I marshal the middle between Mathers and McLuhan. I’m an aging BMX and skateboarding zine kid. That’s where I learned to turn events and interviews into pages with staples. I have since written about music, media, and culture for everything from self-published zines and personal blogs to national magazines and academic journals. I hold a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. As a child, I solved the Rubik’s Cube competitively.
My most recent published writing is in my book, Dead Precedents: How Hip-Hop Defines the Future (Repeater Books, 2019). I also recently contributed to The Journal of Hip-Hop Studies (2017), The St. James Encyclopedia of Hip-Hop Culture (St. James, 2018), and The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies (Routledge, 2015). I was assistant editor of the edited collection Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Culture and Music (MIT Press, 2008) and I self-published the interview anthology Follow for Now: Interviews with Friends and Heroes (Well-Red Bear, 2007).
Coming up next are Boogie Down Predictions: Hip-Hop, Time, and Afrofuturism (Strange Attractor) and Follow for Now, Volume 2: More Interviews with Friends and Heroes (Punctum Books).
I am a member of the Futurists Advisory Board at the Lifeboat Foundation, a reviewer at The Journal of Hip-Hop Studies, and a member of the editorial board at Words, Beats, & Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture.
Here’s an interview with me that Gino Sorcinelli did in 2015 about how I came to be on my current path.
Get at me here: royc (at) utexas (dot) edu
Deeper background: After over ten years of making photo-copied zines (e.g., The Unexplained and Front Wheel Drive), I registered frontwheeldrive.com in 1997. A few false starts later, it evolved into an archive of interviews and reviews that explored the peaks of theory and technology and the depths of the cultural underground. Scott McCloud described the site as “nicely designed and packed with ideas (a rarity on both counts),” and Mark Dery called it “brutally cool.” With this site, I established myself as what Disinformation called, “One of the Internet’s leading interviewers of subculture and new-science icons.” Though frontwheeldrive.com ceased operations in late 2007, the best of its content is archived in my book Follow for Now, and all of the above continues on this very site.
Prior to graduate work, I spent over twenty years working as a writer, editor, and designer both on- and off-line. I have written about technology, science, music, and culture for everything from glossy national magazines and regional weeklies to hometown newspapers and homegrown ‘zines, and I have written, edited, designed, and consulted for such diverse organizations as Microsoft, Nike, The MIT Press, WIRED, MSN Music, 21C Magazine, Steven Johnson’s How We Get to Next, ESPN, DIG BMX Magazine, X-Games, SLAP Skateboard Magazine, Vital Skate, Figure/Ground, h+ Magazine, Disinformation, Reality Sandwich, Splitsider, HiLoBrow, Gomma Magazine, Ride BMX Magazine, Skateboard.com, Xbox Games, and Zero Skateboards. I have also guest lectured at several universities, as well as spoken at events like SXSW (2011, 2012, and 2019), Stand-Up Science, SF MusicTech Summit, DMA 2011, and Geekend in Savannah.
I can also be found on the following: