BPM Supreme CEO Angel ‘AROCK’ Castillo: "We’re always thinking of new ways to keep innovating"
The San Diego record pool trailblazer talks us through the rise of BPM Supreme
Angel ‘AROCK’ Castillo founded San Diego-based record pool service BPM Supreme in 2006. A former DJ himself, his ‘For DJs, by DJs’ mentality inspired him to create a product that lends itself to the selector lifestyle, enabling DJs to download high-quality tracks straight from the service to include in their sets. In recent years, BPM Supreme has expanded rapidly, launched a mobile app and more.
Where did the concept for BPM Supreme stem from?
I used to work as an intern at a record pool. Back then, a record pool service revolved around vinyl. But when Serato was introduced in maybe 2004, I saw the evolution to digital on the way. I brought it up to my colleagues and said, ‘Hey, we have to introduce a digital service. It could be something similar to what we are doing, but we’ve got to introduce the MP3 to the DJs’. At the time my colleagues weren’t really thinking, innovation-wise; they weren’t really there. That was cool, I got it, but I wanted to try it out for myself and really focus on the digital side of things. So, I guess it was Serato that inspired me to find a new way to get the music out to the DJs.
How has the company evolved over the years?
We’re always thinking of new ways to keep innovating our products. We’re always looking into coming up with new features, introducing new products such as the mobile application, and exploring other markets that relate to the DJ space or even wider music. As a company we’re looking at things with the perspective of ‘How do we enhance the way DJs discover music, and how do we make their lives easier?’ I think my experience as a DJ helped me in terms of this, and most of our staff are music lovers or DJs themselves. That mindset does help us understand the DJ, and helps us evolve. We’re always trying to learn more about them and always be aware of what’s trending in the DJ community, we’re always posting news, tech, gear, all that stuff.
What’s a typical work day like for you?
I wake up early. I’m the type of guy who can go to sleep at three o’clock and wake up at six o’clock. I’m not too sure why; I guess I look forward to my day because I love what I do. For me it doesn’t feel like a job, it just feels like part of my life. I work out because for me working out is not so much about keeping in shape, but also bringing me a creative spark. I’m a runner, so as I’m running, I’m thinking of new ideas and new ways to improve our product. After that, my work day usually kicks in around 10 o’clock and that’s when the team gets into the office. I’m more or less the support guy, I suppose; I like to be there and check in with everyone and spend a bit of time with everyone. My biggest thing is providing my teams with the necessary tools for whatever they are working on. Obviously on my side, I’ve always got lots of emails and conference calls that line up across the day. And with the growth of the company, we have more and more companies wanting to work with us – so that requires a lot of discussions.
How old were you when you first discovered your love of music?
I was 11, maybe 12. I was fascinated by the way DJs could control people’s emotions, especially in situations like school dances. I think music really affects people’s emotions when it comes to films, art, or just life in general, and has such a big impact on the way that people feel. That was really inspiring. I started DJing from a young age, so I definitely had a love of music my whole life really. Then, it was a cool niche for me just because at the time – this was around ’99 – there weren’t too many young DJs around, so I was pretty much the only kid hanging around all of the big guys here in the city. That really gave me the opportunity to connect with these guys on another level. Having them see me go from when I was a kid up until now – it’s been inspiring for them and it’s been inspiring for me. I stopped DJing in 2011 when I just decided to focus all of my energy on BPM Supreme.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
A lot of people don’t know about my passion for design. I think if I hadn’t got into the music world, I’d have wanted to make design a full-time career. My passion for branding and design can be seen n a lot of BPM Supreme’s branding and in our mobile app. I’m very hands-on with our in-house design team and have even designed some things myself.
Jasmine Kent-Smith is Mixmag's Staff Writer, follow her on Twitter
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