In this interview we are presenting you DJ Lean Rock. The guy who spins the platters for an enormous community of people, but he will be the one to tell us more:
As a start, maybe you would like to tell us a little about yourself, because some people don’t know exactly who you are, so it’s better to give them some information about you; for example who are you? Where are you from? How old are you?
– I go by the name of Lean Rock of The Floorlords and Boogie Brats. I’m 25 years old. I was born and raised in Boston, but now residing in Los Angeles. I’ve been a part of hip hop culture my whole life. I’m a dj and bboy, but I love hip hop as a whole.
How would you describe your first encounter with music?
– Well my dad „Leanski” was already into the culture years before I was even thought of.. he pretty much did it all (except MCing). So it was only right that I would be into hip hop. I don’t remember what my first encounter was exactly, but I do know I really loved Onyx as a kid (especially Sticky Fingaz). I thought they were the rawest shit and any time I heard their music I got super hyped.
How did your activity as a DJ start?
– My dad used to take me to record shops all over Boston, so I would go digging with him all the time. He would take me to Biscuithead Records, Newbury Comics, Skippy Whites, etc. Sometimes we would hit up the warehouses of indie labels in Boston and come up on a lot of great underground hip hop and new funk records. Just a few years after I started buying wax on my own because I was getting a little bit of money in my pockets. I was always after all the records Leacy used to play. During the process of looking for what he played, I found a lot of other great music. So my mind began to expand and I learned more and more. Leacy passed away shortly after during this time. My crew pretty hard because Leacy was a close friend. I wasn’t playing records yet but I felt some sort urge to kind of step up to the plate. I also met Dj Kon of Kon and Amir around the same time… He really put me on to game to a lot of the crazy rare grooves, euro funk, libraries, etc. Then I wanted to just know every break and groove there was lol At first I was really interested in knowing the music for myself.. It was just really personal for me… but then my dad really pushed me into learning how to dj. He taught me some basics and from there I’ve been learning from many others. So I started playing records in 2005 but it took me about 6 years later to really understand/overstand what djing was really about.
In addition, what does what you are doing mean to you, what are you feeling when you are in the middle of the action?
– I just try my best to bring a good vibe to the people and make sure people having a great time. I love to see people dancing at their best. I mean this is the best feeling for me. I want people to leave the event, jam, party, or whatever the function may be with memories of having the best time!
How do you perceive this world of hip-hop? Taking into account all the elements it encompasses (DJing, MCing, Graffiti, Breaking, Beatbox)
– Hip Hop is alive and well on a global scale. It’s much bigger than most people think and it’s everywhere. I’ve seen the culture alive in about 30 different countries personally. I think it’s by far one of the most diverse cultures the world has ever seen. It one of the few cultures that can actually bring people of different race, ethnicities, religion, genders… together! It’s one of the few things we can bring the whole world to peace with.
Is there any noticeable change every month or every year?
– Change happens every day. Every day is a new day. We can’t go back in time for a reason.
What kind of music represents and influence for your style as a DJ?
– Well my foundation is definitely funk/bboy breaks… but even within these 2 elements… you can find a bboy break or funk in pretty much any genre of music… jazz, rock, disco, soul, salsa, country, etc. So I listen to a lot of dope music and a lot of shit music in the process of finding what I like. I’ve been listening to a lot of electronic, bass, soulful and deep house, hip hop instrumentals, and modern funk these days… but I go through my phases. I get inspired differently all the time.. so my style is forever changing.
What is your way of searching the recordings?
– When I’m out digging.. I usually hit the rock/psych section first. I’ve just always been into the weird psych funk and funk rock shit. People tend to sleep on a lot of the rock shit when it comes to funk so I guess that’s why I always loved checking through it. I obviously check other sections like jazz, soul/funk, and world music/latin section too… but I mean it really depends on the shop, flea market, thrift store, etc. Every spot labels it’s sections differently. There may not even be any section to check through at some spots. Sometimes you just have to go through everything. Obviously after years of digging, if I see an record cover I never seen before it will immediately grab my attention. The artwork on cover is always a plus for me. I check to see if the record has any musicians I’m familiar or a musician that I like on it. For instance, if Bernard Purdie is the drummer on the record… it will probably have some bad ass drums on it. Also labels are another factor.. For instance, the Rare Earth label put out a lot of great funk rock/blue eyed soul shit. So I found a lot of gems on that label. The years of when the record was recorded are also a major factor. Especially when it comes to finding anything with funk elements in it. Funk was more dominant from the late 60s until the early 80s. A pretty interesting outlook that I have about buying records is that I’ve never really been a fan of buying represses unless the original record costs the amount of a mortgage or it’s just impossible to find. I have also never been a fan of buying compilations. I just much rather find the original. The process of finding the OG is just makes it that much more special. As far as finding newer music that’s not on wax… I use bandcamp, soundcloud, and plenty of other music blogs/sites. A lot of newer artists/producers aren’t pressing up wax like artist of the past… but if they release some wax and it’s dope enough I definitely cop the wax. I still buy and support artist and producers. I download for free if it’s a free download. I just see it as good karma…. You support people and people will support you back.
Could you share some of your personal achievements or fulfillments (DJ/BBOY)?
– I have been raised around some of the hardest working, some of the most talented, as well as many pioneers/legends… Being able to be around all these people and be close with these people is a personal achievement alone. I’m constantly motivated and inspired to get better at what I do because of the people I’m around. There has just always been so much knowledge and wisdom around me. I have won a couple of major battles overseas and a couple of national battles a few years back.. Out for Fame, Evolution, Bboy Summit, etc. I don’t really compete as much these days for my own personal reasons.. but I still get down for the love of it. I just prefer to get down with people that inspire me in a circle. As a dj I have spun in over 20+ countries, and I have pretty much spun at most of the major bboy events such as Red Bull Bc One, Battle of the Year, IBE, Freestyle Session, Outbreak, etc. I have also been able to spin at some of my favorite parties and some of the dopest venues in the world. I still have tons to accomplish in my lifetime but so far life has pretty damn great!
What collaborations have you had or are you still having?
– I have an album coming out with Paten Locke soon. It’s pretty much finished but we are shopping it around to some labels for a proper release. I will release another mix with my homie B Ryan. A new mix for Between the Breaks. This year there will be a lot of huge collabs but I’m keeping some things underwraps.
In the near future, what events were you invited to?
– I got invited to Radikal Forze Jam in Singapore this year. I’ve been wanting to go to that event for a few years so it was pretty exciting news to hear they wanted to bring me out. I have a couple other events and parties in talks as well.. but until things are confirmed I will let y’all know.
Could you share some of your future projects?
– There are some huge projects underway but I can only share a few projects with y’all at the moment. Floorlords Anniversary will be doing down June 27th-29th. As stated earlier I’m currently working on a mix for Between the Break, another Ingredientz of Flava mix with B Ryan, and an album with Paten Locke.
As we are getting close to the end, let’s not forget about this question: What crews are you representing at the moment?
– On the bboy tip.. Floorlords and Boogie Brats. On the dj tip… Horsepower.
What message do you have for your fans around the world?
– Give back and expect nothing back. Do things with passion and love. Constantly create and tap into that energy inside you. Be you and be the best you can be. Keep your ears open and learn more. Have fun.
Thank you for the time you gave to this interview! Would you like to add a few more words at the end?
– One love to everyone doing what they love and pushing those limits!
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