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Roctakon Interview



roc’s cd is now available on the site… it will also be available at fine retailers next week…

buy cd at the lab



to coincide with the release, Roc got together with Eli Escobar for the seventh volume of the Money Lotion series… silkscreened covers, only 500 pressed…

buy 12″ at the lab

lastly, i got Roc to do an interview… very interesting stuff, not your typical one liner answers.



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Michna of Ghostly International Interview


Tell us how you entered the Lab world

It was the summer of 2003 and I was a proctor for SAT tests, and my

boy Pres was like, "Yo I saw a help wanted post on the lab site."

I michna’d my way into an interview with Jasper, Pete, and Tony and it

was slightly unclear to me what they were looking for.

So they set it off with: "On a scale of 1 to 10 how well do you know

current Hip Hop?" then they asked "On a scale of 1 to 10 how well do

you know funk?" I was modest and told them a 5 because I was ready for

Tony to ask me "who played drums on Rock Creek Park?"

Then Jasper handed me Four Tet "Rounds" and said "Here, review this."

Little did I know a then unknown Blu Jemz was also applying for the

same job. After all that Jemz ended up getting the job and I continued

proctoring SAT tests in Staten Island. A few weeks later I started

working at the little shop that could aka indie powerhouse Etherea

Records in the East Village. This was my ticket into the lab for three

reasons. 1) Etherea was run by a Korean 3) The shop had long slave

like store hours (this impressed pete) 3) My knowledge of music pretty

much tripled working there…

Finally a few months later I told anthony in person: " I know you’re

not hiring right now, but if you need extra help in shipping I can do

it" A day later I got hired to work in shipping and at the retail

store on 7th street.

Tell me an interesting story about growing up in Miami.

I moved to Miami in ’96 and all I really cared about was meeting

Vanilla Ice. A few weeks later I saw a billing in the paper for

Vanilla Ice LIVE in Ft. Lauderdale. So I went. Half the crowd was

there just out of curiosity (eyebrows raised with "really?" faces) and

the other half of the crowd was cheeseball tattoo silver necklace

tanktop white trash rap rock loving ICE FANS. It was amazing. Back

then I used to roll hard with disposable cameras and was just like "If

I can get one flick with Ice, that would be really huge." So after

his horribly amazing limp biskit style show, I ended up talking to his

DJ. Dude was like "You know I was the DJ for MC 900 Ft. Jesus."

Instantly impressed I said "Yo can I get a flick with Ice?" He was

like aiiiight and introduced me to Robert Van Winkle. He gave me a

pound and we took the flick. It was framed in a cardboard Eckert’s

frame for a few years until it got lost in a shuffle. I was wearing a

Metalheadz T-shirt.

Your favorite foods

Artichokes, garlic, fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced beats, filet

minon, lobster with my own butter lemon salt pepper sauce, fresh

salmon with spinach, mashed potato with balsamic french style, miso

soup, thai green curry, homemade mac and cheese, jalapenjo sausage,

tomato garden soup, whitefish, japanese carrot dressings, croutons,

black olives, onions, red peppers and mad toppings

Tell us one local spot we should hit up during WMC

The sauna at the standard hotel with a girl you just met

Worst job you ever had

A week after I graduated college I went out job hunting. i had a few

bullshit desk job interviews which led to nothing. i needed cash fast.

i grabbed an employment guide (free junk paper) and the next thing I

know I’m dressed in a suit selling children’s books. The best was the

phrases they taught you to say to solicit milfs, such as "Have you

seen the new one?" or "Your kids’ll love these"

Things that make you feel good

Too many things – stretching, eating, drinking good coffee, attacking

never ending to-do lists, seeing friends become successful,

jazzercise, etc.

What kind of women do you fantasize about

Latin dimes all day

What type of kid were you in high school

Like Ferris Bueller if he rode BMX/played trombone/built stereo

systems/went to raves/40’s and blunt

What is one of the coolest things you’ve found in a thrift shop

When I was recording with Secret Frequency Crew we found this coffee

table that was just a 2 foot mirrored cube on all sides.

If your house was burning, i would save….

hard drives and photos/negatives

Which contemporaries influence your work

Friends With You, Freegums (duh), Animal Collective, TV On The Radio,

Kaws, Espo, Krink, Skull Disco, Tempa, Warp, BPitch Control, Justice,

System D-128, MGMT, NYC street art, and more

What should we expect at the LA show

Like Wrestlemania VII

come check out Michna, his band, Freegums and free beer

this saturday, 9pm at Turntable Lab Los Angeles


also, on sunday check him at the Ghostly anniversary


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Freegums Interview


Tell us how you entered the Lab world

An old friend put me in contact with you guys.

Tell me an interesting story about growing up in Miami

Going through hurricane andrew, being 12, and laying against my bathroom wall. Felt like a freight train was rolling though my home.

Your favorite foods

Peruvian, Thai, and Cuban coffee.

Tell us one local spot we should hit up during WMC

local party: Pop Life

local restaurant: Enriquetas

local thing to do on every second saturday of every month: Gallery walk through wynwood (don’t know if that falls during wmc)

Worst job you ever had

Carni, Porn factory, dishwasher, carwash, etc…

Things that make you feel good

The sun on my skin, dancing, my significant other, money in the bank,

What kind of women do you fantasize about

My girlfriend.

What type of kid were you in high school

I was the leader of a hip hop crew. I have come a long way.

What is one of the coolest things you’ve found in a thrift shop

"Stoughton" satin jacket

If your house was burning, i would save….

People, computers, hardrives, car keys, myself, paperwork, depending on how much time I have.

Which contemporaries influence your work

Wally Wood, Robert Crumb, sign painters, Carl Barks, Harvey Kurtzman…

What should we expect at the LA show

The faces of weird, out of this world beings that you cant see but live amongst us.

come check out Freegums, his art, Michna, his band, and free beer

this saturday, 9pm at Turntable Lab Los Angeles

more info

Freegum’s website

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Cody Hudson Interview


no need for an editor’s intro…

let’s get to know this DIY design folk hero whose been friends with the Lab since the early days.


can you give us your career path all the way from your first job?

Here you go, im really bad with exact dates and all that but here’s the

rough version……..

1987-1988: Pizza Popper, Kenosha, WI

the highlight was getting the tip of my finger caught in the dough roller a week

after dropping a parking block on it


1989-1991: Piggly Wiggly, Kenosha, WI

held shit down at the pig, worked up to head utility clerk, was a card carrying

member of the UFCW local 1473, would take naps in the break room if I stayed out

too late the night before.

1991-1992: Happenings Magazine, Kenosha, WI

laying out a weekly coupon magazine that was given out free at grocery stores.

Duties include getting shocks from an old ass stat camera, working 24+ hour shifts,

waxing and pasting up a 80 page weekly magazine by hand on boards that would get

sent out to have film made from them.

1992: 43d Studios

Took out a loan for $5000 to buy a Centris 610 computer. start doing freelance

design for rave flyers under the name 43d studios. Quickly realized most promoters

don’t give me back my $45 44meg syquest discs and I would pretty much loose

money on a lot of the jobs. Learned how CMYK and spot colors actually work from

Pete D in Milwaukee.

1993-1995: the Weber Group, Racine, WI

learn how the computer really works, did tons of type lock ups (called violaters)

for brands like Toilet Duck and Drano stating that they now have “33% more

active incredients”. start to realize this design stuff is actually a real

job. Meet Allen Benedict who claims he is going to start a graf magazine called

12oz prophet someday. Struggle inc is born. Respect to Tony Weber for making learn

how to use all the programs.

1995-1996: JDK, Burlington,VT

the school I would have never had the money to go to. Met so many great designers

and creatives. Life changing type of shit. respect to Michael Jager and David

Covell and all the other greats I met there who put me on the right path. By the

time I leave I end up art directing the snowboard line for Burton Snowboards.

come to figure out that 16 hours days are the norm in graphic design. Start painting

and drawing again, although mainly robots and drippy stuff.

1996: 12oz Prophet, Miami, FL

move down to Miami (Kendall to be exact – “on the ave”), loose

my first apartment within minutes of driving into the city because my dog is too

big. Stay in the warehouse for awhile (with a hundred pound dog). Help Allen out

with daily design duties on “12oz Prophet” magazine, “Straight

from the Bottom” mailorder and eventually “The Vapors Project”

1997: Struggle Inc.

move back to Chicago to do Struggle inc full time. Realize that shit is hard.

Am broke quite a bit. Start drinking too much. Meet Seven from Chocolate Industries

and slowly start to do most of the design work for his label.

1998: JDK, Burlington,VT

after doing a lot of freelance design for JDK, I eventually go back for a year

to work on some projects. I sleep on Jared Eberhardts loft floor in Winooski,

VT for too long until I finally just move in to the place above his. once again

I get to work with a lot of talented peoples (byron oneil, malcom buick, howard

brown, ruby lee).

1999-2001: Ecko Unltd

move to New Brunswick, New Jersey to try and get out of debt (across from the

Lamp Post strip club). Basement apartment is completely full of roaches when I

move in. Get to work with old JDK homie Jim “Jersey” Anfuso again.

Start in the marketing graphics dept but get offered to go on a trip to Hong Kong

with Marc Ecko to learn about garment design and jump on the chance. Eventually

end up running the mens product graphics dept and along the way meeting many great

people (PK, Dre Day, Dust La Rock, Pel, Kimou, Seph, Funderburgh).

2001-present: Struggle inc

move back to Chicago to get my life back together. Wake up one of the first few

days in my new apartment to phone calls from friends in NY/NJ telling me to turn

the tv on (I don’t have one yet, but turn NPR on). Its 9/11. eventually

I build up some good freelance clients. start painting more as well. start working

with bigger clients (including Burton, Stussy, Nike). For the first time in my

life can actually make a living off just doing “my own shit”. As things

in my design career settle a bit I start to focus on painting and doing installation

based work more. End up doing a lot of public found object installations with

Juan Angel Chavez and Mike Genovese. Also join forces again with Allen from 12oz

to art direct his new publication “Also Known As”. In Dec of 2007

had a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (MCA). In

2008 released my new book “Save

My Life



what was it like doing the early issue of 12oz. Prophet? how did you organize

the mag before the internet?

I was always more on the design side and really I was more behind the scenes.

But Allen had this great network of writers who would constantly send in big envelopes

of flicks to the office. It was great in those days as if you got a photo in 12oz

it was kind of a big deal so everyone was basically sending in photos. Now people

can just look at blogs and the internet to see whats out there but in 1993 people

really payed attention to the magazines. Also at the time I think we were doing

some cool stuff and trying to bring a little more of a graphic design sense to

the magazine. We also ran one of the first major interviews with Twist (Barry

Mcgee) as well as giving the first US exposure to Os Gemeos with the Brasil issue.



what do you like about not working a typical desk job?

Not having to wake up at a certain time, freedom to be away from the office for

long periods of time, being able to take naps, drinking on the job during my night

shifts. Being my own boss is great but also way more stressful. What I don’t

like so much is really all the pressure as its pretty much all on me.



how do you handle clients with too many revisions and changes?

I usually just stop working with them after the project is done. If a project

is a real hassle then it’s really not worth it. Although I’m in a

lucky position where I have a few select clients and have pretty good relationships

with most of them so it’s usually not bad.


what do you miss about a typical desk job?

Human interaction & weekly paychecks



who are your design + work + life influences?

I tend to look back at the older guys for design. I was definitely influenced

early on by the likes of Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Bruno Munari, Josef Muller-Brockmann,

& Milton Glaser. also all the Archigram architecture based stuff influenced

me quite a bit.


what are some cool things that you have found or bought that have influenced your


I used to collect a lot of old design books but they seem to be getting harder

to find these days. Im not trying to get them on ebay so you have to dig a bit


QUICK HITTERS… five favorite albums, son.

Hard to narrow it down, as so many records have certain meaning to me, but just

for the sake of keeping it quick, ill list a few that have made a difference

in my life.

After The Goldrush – Neil Young

Take It From The Man – The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Boy With The Arab Strap – Belle and Sebastian

Follow the Leader – Eric B & Rakim

Complete discography – Minor Threat

Criminal Minded – BDP

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Wilco


a girl you hate to admit that you have crush on

Lita Ford

top 5 favorite foods

Char dog from Hot Dougs

BLT from Café Lula (had one for lunch today)

Pastrami sandwich from Mannys

Metallica burger from Kumas

Queso Fundido at Uncle Julios


the things that matter most in this mortal life.

Being true to yourself and your family while trying to be a good person and

trying to stay happy

plug one

get Cody’s book here, first batched is signed. new exclusivo prints also available!

plug two

check Cody’s new show at New Image Art In LA with Sean Cassidy, opening tommorrow July 18th

studio photos: Joe Wigdahl

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Institubes Interview


an interview with label head Jean-René Etienne

what is the story of how the label was started?

Classic story of some friends really into music and sharing the same tastes,

more or less, and sometimes the same women. We just decided to set up shop and

that was it. Tacteel had released an EP and we were convinced that Para One

had to follow suit and go solo as well. He was mostly doing beats for TTC at

the time. We believed that his sound was new and unique and we were right: if

you listen to our (and his) first 12", "Beat Down EP", it’s really

a crucible for most of the so-called "French sound" that came two

or three years later. We found a distributor and learned most of the trade as

a hobby, and the rest we still don’t know.

your 3 favorite records on Institubes

You really want to get me in trouble with my artists? I love them all, yo.

favorite meal to eat in Paris

Thai food.

Besides Drop The Lime, Is there anyone else you have your eyes (and ears)

on in the U.S.?

Coming this fall on Institubes Eagle.

What do you feel about the Tecktonik craze in Paris, and do people Tecktonik

to Institubes music?

Tecktonik… I hear there are some videos online showing people demoing their

"killer moves" to our tracks but I’m not into it at all, sorry, I

love dance crazes but this one doesn’t look good. I don’t like the logo, I don’t

like the clothes, I hate the whole throwback electroclash thing going on with

their hair, I don’t like that they’re peddling dance tutorial DVDs like there’s

no tomorrow. Some jumpstyle/hardstyle tracks are really cool but they’re not

that specific to the trend. Also, I don’t know what I mean by this but I feel

I can’t trust them.

Who thought of the name Institubes and what does it mean?

I can’t remember who came up with it, Teki or Tacteel probably, and in retrospect

it’s interesting to note that we chose a name that translates badly in English.

It’s either we didn’t have much ambition, either we didn’t give a fuck about

the rest of the world–you decide. It’s a portmanteau fusing "institut",

which means "institute", and "tubes" which translates as

"hits", as in "radio hit". So apparently that’s what we

wanted to be: some kind of consortium dedicated to churning hit after hit. We

were setting us up for failure, obviously, but we’re French so to us failure

has a certain panache. I ditched the whole "laboratory" pretense a

long time ago, now I freely admit that we’re just flailing about in the general

direction of persistence.

From what you’ve seen, who has more dog shit, Brooklyn or Paris?

Paris is the worst. I come from Martinique, where people do not worship dogs,

and everytime I would come on vacation, it was a shock. I’ve been living here

for more than ten years now and I’m still not used to it. Sometimes I feel I

won’t be happy till the last dog is hung with the guts of the last elderly woman

but most of the time it makes me sad, it’s like all those turds are testaments

to the loneliness of the people. I know this was the token tell-us-something-uncool-about-Paris

question and I know I should have made a joke but really, somebody has to take

action. Either by helping the old ladies out of their solitude, or by finding

a way to scrub the city clean.

Is it true that Bobmo made "To The Bobmobile" on the PS2?

Nope, not this one.

Do you see much difference between playing digital or vinyl? Which do you


I’m not a DJ but I can see the difference between the two. Most of the INS boys

play digital, because they’re so young and/or because it allows them to do things

you’d need four turntables and extraordinary hand/eye/ear coordination to pull

off. The Ableton Live/UC-33 combo is often a tool to fake your way through a

hypemachine-powered set, which is depressing, but we had bad DJs in the vinyl

era as well.

How do you see the Institubes sound evolving in 2008 and beyond?

Way I see it, we will still wave in and out of club music, put out more and

more rap and become more of an albums label, what with Tacteel, Cuizinier, Surkin

and Curses! writing their first LPs and Para One his second. Some of these will

be more pop than you’d expect. We have a number of straight up clubby-club-club

offerings planned though, by Jean Nipon, High Powered Boys, Bobmo, Das Glow,

Orgasmic, and some truly weird records coming up–in fact you could say that

this is one of our main directions for the future: weirdness. More unsellable

stuff. Bankruptcy is slated for 2010, by the way. Plus we have David Rubato,

who’s a true wild card, nobody knows what he will come up with. But I ramble,

I guess you’ll have to tune in and hear for yourself.

What are your feelings on music blogs and the whole "blog-house"


I really like the idea that so many kids are just taking matters into their

own hands. Some are very talented, some are mediocre, but that’s the way it

universally is. More power to them. One problem, though: their medium of choice

is quite susceptible to memes and it’s way too easy to repost mp3s under a funny

title and a picture of some overeager hipster bitch. It’s supposed to be the

world wide web but blogs can be oddly provincial, insular, even solipsistic.

Now, "blog-house", I don’t really know what that is, but in LA I went

to this house and there was some scruffy girl passed out half-naked in the bedroom,

in the living-room people played Rock Band like their life depended on it, and

you had some CDJs lying around, and on the fridge, next to a picture of Shawty

Lo pasted on Pedro Winter’s body, there was this sign: WELCOME TO THE BLOG HOUSE.

Best/most memorable party?

Our fifth birthday in Paris. Just check out the video here

and who partys harder – America or France?

You have more drugs, we have more girls.


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