Birth of a Station
When Rocco’s Música!Musica! first aired in 2005, the radio station focused solely on music from Brazil and Italy, which was and still is my passion. Bossa nova, lounge, jazz, samba, pop, hip hop, both vintage and modern sounds from the two countries.
The station was inspired and named after my buddy Rocco Caramello, a cat, an orange tabby to be precise. How did he inspire this station, you say? Just by being the friendly, crazy, nutty, koo-koo cat that he was. And he would help me, too. While I would upload music to the station, Rocco would monitor the uploads by positioning himself underneath the computer monitor. Ok, so he may have been sleeping much of the time, but I know he was ensuring the station’s music was keeping in line with company protocol…
Rocco's Música!Musica! station manager, Rocco Caramello.
Rocco’s Música!Musica!: Logos
Having started the station, I now needed to add a logo to the station page. Something listeners would recognize. The very first logo was a simple cat paw. Business cards were also created featuring the paw along with the flags of Italy and Brazil and a really long and complicated url address.
I could tell Rocco wasn't too thrilled with this logo. And neither was I.
Then one day Rocco inspired an image that became the station’s new logo. Living in a small apartment in the city of Vancouver, BC, Canada Rocco’s only outdoor time was spent in a flower box outside the window. I had built a little bamboo fence in the flower box for security and planted grass for him to lay in and chew. This was Rocco’s jungle, and he loved it.
The mighty jungle lion
This image of Rocco became a defining image for the station. Rocco in da jungle, the mighty jungle lion…exotic, ferocious…and a heckuva nice guy!
Finding a particular font - Velvenda Cooler – and a color combination of what I like to call lime, azzurro and rosso, I created a logo that conveyed well the color and good vibes broadcasting from Rocco's station.
Rocco’Shop and the Birth of the Rocco Gatos
With the station up and running for about a year, I started to look into merchandising, which is always a good way to get one’s brand out there. A friend had told me about Cafe Press, and around August of 2006 Rocco’Shop (Rocco’s Shop) opened.
Searching for ideas, and with very little drawing talent I began to play around with MS Paint in creating simple Rocco gatos caricatures. These little gatos were very simple, very rudimentary. And although colorful, they were pretty much expressionless:
And while sort of meh alone, they did look colorful in groups:
Then one day, one of the gatos broke out into a big smile, and I began to experiment with different expressions, resulting in various degrees of je ne sais quoi:
Rather then attempting to draw, I started to implement more shapes and lines (no-brainer stuff for graphic artists, but as an actor, I can only act like a graphic artist). Through this implementation, I was getting better results with looks and expressions:
L-R: Rocco Italia, Rocco Brasil, Rocco Croatia, Rocco Canada
I also started to incorporate the flags and colors of different nations in creating these gatos. Adding more and more, there was soon a virtual United Nations of gatos!
With the addition of all the Rocco gatos from different countries (Rocco Nation!), it was then that Rocco’s Música!Musica! began to expand its repertoire from Brazilian and Italian tunes to include music from other parts of the world as well.
These Rocco gatos began appearing on various items: t-shirts, mugs and mousepads, and from them came different ideas, designs and themes. Their creation (inspired by the big orange, himself) helped kickstart Rocco'Shop, which along with Rocco's Música!Musica! continues to grow and evolve.