Most electronic dance music artists draw from the same well, sticking to the clubs and typical, tried-and-true stimuli. However, Congorock, aka Rocco Rampino, finds inspiration in the most unlikely of places.
“I’m obsessed with futuristic, cyberpunk, fantasy, and alien fiction,” admits the Italian sensation. “I draw more inspiration from sci-fi than any dance music record. I discovered the genre because of the anime film Akira when I was 13. When I’m writing, I’m constantly thinking about this imaginary world rather than that of a club. Eventually, everything sounds groovy and hard enough to work as a dance record. That’s why Congorock exists.”
It makes sense as the producer and artist immediately stands out from the pack. Since bursting onto the scene in 2009, he dropped the fiery single “Babylon” and scorching remixes of Boy George and Mark Ronson’s “Somebody to Love” and Swedish House Mafia’s “One”. Genre titans David Guetta, Tiësto, Diplo, Afrojack, Martin Solveig, and more began spinning his tracks, showing allegiance to the budding talent as he supported everyone from MSTRKRFT to Chemical Brothers. In 2012, he remixed Rihanna’s smash “Diamonds” and joined her for the highly publicized 777 Tour. However, he’s opened the doors into his world like never before on his 2013 full-length debut for Ultra Music and its single, “Bless di Nation” featuring Sean Paul.
With a Caribbean bounce and kinetic dance floor energy, it’s a swirling mixture of exotic styles punctuated by Paul’s inimitable cadence and charisma. “It was my first collaboration with an international presence like Sean,” he explains. “This unusual Italian-Jamaican connection inspired us to work on a song that, fittingly, talks about unity and breaking boundaries and borders. We aren’t blessing a specific nation. It’s one big world nation and one flag we are all living under.”
Speaking of flags, Rocco takes pride in his Italian roots, and they definitely impacted this new offering. “Being born and raised in Italy, I’m tightly related to my Mediterranean culture,” he continues. “I sampled a lot of percussion from folk music coming from my area. There always elements of my roots in the music. Italy is a crazy mixture of African, European, and Middle Eastern cultures. That’s why my music is such a melting pot.”
That’s also evident on “Ivory”. It’s a shimmering example of his ability to infuse melody and majesty within the landscape of a propulsive dance track. He reveals, “I really related to that song. I sampled an elephant sound, and it sounds like charging elephants. The metaphor of this animal is tightly connected to my own personality. Elephants are generally quiet, peaceful animals, but when they charge, they can destroy anything. I make loud music because it releases a flood of feelings.”
You’ll definitely feel Congorock after one listen, and you’ll be moving all night long as a result. Ultimately though, he’s opened up the door into a new realm for electronic dance music, and he’s inviting everybody to come in and play.
“I hope when people hear my sets they feel like they’re listening to a story,” he concludes. “There’s a progression of intensity, and it makes sense from the start to end. I want to bring the crowd to those same imaginary places that inspired me. That’s what Congorock is.”