Q&A with DJ LANCE ROCK of Yo Gabba Gabba! Talks: All Star Guests On His Hit Show, BEDROCKtober Fest and Much More!
Posted On 14 Aug 2015
Tag: #indie, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Amoeba Music, Amoeba Records, Bedrock Studios, BEDROCKtoberfest, Biz Markie, Bootsy Collins, CHICAGO, Christina Aguilera, Dave Grohl, Deep Grooves, Devo, DJ, DJ Lance, DJ Lance Rock, DJ Lance's Super Music & Toy Room, Echo Park, electronic, electronic band, electronic music, Erykah Badu, Flying Saucer Attack, Gamelan Music, Gwen Stefani, Hollywood, Hot Butter, indie pop, Instrumentals 2015, Jack Black, Jack McBrayer, Jimmy Fallon, Kemba Russell, Kool & The Gang, Leslie Hall, Los Angeles, Lou Harrison, Majestic, Mark Mothersbaugh, Missouri, monsters, Moogfest, My Other Self, Nick Jr., Orange County, Papas Fritas, Patton Oswalt, Paul Scheer, Pop, Popcorn, Questlove, Ramones, record store, Scott Schultz, Snoop Dogg, Spirit of the Boogie, St. Louis, Super Music Friends, The Aquabats, The Killers, The Raymakers, The Roots, Weezer, Yo Gabba Gabba!
Lance Robertson is a Los Angeles-based musician, DJ, and actor also known as “DJ Lance Rock” on the Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba!
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Robertson was a member of the electronic band, My Other Self in the 1990s and the owner of a record store called Deep Grooves.
Robertson later relocated to Los Angeles. While working a day job at Amoeba Music, he became well known in the local indie rock scene through his band, The Ray Makers. During this time, he met Scott Schultz of the Orange County indie pop band Majestic, and they eventually played a couple of shows together. Years later, when Schultz was co-creating the show Yo Gabba Gabba!, Robertson was asked to serve as host.
Past musical guests on the show have included: The Killers, Weezer, Jack Black, Snoop Dogg, Dave Grohl, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera.
Upcoming guests on the show include: Paul Scheer, Jack McBrayer, Leslie Hall, Erykah Badu, Bootsy Collins, Questlove, Kemba Russell, Biz Markie, Mark Mothersbaugh and Patton Oswalt.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa recently got to catch up with the the man of many talents. Read more in Nicole’s interview with DJ LANCE ROCK below!
Hi DJ Lance Rock! Where does this interview find you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Hi Nicole! I’m just enjoying my summer, and working on some projects of my own. I’m headed over to Bedrock Studios in Echo Park to rehearse for an upcoming show that I have.
For those not as familiar with you and your music and of course Yo Gabba Gabba (named partly for the Ramones lyric) how did you get your start in music? Who or what was the catalyst for you?
I think I’ve always been drawn to music, but was obsessed with it when I was a teenager. I used to hang around this local record store in St. Louis, always buying records and asking for a job. Finally, when I was starting my senior year of high school, they hired me. A few years later, a friend of mine from St. Louis who moved back from Chicago, was looking to start a band. Me and several of my friends who I’d met from going out to concerts and dance clubs decided to join.
Yo Gabba Gabba features five colorful creatures who teach kids life lessons through funky songs, Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh teaching art, and rapper Biz Markie beat-boxing with music being the key element. What inspired you to want to be involved in the show?
Quite simply, I was asked. I was working at Amoeba Music in Hollywood, when the creators of the show all came in to have a talk with me. I had spoken to one of the creators on the phone about the possibility of doing it, but once we had the face-to-face, I think that sealed the deal.
Yo Gabba Gabba has featured guests such as: The Killers, Weezer, Jack Black, Snoop Dogg, Dave Grohl, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera. Do you have a favorite episode so far?
(Click on artist above to watch a clip of their episode!)
Absolutely! That would have to be DJ Lance’s Super Music & Toy Room. I like this one the most, because I got to interact with the other characters the entire time, instead of being separated from them. Also, all of the following people were on this episode.
Paul Scheer, Jack McBrayer, Leslie Hall, Erykah Badu, Bootsy Collins, Questlove, Kemba Russell, Biz Markie, Mark Mothersbaugh and Patton Oswalt. Plus, the band Papas Fritas were the Super Music Friends.
(Click on artist above to watch a clip of their episode!)
Why do you think Yo Gabba Gabba is so popular and has such crossover mass appeal to children and adults alike?
“I think people always have a strong connection to their childhood, and there are a lot of things in Yo Gabba Gabba that speak to that. So when a parent hears a certain style of music or sees a certain type of animation, it’s something that they can immediately relate to. On top of that, their children have no frame of reference for some of the nostalgia inspired content, so they just instinctively gravitate towards it.
I think part of the reason that the show is successful, is because the parents and children can enjoy the show equally, and it gives them something to bond over, when they can watch a show together that they both like.”
You will be hosting this year’s BEDROCKtoberfest on Sept. 19th and you are curating the lineup as well. Can you tell our readers what they can expect at the festival and what made you want to be involved?
Again, quite simply, I was asked. I met the organizers at Moogfest 2014, and from that point, we strived to make this happen. This is the third annual BEDROCKtoberfest, so I will be following in the tradition of curating the music, while someone else curates the magic portion of the show.
“BEDROCKtoberfest will feature a couple of awesome local bands, as well as a headliner that I’m personally really excited to see perform. I can’t tell you who it is just yet, but they should be making an announcement soon!”
Do you remember the first album you bought for yourself?
Sadly, I don’t. But I vividly recall the first album that my parents bought for me. It was “Popcorn” by Hot Butter. Unfortunately, I lost that record a long, long time ago, but I was able to find a copy of it in mint condition at Amoeba about 13 years ago.
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
Again, that’s a hard one to answer, because there are so many songs that I love and that have shaped me. However, the one song that I was obsessed with was “Spirit of the Boogie” by Kool & the Gang. I had never heard anything like it before. It’s funky, hypnotic, ominous and otherworldly. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite songs. I guess that’s why I picked it to perform with The Roots on Jimmy Fallon.
Who is in your current playlist? Any artists, musicians or genres we might be surprised to find in there?
Right now I am listening to an album called “Gamelan Music” by Lou Harrison, as well as the new album by Flying Saucer Attack. It’s called “Instrumentals 2015”.
What’s on tap next for you, DJ Lance Rock? What are you most excited about in 2015?
Working on BEDROCKtoberfest has rekindled my passion for working on music. When the festival is over, there are several avenues that I would like to explore musically. Also, I can’t wait to get back to Yo Gabba Gabba!