May 15, 2012

The Colchester Sun: Q & A with Justin Hoy

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Justin Hoy, of Essex, is a keyboardist with local band “Casio Bastard,” manager of Halogen Media Works/ Halogen Records in South Burlington, and Talent Buyer for The Rusty Nail Bar in Stowe. Few know, however, that Hoy was also known in his hometown — Maine — as the two-time state champion in Storytelling and Impromptu Speaking. Hoy even went to the national finals in Kansas City, Mo. during his senior year at Brunswick High School in Maine (not far from Portland). Aside from his verbal skills, Hoy also plays music. He learned to play piano at age nine, and since then music has continued to inspire him. He came to Vermont to attend Goddard College after graduating from high school. There he participated in jazz workshops that included the likes of late jazz legend Lester Bowie, trombonist Don Glasgo and drummer Cooper Moore. Hoy remembered one particular experience playing on stage with Moore. “Pointing at me, Cooper Moore commented, ‘When you have Michael Jordan on your team — throw him the ball.’ I was faking jazz on the grand piano at the time. Lucky for me, it turned out I could actually play!” Living and playing in a music dorm, Hoy was able to meet other talented students that he had an opportunity to play with every day for hours. He formed the band “Bastard Sons” during college. After he graduated from college in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Education, Bastard Sons evolved into “Casio Bastard” about five years ago. The band is looking forward to releasing their first album within the year. Hoy recently reflected on his musical influence and career.

Q: Why did you choose piano for your instrument?

A: I guess it found me. I played clarinet in grade school, but always had a piano at home; one day, it just clicked.

Q: How would you describe Casio Bastard’s sound?

A: I would say Casio Bastard is fusion, funk, and a little under and overwhelming all at once. There is an interesting mix of styles in our songs. There are a lot of things that come out during a performance that really define our sound. I would encourage people to check us out, then they can define our sound.

Q: How did Halogen Media Works develop?

A: I started Halogen Records in college as an independent study, and have been developing it ever since. It was conceived in 1998 to help bands at the school. Before my third year, the company had made its way onto the internet. I got tips from some pretty cool people, and had some challenges with people who were not on the “up and up.” Halogen continued after graduation. It has not always run smoothly. I still make mistakes and constantly need to develop new ways to work with artists and bands. For example, there was a time when pressing CDs was what it was all about, and that’s now how it works now. Halogen was set up originally for distribution. A few years after graduation, my friend Carlo Rovetta opened up Positive Pie in Montpelier. My first step into booking and promoting live events was through their grand opening in 2005; we splashed in with “Inspectah Deck (Wu-Tang).” Halogen Records developed into Halogen Media Works/Halogen Records, a full-service booking, development and talent buying business. I still am the sole manager and owner of the company, but I could not do it without the help of people that are always there to lend a hand. Halogen, as it was developed, is fueled by everyone, I just try to organize it and keep it relevant.

Q: How did you become the Talent Buyer for Rusty Nail?

A: I was performing with Casio Bastard at the Nail. There was a change of management and one of the band members mentioned we should play there. When we finally booked a gig, their schedule was wide open. I sat and talked to the management and explained what I do, and asked them if they would be interested in giving Halogen a run at it. I have been working with the Nail for almost a year. It is tons of fun, but challenging. There are some great shows coming up including New Riders of the Purple Sage on May 18, Hawthorne Heights — June 5, Immortal Technique — June 16, and Lez Zepplin — June 30.

Q: Do you find solidarity and a willingness to help among Vermont musicians?

A: Yes. Last year’s Vermont Music Summit was a prime example of the local music community working together. The public does not see it, and I am about to let them in on a little secret… For the most part, booking agents, venues, artists and all of the music related companies around the area get along. We all work together, and at times, need each other to push us to the next level. Sometimes we get frustrated, but we are all here for basically the same goal: to bring music to people that love it, and to share it with new people who are discovering it. — Elsie Lynn

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