A Q&A with Congorock



Rocco Rampino, better known as Congorock, first came to notice during the heyday of so-called bloghouse, which injected dance music with energy and bigness that had been largely absent in the early aughts. Notable bloghouse producers and DJs have since become part of the exploding EDM scene, and the ravey vibe that bloghouse reintroduced has helped dance music move from the club to the arena. Rampino has followed, and regularly appears on bills with EDM heavyweights such as Deadmau5, who have benefited from the foundation he helped build.

Rampino spins at the Mid Saturday night with Nathan Scott & Gus Karas and Bisharat. He's from Lecce, Italy, but when I talked to him on the phone earlier this week, he was at his new home in LA.

You and other bloghouse producers brought a lot of energy and bigness into dance music that it'd been missing since the rave days. Do you feel like you and other similar artists had an influence on the current wave of EDM musicians?

Yeah. I can tell there's some sort of influence on the new wave of production, but nowadays there are so many new artists that influence me.

I saw that you just came back from a tour of Asia. It feels like dance music and dance-music culture have become completely global. Do you agree?

Yes, it is to some extent. Asia is a growing market for sure. There's so much interest in dance music there. They don't have the same music taste, and there's a little bit of delay in finding out what's cool and what's not. When I'm playing a club there I get the feeling, which is a good thing, that people are going to have a good time no matter what I'm playing, because they don't have the clubs and EDM concerts that we have in the USA and Europe. But they have a good time, and at the end of the day that's what matters.

I was looking on your website and there's a video of you running before a gig, and you said something about how you like to exercise before your gigs. Is that like a regular thing for you?

One of the things that's worst about being on tour is the routine. It doesn't let me have a normal lifestyle. There are weird schedules, so whenever I get a chance to work out, I do. It releases the stress out of my body. It's good for me. It was a funny video, and it showed some of my life outside of the club.

In recent years there's been a pretty big explosion in EDM culture in the U.S., which is a ways behind Europe in that respect. How does American dance culture differ from Europe's?

I was reading something that Porter Robinson said in an interview recently—that American producers and American audiences, they have new ears. For the first time, in the dance-music market they are the main goal. Years ago it was probably Europe that was bringing the new trends, but nowadays the great producers are from the U.S. I think it's very interesting. They don't rely on the past.

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