Knock2 Brings The Heat on ROOM202 EP
February 1, 2023
February 1, 2023
From underground phenomenon to emerging star of the world’s biggest dance floors: the hottest fresh face of international dance music hails from Italy: Congorock. In only two years, with the single Babylon, the remix of Somebody to Love (Boy George/Mark Ronson), and One (Swedish House Mafia), Rocco Rampino has earned the respect of the most famous names in the game, like David Guetta at the legendary Cocoricò of Riccione where he recently shared the console. The Leccese’s powerful electro-house sound and his tropical deejay sets have gained the support from Afrojack to Diplo, from Tiësto to Benny Benassi, from Martin Solveig to Duck Sauce and the Crookers. They’re all expectantly awaiting August for his new single Sirius and the new album recorded in Jamaica with local singers, out this winter. Check it out.
In an age when the internet has democratized and globalized music production – if it still matters what passport an artist is carrying – check it out: one of the brightest up-and-comers in international dance music is Italian.
Rocco Rampino, also known as Congorock, was born in the Italian province of Lecce in 1983. He passed through Forli and Milan before settling permanently in Los Angeles, where he lives and produces music. This rising star possesses a rare combination of instinct and technique – he’ll play any instrument you give him, generally very well.
But first thing’s first. The story begins with the hardcore punk scene of the late 90s. It was mysterious, not even well known amongst followers of underground rock. But it was rich with talented, creative minds that exploded onto the scene with diverse bands. One was La Quiete (The Quiet), which, thanks to Rocco’s melodic, rock guitar riffs, became known around the world as screamo.
But Rocco’s passion for dance music led him to leave the handful of bands in which he was playing. He threw himself into it, first mixing vinyl records – he took to it quickly, effortlessly – and then he started producing tracks. This was when Italian electro-house blew up, with the Crookers and the Bloody Beetroots leading the way. Rocco worked with both, as well as with Blatta & Inesha. After that, Congorock went out on his own.
The turning points were the 2008 North American tour with MSTRKRFT, and the release of Runark in early 2009, a debut single put out by New York’s own Fool’s Gold. The label A-Trak, Kanye West’s deejay of choice and – with collaborator Armand Van Helden – the mind behind Duck Sauce and the smash Barbra Streisand.
At the same time, Rocco’s first remixes came out for big names like Fukkk Off, Djedjotronic, Nic Sarno, Romanthony, Favretto, and Blatta & Inesha; tracks that earned more and more space in the sets of fellow deejays.
But what cemented his reputation were the dance parties. Rocco spun with a unique energy around the world, pumping 130 bpm electro, fidget and ghetto house. He ventured into frontiers like Latin America and Africa, always on the lookout for the new hottest place.
“I left Italy at a time when our local electronic scene was becoming a real cliché. I had already done several tours in America, so I decided to stick with the scene whose birth I had witnessed. At the time, LA was the creative epicenter of the United States. A place where creativity flowed in from 360 degrees, from the city, from nature and the people who lived there. Much of the local underground music is directly influenced by Mexico. The city resonates with so many new ethno / Latino rhythms that I love to incorporate in my sets and productions.”
The transatlantic move marked a turning point. But watch out: Rocco is not a one-track-per-month, one-remix-per-week kind of artist. He meticulously shapes every release, nothing is left to chance. He doesn’t put out much, but it’s as precious as gold.
Just three tracks.
The first: Babylon. Fool’s Gold put out the single in 2010, with vocals by Jamaican Mr. Lexx and remixes with big names like Steve Angello, CJ Bolland and Proxy. But most of all, the instrumental version made its mark, one of the few tracks that simultaneously defines the form and tears up the dance floor. “It’s electro meets Slayer’s Reign in Blood“, someone said, perfectly capturing the happy coexistence of opposites essential to all great music, and that makes Babylon a masterpiece. Tropical sweat and gloomy darkness, innovative sound and muscular old-school snare drums. Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Diplo, Brodinski, Sinden Malente and DJ are just a few of the superstars who were struck by the sound.
The second: the remix of One, a Swedish House Mafia hit, with the original trance tunes coupled with the syncopated tropical rhythms that have become Rocco’s trademark. One of the biggest dance hits of the summer 2010, it was praised by Tiësto and Annie Mac, proof of Rocco’s adaptability and his musical vision for the “big rooms”.
The third: the remix of Somebody To Love, Mark Ronson and Boy George. See above. “Fantastic, I love it,” said David Guetta after his Cocoricò appearance, which is considered his arrival into the league of international deejays.
No longer the young Italian newcomer on the electro scene, Congorock has come into his own as a producer with an unmistakable flair and a deejay that handles large clubs and festivals. “Over the past two years I have been playing in larger contexts, like outdoor festivals and raves. I’ve realized that my music has a lot of potential outside the club. So I’m trying to combine my underground soul with my “big room” heart, which inevitably leads to epic and intense tracks. ”
The taste for contaminated, peripheral dance sounds is never-ending. In spring Rocco flew to Kingston, Jamaica, where a series of local dancehall singers improvised on the latest beats that Rocco brought along for the occasion. The collaboration resulted in a debut album up for release next winter. The upcoming instrumental single Sirius will hold you over, with its video out on Aug. 23. Both are being released by the giant Ultra Records, in whose catalog Congorock is in good company, with Tiësto, Benny Benassi, David Guetta, Deadmau5, Ferry Corsten, Paul Oakenfold and dozens of other superstars.
He’s here to stay.