Roctakon is a nightlife anomaly and universally considered one of the best open format DJ’s of all time. Born Andrew Brown, and raised outside of Washington DC, in 2002 Roc made his way to New York City where he played his way into residencies at the original Bungalow 8 and Marquee. But to hear him tell it, one can appreciate it less as a biography and more as the first culmination of an artist’s life work. “I was 16, and I didn’t do anything else. I worked, bought records, scratched, and got into the scene. The barrier for entry was so high. If you didn’t have the records you couldn’t play. So it was really a way of life. I remember having been in New York for like a year. I was working three to four nights a week and one night I ended up at a Chinese restaurant with Stretch Armstrong and a couple of people and realized my peers were the people I had looked up to. I was a professional DJ.”
By the mid-2000s Roc was working with SKAM and playing gigs all over the country. In 2009, following the tragic passing of his friend and contemporary DJ AM, he was considered by some in the DJ community as one of the heirs to AM’s throne.
Despite this, he nonetheless eschewed the spotlight opting instead to follow his own creative path. For a time he stepped away from the clubs to work on other projects.
In the years since he has written a novel, contributed to a book about the New York City skateboarding scene and helped launch the sought after clothing brand Bianca Chandon.
Although busy with his own projects Roc never strayed far from the turntables and always found time to play parties for brands like Opening Ceremony, hold residencies at New York clubs like The Jane, and travel for underground events like LA’s 143 and Miami’s Peach Fuzz. Rockaton is one of the more articulate DJ’s one can meet, especially when talking about DJing as a craft, one he has been an integral part of through its many phases. “As the era’s have changed I have become much more focused on using music people know in the way they know it to create a kind of energy that speaks to them, rather than changing and manipulating the music as much as I used to. I treat the ordering and the style in which I select the songs as my art, and I don’t worry as much about exactly ‘What’ I am playing. I play for the venue, I play for the party, and I play for the crowd. If I have a great night, and make it go off, some people will understand. But the best is when people don’t even know that I was the reason they had the best time. It can be tough on the ego, but the best possible night, is when they have the best f****** night.”
With 20 years experience under his belt Roctakon is truly an East Coast legend. Having recently relocated to Los Angels, Roc has decided to re-enter the DJ world and share his one of a kind technical mastery and genre bending sets with a new city and the next generation of DJ’s. When asked about his relocation, “How’d you make your way out to LA?” He responds with dry wit and smile. “I drove.”