What is Rok Lok all about?
The conception of Rok Lok Records took place in the winter of 1998 as I was preparing our first release On the Might of Princes "The Making of a Conversation" which appeared in August 1999. Early on I knew I wanted to contribute a different voice to Long Island's creative community. Traffic Violation was already releasing the finest in anthemic punk rock so why should Rok Lok duplicate that? Inspired by not only the strong local community of bands and artists and local labels like Traffic Violation and Eiffel Trousers Records, I took inspiration from K Records, Shrimper, Merge Records, Kill Rock Stars and numerous other labels I grew up worshipping to create what I wanted to set out to do with Rok Lok Records.
DIY culture inspired me to find that individual voice that had always been screaming inside. I saw in many ways my excitement for the community dwindle as the bands, art, and politics became formulaic and being formulaic was everything that DIY culture shouldn't be. To me DIY has no boundaries and isn't defined by a sound, look or idea it's about defining your own lines. After all the soundtracks to my life has been The Minutemen's "Double Nickels on the Dime", Sebadoh "Bakesale", and Beck "Stereopathethic Soul Manure". So clearly as a individual my interests musically and artistically are diverse so I wanted to create a label that was very independent and DIY but not catering to the standard aesthethics sound and visually associated with it. I have always resented the notion that punk is this or punk is that so with Rok Lok Records I knew that I wanted to extrapolate the potential to which this community can grow and have it's scope widened. There are so many different unique voices within even our own little community and I felt compelled to make sure more of those voices were heard.
Expression is painful when it is limited and limitation was the state of emergency our community had been in. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to work with such diverse artists who come from all different backgrounds-race, gender, sexual orientation,etc., and be able to help amplify their voices. Whether we've issued the music from the emotional powerhouse of On the Might of Princes to bands like melodic punk band of Latterman, lo-fi indie fuzz from Bo Coach, ,discordant post punk of Yes Sensei, electronic dance punk such as Space Robot Scientists, post rock of Empty Silos Echo War, or four track experimentalism from Stars Are Insane or Destructasaurus Rex and to the crop of current local bands who have released music on the label such as Dude Japan, Fellow Project, Weed Hounds and Deep Pockets we have always made the point to help paint a more vibrant portrait of Long Island's DIY community. We are not only a diverse community but a strong one. And beyond Rok Lok has been fortunate to document music from great bands from around the country such as Only Ghost in Town, Loma Prieta, Damezumari, Sandy City, Fire Team Charlie, and BRRR as well as for bands from across the pond such as The Third Memory (France), Marshall Teller (UK) and Halftime Parade (UK).
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