Big Chocolate is as incessantly prolific as he is multi-faceted, cranking out destructive electro beats, hyper aware video blogs and hotly sought-after remixes in equal measure, even as he tours as a live act with an energetic presence appealing to Electronic Dance Music devotees and Vans Warped Tour crowd-surfers alike.
The twenty-something provocateur, whose passport features more stamps than his peers and whose driver’s license reads Cameron Argon, crests atop the wave of what the press has called the “Summer of Electronic Dance Music” alongside such luminaries as Skrillex, Deadmau5 and David Guetta while keeping both feet firmly planted in the gritty underground where he cut his teeth as part of the Southern California metalcore scene churning out breakdowns via his one-man-band side project Disfiguring The Goddess.
Big Chocolate’s eclectic nature, feverish work ethic and good-natured charm has resulted in no less than a full-length album, several well-received EPs, remixes for top-tier underground acts like Asking Alexandria, As I Lay Dying and former Hollywood Undead frontman Deuce, national tours with bands like Dance Gavin Dance and Breathe Carolina and a side project with Suicide Silence frontman Mitch Lucker, to name but a few endeavors. With a constantly updated stream of content, Big Chocolate is emblematic of everything that is “now” in youth culture. The guy posts videos everyday (include link).
The prejudices, misconceptions and unnecessarily protective barriers between musical genres have crumbled. The age of the iPod has gifted music fans with a shuffle mode that turns once disparate groups into nearly unrecognizable amalgamations.
Big Chocolate is at the epicenter of a fertile movement drawn from the notion that Cannibal Corpse can blend with KMFDM, that a dance floor can get just as dense and full of emotion from Slayer as Depeche Mode. There is no real “genre,” no true classification that truly fits what Big Chocolate has created from the sum total of his life experiences, musical alliances and passion.
Orange County, California has given birth to everything from No Doubt and Social Distortion to Avenged Sevenfold. Argon grew up in Huntington Beach, where his musical education began at the piano as a toddler. By age 12 he had a guitar and was teaching himself Pantera and Rage Against The Machine riffs. “The first album I ever bought with my own money was The Battle of Los Angeles. I would just put that thing on repeat in my Walkman,” he recalls fondly.
In his early teens, Cameron’s family moved to a relatively isolated small town 15 minutes away from Lake Tahoe. Skateboarding was a bit more painful than he would have liked, so the guitar took up more and more of his personal time. Soon, he was joining a punk band, then a metal band. Drums came next. Going to some other dude to record became tiresome, so he picked up a summer job at a fast food joint to scrape together enough cash for his first recording gear. The day he had enough money to start recording, he quit his job. “I recorded my band’s demo but after that I didn’t know what to do,” he remembers. “I realized I could start making hip-hop beats and electronic music with this stuff. I started writing more metal songs, too, but without a band.”
Argon’s wide variety of interests made him the go-to-guy for local bands. He played all sorts of instruments with all sorts of acts. “I’d be wearing a death metal t-shirt and playing drums in a pop punk band,” he says with a knowing laugh. “Around my senior year, all the older kids had moved away and the bands ended, so that’s when I got more used to doing things by myself. Keep in mind this was just for fun at this point. I was just doing all of this because I liked to do it.”
The future Big Chocolate was able to quit another part time job, this one at the video store, when he started making money on iTunes. “I would make death metal and record myself doing vocals. I was this 17 year old kid with a beard screaming in a mic. The first show I ever played after high school was in Moscow!”
Cameron had been recording Death Metal vocals via the Internet and had developed a loyal following, generating thousands of views and plays the internet. “A band flew me out to do a show in Russia. It was crazy! I was 18 and had never left the United States, or even traveled by myself. It was overwhelming.” After he returned home, he moved back to Huntington Beach and started going to junior college, hoping that criminal justice studies would lead to a career in law enforcement. He kept doing music but didn’t enjoy the European tour he did with a metal band. “When you play these death metal shows, everyone is so pissed off. I didn’t want to be around that all the time.”
Argon continued to gravitate more and more toward EDM. Inspiration once again struck when a metal band asked Cameron to remix a track for them. “I had never remixed anything before. So I just did whatever I wanted. I think not knowing what I was doing was the key ingredient in that whole scenario. I started a project with the singer based off that remix and to make original music that sounded like that remix. It was breakbeat, industrial metal. There was even scratching in it. I started listening to drum and bass and dubstep, too.”
Before he knew what hit him, Big Chocolate had an invitation to play the Vans Warped Tour. “I moved back to Nevada and took a break from school. I decided to give this all a shot. I moved back home and did nothing but make electronic music for nine months. I had to make myself good enough to feel like I deserved it, you know? To where I felt like I deserved to be on Warped Tour instead of just some kid that lucked out.”
He points to Warped Tour as a turning point in his musical journey on a creative level as well. Watching hardcore bands, punk bands, ska bands, rappers, dance music and more all converge in the sun each day crystalized Big Chocolate’s own split personality entrance into music. “All these career paths that are going in all different directions that all, for some reason, work at the same spot. Same kids. Everyone is there. It’s a strange thing to witness and think about.” This made him determined to create all types of music, whenever, however he wants.
Much, much more than a producer, DJ, Vlogger, a former metalhead from the OC hardcore scene, or a sought after remixer, Big Chocolate is the sum of all of his parts and is powering forward as a multi-faceted and always entertaining artist, the type of guy who can be called upon to produce bouncing hip-hop, glossy pop or darkly gritty industrial, or anything else his young mind can conjure at any given moment: sometimes within the confines of the same project. To understand Big Chocolate is to understand the whole picture, to understand right now.