Mexican-American entrepreneur Angel “AROCK” Castillo stands by the notion that anyone can become a DJ. The San Diego, CA, native recalls being so mesmerized by the DJ at one of his school dances and their ability to conduct the entire room that he decided to take up the art form at 12 years old. “That’s when I realized that music was going to be a significant part of my life,” he tells Remezcla over a Zoom call.
Castillo eventually landed a job at a local radio station and continued working as a professional DJ throughout most of his adulthood before shifting his focus to the digital evolution underway in the early 2000s. Now with over two decades in the industry under his belt, he is the founder and CEO of BPM Music, a music and tech company that holds one of the largest music and video libraries specially tailored with DJs in mind. He is also the founder of BPM Supreme; a record pool turned digital music service and mobile app that works as an intermediary between DJs and record labels.
Castillo traces BPM Music’s origins back to two key moments. While at the radio station, he ran into a consistent problem: the labels often sent new music to him via email, making the downloading process slow and cumbersome. Additionally, Castillo was still actively DJing when friends began asking about certain versions of the songs he’d put into his sets and the production techniques he used. He turned his attention to expediting the new music discovery process to get both classics and newer, buzzworthy tracks into the hands of DJs as efficiently as possible. “That’s when I took a step back and said, ‘Instead of me trying to be the superstar, why don’t I make everybody else the superstars?’” he says.
“That’s when I took a step back and said, ‘Instead of me trying to be the superstar, why don’t I make everybody else the superstars?’”
While the golden era of DJs painstakingly sifting through stacks of vinyl records in hopes of finding the perfect song to energize the masses may be behind us, shuffling through BPM’s catalog evokes a sense of excitement that’s on par with crate digging. It’s indicative of the founder’s eclectic musical tastes.
Castillo grew up on a steady diet of hip-hop and house music. Now, he mentions he’s a longtime fan of Tijuana-based banda superstars like Grupo Firme. The expansive collection holds uptempo, four-on-the-floor remixes of Bad Bunny’s “Efecto,” moombahton-influenced productions like Venezuelan DJ and producer Talal Mezher’s “Elantra,” and g-funk-tinted J Dilla and Snoop Dogg mashups. It’s sure to appeal to aspiring DJs experimenting with instrumental versions of Top 40 material but also to cumbia purists or those looking to dive into more niche subgenres like guaracha electrónica.
The carefully curated library is also a testament to how Castillo’s immediate and deep connection with DJ culture ultimately changed the trajectory of his life and how he hopes to inspire a new generation of Latine DJs and creators similarly.
“[DJing] is about connecting with your audience and getting to them emotionally,” he says. “It’s about playing something at the right time, being agile as a DJ, and changing something if it’s not working well… You see it all the time at concerts. I just went to see Bad Bunny and it was truly memorable. It’s not just somebody playing a whole album and calling it a day. There’s a strategy behind it… DJs need to realize that they are the Bad Bunnys of the club, you know?”