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In The Pipeline: Big Chocolate goes big time in Warped Tour

July 20, 2011|By Chris Epting
(Courtesy Chris…)

Recently, I was in Pomona to cover the Vans Warped Tour for a music publication.

If you're unaware, Warped is a pop culture phenomenon created in 1994 by Kevin Lyman. It's a punk rock caravan that travels across the country all summer and features 70-plus bands, an endless slew of autograph signings, freebies, food, energy drinks, skateboards and many other activities/opportunities throughout a punk rock tent city.

At the July 1 show in Pomona, 90-degree breezes blew across the dusty fairgrounds throughout the day. But that slowed nobody down. Warped is sort of like Woodstock on steroids and energy drinks, and though I planned on meeting and interviewing many bands, little did I know there would be a Huntington Beach connection.

The day before I headed out to Pomona, a friend of mine suggested I look for a relative of hers, a red-hot deejay/mix artist who goes by the name of Big Chocolate. This was his first Warped Tour, and he grew up in Huntington Harbour. How could I resist?

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As it turned out, my day was packed with interviews, but as dusk approached, I passed by a crowded tent where fans had lined up to meet what looked like a personable young man with a reddish beard and backward baseball cap. He stood apart from the many other black-clad and heavily tattooed artists at other booths. This, I learned a moment later, was Cameron Argon, a.k.a. Big Chocolate.

About to turn 21, Argon has gotten lots of attention in the music business for his skills in music production and remixing. He's released four EPs and one full-length collection to date and, as I learned, he's thrilled to be on the Warped Tour. He's also fond of his hometown.

"I was in Huntington a few weeks ago, right before the tour started," Argon laughed. "I went to Harbour View School and saw my little cousin in a play — the same play I was in when I went there!"

Several shows into the Warped Tour, he sees the crowds for his sets grow more in each city.

"This is my first tour as Big Chocolate, which is just kind of a silly nickname I made up," he said. "I had no idea of what to think — I had never even been to a Warped Tour. I play this electronic stuff onstage, so I'm sort of a weird fit with all the punk and metal. I'm like a deejay up there, spinning the sounds I make.

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