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An Interview with DJ Mike Roc
Filmmaker, foodie, official practice Dj for the Raptors, Mike Roc has clearly never heard of hibernating for the Winter. As a long time fan of tequila and tacos, Mike Roc put together a mix for us while we chatted about his love for music, film and staying healthy: mind, body & soul.
Tell us a bit about your work and the mix we're listing to
I play mp3's full time. I manage the DJ's for Cactus Club and King taps, book DJ's for Cold Tea Bar, official practice DJ for the Raptors, and I DJ at venues all around the GTA. I worked on this special mix for you guys, it includes a lot of sound cloud remixes, some afro-beats, UK stuff, RnB, hiphop. I like playing non-mainstream stuff when I make mixtapes, there’s so much good music out there aside from what’s playing on the radio and in clubs. It’s also a great way for my listeners to hear new artists or songs that I find on SoundCloud.
You’re also a filmmaker, where do you find your inspiration and how do you feel it integrates into your music career?
Filmmaking is actually my first love. I went to film school in Vancouver, and now DJing helps fund my film projects. I watch at least three movies a week, and that’s where I get a lot of inspiration for my own projects.
Film and music go hand in hand for me. When I'm DJing my set, I'm creating an audio story, dictating how the crowd feels and takes in music — just like making films. You’re creating stories for the audience to empathize with and be entertained by. I romanticize both of these careers, because I believe if you're going to do something you should love the crap out of it.
You’ve been vocal online about your battle with mental health and supporting others around you who may be more silent in their struggle. How has the response been amongst your community and following? Furthermore, how important is Social Media’s role in getting out your message?
I feel that the discussion of mental health has still got a long way to go. It’s a fresh topic to bring up and have the general public be aware of. I try my best to raise awareness about self care because I think we lack so much in that department. If we go to the gym to better our physical health, why not pay the same attention to our mental health? Currently, social media is a great platform for raising awareness due to everyone being glued to their phone screens. The reach extends so much further because its being put right in front of you. My mission with it all is to keep the conversation going, letting others who suffer know that they aren't alone and it’s ok to be going through what they're going through. Know that tomorrow is a new day.
Working in the music industry typically goes hand in hand with a lot of late nights, partying/ party atmospheres - how do you find your balance between living a healthy lifestyle (mentally and physically) with your career? & In relation to this, what advice would you give to someone just coming into the business?
I do my best to digress when I have my down time. Being in the party atmosphere constantly, and even more-so being the person that has to get the party started and keep the party going, can all be very exhausting. I’m always making sure I get proper rest and enough hours to sleep, even vampires need to sleep haha. Sometimes I DJ three gigs in a day— 9am-1pm, 5pm-9pm, 10pm-3am. Taking care of my body is very key to being able to make it through multiple shifts on my feet.
You can often be seen around some of the best snack joints in the city (que SOSO Food Club, Cold Tea…La Carnita😏 ) How did you find yourself involved in the F&B world?
I used to work in the kitchen way back when. The whole hospitality/service industry always intrigued me. Music and film are two ways I connect with people, and the third way is through food. There's something about connecting with someone over a meal that just makes a person feel safe yet vulnerable. I've made a lot of great friendships through food.
I love Toronto's food scene. What really makes the food scene here for me not just the delicious food but the community around it. There are very few cities in the world where you can actually get to know and be friends with the restaurant owners, and back and front of the house. It's also a very welcoming community because they all understand that the best way to be sustainable is to sustain relationships amongst each other. Bury me on Queen West or Dundas West or College West or Bloor West, I'll be happy.
/ ALL IN THE FAMILY /
AN INTERVIEW WITH JAY MARQUEZ
Jay has worked with the company for the last 2 years and is currently the Tournant Chef for LC’s Toronto locations. Jay talks about the areas of Toronto that inspire him most, how he began his career and what he’s been cookin’ at home.
When did you first start making music and what do you remember most about that time?
I remember being young, around 5 years old and my mom putting me in classes for the saxophone. Growing up, I played different instruments like the cello and the keyboard, which was cool, so that’s my first vivid memory of me starting off with music.
Are there any specific areas of Toronto that you hang out in to get inspiration?
Honestly, Raptors games. One of my favourite DJs ever 4korners is the official DJ for the Raptors and seeing him do his thing makes me want to do better for myself as a DJ and take my career to another level.
Who’s your audience when you’re making music (ie. Who are you creating for?)
When making mixes I do my thing for everyone, try to hit the oldies and the new generation in order to catch the attention of a lot of people. Depending on the venue I play at, the music sets the vibe for the room to make everything enjoyable.
Is there anything you’re working on right now that you can tell us about? Do you have a favourite track out of the ones you’ve featured on Soundcloud?
One of the biggest things in my career is getting penned to be the official DJ for Langston Francis which has taken me places that I have never thought I would be, in this industry. One of my favourite mixes on Soundcloud is my “all day fit” mix which was made for All Day Fit, a boot camp and workout company based out of Toronto. It really took me out of my comfort zone and helped me explore a broader sense of music outside of hip hop.
How do your love for food and music intersect if at all, and do you have a favourite dish you like making at home?
I love food, everyone loves food. That passion that chefs have and the time they put into creating an experience for their guests is what I want to emulate when I create mixes and music. Being at La Carnita helped me out a long way because it brought my two favourite things together, food and hip hop. You can never go wrong with those two.
What are your hopes for your career in music in the next 3-5 years (in a nutshell)?
In the next 3-5 years, California. I love the aesthetic of California and being a musician and a DJ, Cali is definitely the mission. The center of the entertainment world.
I would also love to be a DJ for one of Toronto’s teams. I know the Raptors, Leafs and Jays have their established DJs but I would love to DJ for Toronto FC or even the Argos. That would be cool.
Lastly, with Langston, I see us going on a world tour, something like a couple of months away from Canada and just doing our thing.
I have a lot of goals and it only takes patience to make them come alive so hopefully I can reach that.
Follow Jay Marquez on Soundcloud