Angel “AROCK” Castillo on How He’s Helping DJs, Producers, and Artists Be Heard
With a career in the music industry spanning more than 20 years, Angel “AROCK” Castillo has found himself with one overarching goal – to help DJs, producers, artists, and music makers be heard. As a former DJ and founding CEO of BPM Supreme, AROCK has forged alliances with more than 100 record labels, making the online music service a leader in the DJ scene.
“When I started BPM Supreme, I wanted to create a place where DJs could find everything they need – music made for specifically for DJs – all in one place,” AROCK said. “It’s been a dream to turn my love for the DJ culture into a business. I never could have imagined it would bring me to where I am today.”
A San Diego, California native, AROCK launched BPM Supreme back in 2006 after seeing a need in the DJ market for an online record pool, proving his business savvy from a young age. Now the 33-year old entrepreneur also leads BPM Latino, a digital music service geared toward the Latin music market, as well as BPM Create, a brand new online sample library for producers and DJs looking to get into music production.
So, what makes BPM’s services stand out from other similar services? “A love of tech, an eye for design, and attention to detail,” AROCK says.
AROCK also moved the company’s headquarters from San Diego to Hollywood in late 2019, and recently trademarked the name “AROCK” saying “I know by the time I am finished, that trademark will mean something big!”
Despite what has been a tumultuous year for the music industry, the BPM brand shows no signs of slowing down. In April of 2020 DJ Jazzy Jeff joined BPM Supreme for a live discussion on Instagram and said, “What you guys have built is so helpful to the DJs. We are all trying to help the DJ community – and what BPM Supreme has done and what you have built is incredible!” He added that companies like BPM Supreme are “special at times like this” and that by “pushing the envelope in a time like we have right now that” BPM Supreme is helping DJs continue to play.
How did you get into DJing and DJ culture?
My interest in DJing happened very early on when I was about 12 years old. I had gone to a school dance and noticed the way the DJ moved the room and the people. Immediately I was intrigued and soon after that, I got my first DJ setup as a gift. I started practicing every day and tried to learn as much as I could about the gear, the music, and the DJ lifestyle. A few years later, I began working for a local record pool in San Diego. At that time, a record pool was essentially a club where you would pay per month for a stack of vinyl records. I made a lot of friends who were DJs, more established than me and could show me the ropes. I even worked a few jobs in San Diego radio which really got me interested in the business side of music. It’s crazy because even though I don’t DJ anymore, my heart is still in it. It’s been a dream to turn my love for the DJ culture into a business. I never could have imagined it would bring me to where I am today.
BPM Supreme has been around for quite some time. What do you think makes the company strong?
I think one of the most important things is that we’ve never slowed down. We’ve never sat back and been like ‘okay, we can relax now and let the product do its thing,’ That’s just not in our nature. Instead we’re constantly pushing boundaries and looking for the next improvement. At any given time, my team and I will have five or six major projects in the works.
Aside from that, I have to say that I think we’ve become a staple in the DJ world for a lot of other reasons too. For one, we have the largest music catalog of DJ-ready tracks of any service, and we’re a trusted partner to more than 100 record labels. The platform has a ton of variety as well, so DJs can really find what they need, whether it’s classics or clean versions for a family event, or the newest exclusive remixes of hot tracks. Plus, we care about the DJ; we cater to them. Whether it’s events and workshops geared towards learning, or giveaways and contests that get them involved, we’re always looking to engage with the community.
How is the BPM Supreme brand pushing tech in the DJ and producer space?
I’ve always been interested in the tech space, and I think a lot of DJs in general are also interested in technology. Part of the excitement is to see what the next update will be or the next model of gear that just got released. We consider BPM to be a tech company as much as a music company. The platforms are built from the ground up to be sleek, user-friendly, and advanced. We’re always looking ahead and planning for the future in terms of using new technologies like AI and streaming. We also have a full in-house design team that is incredibly talented, and we work with some of the most skilled developers on all of our platforms.
Tell us more about BPM Create.
BPM Create is a new online sample library for producers of all skill levels, and DJs who want to get into music production. It’s perfect for anyone who has ever wanted to mess around with remixes, or get creative with beats and samples. BPM Create is the newest of our subscription platforms under the BPM brand. We launched in August with more than 100,000 sounds on the site, including things like one-shots, loops, construction kits, and MIDI files. All of the sounds are available for download so the user keeps them forever. Plus, membership subscriptions start at just $5 so it’s a no brainer for anyone who has been thinking about giving a service like this a try. We’re so happy with how it’s been received by the producer and DJ community so far.
How will the new service help producers and artists?
Over the years, with BPM Supreme, we’ve established trust within the DJ community for having high quality tracks and audio. Building on that, the producer community can trust that every single sound on BPM Create has been designed by industry-leading professionals and they are the highest quality. We want to empower producers and music makers, as well as DJs and novice musicians who are interested in production. The sounds on BPM Create are meant to become hit tracks. Everything we do as a brand is to help musicians excel in their careers, and be heard.
How does BPM Create differ from other sample libraries like Splice and Sounds by Native Instruments?
BPM Create definitely has stand-out qualities in comparison to other similar services. We’ve spent a lot of time researching and finding out what makes a producer’s workflow more effective, and that thinking helped us to develop a state of the art search functionality. With the sophisticated search, tagging, and filtering on BPM Create, it makes it so easy for users to find exactly what they need. Plus, the design is just on point. It’s super clean, offers a day and night mode for easy viewing, and our sound packs are organized so you can find inspiration or the style you’re looking for quickly.
How did the “Wake Up Dead” Remix Contest with T-Pain come about?
T-Pain had come by the BPM Supreme office in San Diego for an artist visit and he really enjoyed the vibe of our space and the company culture. He became a genuine friend of the company and our team. So, when the opportunity came up to collaborate, it happened naturally. We were launching BPM Create and wanted to engage with the community with a remix contest; T-Pain had a track that he wanted to find fresh remixes for. And so the “Wake Up Dead” Remix Contest was born. It was very successful and the three winners now have a track released on T-Pain’s label, Nappy Boy Entertainment.
How has the current pandemic affected your business?
It’s definitely been a challenging time for everyone, but our team is super agile and we’ve created a lot of great momentum believe it or not. We’ve hosted a ton of livestream events, workshops for the community, and of course we launched BPM Create, which is another tool to encourage creativity, even while staying at home. What’s also great is that during one of the most difficult times for artists and the music industry, we were able to provide chances to keep them working and being creative at home. Not only did we present the “Wake Up Dead” Remix contest, but we also had things like our “Remixer Initiative” which invited DJs, producers, and remixers to submit their tracks for potential paid opportunities. The feedback during this time has been really positive, and we want to continue to give back.
What is your favorite part of your job? What gives you the greatest reward?
I’d have to say that my favorite part of this business is that every day is different. We’re always faced with a new task or a new challenge. No two days are alike. It keeps things exciting and progressing positively. But also, the most rewarding part of my job is helping the music community to create music, play music, succeed in their careers, and most of all, be heard. I am so proud to be advancing the culture with technology, innovation, and creative freedom for music makers.
Where can our readers find out more about AROCK and BPM’s services?
Follow @bpmsupreme, @bpmcreate, and @bpmlatino! Keep up with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Audiomack.