t expect to release it, but a few of my buddies really liked it.
The Standard
Tell us about the future of DJing. 
The future of DJing is a hard one. It’s always evolving. CDJs came and that changed the way you can play music that you’ve made in your home. Serato came and that made it so DJs don’t need a big crate of records. Then controllers came and took over. Now we have needle-less turntables. Equipment is going to keep evolving, but it’s going to be difficult to get music. All the music services are going to stop selling music and you’re just going to be able to stream. That’s going to mess up the DJ, so the future will be how we handle that. 

And the future of instrumental hip-hop?
People are more comfortable with instrumental-only LPs. These types of albums have always been around but it was called trip hop. Now they call it lo-fi hip hop. There are tons of young up-and-comers that are making quality music. All you need is a computer and ableton or garage band. 

What's next for you?
The next thing is another full-length LP for Stones Throw if I can just get all my beats together. There will also be a project that I co-produced with Flaunt Edwards that comes out in June/July. 
On Friday, May 18th, Le Bain presents J.Rocc with Shawn Dub
The Standard, High Line | 10pm