Ray Roc – a.k.a. Ramon Checo – has been a crucial force on the New York dance scene for nearly fifteen years. A legendary editor / DJ / remixer / producer / scenester, he has worked with (and produced/remixed for) many influential and respected artists, from underground luminaries like Todd Terry, Juan Kato, Davidson Ospina, JohnNick of Henry Street Music, Micheal Moog, DJ Pippi and WT, Farley and Heller and Mark Wilkinson of Kidsound/Kidology, through to household names such as Sheena Easton, New Order, Cher, Deborah Cooper (of C & C Music Factory), Rocky (of X-press 2), Tony Moran and Albert Cabrera (Formally of Latin Rascals) and Latin Pop Stars Proyecto Uno.
While many beatmakers routinely claim they were making music before they’d moved onto eating solids or tying up their shoelaces, in Ray’s case it’s true – well, almost. Growing up in Queens, many of Ray’s family members were involved in music. His uncle, a singer, recorded an album with late, great Latin superstar Tito Puente. His cousins were DJ’s in the 70’s who had expansive collections of disco, funk and R&B. Ray himself started taking piano lessons at the tender age of eight.
“I used to get on the piano and just copy what the teacher played straight off” recalls Ray. “She said I had a good ear and should carry on taking lessons but after four years I got bored. At that age I wasn’t focused on being a musician or anything, I just wanted to create music on my own. We had this family house in Queens called the Big House and every weekend our whole family would congregate there. It was ritual. We had this big old basement for us kids to play in while the aunts and uncles drunk their asses off upstairs. We would get together and jam; me on piano, cousins on the turntables, female cousins singing, others playing congas. It wasn’t a recording session by any means but it was a lot of fun.”