Viberoom is a music and nightlife event label founded by Hangzhou native DJ D’Rocc, a veteran who’s been involved the local hip-hop scene for the last 15 years, beginning with breakdancing before transitioning into DJing and organizing parties. Against the cultural backdrop of the historic city of Hangzhou, D’Rocc now brings a unique perspective by combining his understanding of traditional Chinese culture and philosophy with his respect for the origins and legacy of hip-hop. Viberoom frequently organizes nightlife events in and around the city of Hangzhou. Neocha spoke to D’Rocc about his thoughts on music, culture, and society.
Viberoom是个音乐和夜生活品牌，由杭州本土DJ D’Rocc创办。他是位拥有15年玩龄的hip-hop文化老玩家，在做DJ和组织活动派对之前， D’Rocc最初以跳街舞开始。有悖于杭州这座历史名城的文化背景，通过融合他对中国传统文化的理解，以及对hip-hop起源和传统的尊重，D’Rocc带来了一个独特的视角。Viberoom时常在杭州内外组织夜生活活动。Neocha和D’Rocc就后者在音乐、文化和社会上的一些想法进行了一番对话。
Neocha: How did you get started as a DJ?
D’Rocc: When I was breakdancing, I would enter a lot of competitions, but I was never satisfied with the music there. I felt that there weren’t any good DJs in China – the music they played didn’t have emotion. It didn’t let the dancers fully express themselves, and it didn’t create a party vibe. So I would watch a lot of old hip-hop videos, and that led to me understanding the most important part of a party was the vibe. If you knew how to control the vibe, then people would have more fun, and you can host better parties and events. Personally, I’ve had the experience of listening to a song, and just by listening I’ll feel more conscious and inspired, then I’ll want to share this listening experience with others.
Neocha: Where did the inspiration for Viberoom come from?
D’Rocc: Viberoom was definitely inspired by a lot of foreign music brands and collectives. I felt that Hangzhou also really needed a space that was just for music. Before, we had an actual Viberoom space here, but now we primarily do events in different places. “Vibe” represents a kind of mood or atmosphere – a state of mind that people can sync into together. The roots of Viberoom are hip-hop, turntables, records, and sharing music. Viberoom isn’t loud, or so in your face. It is a very chill place that’s suitable for a city like Hangzhou. We need a space that’s suited to the slow and relaxed atmosphere of Hangzhou – one that allows us to uplift ourselves through a more positive lifestyle.
Neocha: What is your definition of hip-hop?
D’Rocc: Hip-hop is now mainly just pop culture. Many young people across the globe are having fun with it, but I feel like most people are just blindly following a trend or fashion. Since there are so many flashy elements to it, a lot of people will be attracted to its surface appeal. In modern society, people might think that hip-hop is getting better because more and more people are aware of it. From my perspective, it’s lost a lot of its creativity, originality, and artistry. But, when I was younger, I also didn’t understand it completely. After being involved with hip-hop for many years, I realized that it was more about a kind of lifestyle. To me, this kind of lifestyle is uplifting, optimistic, and full of positive energy. It has a spiritual side. It’s like in skateboarding, when you fall off the board, you want to get back on again because you want to improve and transcend yourself.
Neocha: What are your thoughts on the future development of Chinese society?
D’Rocc: I feel like a civilized Chinese society will be like this: the architecture and culture will always preserve the best things from Chinese civilization and history, but these traditional elements will be incorporated into a modern technological lifestyle. This kind of culture will be very uplifting for Chinese society. Before, I’ve heard Jack Ma say this as well, that what a Chinese education lacks the most in is music, art, and athletics. When I was growing up, I felt the same way, and that most of the things I learned in school were useless. The Chinese education system is designed to create robots and obedient people. Of course, this society needs regulations, but from a far-sighted perspective, I don’t think that it’s the best way.
Contributor & Videographer: George Zhi Zhao
Images Courtesy of D’Rocc
Archive Video Footage from Born Invincible (1978), Game of Death (1978), Style Wars (1983), k-os – The Love Song (2006), Detours: An Experimental Dance Collaboration